Periods of economic decline are key times in history to acquire other businesses or assets. Just last week I noticed a client's competitor for a major keyword had shut down. Yet the domain still ranked in the top 10. Opportunities abound!
Some may frown on this topic being brought up right now. But some businesses use prosperous times to build up their cash reserves (war chest) to acquire other businesses during down times. They could have invested the funds during the good times into aggressively expanding their business and probably straddling their companies in debt as so many did. One has to admire such long-term strategic thinking and fortitude.
Even companies that didn't build up large cash reserves can employ some of the same strategies to expand or enter into new markets. The key is to stay focused on the long-term value and results.
Here are a few tactics to consider:
Buy Domain Names with Rankings
Purchase domain names that rank well for the following types of sites: e-commerce, review, fan, discussion forum, and informational. These could be acquired from people who want to exit the business, companies that are going out of business, or publishers who are reducing the size of their domain portfolio. With the decline in ad spending, even some Google AdSense publishers are looking to part ways with their less profitable domains to focus on the most lucrative.
How can a PPC site that's been around since 2002 and ranks in the top 20 benefit your company? Simply substitute the current ads with those for your company. Use it for branding. Keep it as a backup domain in case you ever lose your top rankings.
After all, as Aaron Wall said, "Life's not fair. Neither are search engines."
Acquire Key People
Recruit key people into your company from competitors. These could be people who are looking for a new job, have been recently laid off, or work for a company that's having serious financial problems.
Which of their employees have you always wanted on your team? Focus on key marketing, public relations, or sales people. Look for those who can give your company the extra advantage over everyone else.
In the B2B sector, it's a perfect time to recruit people with great industry contacts and insider information to help your business prosper. This is ideal for newer companies in a field looking to recruit key clients away from the established companies.
Better Advertising Rates
Most sites have seen a significant decline in income from advertising in the past year. Many sites deriving their income from Google AdSense have seen their income decline for many years. Take advantage of this to negotiate lower prices.
Even sites that once said you had to go through Google or banner networks will be willing to discuss great deals now. Some will even be willing to replace the PPC or banner network with yours for a more stable revenue source.
Newspapers and magazines with online editions are also slashing their rates. The opportunities are better than ever with the decline of three of the largest U.S. advertisers: auto, financial, and retail industries. Plus, newspapers that have been around for more than 100 years are shutting their doors while others are announcing drastic layoffs. Take advantage of this to negotiate lower advertising rates.
Publications that were previously out of your budget are now within reach. Take the time to negotiate rates with media companies. Negotiate for "online only" rates to get even better rates. Don't be forced into also advertising in their print version to get online ads.
Walk away. Some of these vanishing business models haven't caught up with modern times. In a couple weeks they'll be following up to discuss online rates only.
While your company may not have been building up cash reserves for business acquisitions during a downturn, there are still opportunities to be had. Take some time to investigate opportunities that have been created in the last year. It could give your company the added advantage to survive the economic downturn and prosper in the coming years.
Join us for Search Engine Strategies New York March 23-27 at the Hilton New York. The only major search marketing conference and expo on the East Coast, SES New York will be packed with more than 70 sessions, plus more than 150 exhibitors, networking events, parties, and training days.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!