During an economic recession, marketing budgets and ROAS typically comes under much more scrutiny.
You should read this article for reasons you should not cut your SEO spending during a recession.
The next question will be about ROI and what you can do to mitigate the oncoming issues.
During an economic downturn, the objectives of reducing churn are amplified. Your sales pipelines may see less activity, and the C-suite may focus more on MRR (monthly recurring revenue) and ARR (annual recurring revenue).
In this article, I will look at subscription-model-based businesses and some methods and strategies that can pivot their SEO efforts toward maintaining performance and SEO ROI (return on investment).
Understanding Why Accounts Cancel
Customers cancel their subscriptions for myriad reasons, but during an economic downturn, reasons tend to gravitate toward costs and perceived value.
Other reasons include not receiving enough value from the subscription, difficulty canceling their subscription, or feeling that customer support is unresponsive or unhelpful.
You can identify these issues before customers provide feedback on an exit survey. Create opportunities for conversations and feedback loops with the sales and customer service teams. This lets customers address concerns before they cancel.
Targeting Disengagement & Value Shortfalls
To show this value, we can pivot our content and messaging to demonstrate opportunity costs and how the upfront cost prevents a more significant shortfall in the long run.
Encountering usage friction with the software is an identifiable problem.
Within the organization, teams should be able to provide you access to DAU (daily active user) and MAU (monthly active user) data.
Companies often boast about having high numbers of each, but the data can also be used to identify accounts with below-average or spare login frequency, and these can then be collated and reached out to.
- Put accounts on low and mid-tier subscriptions into an email gauntlet and reach out. Offer a consultation with an accounts person. You could also ask them to fill out a feedback form to identify pain points to help build a content strategy.
- Reach out to accounts on high-tier subscriptions with existing account managers.
Addressing customer issues could be as simple as rewording elements of commercial product pages, adding additional sections, or reinforcing the value proposition with case studies.
You can also address these issues with traditional blog content. Add more support articles to your support center and build out existing ones with media such as video to address common friction points.
Developing Content Against Competitor Value Pitfalls
Price is likely the most challenging reason for leaving to predict and manage. Price is informed and dictated by other business needs and costs. While it might make sense to offer deals to high-value accounts, reducing the price on a wide scale likely isn’t an option.
Price and cost are subjective to the value your solution provides. So Demonstrating your benefits can help customers justify the expenditure.
Any solution’s cost must, at minimum, balance out the problem or provide additional value.
This is known as a cost-benefit analysis. A vital part of a cost-benefit analysis is comparing the costs of the solution versus the benefits and determining a net present value.
During this assessment, your messaging can leverage and demonstrate additional benefits, or benefit enhancements, against your competitors.
In SaaS, you could break this down as comparisons between both product elements and overall “package” elements:
- Direct product features and performance of those features.
- Indirect product features and “add ons” that supplement the core product.
- The bandwidth of the solution on a monthly or annual basis.
- The number of user seats/sub-accounts per main account.
- Speed of customer support response (and level of customer support).
A typical approach to highlighting competitor pitfalls is with comparison tables and our-brand-v-competitor-brand URLs and blogs.
These pages will then compete with your competitors’ versions and independent websites, affiliates, and other reviews for clicks and to sway consumer opinion.
You must also explain these benefits and competitive advantages on the product pages themselves.
Bullet listing the product features is commonplace. But make sure the benefits are explained directly against your competitors. This can help these competitive advantages better resonate with your target audience.
Reinforcing Brand Solution Compounds
A brand compound search term is a term made up of two or more words and refers to a specific brand.
For example, the brand compound search term “Decathlon waterproofs” would highlight users wanting to find waterproofs specifically from the brand Decathlon.
Users performing searches like this also reaffirms the connection between topics and brands, helping Google further understand relationships and relevancy.
To optimize brand compound search terms, you need to understand the concept of semantic marketing. This means knowing how different words, phrases, and ideas relate in terms of meaning.
You should research how your target audience searches for information related to your product or service and use those search terms in your content.
Another strategy you can use is to add modifiers to your search terms.
These can be words like “best,” “how,” or any other qualifier that will make the search more specific. This will help you get more targeted traffic that will likely convert better than generic search terms.
While these are uncertain times and competition for users and recurring revenue becoming more fierce, pivoting your SEO and content strategy to focus on value propositions and addressing consumer friction points can help better qualify leads and provide objection questions that consumers will take to competitors.
In this strategy, the keyword search volumes and other values might not be high. When you’re addressing user friction points and concerns, the value is qualitative, not quantitative.
Featured Image: VectorMine/Shutterstock
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