When the economy is recessed, it's easy to go into self-preservation mode (both personally and in our businesses). Thinking about others can easily get put on the back burner. When times are good, we eat, we drink, we spend, and we share without giving it a second thought. We have a little more excess, and it's easier to think about giving to others or lending a hand.

However, when times are tough, it's important that we work together and help each other out. To borrow a concept from the Beatles, we all can get by with a little help from our friends.

Jennifer Laycock aptly pointed out that the best way to build a business is to build relationships. This concept applies now more than ever. If we all do this, we can make it through tough times, together.

Most individuals and companies have at least one or two extra resources or areas of expertise that they can contribute to another individual or company. It might not be readily apparent, but with a little thought, I'm sure we can all come up with something to share. If we see a need, and we can help, let's do it. Along with that, let's be the kind of people and companies that our friends won't be afraid to ask for help from.

Also, when we have a positive experience, we don't always take the extra effort to let others know, or give credit, or give something back. It might not seem like it makes much of difference, but it does. Even if we don't have a lot of extra resources to share, let's at least make the little extra effort and start doing this.

How does this apply to internet marketing?
When we work on building our companies' presences online, we most likely have our own best interest in mind (even if we are normally generous towards others). There's nothing wrong with that - it's just how business normally works. In contrast, let's think of ways things to help out others first. I'm not talking about anything big here, just small, practical things.

Here are a few examples and suggestions:

  • Know someone with talent, or worked with a person or company that has really benefited your business? Give them an unsolicited recommendation on LinkedIn. Others will see this and are more likely to hire them.
  • Have a good experience with a restaurant (or other business)? Post a positive review on Yelp (or other appropriate review site). Much of the time people only take the extra time to write reviews if they have a bad experience and are ticked off. (I admit, I'm guilty of this.) Spread a little love instead.
  • Has a service provider treated you well? Send them a testimonial they can post on their site. That will help build trust for future customers or clients.
  • Bought an excellent product? Review it on your blog.
  • If you know someone or a small business who could use a little help with their search engine rankings, throw them a link on an appropriate page of your site. Ask them what link anchor text they are need to rank for in order to build some relevant traffic for their products or services.
  • If some person or company is worth telling others about via word of mouth, do it on your website as well.
  • Read an excellent article, or find a quality website? Let others know by posting a link on Twitter, give it a thumb up on StumbleUpon or Digg, or save it to Delicious or another social bookmarking site. Do something small to help promote it. Other people contribute their knowledge, so give them a little something back. It doesn't cost you more than a few seconds, so why not?
  • If you have knowledge, expertise, or advice in a certain area, that you could reasonably share with someone, don't hesitate to share it. I'm not saying saying you have to give away trade secrets or give away free consulting you would normally charge for, but you know where to draw the line.
Can't do any of these? Try something really small, like just taking the effort to say a simple "Thank You", or say something encouraging to let another person know not to give up. That's easy enough...you can do that, right?

Spread a little positivity. Recessions happen because of fear. One bad thing happens in one area, and then people stop spending money, and it causes a chain reaction that goes around the world. If people could see something bad happening and say "That doesn't have to bring me down; it doesn't have to bring others down," we could start to turn the economy around. 

Another example of something small is to simply pay an invoice on time. Small businesses often run on tight resources, and cash flow can be an issue. Keep in mind that the companies you hire also have to pay bills, and by delaying a payment, you might cause them to have to pay penalties or interest that could easily have been avoided. You might not see the immediate result, but do what you can, and I promise you, it will make a difference. These kinds of actions start positive chain reactions.

The best part is to do all of this without expecting anything in return. You will get back much more in the end than you ever gave away.

These are just a few suggestions. I'm sure you guys have many more ideas than I do, so please feel free to share your suggestions and examples in the comments.

Who knows, maybe this economic recession might be a good thing if it forces us to look out for others a little more and we can all carry this concept along when times are good as well. :)

February 4, 2009

Scott is the CEO and founder of Red Sand Marketing, a San Diego SEO and web design firm. A dynamic mix of marketer, designer, and developer, he thrives on all aspects of internet marketing and web development. Having been involved in search engine optimization and web design since 1996, he and his team consistently achieve top search engine rankings for clients in competitive markets, and have won multiple web design awards along the way.


Great article. I totally agree, we need each other at this point in time!

Great advice. I think a lot of us are afraid right now, or if we're doing well, we're afraid of what might be coming. It's great to reach out, and I think it does all come around. If we're able to share a little of our expertise, we can help clients, colleagues and friends. These same people are likely to reciprocate, and pay it forward.

Also, it's great to remember that by sharing a little of our knowledge, we may encounter others that, when they are financially able, will remember those little insights and think of us for a project. It's great for everyone, which will be great for us, too!

Well said Scott!

@John @Amber @Rachel: Thanks guys!

If anyone reading this has other ideas that weren't listed in the blog post, feel free to share in the comments. :)


Great post and I like what you said!

With the current turn of events, it is now a must to reach out and get others to support you. And with the internet, is is always helpful to provide others with new and vital info.

In the time of recession, we should help each other to come out from it as early as possible. These small geastures can put smile on someone's face. I am sure that one who gives something without wanting anything, will get lot more from God.

Great Read! I like this article because it's all about Karma.

If you don't have any services or expertise to offer you probably know someone who does. Connect your old friends with new friends.

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Search Engine Guide > Scott Allen > In Tough Economic Times, We All Can Get By With a Little Help From Our Friends