tedster - 11:46 pm on Jun 3, 2010 (gmt 0)
There are so many non-search ways to acquire targeted traffic and to retain those customers. It can take some out-of-the box thinking at times, but it is a sane part of any online strategy.
Check out this classic post Brett wrote in 2002: Mostly Viral Top Traffic Alternatives to Search Engines [webmasterworld.com]. That should jump start creative thinking.
And then remember a big lesson from offline business: Acquiring a new customer takes 5 to 10 times more resources than RETAINING an existing customer. Search marketing seemed to change that balance for a number of years, and new customer acquisition via search traffic seemed even easier than customer retention.
But now the pendulum is swinging back. So if organic search and PPC seem to be getting further and further out of reach, then think about customer retention more, and think about the social and viral conversation - the new name for "word of mouth".