By Cedric Chambaz, Marketing Manager of Search & SMB at Microsoft Advertising.
Search marketing is important to SMBs as it delivers ROI and makes limited budgets go further. Search marketing allows all businesses, however small, to turn an online presence on the internet into a profitable business channel and it is vital that they take this opportunity.
Not only does search marketing provide a space for an SMB to be seen, it also allows SMB’s to devise an effective online marketing strategy that will make the most efficient use of their marketing spend. However, many SMBs are still not taking advantage of search marketing opportunities.
This is often due to a number of misconceptions amongst SMB marketers who are yet to invest in search marketing.
Microsoft AdCenter’s 2009 SMB Customer Research highlighted a number of misconceptions that had so far stopped a number of SMB marketers from investing in search marketing.
44% of respondents were concerned that search marketing would be too time-consuming.
In fact, fledgling search marketers have numerous tool available to them that will ensure that the launch of their search marketing campaign is as time efficient as possible. Microsoft adCenter tutorials ensure that when marketers open their account, they have all the necessary information to allow them to get off to a time efficient start.
Plus Microsoft Advertising offers a Desktop Tool that enables our customers to manage their campaign at their own leisure, allowing SMB marketers to manage their account both online and offline.
56% of respondents thought that search marketing is too expensive
Due to the pricing system upon which it is based, search marketing need not be any more expensive than the SMB marketer wants it to be. Search marketing works on a pay-per-click (PPC) model. Pay-per-click means that advertisers are only charged when their ad is clicked upon.
This system means that an SMB marketer can ensure that their ad-spend is as efficient as possible and the amount of ineffective ad spend is minimised. A daily budget of as little as £10 and grow sustainably and successfully.
This strategy of starting small clearly works as adCenter research shows that 51% of SME’s intended to increase their spend on paid search advertising in 2009/2010.
33% of respondents believe that search marketing is too complicated
Microsoft adCenter offer new customers support even before they open an account. Once the initial time is invested, SME marketers find that search marketing is user friendly, indicated by adCenter research highlighting how SME’s that have had the longest relationships with ad networks are the heaviest investors. Microsoft Advertising is also the only advertising network to provide a free UK-based support line to help customers optimise their campaign or solve any question.
All these common misconceptions highlight issues that can easily be overcome. All SMB marketers have to do is to decide in what area they wish to appear, pick their keywords that they want to be identified by, define how much they want to pay per click, then write their copy and they are up and running.
There are a number of ways that organisations can take advantage of digital marketing, but search marketing is one of the most suitable ways for SMB’s to get involved. Paid-search solutions enable SMB’s to advertise against chosen keywords to ensure their website is reaching engaged consumers.
The engagement of consumers can be measured through click through rates, and not only is this measuring the effectiveness of the advertising in use, it also ensures that SMB’s are only paying for the clicks on their advertising. This allows SMB’s to minimise ineffective ad spend in a much more comprehensive way than would be possible across other media.
Microsoft Advertising offers solutions to SMBs who are considering investing in more search marketing and also provide advice and guidance to help overcome pre-conceptions that SMB’s have that have stopped them entering the market previously.
For example, the Bing Webmaster tool allows SMB marketers to gain further guidance on driving traffic to their website and advice on how to enhance the website content.
Webmaster also offers up to date and free analytic information to allow marketers to monitor the traffic volumes to their site, enabling marketers to monitor the performance of their ad-spend and make any necessary adjustments to their search strategy.
To summarise, digital marketing allows SMBs to compete on more of a level playing field compared to their multi-national competitors. Search marketing especially allows SMB’s to enter the world of digital marketing in a sensible and sustainable manner with bespoke campaigns designed to their specific business requirements.
This allows SMB’s to have control over the total of what they spend from the outset and to continually optimise the performance of their advertising investment.
Indeed, in today’s competitive online environment, SMBs need to understand that only having a website is not enough. Unless you are driving consumers to your website, it is like having a shop store hidden away down a side street.
This is why the opportunities that search marketing offers SMB’s are too large to be clouded by outdated misconceptions any longer.
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