Small Businesses Missing Out on Search Marketing Opportunities

Many Do Nothing to Enhance Online Presence

Microsoft adCenter released the results of a survey today looking at search marketing behaviors of 400 small business owners in the United States. The findings indicate that small businesses still have a long way to go when it comes to Internet marketing.

Most have sites, but don’t do anything to enhance their online presence. 90% of those surveyed have never even attempted a paid search campaign.

"Given today’s current economic conditions, small-business owners need more effective ways to optimize their marketing dollars," said Brian Boland, director of adCenter at Microsoft Advertising. "By investing in paid search marketing, small businesses can track online sales and determine the return on investment for their campaigns, while at the same time boosting traffic and visibility for their Web sites."

Why are small business owners hesitant to jump on the paid search bandwagon?

- Nearly nine in 10 (89 percent) feared keywords may become too expensive.

– Eighty-one percent questioned if paid search marketing is the best use of their marketing budgets.

– One quarter of respondents believe paid search marketing is too complex.

– Twenty-one percent thought it would be too time consuming.

– Thirty-five percent felt they would need an agency to help set up a search marketing campaign.

Of course paid search isn’t the only way to market online. One other way is good old fashioned link building. Aaron Wall at SEOBook recently shared some small business link building ideas including:

– Use your agility
– Publishing strategy
– Nail the basics
– Give something valuable away
– Local news interest
– Sponsor charities
– Request a link in all communications
– Participate

Of course Wall elaborates thoroughly on each of these in his article, and I wll not regurgitate his words here.

If you have a website (as any business certainly should), you want to be found in search engines. Whether your strategy is paying or getting there naturally, you’ve got to do something. You can’t just put up a site and expect people to find it. It’s amazing that more people don’t understand this by now, but it couldn’t be truer.

 

There are 6 Comments. Add Yours.
  1. Reuben

    Placing an emphasis on SEO can also help any type of business- small or large- enhance their web presence. One way is to use free sites such as LinkedIn, Naymz, LookupPage, etc. for adding "do follow" links to the company website. These sites are aimed at individuals, but by improving the online visibility of key individuals in the business one can also improve the overall web presence of the company.

  2. I found the money for my ppc campaign completely by accident. I have run a ppc campaign for awhile now with adwords and bid a very low price for the click-thru’s. I do eventually exaust the budget, but I’m never the first ad on the list. I have now started working with adsense and it turns out that they typically pay me more per click-thru than I pay for the click-thru’s on adwords. Cool… found money!

  3. I think the concerns that small businesses have with entering the paid search realm are valid if they are not familiar with it. For a small business, it may be true that it is tough to compete with the big dogs. However, if small businesses invest in someone who understands how to run a paid search campaign, it can indeed be very beneficial.

  4. It doesn’t work well for most product offerings… I’ll end up pay $2 for $0.75 in revenue using PPC. The problem if that one site selling jewelry has an average cart size of $20 and another has an average cart size $500… you get people bidding different valuations on the same keywords… guess who loses. Imagine if I could bid on Jewelry at a $20 cart and not compete with Blue Nile who targets a different shopping budget. Unfortunately they can’t segment by shopping budget and small businesses almost always lose in a face off.

    I bid on long tail words where the value is there… but the traffic isn’t… It just isn’t as valuable as building long term organic traffic, virals, mailing lists, and publicity stunts.

  5. Well looks like the online marketing industry still has some growing to do then.

  6. Small businesspersons are usually so busy running their small business that they don’t take time to strategize.  SEO is hard work and doesn’t yield immediate rewards.  But for small businesses, competing on a less competitive playing field, its the quickest way to increased sales with little cash investment other than time.  Unfortunately, time is the worst enemy of the small businessperson.

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