Mel Carson is the Community Manager for Microsoft adCenter in Europe. He works as part of a global team that manages the adCenter Blog, supports customers online through forums like WebmasterWorld, and also does a lot of evangelising about adCenter and SEM offline at conference like SES and SMX. In the next few months the adCenter Community Team will launch their long awaited accreditation program at adExcellence.com
Microsoft has a long, long legacy of helping small businesses achieve their goals, by providing software and services that help streamline business processes, help vendors communicate with their customers, and help to create efficiencies that put a smile back on the accountant’s face when they’ve finally worked out the bottom line.
Microsoft’s recent entry into the UK search market, a little over a year ago, with the launch of adCenter, has demonstrated a further commitment by us to provide small businesses with the market intelligence and tools to help them connect with customers that search on Live Search via PPC campaigns.
Nigel Leggatt, our Trade Marketing Manager based in our London office, recently commissioned some research into how small businesses are embracing PPC and online advertising.
The results were startling!
Given what us seasoned search marketers know about SEM being a highly accountable, instantly measurable channel, offering an exceptional return on investment, the survey proved we’re servicing just the tip of the opportunity SEM provides small to medium-sized enterprises.
The research which questioned 400 UK SMBs, revealed:
- 44% of SMBs not doing search marketing think it is too time consuming
- 56% think it is too expensive
- 33% too complicated
- However, 76% of SMBs promoting their website on search engines see an immediate increase in sales!
The research also revealed three common misconceptions:
Myth 1: Over a third (34%) of respondents think it would take a day or more to set up a campaign. In reality, the time taken from opening an account to it going live can take as little as 15 minutes.
Myth 2: Some 56% cite cost as a top reason why SMBs will not invest, with a quarter of all SMBs thinking the best keywords are already taken. Actually, SMBs can invest as little as 10-20 pence per click or a monthly budget of around £5.
Myth 3: Many are put off by the idea that it sounds too complicated – with the overwhelming majority (89%) thinking it was more difficult than online banking. However, SMBs can easily manage accounts from their desk and are likely to see immediate results from just a few simple keywords.
Nigel said: “UK SMBs are missing a trick by not investing in search marketing campaigns. The misconceptions that exist in the industry, search marketing is holding back potential SMB revenue. This is surprising, considering the majority of people questioned use search engines and yet they are not investing in search marketing to grow their own business. In today’s world, just having a website is not enough – you have to drive traffic to your site to ensure you are front of mind with your potential customers. Search marketing is one of the most cost effective ways to achieve this.”
The research across the UK’s SMB community reveals SMBs are collectively wasting an estimated £3 billion of investment on websites that are virtually invisible to consumers searching online.
Although some 2.79 million small businesses have an online presence, a staggering 62% are not investing in search marketing campaigns to help potential customers find them online; the equivalent of owning a shop hidden down a side street and not advertising its whereabouts.
This has strengthened our resolve to get in amongst the SMB community to evangelise about online marketing, especially PPC.
There’s a huge audience out there searching for just the products or services these niche or local businesses provide.
It’s an opportunity far too good to miss out on!
You can read the full report here: adCenter Small Businesses Research