Small Businesses Shy of Search Marketing:Microsoft

by CXOtoday Staff    Dec 23, 2008

Microsoft adCenter has released the results of an online survey examining the search marketing behaviors of small-business owners. The findings indicate that a majority of the small businesses surveyed, invest in developing Web sites, but fail to take even the simplest steps to enhance their online business presence. The study said that 59% of small businesses with Web sites don’t currently use paid search marketing, and of those, 90 % have never even attempted it.

Seven in 10 small-business owners who participated said that they would rather try to do their own taxes than start a paid search marketing 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.”

Despite the lack of investment in paid search marketing, the weakening economy and increased competition, nearly nine in 10 (86%) small-business owners surveyed felt that they could be missing opportunities to grow their business, while three in four believed prospective customers could be searching online for the type of service their business offers. Although most do not embrace the practice, the small-business owners who use paid search marketing are very satisfied, as 72% reported an increase in sales inquiries and 68 % consider their paid search marketing efforts successful.

Among the participants’ chief concerns, most said the common misconceptions of cost, time, and complexity as major hurdles to conducting search marketing campaigns for their businesses.

Other key insights included the following:

* Nearly nine in 10 (89 %) feared keywords may become too expensive.
* 81% questioned if paid search marketing is the best use of their marketing budgets.
* One quarter of respondents believe paid search marketing is too complex.
* 21% thought it would be too time-consuming.
* 35% felt they would need an agency to help set up a search marketing campaign.

“These opinions run counter to widely held marketing industry views on paid search marketing, which recognize the practice as one of the most cost-effective, easy-to-use, measurable and accountable forms of marketing,” Boland said.

Tools like Google Analyticscan enable businesses to make informed decisions about their online marketing

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