Why is it that small businesses resign themselves to hardship and struggle by ignoring simple marketing techniques that are tried and tested winners.
Several posts recently have stirred up my thinking on the matter.
What initially sparked my train of thought and research was a new report out by JupiterResearch. The report predicts search advertising should grow to $20.9 million by 2013, but suggests “an inability to tap into the small local US advertiser market” would be the primary reason for growth slowing down.
So why are Small to Medium Businesses ignoring a winning marketing strategy?
Then I stumbled onto an interesting blog post by Frank Reed from Frank Thinking titled “Small and Medium Business (SMB) Search Marketing – What’s The Deal?”
As we’re both in the Search Engine Marketing provision game, you’d be forgiven for thinking we have a vested interest in the subject – but the reality is, we both know it works – as proven by the successes of our customers and growth in the industry.
Some of the points and questions Frank raised reinforced some internal discussions we’ve had recently as to why SME adoption of search marketing is slower than expected. Education, Fear, Confusion and Time could be the obstacles.
While a significant proportion of our customers are quite tech savvy, there’s a larger proportion that aren’t. It’s these business owners that want SEM explained in business terms which address the above obstacles (not tech talk).
Mike Moran from Search Engine Guide, added to the discussion siting the following theories on why SME Search Marketing adoption is slow:
The Internet Is Still too Hard: Many business owners still view technology as difficult and are yet to embrace it as a key means of enhancing their business. While this is changing with a new breed of tech savvy small business owners emerging, there’s still a significant tech usability gap with existing small business owners.
Internet Marketing is scary: The unknown in the cyber world has many business owners unsure of the benefits and weary of the downsides. While they are comfortable with traditional media (yellow pages, newspapers etc) and the risks and pitfalls – the internet is a whole other matter. Without understanding the inner workings, they’re scared of messing it up (cost and impact).
Inertia: Small business owners are time poor, which leaves them unable to learn enough about new marketing strategies to wander far from their existing methods, whether they work or otherwise.
Are any of these obstacles to you embracing Search Engine Marketing?
Chances are, if you’re reading this post – they’re not, or you are trying to remove them as obstacles.
One of the keys to overcoming such obstacles is better education (in simple business terms) by SEM providers. So over the coming weeks, we are going to run a dedicated series of blog posts that will explain Search Engine Marketing for Small Business. (hang on – maybe that should be “Small Business Marketing using Search Engines”)
What are your thoughts on the SEM adoption by small business operators. If you’ve avoided Search Marketing so far, share with our other readers why? Is it fear, time, confusion or lack of education? Or perhaps it’s some other reason…