Googler Offers Search Marketing Tips for Small, Local Businesses

    October 25, 2012
    Sean Patterson
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When it comes to online advertising, Google is king. When it comes to search marketing in particular, Google has no peer. While nearly every major company in the U.S. has now invested advertising dollars into internet marketing, smaller businesses can easily run into roadblock if they don’t have the expertise or personel to implement a successful strategy in this brand new world of marketing.

Having trouble implementing a successful digital marketing strategy? Let us know in the comments.

This Wednesday, Bright Park, strategic partner development manager at Google, spoke to a crowd of small business owners at a sales conference in Lexington, KY. The conference was sponsored by local NBC TV station affiliate LEX 18, a Google strategic partner that offers digital marketing services to local businesses. WebProNews attended the event, and was able to speak with conference attendees about how they are incorporating digital marketing into their sales strategies.

The presentation comes just after Google CPC was shown to have fallen in the third quarter of 2013. In fact, current online advertisers may be diversifying their ad spending to social media or other search engines, such as Yahoo Bing. This makes the potential customers Park was addressing all the more important.

Park, whose work focuses on business development for Google’s Channel Sales Team, highlighted the growing importance of online marketing for small businesses, gave some tips on how to improve small business search marketing, and provided some insight into the opportunities and challenges Google faces with bringing small businesses online.

Park began by providing some statistics on just how quickly the online world is growing, such as the fact that 5 billion people are predicted to be online by 2020. “From the dawn of civilization to the year 2003, mankind had created a total of five exabytes of data,” said Park. “Now, in the year 2012, it’s estimated that five exabytes of data are created every two days.”

Pointing out that mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, are now becoming ubiquitous, Park showed how search traffic often spikes when live events happen on television. “In short, if you’re advertising on television, you have to be discoverable online,” said Park.

He stated that this paradigm – the connection between TV and internet searches – is what Google calls the “zero moment of truth.”

Park pointed out that while past “zero moments” might be found in a storefront or television ad, people are now heavily researching their purchases online. “Four out of five consumers go online and research products before they go buy them,” said Park. In the course of such research, potential customers are going to use search, and Park encouraged small businesses to make sure they find the right message.

What Park didn’t mention is that the rising cost of pay-per-click advertising may be driving current online advertisers to seek out alternative methods. A New York Times article published last week shows that as more businesses take their advertising online, the price of keywords has risen significantly. The report shows that while small businesses with niche markets can still succeed with relatively low costs, new businesses unprepared for the competitiveness of the search advertising game could end up draining their ad budget for little return.

Park did, though, give a few tips for small business on how they can “win” that zero moment. The first tip was to put someone in charge of search marketing. Preferably, this is someone who knows the internet well, but Park admits that new world of digital advertising can be overwhelming. “Quite frankly, it can be complicated and time consuming to figure out a search engine marketing campaign,” said Park.

Though Park didn’t state it directly, this is undoubtedly where Google resell partners such as LEX 18 come in, offering simplified online marketing packages for small business owners.

Has Google successfully simplified search marketing? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Park’s next tip was for businesses to find their own zero moments. Park stated that a business can start this process by simply typing its name into Google’s search and observing what auto-complete suggestions pop up. These auto-complete results are based on data Google has about what people are searching for, and, Park stated, they can help businesses determine what potential customers are searching for.

Park’s third tip was for businesses to answer the questions people are asking about it online by tailoring its online content, based on the auto-complete suggestions and other research performed in the previous tip.

After his presentation, Park opened the floor for a question and answer session. A few of the questions dealt with Google AdWords, such as how businesses using Google’s main product can increase their AdWords quality score, become Google AdWords certified, or prevent click fraud. It quickly became apparent, however, that some conference attendees were only just beginning to understand search marketing. Many of the questions were about specific problems businesses are having with their organic search results or online reviews – not search advertising, which is Park’s speciality. Other questions, such as if Google has any services for word-of-mouth marketing seemed to completely miss the point of Park’s presentation.

Not all attendees were at the outset of their forays into internet marketing, though. WebProNews spoke with Ashley Smith, a 26-year-old volunteer promotions leader with Quest Community Church in Lexington, about what she thought of the conference. “We’re really excited to start using Google AdWords in a new way to really maximize the potential of reaching as many people as possible,” Smith said.

Smith stated that Quest already has a web presence, with online worship services, event schedules, and blogs, as well as a presence on Facebook and Twitter. It would appear that Smith and her colleagues already have a firm grasp of internet marketing. A quick search for “Lexington Church” shows that Quest is at the top of Google’s Places results for that search, with a number of positive reviews and an AdWords ad at the bottom of the results.

As major enterprise begins to standardize its search marketing strategies and move on to social media marketing, Google’s push to educate small businesses about the necessity of online advertising will certainly be a factor in the continued growth of AdWords revenue. Judging by today’s conference, the internet giant certainly has an abundance of potential customers, but will have to work hard to educate small businesses that haven’t embraced the internet.

Are Park’s tips helpful for small businesses? Let us know in the comments.

  • http://www.buzzmaven.com Scott Clark

    I hope that Lexington businesses will reach out to get some advice outside of Google’s sales team on their Adwords endeavors. There are some talented Adwords experts right here in town.

  • http://manilacomputerrepairshop.com Repair

    “Many of the questions were about specific problems businesses are having with their organic search results or online reviews”, Adwords. hhmmmm.

  • http://www.fancircuit.com/ Campaign Monitoring

    One universal small business goal is to sell the business’s products and services. This is usually best accomplished by positioning the business in front of the target audience, and offering something they can’t refuse or find elsewhere.

  • sofakingdabest

    SEO is going mobile. Desktop search is the next bubble to burst.

  • http://www.localresults.com/ LocalResults

    “Park showed how search traffic often spikes when live events happen on television. “In short, if you’re advertising on television, you have to be discoverable online,” said Park.”

    It’s very interesting how interactive and non-interactive media are supplementing each other. It seems like non-interactive media is still a decent way to introduce people to your brand, but interactive media is turning into the ultimate “get people to convert” tool. It’s sort of like how CPC isn’t really the best way to get your site known as an entity unto itself, but it’s great when people are looking for a specific product that you can provide.

  • http://Mabuzi,com kevin

    Auto complete really? So relevant keywords in the URL is critical.

    It sounds like a speech to sell advertising. Our recent adwords campaign had lots of clicks but little conversions. So who clicked on my adwords?

    • Sammy

      Who clicked on your advertisement? On the internet “if fraud is possible it will happen” and PPC is sitting duck for fraud, main reason SMB should not fall for this pyramid scheme – let the elites, big corps play it themselves.

      People search / research on the internet to find best products and services not what google adwords displays at the top. Is google becoming the middle man? – Remember internet is about decentralization and eliminating the middle man.

      SMB’s should focus on providing best products/services. Build good quality websites by hiring knowledgeable/experienced webmasters, they are hard to find most cities around the world has less than 10 of these, so SMB’s who find them will succeed – this is the biggest secret of internet marketing.

      • http://Mabuzi.com Kevin

        Thank-you Sammy I now stand enlightened.

  • http://www.classifieds2india.com Free Posting Online Ads In India

    after the lots of the updates Google is now updating the search marketing tips to use conversion optimizer and reduce the CPC.

    Thanks :-)

  • http://villagesofparkwood.net Villages of Parkwood

    What would be nice is if google allowed a fair bidding system like they did when they first offered the adwords program. Back at the beginning, and adwords advertiser was able to get website visitors for .05$ now they won’t run your ads for less that .50$. I don;t believe this has anything to do with competition, it’s just google greed.

  • Watching the Wheels

    Thanks, but no thanks Google. I’m not seeing any sense in taking the advise of the entity that shifts its algorhythms as often as most people change their underwaer.

    ANY campaign via Google HAS to be destined to FAIL. How could it possibly gain traction?

    How many crapola, greed based advertising plans have the lot of you unveiled, this year, alone?

  • http://www.seo440.com/ Ethical Seo Consulting

    Thanks for sharing useful tips.

  • http://ephedrinewheretobuy.com Mike Budd

    Well, I have mixed feelings about Google’s approach because they might be judge and party here. So may be my prudent way would recommend to do a test, analyze the results and build on that (or not).
    Cheers, Mike

  • http://www.businessconcernonline.com knight

    Thanks for posting this wonderful post.Well written details and extensive researching.

  • http://www.copperwebs.com/ Greg Peters

    Scott, most do. Actually, that isn’t entirely accurate, but in my experience most businesses who do PPC marketing will either hire someone or try it for themselves and THEN hire someone. Its a small percentage that tries it and concludes that it doesn’t work because of their ignorance.

  • http://www.ViDrive.com ViDrive

    it is very interesting to see the new movement with google and adwords

  • happysmith

    Another good thing from Google. Thanks for sharing this post on small business marketing advice!