Microsoft Calls Small Businesses To Build Online Presence With adCenter’s QuickLaunch Program

December 20, 2008 0

Redmond, Wash., — Microsoft is exerting considerable effort to fuel new investments in search marketing, by offering free assistance as an incentive. A

recent survey

conducted by Microsoft adCenter team, released the results of its study examining the search marketing behaviors of more or less 400 small-business owners in the United States — confirms that the search advertising market still has most of the way to grow among small businesses, results from a Microsoft-sponsored online survey suggest.

Surprisingly, it seems that a significant proportion of small business owners are still stuck in the “build it and they will come” mentality. The findings suggest that the small businesses surveyed, tend to invest in developing Web sites, rather than take even the simplest steps to enhance their online business presence.

In an effort to reduce the intimidation coupled with initiating a campaign, the Redmond Company indicated that online presences had to be backed up by comprehensive search marketing plans. Luring new users to the Microsoft adCenter search marketing offerings with free assistance is an attempt catalyzed by the failure of the vast majority of small businesses to take their online presence beyond developing a website.

According to Microsoft, a search expert will only offer consultancy to advertisers with a minimum monthly budget of $500, via the Microsoft adCenter QuickLaunch program.

“Given today’s current economic conditions, small-business owners need more effective ways to optimize their marketing dollars,” Brian Boland, director of adCenter at Microsoft Advertising, explained. “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.”

The study quoted cost, time and complexity, three common misconceptions about paid search, for the poor adoption. Of course, Microsoft supported the survey and presumably only released numbers it thinks will help them sell more search ads, so you have to take them with a grain of salt. Still, they are interesting:

  • 59% of small businesses with Web sites do not currently use any paid search marketing and of those, 90% have never even attempted it.
  • 86% small business owners felt that they could be missing opportunities to grow their business.
  • 75% believed prospective customers could be searching online for the type of service their business offers.
  • 89 % feared keywords may become too expensive.
  • 81% questioned if paid search marketing is the best use of their marketing budgets.
  • 25% of respondents believe paid search marketing is too complex.
  • 21% thought it would be too time consuming.
  • 25% felt they would need an agency to help set up a search marketing campaign.

Although nearly everyone does not adopt the practice, the small-business owners who use paid search marketing are very satisfied, as 72 percent reported an increase in sales inquiries and 68 percent consider their paid search marketing efforts successful.

“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.

The Microsoft adCenter QuickLaunch program offers free consultation with a search expert for advertisers that set a minimum monthly budget of $500.

The program also provide assistance to advertisers in managing their search marketing campaigns through advisory services, classroom-style training programs by way of the Microsoft adCenter Learning Center, and tools such as building keyword lists with the Microsoft adCenter add-in product for Microsoft Office Excel and finding your target audience.

The survey was conducted by independent research company Kelton Research in April 2008. Microsoft commissioned the quantitative research of 400 small-business owners with 250 or fewer employees via an anonymous online survey consisting of a series of 38 questions designed to gauge their search marketing behaviors and attitudes.

More information is available at http://advertising.microsoft.com/search-advertising.