We at Palore are always on the lookout for new profiles of SMBs who are likely to purchase online advertising services. Our success to date has been primarily with two profiles of advertisers: “traditional” SMBs who advertise on IYPs and other traditional media, and the more “savvy” SMBs who advertise on search engines and vertical sites. But recently we ran into a new and more interesting group within our sources and the blogosphere – this post will discuss this group.
We found that many SMBs are interested in online marketing but have yet to take the first step towards advertising. A recent Microsoft survey (posted by Nicholas Carlson) shows that 86% of SMB owners believe they are missing out on ways to grow their business. According to David Mihm, some of them are even giving up entire work days to learn about web marketing. Nevertheless, many of them are still “fence sitters,” as Michael Boland calls them, due to their deep-rooted habits and busy schedules. Furthermore, the same Microsoft survey mentions that above 70% of SMB owners would rather do their own taxes than start a search marketing campaign. In other words, many SMBs are eager to enter the online advertising space but are reluctant to take the first step.
How does one find these “seekers” – SMBs who haven’t quite made the leap to online advertising, but are performing some kind of online activity? Seekers often search online for expert advice on how to promote their SMB free of charge. One example is Matt McGee’s “A Small Business Year-End Marketing Checklist,” where he explains how SMBs can claim their listings on sites like Google Maps and Yahoo Local. Another example is the video below showing businesses how to update their business profile on Google Maps. In our own extensive searches we found that around 5%-10% of SMBs have already updated their business profiles in one form or another.
* The video above features Google UK, but the same process applies when using Google in the US.
Interested, informed, not quite sold but not adverse to buying, seekers are SMBs who may just prove to be great prospects for new online ad products. Armed with some knowledge of online advertising, they may just need a little help from the professionals to start engaging in more elaborate online marketing activities, and more importantly, to start spending money. Initial tests show they do indeed convert better than the average sales lead, and with up to 10% of SMBs falling in this category, there may be quite an opportunity here.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.