Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The importance of search marketng for small businesses

I am basing this post on a recent news item from Hitwise that points out how smaller retailers drive a higher percentage of their overall traffic from search engines than the bigger retailers.

It is not exactly eye-popping news: that is exactly what most people would expect. Even though the story was about retailers [and many of the "smaller" retailers in Internet Retailer's Top 500 list are bigger than the average small business], the facts could apply to any business.

Small businesses (SMBs) have a lot less budget to spend on other forms of marketing and try to diversify their traffic stream. Hence their reliance on search marketing. On the other hand, larger companies have the wherewithal to spend on print advertising, e-mail marketing, outdoor advertising, affiliate marketing and what not. Depending on the nature of their business, they may also be able to run cost =effective affiliate marketing programs by attracting good affiliates. Therefore, the share of traffic from search engines is bound to be lower [in absolute traffic numbers, of course, one would expect the bigger players to significantly higher traffic].

The implication is for small businesses: search marketing works and can be very effective for both top line & bottom line. Try it not only if you are constrained by budgets or other resources but also because you could be losing out on a lot of relevant traffic to your website. Why leave money on the table, especially when you have a lot of control on what you are going to have to spend?

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