Search Engine Marketing and Small Business Attitudes

How SMB can Benefit from Search Engine Marketing

The American marketplace is a complex and convoluted sort of mess, not unlike search engine marketing. While there is a whole economy that is made up of small and large businesses alike, if you look closer, you will notice that is made up a series of smaller economies.  Not many people realize how much our economy relies on small business. In fact, it makes ups a whopping 99% of the American economy. Which says a lot about who actually contributes to America’s economy. But I digress. These businesses work functionally as small pieces of a larger capitalist puzzle. As long as they exist, the free market will always have a place in American society.

Unfortunately, it seems that they are less equipped in comparison to their big business counterparts. While newer small businesses are purely based online it seems that search engine marketing, let alone marketing plans, are still slow to catch on. In fact, only 50% of small businesses have a marketing plan at all. Compared to the insane amount of marketing by large companies, there is little doubt in my mind that there is a disparity between the knowledge and resources available to smaller businesses regarding marketing strategies.  This begs the question. Why don’t they engage in marketing? Also, how could search engine marketing benefit them? Let’s find out.

small business, search engine marketingWhat Small Businesses Think of Marketing

According to Search Engine Journal, the reasons behind the hesitancy of small businesses when it comes to marketing, including search engine marketing vary.  These reasons that were recorded in the article’s survey include:

  • 25% of respondents are unsure of how they plan to grow their businesses in 2019.
  • 55% of SMB (small business) owners spend less than 5% of annual revenue on marketing.
  • Over 58% of SMB owners spend five hours or fewer on marketing every week.
  • 86% of respondents would rather spend their time on other business activities than spending time on marketing.

These responses give us a bigger picture of what is going on in the small business world. For starters, at least a quarter of small business owners are ignorant of the marketing and advertising process. This makes sense because of the demands that come with owning a business. Business owners have to focus on several aspects of their business at once. This can lead to overwhelming situations and dropping balls.

Another thing this data tells me is that revenue, or money when starting a business is scarce. When you don’t have much money behind a business, there is little room for trial and error. And if marketing appears to be a gamble to someone who does not know about the process, it makes introducing the idea of a marketing strategy harder. Especially when you introduce the concept of something like a pay-per-click model to a business who can’t afford to experiment.

Also, marketing/advertising is not for everyone. When people start a business, they want to do the work that is related to the business first. A furniture maker would rather make furniture instead of begging people to come to their store. Overall, it makes sense that the prospect is overwhelming to 50% of small businesses.

What Can Search Engine Marketers Do to Fix This?marketing, search engine marketing, consultation

There are several solutions that marketers can do to convince small businesses on the merits of marketing.

The first one in mind is to explicitly define the difference between marketing and advertising. In layman’s terms and companies hiring sales positions, both marketing and advertising are considered one and the same. We need to fully explain and define marketing as what it is, an examination of the relationships between a business and a consumer. Anybody can intrusively ask something via advertising. Marketing is hyper-targeted and when done right, it matches the right people with the right products.

The second is to offer flexibility to small business owners.  Not all marketing has to start out as an expensive endeavor. If there is little flexibility in price, to begin with, you can work with low-cost options that are super effective, such as search engine marketing on social media formats like Facebook combined with SEO practices. As soon as it takes off if the small business you work for makes more of a profit, you and the owners might be more comfortable talking about more expensive marketing options in the future. Nothing has to be set in stone.

The last idea is to demystify the process altogether.  Show examples of what coming up with a marketing plan looks like. Break it down step by step. Search engine marketing and marketing plans don’t have to be a headache.