Bringing More SMEs Online
Loren Baker at Search Engine Journal points to a Jupiter Research study that shows search engine marketing budgets increasing. More campaigns are also being formed as overall SEM revenues are on the rise. This is happening as education and evolution in the SME marketplace is driving more and more businesses online, where they are discovering the benefits of paid search and interactive marketing.
There are also many channels being developed to bring local businesses online through Web hosting, e-commerce platforms and simplified bundled services that appeal to tech-averse SMEs. These include self-provisioned SEM platforms for which the bar has been raised for ease of use and functionality with recent developments from Yahoo!, Microsoft and Google.
Also notable is the emergence of offline channels as a doorway to the Web, such as retail outlets, newspapers (WebVisible is doing some interesting things with newspapers, examined here and further in this week’s Local Media Journal) and Internet Yellow Pages (exhibited most recently by Verizon SuperPages’ partnership with Google, announced at The Kelsey Group’s last conference). This will be a big area to watch and we’ll do just that.
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We are not sure the Yellow Pages can really effectively sell anything but the highest end and most complicated web advertising. It seems like a more cost effective approach has to be developed in order to bring 1,3 of 5M new local merchants online.
In the end, the consumer wants the richest possible local search experience. We think that will be happen when all the Local Businesses are online.