Search Engine Spending Increased For Small Biz. Is It A Waste?

WebVisible writes that search engine spending by small businesses was up 111% in Q4.
The press release reads “These numbers show increased confidence by small businesses in using search to gain leads – and increased ability to turn those leads into sales,” said WebVisible CEO Kirsten Mangers. “We get better every day at managing the businesses’ content to increase conversion and enhance their advertising presence so they’ll benefit from lower costs overall.
“Another key is knowing the most cost-effective place to spend those ad dollars,” said Mangers. “For example, Bing has higher click-through rates and lower costs-per-click than Google, so it’s often a better buy. We’re also continuing to monitor how the merging of Bing and Yahoo! will affect small business advertisers. It’s entirely possible Yahoo!’s click-through rates could rise as a result.”
While I search engine advertising is a great way to find new business and is important, there are many businesses that should pause their online advertising campaigns and:

  • Improve the look of their web site
  • Improve their email newsletter design and overall communication strategy
  • Focus on developing a better strategy of what they are trying to sell and to whom they are trying to sell it.

These are just three of a few simple things that businesses should first concentrate on, before spending money on search engine advertising.
In fact at the WCBS News Radio 88 Business Breakfast today the panelists suggested that before even thinking of social media (and I would add other online advertising options), businesses should first develop and/or focus on the their MESSAGE. Focusing on the medium, without having a good message, is backwards.
While there are many businesses who have their online marketing strategy together, there are many who waste time and money advertising online, when they should first invest in improving their message (including design elements of their online persona)