Search engine marketing can be a great equalizer for small businesses, helping us compete online for traffic and customers. It takes a combination of technical savvy and marketing skill. If you take some time to educate yourself and your staff of your business does the same, it can reap big results.
But search engine marketing is a field that is constantly changing, and it changes fairly dramatically fairly quickly. In the space of a year the entire landscape of search engine marketing can look very different.
MarketingSherpa, that essential source of all the latest trends in marketing, has an excellent write-up on the latest in search engine marketing trends. It includes tips like this one:
“Think phrases. Keyword phrases of four words are typically the highest converters, so find yours and put your money behind them.”
One thing that seemed clear to me from their write-up: if you are going to do work in the search engine marketing field you must be constantly vigil to stay up to date.
And if you are a small business owner trying to do-it-yourself to market your business online, the reality is that you probably need a professional at some point. You are not going to be able to stay up to date enough — not with how rapidly the field changes.
My own experience and observations suggest that small business owners have woken up in the past year or two to the power of the Web. One reason is cost. While marketing online is not cost free, it is less expensive than other forms of offline marketing such as TV advertising and direct mail. Another reason is effectiveness. With more people going online to search for vendors and to shop, online marketing can simply be more effective than offline marketing in several respects.
Small business owners are keenly aware of the need for online marketing — especially search engine marketing — to form a lynch pin in their overall marketing efforts. At the same time there is a shortage of search engine marketing firms that are willing to work cost effectively with smaller businesses.
Sounds like a business opportunity to me.
To get a sense of how the landscape for search engine marketing is changing and to read about some of the latest trends, read the Marketing Sherpa report on trends in search engine marketing.