Over the past few years, small business owners have made great strides in marketing their businesses online. They’ve learned to create websites, they’ve established their Web presence by claiming all their online listings, and they’ve even gotten involved in social media to better connect with their customers. But one area that SMBs, as a whole, have actively ignored is paid search. And Google would like to change that.
Announced on the Google Small Business Blog last week was a new program called the Google AdWords Premier SMB Partner program. The objective of the program is to make getting involved in paid search less intimidating for small business owners by creating a list of preferred vendors for them to work with to help them get the most out of their advertising budget.
According to Google:
Premier SMB Partners bring to the table years of industry knowledge and meet Google’s highest standards for qualification, training and customer service. Teaming up with a PSP gives you a marketing and search engine advisor who can take the guesswork out of online advertising, to save you time and resources so you can focus on running and growing your business.
Through the program, not only will SMBs be able to take advantage of the experience of their preferred vendors, they’ll also be provided with campaign management, detailed reporting, customer support and marketing guidance.
By looking at the different programs and options, it appears the Premier SMB Partner Program will also offer small businesses a greater list of benefits than other programs and will include sales, training and technical/operations support.
Small business owners can rest assured that if a vendor has passed through Google’s Premier SMB Partner Eligibility, their expertise is worth trusting. Partners must meet a strict list of criteria to participate, including:
- Large existing customer base of small/medium-sized businesses
- Tele/field sales force with the ability to sell Google’s advertising products
- Commitment to provide phone and/or email customer support to their advertiser base
- Existing operational infrastructure (billing, reporting, etc.) to service thousands of customers
While it’s always nice to hire someone with a lot of experience working with other SMBs, for me, it’s really that third point above that’s so vital. Many business owners are wary of making the jump into paid advertising. They’re not sure how to set up campaigns, how to tell if they’re working, or how to target their customers used paid ads. Ensuring that business owners will be able to get their vendor on the phone or through email does a lot to curb fears and let small business owners know that they won’t be left on their own to figure things out. And that’s important.
Have you experimented with paid search? Does the emergence of a program specifically targeted toward helping SMBs get their feet wet interest you?
For more information about the new Google Premier SMB Partner Program, check out the Google site, where you can find information for advertisers (SMBs), partners and helpful videos.