Small Business Australia – finding the way online (Part 1/9)
If you’re a small business owner in Australia, you are one of 2.7 million businesses striking it out on their own to make a difference in their respective fields. Small business is important to Australia, providing 70% of the total private sector industry employment¹ (for about 7.4 million people²). That doesn’t mean it’s an easy choice, nor an instant success. In mid-2012, only 62% of businesses that were in operation five years earlier were still in existence, and that revenue is often less stable for small businesses.
Once you have that game changing idea, how do you get your brand message to market? Or more simply, how do you connect with your customers? In an expanding and ever competitive world, you can’t wait for your customers to find you; not only do you need to find them, you need to find them in a cost effective manner to maximize your profits and get the best return back of the money you have spent on your marketing and advertising (ROI).
In a modern world, not only are more consumers online, they are spending more time online and doing more creative things; surfing the web, using smartphones, playing games on their Xbox, watching a movie on their tablet or smart TV.
A Deloitte Access Economics report³ found that small businesses with high digital engagement are two times more likely to be growing revenue, and earn two times more revenue per employee than those with low engagement. Yet 35 percent of small businesses in Australia do not even have a website.
The journey online for small businesses can be daunting, so we hope to make this journey simpler by taking you through a 9 step programme, right here on the Bing Ads blog. Whether you are just starting out and have your first business website; or you have just added an online shopping basket; or you are starting to try digital channels through Bing, Facebook and Google; we hope to simplify the process, decode some of the jargon and ultimately get your web sales moving, your phone lines ringing and your products and services in the hands of satisfied consumers.
Part 1: I have my website, now what do I do?
Online marketing, Return on Investment (ROI) and benefits
Many small businesses are initially deterred by cost considerations when implementing digital strategies. However, online marketing offers businesses a quick and easy way to measure success - whether it’s clicks on the ad, purchases made or number of phone calls. Online marketing can be a highly transparent means to measure your activity and determine ROI.
What is this: Ads are generally shown in fixed ad units across one or multiple websites.
Resources for initial set up: Buying ad space can be expensive, depending on the publisher’s popularity and traffic volume. Although cheaper performance-based campaigns can be purchased. You also have to invest in creative resources to produce the banners.
Resources for maintenance: Monetary cost incurred for every monthly bill or payment taken at regular intervals.
Benefit(s): Increases brand exposure – more people see and experience your brand.
What is this: Image or text ads on sites like Facebook or Twitter. You can interact with your customers by creating content and maintaining dialogue.
Resources for initial set up: Your profile can be registered in a short time.
Resources for maintenance: Staff member(s) to keep your profile up to date and interesting.
Benefit(s): Gives your brand a ‘personality’. Direct feedback loop to your market.
What is this: Your brand content is sent to a database.
Resources for initial set up: Initial cost or time to acquire the database is needed, but fairly low.
Resources for maintenance: System for sending bulk emails to a collected set of customers.
Benefit(s): If done well, allows customised messaging (E.g. product information) to interested customers.
Search Engine Optimisation
What is this: Your website link is shown as a result of the search engine.
Resources for initial set up: Requires optimisation - organize and display your website and infrastructure in a format that is desired by a search engine (like Bing) and popular to its user base. Results may need some time to take effect, typically 3 months minimum.
Resources for maintenance: Constant tweaking is necessary to maintain a good position.
Benefit(s): Website link comes across to searcher as ‘natural’ and neutral.
What is this: You create ads based around keywords – a single word or a phrase that reflects your product and resonates with a consumer (i.e. something a person searches for). Ads are shown when the user searches for your product or service on the respective search engine (Bing).
Resources for initial set up: Campaign strategy should be well thought out to maximize budget. Bing provides simple how-to guides on Bing Ads homepage (and we’ll talk more about how to be successful on Bing in upcoming blog posts).
Resources for maintenance: You only pay for the ads that consumers click on (usually tied to a capped budget).
· Does not require a big budget – no minimum spend required
· Filter website traffic by selecting ad location and keyword / ad copy language
· Campaigns can go live immediately after set up
· Amendments take effect immediately
Choose what works for your business
There are a lot of great channels out there to promote your business and connect with your customers. In this blog series, we’ll be focusing on the basics of PPC and how to get the best out of Bing Ads.
We welcome your questions and commentary, so please add them to the comments section below.
¹ The Australian Bureau of Statistics defines a small business as an actively trading business with 0 to 19 employees, and a medium business as one with 20 to 199 employees. (Source: http://www.abs.gov.au/websitedbs/D3310114.nsf/4a256353001af3ed4b2562bb00121564/d291d673c4c5aab4ca257a330014dda2/$FILE/RBA%20Small%20Business%20An%20economic%20Overview%202012.pdf)