Microsoft adCenter released the results of an online survey examining the search marketing behaviors of 400 small-business owners in the United States. The findings indicate that a majority of the small businesses surveyed invest in developing Web sites, but fail to take even the simplest steps to enhance their online business presence. The study revealed that 59% of small businesses with Web sites don’t currently use paid search marketing, and of those, 90% have never even attempted it.
Surprisingly, seven in 10 small-business owners who participated revealed that they would rather try to do their own taxes than start a paid search marketing campaign
Among the participants’ chief concerns, most cited the common misconceptions of cost, time and complexity as major hurdles to conducting search marketing campaigns for their businesses. Other key insights included the following:
Nearly nine in 10 (89%) feared keywords may become too expensive
81% questioned if paid search marketing is the best use of their marketing budgets
25% of respondents believe paid search marketing is too complex
21% thought it would be too time-consuming
35% felt they would need an agency to help set up search marketing campaign
Despite the lack of investment in paid search marketing the weakening economy and increased competition, nearly nine in 10 (86%) small-business owners surveyed felt that they could be missing opportunities to grow their business, while three in four believed prospective customers could be searching online for the type of service their business offers. Although most do not embrace the practice, the small-business owners who use paid search marketing are very satisfied, as 72% reported an increase in sales inquiries and 68% consider their paid search marketing efforts successful.