By: Tusar Barik
Google is planning to launch its small business service within the next several months. The company has decided they will offer local businesses a variety of their products to help the small business community advertise in a cost-effective way. Although Google has tried this before and failed, they strongly believe their current offerings will put them over the edge when trying to go after the marketing dollars of the small business sector.
The small business market is valued at roughly $20 billion in the United States. According to BIA/Kelsey, a local-media advisory firm, this spend is expected to rise more than 12% annually.
The approach Google seems to be taking is centered on search purchases, which was considered too complex for most small business users. In response, Google launched AdWords Express a year ago and is starting to promote it now. This service simplifies and streamlines the media purchase, allowing business to launch a campaign within minutes and advertise across a variety of Google’s properties including search, maps, places, and more.
Google is hoping that the success of AdWords Express will encourage small businesses touse their other services including, Google+, Offers, TalkBin, Wallet, and Punchd. Recently, Google has started converting local business listings to Google+ pages to promote reviews, provide store information, and more.
• Google Offers is Google’s attempt to take on Groupon and Living Social with daily deals.
• TalkBin is a technology Google acquired to help stores get real-time anonymous feedback to improve customer service.
• Google Wallet is a combination of Google Checkout and a phone payment option, enabling payment processing with select Android phones.
• Punchd is another Google acquisition to help promote customer loyalty with electronic loyalty cards.
All of these services combined are a great offering for small businesses, however, it remains to be seen if small businesses will actually bite. The small business community is a tough market to penetrate since it is made up of such a diverse group of needs and targets. As well, most small business owners do not have the bandwidth to learn new products and require assistance with taking on new technology and marketing endeavors. This fundamentally goes against Google’s desire of providing self-service solutions. However, as the market evolves, Google will continue to provide new ways for local businesses to get the word out, especially as traditional forums, such as the Yellow Pages, phase out.
Tusar Barik is Managing Director and Co-Founder of Maiden Media Group, a digital experience agency located in Philadelphia, PA. Prior to Maiden Media, Tusar was a Strategic Account Manager for Mediaplex (a division of ValueClick) and led the Global Dell Computers Digital Advertising account in New York. Tusar has also consulted for companies such as Motorola and WellPoint.
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