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Google currently has numerous initiatives aimed at reaching the UK small business owner but many of these conflict with each other and none appear to be achieving much traction.
With at least four projects all aimed at achieving the same goal would Google not be better off picking one strategy and sticking with it?
There aren’t many established businesses who operate online and who aren’t already engaging in Google Adwords in some way.
With Google’s dominance in the search market place the only way they can look to grow Adwords revenues within the £5,000 per month and above bracket is through supporting agencies in convincing clients to spend more, and sometimes even recommending strategies that are more beneficial to their quarterly earnings than to the advertisers bottom line.
Product expansion aside, the best way for them to grow their revenues is to find new businesses not yet using Google Adwords, most notably the SME market.
While a single SME isn’t going to make a dent in Google’s figures, when you consider that SME’s account for 99% of all UK businesses(according to the department for business innovation and skills), the total marketing budget of this sector is something Google is keen to tap into.
How it does so effectively however, is something that Google doesn’t seem to have decided, and its mixed up efforts mean it isn't making much headway in this area.
Google’s routes to the SME market
Google currently has a number of projects in place aimed at attacking the SME market:
The reseller scheme is aimed at partners with large SME client bases who wish to offer Google Adwords as an additional service. More prominent in the US, there are only a handful of registered resellers in the UK.
In return for being part of the programme a reseller gets support from a Google Account Manager and access reseller technology but must ensure a certain percentage of all PPC spend goes Google’s way.
The Google Jumpstart programme is aimed at advertisers who want help setting up a Google Adwords account. Google has a team of individuals who, providing you meet certain criteria, will set you up and account and build a campaign for you to get you started.
The GBBO scheme is a joint partnership between Google, BT, eskills UK and Enterprise UK and provides SMEs with a free website and domain name to get them up and running, I also believe it comes with some free Google Adwords Vouchers.
Google Adwords Vouchers
Google Adwords Vouchers are pretty freely available in the market and are aimed at providing the SME with some free clicks in the hope they see the benefit and start paying for a campaign once the free budget is exhausted.
On top of this you obviously also have the SME focussed independent search agencies who are in the market trying to service clients.
The problem I have is not with any of these initiatives, they are all pretty sound, but just that they in many ways conflict each other, and all in all lead to a jumbled mess of a strategy.
The Google reseller scheme is only open to business with very large client bases already, which limits its reach and potential, while the Jumpstart programme is only open to businesses new to Adwords with an available budget of £5,000 per month or more, which makes its use pretty limited.
The Google Adwords vouchers are great, but aren’t available for use by agencies, and most end up in the hands of affiliates, meaning again that their use is limited. Meanwhile, the GBBO scheme feels like it is going to have a lot of cross over with the reseller initiative.
Surely Google would be better deciding on one strategy for this market, and focussing on making that a success. With so many projects attacking the same market they are making things even more confusing for the SME which will lead to many of them abandoning pay per click all together.