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Microsoft Adds SEM Services to Office Live

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Microsoft has added a search engine marketing offering to the suite of services available to its Microsoft Office Live Small Business subscribers. Through a partnership with The Search Agency, a Santa Monica-based SEM firm, Microsoft's customers, typically very small businesses with less than 10 employees, can sign up for three levels of service ranging from online training to full service campaign management.

"The needs of entrepreneurs in this space are very diverse. Some are do-it-yourself oriented, and want to learn to do everything, while others want to completely offload certain aspects of their business to vendors," said Louise Rasho, senior manager of marketing communications for Microsoft Office Live Small Business. "Then there are the folks in the middle, who need consultative help getting started, so they can take over from there."

Microsoft already offers a service for the DIY set: the adManager service that allows subscribers to buy and manage PPC ads from Microsoft Windows Live Search and Ask Sponsored Listings. For the hands-off approach, Microsoft has an existing arrangement with Website Pros to handle full-service Web development and search needs.

The new services from The Search Agency will fit the needs of those users at either end, as well as those who fall somewhere in the middle, Rasho said.

The first service, TSA Learn, consists of three online training modules that teach the essentials of SEM and search engine optimization (SEO). Next is TSA Launch, a selection of more than 20 one-off, a la carte SEM and SEO services. For example, a user can fill out a questionnaire about their business and get a list of potential keywords to use in their search campaign, or enter their existing keywords and get a list of expanded keywords to consider. The third offering is TSA Grow, which is a full-service option where The Search Agency manages all search marketing activities for the subscriber.


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