59% of small businesses with a web site don't do paid search, according to a survey conducted by Microsoft adCenter. 90% of that number haven't even tried. To which I say, "What is up with that people?" That is just leaving money - potentially gobs of it - on the table.
I can't say I'm surprised. Recently, on a trip to the beautiful North Carolina mountains, I was appalled at the lack of paid search listings for small businesses.
Not a single resort conducts a paid search campaign "ski North Carolina" on Live Search, Yahoo or Google. Even the ones from West Virginia could be snagging tourism dollars out of the state, but they're not. None of the resorts are great at optimizing organically either. The first ski resort appears at number 3 in the natural results for both Live Search and Google and #5 on Yahoo!
Perhaps it's because, according to the survey, 70% of small business owners would rather do their own taxes than do paid search.
Now, if you're a small business owner out there who maybe has heard that paid search is something you should do, but you'd rather become an accountant, let me give you some assurance.
I experimented with paid search for the first time this fall. That may sound crazy for someone who blogs on Search Engine Watch, but my background is copywriting, not paid search campaign conducting. I was nervous, but once I did it, I wondered what I had waited for. It was much easier than I anticipated and I can assure you that it's not even close to the awful experience of doing your own taxes.
Besides, like taxes, there are paid search marketing professionals who can do it for you. They know the tips and tricks to help keep costs low and maximize your marketing dollars.
So jump right in, the water's just fine. Or at least, it's frozen enough to ski on.