Selling SEM to SMBs: Service Must Come With Sale
Elizabeth Gage of PCM International posted a well thought out blog on the challenges small and medium-sized businesses face when purchasing search engine marketing campaigns, either on their own or through Yellow Page publishers. After reading her thoughts on the subject, I couldn’t help but realize that the focus of current SEM efforts has been on getting the appointment and making the sale. Gage’s post, however, highlights the challenges after the sale is made.
As more SMBs begin to experiment with online advertising, the problem of supporting and informing them of the progress of their online campaigns increases. Based on my own experience in the back-office side of supporting SEM sales, I can attest that new online advertisers simply require more communication on how their campaign is working, numbers of calls generated, how to effectively improve keyword performance, and how best to update their profile or Web site to generate more leads. New online advertisers are in the experimental mode and are not yet sold on the value of SEM, which requires constant reinforcement of the ongoing value delivered by online advertising.
While gaining appointments and educating SMBs on the benefits of online advertising is important in selling SEM, continually communicating the value of what is being delivered is what will help maintain SMB online advertisers. Failing to reinforce the value to new SEM advertisers ultimately leads to higher advertiser turnover in the second or third year, meaning the sales force will have to continually replace advertisers with more new advertisers rather than work on developing existing advertiser campaigns.