Earlier this week I wrote about some of the ways SMBs can use social media outlets like Digg and Propeller to boost their marketing efforts. And I've also written about pay-per-click advertising, which can be a cost-effective way for SMBs to attract potential customers to their Web sites.
The latter method helped a Canadian retailer revive his Web site traffic, which fell after his site dropped from the top results of a popular search engine. As described in an ITBusiness.ca article, the owner of Scrubs Canada, which sells nurses' uniforms online, experimented with keywords, finding three -- "tall nurse scrubs" -- that garnered lots of hits for his site. He says:
I decided just to try the key words in an ad, and I saw immediate results -- that day, and ever since. If I was selling cars, it would be very expensive. But I'm a small businessman so it's cheaper.
A vice-president of MSN Canada notes later in the article that few companies -- large or small -- have adjusted their advertising budgets to reflect the fact that consumers are spending far more of their free time online. This could present an opportunity for the little guys, says a professor at Queen's School of Business in Kingston, Ontario. He says:
Online advertising is one of the last marketing bastions that doesn't depend on big scale to be successful.
The article doesn't say which search engine was the problem for Scrubs Canada. But I wonder if it was Google. Falling from its search results can be devastating, as this blog post points out. The owner of an online jewelry business claims to have lost $500,000 in sales over a three-month period after his site ended up in Google Hell, a limbo where Web sites go when they fall out of favor with the search giant.