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The Search Agency Automates SEM for SMBs

  |  March 19, 2013   |  Comments

The Search Agency has launched an automated alternative that lets search resellers get better results for small businesses doing local search - and make more money doing so.

The Search Agency has launched an automated alternative that lets search resellers get better results for small businesses doing local search - and make more money doing so.

Introduced today, AdMax Local is a fully automated platform that enables resellers of paid search in the United States to price, build, manage, optimize, and report on hyper-local search campaigns for multiple businesses.

The platform is designed for use by marketing agencies, media resellers, franchisors, and other businesses, including online Yellow Pages and directory businesses, allowing them to add search engine marketing to their offerings in a cost-effective way.

The idea is to let these kinds of companies offer more affordable SEM services to smaller marketers. Traditional search agency services were developed for large clients and are service-intensive, The Search Agency says. But in local markets, where spending levels, query volume, and competitive intensity are less, these services are not cost-effective.

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"They may have thousands or hundreds of thousands of small business clients, and up to now have not been able to provide a quality service," says Ben Gibson, global managing director for AdMax Local. "And it's a massively underserved segment at the moment," he adds. "As soon as you put an hour or two of work into a $100 search marketing campaign, you lose your margin."

ElementsLocal, provider of a platform for franchisors to extend online marketing services to franchisees, says that AdMax Local will let the company effectively add local search to the mix. "Most PPC has been targeted at corporations, while franchises are groups of SMBs, each with their own budgets, desires, and targeting at the local level," says Steve Bridge, president and CFO of ElementsLocal. In the past, his company has either outsourced search to large companies or worked with a variety of smaller PPC companies, while providing Google search services internally. "In each case, the other agencies really wanted to work with corporate entities with larger budgets."

Gibson explains that there's much more stability in categories and keywords in local search campaigns, while their geographic reach is limited - and that made this market ripe for automation.

According to Gibson, all an account manager needs to ask is what the business does, where it does business, and how much it wants to invest in search. "With those three inputs…we're able to launch very focused, hyper-local campaigns while offering optimal clicks," he says.

AdMax Local pre-compiles AdWords and adCenter keyword groups, and then it checks spending and response in the particular category to estimate the optimal budget. Ad copy content and landing page creation are handled at a category level and can be used, with geo-fencing techniques, among multiple geographies.

The platform also allows for automated account setup, while bid and budget management tools manage large numbers of accounts. The Search Agency says that its automation can let its customers reduce their account management workforces by 90 percent.

While the cost of search is always important, Bridge says that effectiveness and efficiency are more important for ROI. "Through The Search Agency, you will be able to focus down on local parameters, and be able to do it with preconfigured terms and phrases that are related exactly to the business category in an automated fashion, so you don't get the costs associated with administration," he says. "Combine that with the reporting and the ability to roll that out through corporate through our platform, and it's four wins."

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Susan Kuchinskas

Susan Kuchinskas has covered interactive advertising since its invention. The former staff writer for Adweek, Business 2.0, and M-Business covers technology, business and culture from Berkeley, CA.

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