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Whether you’re a florist or a graphic artist, there’s money to be made in selling your services online. Everyone’s doing it and for good reason – in the first half of 2010, consumers spent nearly $67 billion online, according to the Internet marketing research company comScore Inc.

So how do you successfully manage online ad campaigns and get a piece of that multi-billion-dollar-pie for your small business?

First, develop a website with a URL that makes sense for your business. Register a domain name that will tell searchers (and search engines) what your business does. Consider registering multiple domain names – every URL specific to your business that you own is one your competitors will not be able to use.

Next, your website should be informational, interactive and easy to use. Remember, graphics and video are great but can only tell part of your story. Quality text that is concise and interesting will speak powerfully to visitors. While it’s easy to find online services that will help you build your own website, you may find it more cost-effective – and impactful – in the long run to work with a professional web designer.

Having a website is only part of selling your business online. You need search engines like Google to recognize and rank your web pages. Search advertising is the top interactive marketing tactic and is expected to grow 15 percent over the next four years, according to Forrester Research’s U.S. Interactive Marketing Forecast.

There are two types of results found on search engine result pages: organic (search results that appear on search engine listings because of their relevance to the search terms) and paid search. Some small business owners may avoid paid search advertising because they think it is too expensive, complicated and time consuming. Managing your search marketing effort can be a monumental task, especially if you’re just beginning to dabble in digital marketing. It makes sense to get some help, and from a source you probably already know and trust.

American Express recently launched SearchManager , a new product for small-business owners that simplifies search engine advertising. SearchManager allows you to access the major search engines – including Google Adwords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, Microsoft AdCenter and Facebook Ads – through a single point of access. No more remembering multiple logins and learning to use different interfaces – everything can be managed from a single dashboard that you can customize to your needs. The product allows you to track results and easily make changes in real time to ensure your advertising is effective and results in measurable business.

“Our research has found that many entrepreneurs have yet to tap the power of search, as nearly three-quarters are not spending money on search engine marketing,” says Rob Ciccone, vice president, American Express OPEN. “We listened closely to business owners when developing SearchManager and designed it to address their need for a trusted, fully transparent partner that helps them market to prospective customers in an economical, more efficient way.”

SearchManager’s set of straightforward tools helps take the complexities out of pay per click (PPC) advertising and provides small businesses easy management across ad networks. To learn more about SearchManager and how it can help you advertise online, visit

Author: Andy Quayle

Andy was born in the Isle of Man and currently lives in Pittsburgh.
Known globally as a willing source for tech news and views, Andy takes great pride in consultation and education.

Should his schedule permit, Andy is available to help you with your SEO and Web Analytics needs.