Dear Mr. Nadella,
Ouch. With Microsoft stock down 9%, and Business Insider reporting that the company is “basically still in the same place it was under Steve Ballmer,” Seattle headquarters can’t be much fun this week. News this gloomy spurs me to write to you Sir. I simply have to get something off my chest:
Why would Microsoft invest billions in Bing and BingAds technology and Enterprise-size buyers, yet virtually ignore — and even sneer at — the advertising needs of small and medium businesses? According to Internet Retailer, just the top 500 small and medium business makes up 25% of US E-Commerce. And, while overall e-commerce grew 16% last year, top small and medium sized internet retailers grew 14%. Not bad.
So throw us a bone! Make an offer to help smaller advertisers get started on Bing Ads. Smaller companies are smart to be conservative — help them out! “$100 free on Bing Ads when you sign up now” would open the flood gates. “Spend your first $100 in Bing Ads and your second $100 is on us!” would rock worlds.
How do I know? Our perspective is unique. We’re a digital agency serving small and medium sized businesses nationwide; “big business marketing for small business budgets“, that’s us.
For years Google sent us cartons of free coupons for our advertisers. Cartons. We passed out free offers from Google AdWords like candy. They grew our business and, most importantly, they helped smaller businesses deeply skeptical of pay-per-click advertising get started. We all know how this strategy helped Google. But you know what we learned? Once advertisers get started with effectively managed search marketing, they do not stop.
First-ever advertising results skyrocketed clients whose customers need them urgently — ever come home to burst water pipes? — and those that exist in highly price-competitive markets. The results for the businesses we’ve served for years are astounding. Small and medium-sized operators make more margin on internet sales than any other channel, with actual closed sales from online advertising returning 6 – 15X the sales revenue for every dollar spent.
But you know all this. Just one row of your cubes filled with a tiny fraction of your research team could eat mine for breakfast. Our viewpoint is so small, we’re just dorky enough to be all about the customer. Smaller customers. We call them regularly, we answer their calls and try to do anything we can to help them.
You’re so big, maybe we should understand. Maybe we shouldn’t complain when BingAds Customer Service provides inconsistent support and conflicting information. Maybe we should expect you to treat digital agencies like us harshly when your service pros are wrong or just plain bored. Perhaps a non-technical pro reading from a script they don’t understand is all the service we deserve from your fine company.
So I’m not suggesting that fixing bored, condescending Customer Service departments will dramatically goose your bottom line. But no free offers? No coupons, no special sales, no discounts at all? Nothing to help our small, conservative advertisers gain confidence in BingAds? Nothing at all to help Melissa Mayer continue to fight the good fight? About this, I am complaining.
Search volumes in BingAds are about a quarter of Google’s, yet your cost per conversion is often dramatically less — and that cost difference is gold to smaller advertisers.
So help us help you Mr. Nadella, please. Throw us a bone — in the form of a special offer for new advertisers — and we’ll help you grow. Promise.