IF AS AN entrepreneur you think all Google is good for is looking up information about people or businesses, you could be forgiven.
But the global technology giant has a lot more to offer. It recently announced a support programme for local entrepreneurs called the Umbono initiative which will encourage small businesses in the technology sector.
For non-technology start-ups there's a array of free tools small businesses can take advantage of.
Google SA country manager Luke Mckend says tools can help small businesses gain more exposure, thus leading to improved revenues.
“A lot of entrepreneurs and people in general use Google's search function as consumers but not as competitors,” explains Mckend.
“There is a lot you can use as an SME just on the basic Google page to understand the type of market your business operates in. So much can be achieved by understanding the other basic tools offered on the site.”
Here are some tech tools that you should familiarise yourself with to give your business a boost no matter how big or small.Web Optimizer
Often SMEs launch websites and as soon as the marketing campaign quietens, so does traffic to the site.
With Web Optimizer you can find out directly from your target audience what content and designs work best for them.
First choose the pages and content that you wish to test, then try out the changes made on the website with the consumers who visit the site.
You can then use the response data to understand what changes drive the most conversions or clicks on your website.
“What Web Optimizer helps you establish is which version of your site the visitors are more attracted to so that you know which content and design will be more productive,” says Mckend.
The free website testing and optimisation tool allows you to increase the value of your existing websites and traffic without spending a cent, he adds.Google Analytics
Now that you’ve got traffic moving to your site, the next step would be to know how to talk to your consumers in a way that is appealing to them.
The easy to use features of Google analytics lets you analyse your traffic data, telling you which site referred the user to yours. It also allows you to see which features of the website they spend most of their time on.
“The analytics solution tells you everything you need to know about your website traffic and how effective your marketing is towards them in order to improve your marketing and advertising campaigns in future,” Mckend says. AdWords
These are text-based advertisements targeted by users’ search queries.
When setting up the advertisement you select the keywords that will trigger your ad displays which will only appear when people are looking for something directly related to your product or service.
There are four different types of keyword matches that you can use: broad matches, exact matches, phrase matches and negative keywords.
These options assist you to refine your ad targeting on both search results and content pages.
This advertising tool is affordable because it resembles a pay-as-you-go model. If no consumer clicks on your ad, then you don’t have to pay.
“The return on investment is measurable compared to print publications where you don’t have a guarantee of whether people are actually going to read your advert,” says Mckend.The Business Channel
For step-by-step guides on how to take your business from zero to success using technology based products, the Google channel on YouTube is the perfect tool to get you going.
From instructions on how to set up a free website for your business to how to help your SME run more cost effectively, the channel provides information that you can use to maximise your exposure on the internet.