Advantate looks to corner bottom half of SEM market

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Advantate looks to corner bottom half of SEM market

A new start-up venture from Melbourne IT and Fairfax Digital, Advantate, has been set up with the ambitious goal of cornering the low- to mid-end segments of the Search Engine Marketing [SEM] industry.

SEM is the process of tailoring marketing content to correspond with search engine results. Google's Adwords service is one such example.

Advantate's CEO Lisa Watts, who was appointed to the position yesterday, says the company's marketing packages offer distinct advantages for small-to-medium businesses [SMBs].

"A SMB's advertisement can be tailored specifically to the search term requested by the internet user, giving direct control over the marketing message for specific products and services," she says.

"The business owners only pay when someone clicks through to the web site. You can set a daily budget and have full control over the spend."
Advantate's emphasis on SMBs allows the company to offer comprehensive low-cost services, Watts says.

"Advantate is an authorised Google and Yahoo reseller, and unlike many other providers offers a low cost entry level product as well as a dedicated account manager who sets up and reports back on the campaign performance every week."

The company also offers a free website for any small-business customer who doesn't already have one.

But Advantate is also focusing on offering services to the mid-market.

"Midmarket enterprises often have internal capability in marketing and many have already embraced Search as a cost effective way to drive leads and prospects to their web sites," Watts says. "We offer advice, support and low cost products to take them to the next level."

Watts offers as an example one client which had been running its own in-house adwords campaign. Advantate was able to reduce the weekly advertising cost by a third, while increasing sell-through rates.

Advantate already has clients spread through the communications, pharmacy, catering, health, travel and finance industries.

Watts' first goals as CEO of the start-up is to see the business determine clear roles and targets, as well as "creat[ing] an environment that will attract and keep a high performance sales team," she says.

In the long-term, Watts believes Advantate can become the leading on-line marketing agency for SMBs in Australia, and also has the potential to expand off-shore.

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