Engage: Google’s latest move to help small businesses help themselves

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google engage

This week the Google Africa team came to Cape Town with their Google Engage for Agencies program. Google Engage is designed to empower eMarketing agencies of all shapes and sizes that provide their clients Google AdWords with the support and further training to better utilize AdWords and other Google products.

Although the program is officially titled Engage for Agencies, there were quite a few additional service providers present at the event. This is because Google is interested in equipping a multitude of online marketing professionals to use AdWords to their fullest extent. Engage is welcoming webmasters, developers, consultants, and even the occasional entrepreneur into their arms so that digital marketing professionals are as up to speed as possible with Search Marketing, Display Marketing, Google Analytics and more.

Not to be mistaken with the Google AdWords Certification Program, Engage can serve as a nice stepping stone with easy access to an immense supply of online training and education that will help prepare participants to take the AdWords Certification exam.

What are the benefits of Engage?

Well, aside from the comprehensive training on AdWords and the other Google business solutions in their latest arsenal of online marketing tools, Engage members also receive dedicated support from Google staff and enough AdWords vouchers to make any small business see the benefit of pay-per-click marketing without feeling the grips of spending risk. Members not only get all of this at their convenience, but it is absolutely free.

The concept that Google is working with is that by helping the smaller scale search marketing professionals grow their skill set and further develop their education and training with Google products they will be more attractive to a fellow small business owner with an interest in taking their business online.

What is Google getting out of this?

The formula is simple and age-old: help me help you. By investing in consultants, small agencies, developers and the like, Google is not only creating a group of capable professionals to sell their business products, but also a new generation of brand ambassadors in the small business generation, thereby playing the short game and the long game simultaneously.

In the digital community of South Africa, it’s exciting to have a front-row seat to all that Google is doing locally and internationally. Another Google project following this model is WOZA Online, offering local businesses free tools to create professional websites in under an hour, with free web hosting and even a free .co.za domain for the first year to the first 10,000 participants. Google is clearly paving the roads for the information super-highway to be a fast-growing and highly evolved tool for everyday business and life.

The mission of the WOZA Online project is to “lower barriers for small and medium enterprises to benefit from the advantages of the Internet and in so doing grow the digital economy in South Africa.” WOZA Online paired with programs like Google Engage demonstrates Google’s inherent desire to grow the ecommerce space in Africa and supply the professionals to help local businesses do it.

An international program, Engage already has thousands of members that service a growing number of clients with hopes to increase that number each year. By creating a higher level of qualification for service providers, I believe we can expect a great deal of small businesses worldwide to take advantage of what digital can do for them as well as a new crop of online marketing professionals to service the global economy’s increasing need for quality and comprehensive digital solutions.

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