The days when a small business owner could get by running the occasional daily deal and sending brief e-mail newsletters are over. From loyalty programs and social media management tools, to mobile offers and syndicated deals, small businesses are spending more time managing their hyperlocal marketing efforts than ever before. A survey of 3,300 marketers nationwide found that one-third of business owners (34%) were spending 11 or more hours a week on social media marketing alone in 2011.
One way that SMBs can cut down on the time they spend creating and managing their hyperlocal marketing campaigns is by signing up for a 360-degree platform that brings many of the most popular digital marketing tools under one roof. These all-in-one platforms reduce fragmentation and offer merchants a way to market their services using a wide spectrum of tools.
Here are five comprehensive platforms that small businesses can use to streamline their online marketing efforts.
1. Constant Contact
Although Constant Contact is primarily known as tool for creating email newsletters, the company also offers a number of marketing features for small to medium size businesses. Constant Contact’s products fall into five main categories: social campaigns, event marketing, email marketing, online surveys, and SaveLocal, the company’s promotional deal platform. These marketing products give businesses a way to collect customer contact information, manage their new email databases, and ultimately utilize those databases to send limited-time promotions and offers. Constant Contact offers custom pricing based on the specific products that a business uses. Prices for the company’s email marketing service, for example, can range from free to $150 per month, depending on the number of email addresses in a company’s database.
Local businesses looking to spend less time managing their marketing campaigns can turn to LocalVox for a full-service solution. The company helps its clients target new customers and increase their search engine rankings by running online promotions, publishing e-newsletters, updating directory listings, updating their own websites, and auto-publishing content on social media networks. The information SMBs post to their LocalVox dashboards is automatically distributed across a network of hyperlocal LocalVox publishing partners. The company also offers reputation management tools for SMBs. Businesses can choose pricing packages based on the tools they need. Monthly pricing for the company’s “Broadcast” package ranges from $199 to $549.
Businesses in industries that require frequent appointment scheduling can use Demandforce to bring their online marketing efforts under one roof. The marketing platform, which was purchased by the software giant Intuit in April, offers its clients a way to syndicate marketing messages, monitor online reviews, and deliver targeted promotional offers to social network users. SMBs can also use Demandforce to communicate with existing customers through automated appointment reminders that go out via email and text, as well as past due notices that go out when a client hasn’t been in for a period of weeks or months. Demandforce works on a subscription model, with prices ranging from $200 to $300 per month.
Closely is a local marketing platform built for small business owners who are looking for ways to drive new purchases and increase the percentage of return visits. To do this, Closely relies on a combination of social promotions, mobile marketing tools, daily deals, and loyalty offers. Businesses are expected to distribute their limited-time deals and promotional offers across a wide spectrum of platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and their own websites. Although Closely does not publish its exact pricing structure, a representative tells Street Fight that the company provides most merchant services for $50 to $200 per month, and takes a 25% to 35% share of any deal revenue.
ReachLocal is a marketing firm that can help businesses increase awareness, drive conversions, and ultimately get more leads through search engine advertising and organic web marketing. Businesses that need a bit of handholding can work with one of ReachLocal’s consultants to create an overarching web strategy, which is then executed using the company’s suite of digital tools. ReachLocal handles the distribution of all social content, directory listings, and display ads created by its clients, while social analytics tools help businesses track the increase in followers, brand engagement, and impressions that result from their digital campaigns. ReachLocal offers custom budget recommendations based on a client’s objectives, industry, and geographic area.
Know of other 360-degree marketing tools for small businesses? Leave a description in the comments.
Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight.