Constant Contact founder Randy Parker has launched a new mobile web platform for SMBs called PagePart. The company seeks to be a simple and low-cost online and mobile solution for SMBs to establish and update their information online, and to optimize it for mobile.
Parker told Street Fight that while there are many marketing tools out there, he really hasn’t seen a definitive solution that can help merchants easily create web pages and market their businesses.
“The problem keeps recurring,” Parker said. “We’ve had the web now for 20 years and it’s not substantially easier for a small business to get online and get the job done today then it was in the mid-90’s.” He said that “regardless of whose numbers you believe” about how well SMBs are actually faring online, it is still a huge issue.
PagePart seems to solve the solution by simplifying it. Instead of looking at it from a technical perspective and providing SMBs with tools to build a giant customizable site or track marketing on a few different social media platforms and run multiple campaigns. Parker said that having constraints and providing an easy solution is the key. To him, it is a question not of what you offer, but “what do you leave out?”
PagePart will build a basic, mobile-optimized site for the local business, pull in content from social media so they don’t need to add content, and make sure everything stays up to date, so the SMB doesn’t have “homework” when it comes to their online presence: “Your site never looks stale, it never embarrasses you.”
Parker said that the fragmentation of the hyperlocal industry is making it hard on SMBs, “with the complexity of how many different places the small business needs to interact with their customers online.” Rather than present these businesses with more options and variability, PagePart seeks to take care of it for them: “Getting the job done is giving them a great marketing page, not a technical exercise,” Parker said. “They need customers.”
Providing a basic template and constraints may seem like taking a step backward for many SMBs where it comes to online marketing, especially as the online landscape grows more complex. But Parker said that “we in the industry are making the problem harder and harder for them” to stay on top of trends and marketing when in reality, “they just want somebody to make it work.”
Isa Jones is an editorial assistant at Street Fight.