“Google at one time talked about a suite of GMB products called the Business Builder but it got left on the cutting room floor of the forced march to Google Plus and the subsequent ugly separation,” Mike Blumenthal tells David Mihm. “It’s refreshing to see a similar strategy finally coming to fruition. I think we are seeing them being slowly tied together.”
“Google is rapidly moving towards a time when HTTPS will be an absolute necessity for websites,” writes David Mihm to Mike Blumenthal. “As soon as this month if an http:// website contains any input field, users will start getting scary security messages.”
“The new consumer (and search) paradigm favors small-scale, hyper-focused boutiques close to population centers as opposed to horizontal big box retailers on suburban commercial strips,” David Mihm says to Mike Blumenthal in their bi-weekly conversation.
“I see the customer journey as the customer journey wherever it leads,” Mike Blumenthal tells David Mihm. “I see Google’s efforts to oversimplify it into discrete points in time as a gross form of reductionism that doesn’t help us understand that journey better. “
“[Yelp has] not been very innovative in approaching the many needs of the SMB markets,” Mike Blumenthal writes to David Mihm. “It would seem that there could be (or should have been?) a raft of functionality that they could provide from appointments to customer follow-up that would be a natural fit.”
“Digitally speaking, NextDoor is encroaching on a space that local papers really should own.” David Mihm tells Mike Blumenthal. “It’s basically a glorified forum that in my view would be every bit as successful, if not more so, if hosted by a truly local entity.”
“Google has been on a tear this past month in the DIY realm,” notes Mike Blumenthal in his bi-monthly conversation with David Mihm. “Three major product rollouts in a 30-day span; Websites, Posts and now SMS messaging. And Google only needs uptake on one of them to get a chance to sell Adwords Express.”
“At the very least you have to recognize your day-to-day experiences both discovering and interacting with small businesses are wildly different from customers in rural markets,” David Mihm tells Mike Blumenthal in their biweekly chat.
“In local, most businesses do not have a transaction so Google wants to control the action,” Mike Blumenthal tells David Mihm. “If they can sell an ad, great, and if not then they take credit for a click or a call, driving directions or response to a CTA (and gather the data of those activities).”
“While [Facebook is] not yet anywhere near Google’s ability to generate leads, I have, over the past 6 months, started to see them surpassing Yelp in driving local key performance indicators on the pre-sale side,” Mike Blumenthal tells David Mihm.
“It’s incredible to me that given all of Google’s focus on new local products that they are still getting some of the basics wrong,” Mike Blumenthal tells David Mihm. “People who rely on Google more and more to find local businesses need to know that the fundamental metric of the business quality, reviews, is fair and well policed.”
“I think some local managers in corporations are getting pushback as to why their local traffic is falling, and if it is why should they maintain local pages? What is hard to explain is that those pages DO feed Google,” Mike Blumenthal tells David Mihm. “But these locations need to be not just well structured, but easily found and crawled by Google, not hidden behind some opaque code.”
If it’s possible to distill the 30 million small business owners in the U.S. into a single persona, Marc Reisner strikes our columnists as a great candidate: “Marc has been disillusioned by past performance and that poor performance has understandably tarred the entire industry with the same brush.”
“It seems like the agency business of the future — both large and boutique — will largely add value around integration of best-of-breed point solutions, which I don’t see many large entities like YP attempting to tackle yet,” David Mihm tells Mike Blumenthal.
“Facebook has long been a force in post-sale retention and Messenger can really play a huge part as a CRM tool,” Mike Blumenthal tells David Mihm. “I see it as the “real” social network… the one where folks communicate with those closest to them.”
“So many things are happening right on Google; clicks to call, driving directions, etc., and even more so than a website,” Mike Blumenthal tells David Mihm. “For a business to do well there, things like photos, reviews (everywhere) and other visuals are becoming ever more important.”
“Each of these sites that Google trusts might calculate authority in a different way, but if Google can verify the relationship to the local entity, they can apply that authority to the ranking of the local listing,” writes Mike Blumenthal to David Mihm.
As voice search becomes more prevalent, Apple will “retain an advantage over Amazon in ‘on-the-go’ searches, since our phones are always with us,” David Mihm tells Mike Blumenthal. “Unfortunately for Apple, people overwhelmingly conduct voice searches at home. “
Clearly Amazon is positioning itself in the sales funnel aggressively, Mike Blumenthal tells David Mihm. “And unlike Google their presale efforts lead directly to sales that they control. ”
“I’m not convinced small businesses without a full-time in-house marketer really care about analytics,” David Mihm tells Mike Blumenthal in their bi-weekly chat. “They certainly don’t have the time or expertise to dive in each week and change their marketing or customer service behavior based on what a dashboard is telling them.”