SMBs Seek Speedy Relief to Recover in 2021

The Biden administration is pledging $15 billion in grants to help businesses, and $35 billion for small business financing programs, as part of its new American Rescue Plan. But many grants and recovery programs have long timelines, and business owners are saying they need more immediate support.

SMBs Face Long Road to Recovery in 2021

Sixty-eight percent of SMBs say they are still experiencing a negative impact from the pandemic, and the percentage of business owners experiencing “significant” impact jumped 7% to 50% from June to November.

Businesses that thought the crisis was heading in the right direction back in October are feeling differently today as they see holiday sales figures begin to roll out, and they’re scrambling to find tools, strategies, and other lifelines to help them get by.

Why Savvy SMBs Are Focusing on the Post-Sale Experience

Two-thirds of American adults say they plan to shop at more small businesses in the coming months, providing independent retailers with the perfect opportunity to turn those new customers into brand advocates.

Putting the strategy into action means capitalizing on what ActiveCampaign CEO Jason VandeBoom sees as the biggest untapped opportunity for local retailers right now — the post-sale engagement.

How to Move Your Classes or Programs Online – Tips for Small Businesses

A week before it ran several online classes, Practical Martial Arts didn’t have a video strategy or an online conferencing platform, and the couple was terrified about what the stay-at-home order meant for their beloved business, their customers, and their employees. But in a couple days they were able to pivot. And you can, too.

If you’re looking to offer online versions of your in-person business or are simply looking to connect online while we ride this out, below are some tips and resources to help you go virtual, too.

No Time to Think Small: Innovate on SMB Reputation Management

A small business’ reputation is the company’s most valuable intangible asset. During this current climate, we are seeing successful brands adapting quickly to their customers’ change in lifestyle and priorities. They’re catering for their isolation with services that make their lives not only easier but also more entertaining. By remaining engaged and keeping conversations fluid, small businesses will be able to weather the storm as well as keep and attract new customers.

A trustworthy and actionable understanding of local communities is now more important than ever.

Here are a few ways small businesses can build and sustain a healthy reputation.

The Upside of Being Down: How to Market Your Small Business During Coronavirus

Studies show that eliminating advertising during tough times can lead to a decrease in sales. Business owners may view marketing as a discretionary cost and forgo it because they are bringing in less. But consumer and advertising spend are significant drivers of revenue, even in the midst of a downturn.    

Coming out of the Great Recession of the late 2000s, marketers learned a valuable lesson: Going dark can have long-term consequences. Instead, business owners should adjust their marketing approach to reach audiences in thoughtful new ways. Here are some tips.

Gauging the Opportunity to Replace Local Merchants’ Websites

We asked respondents what they used their sites for, and, considering the functions they deemed most important, whether they could replace them with a list of suggested companies and platforms. Facebook’s company pages and Google’s enriched listings topped the list.

Most Local Merchants Unfazed by Facebook Controversies, Though Some Signs of Trouble

By now, consequences of the negative aura surrounding Facebook’s role in customer info abuse, fake news, and Russian political meddling should have started to take hold. Yet over half of local merchants we polled said they would continue to use Facebook as they had previously, and only one in five said they may use it less.

Local Merchants Highly Dependent on Social Media at Time of Uncertainty for Platforms

Well over half of the local merchants with larger budgets that we surveyed for a report last year indicated that paid Facebook ads constituted their top marketing tactic. That’s a pretty heavy dependence on a company that’s been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately.

Street Fight Daily: How Much Ad Viewability Matters, IAB Eases In-App Measurement

A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology… Placed Study Outlines Viewability’s Impact on Store Visitation… IAB Releases Tool to Ease In-App Ad Measurement… Snap Is Testing Commerce with Discover Publishers…

State of Hyperlocal: Attribution Is Top Industry Challenge and R&D Priority

Companies selling local marketing and technology and services continue to believe that online-to-offline attribution is the toughest challenge facing the industry, and it’s now their top near-term R&D priority. That’s what we’re hearing from a preliminary analysis of our annual State of Hyperlocal survey of Street Fight readers.

Lots of Facebook News — But Little Progress in Local

Instead of integrating multi-media news consumption with entertainment, community conversations, events calendars, advertising, and a buyers and sellers marketplace, Facebook is isolating them as components. While this is consistent with its separate apps approach, it likely won’t result in as much audience cross-fertilization as it should. Nor does it feel at all local advertiser-friendly.

Are All-In-One Marketing Suites Really the Best Solution for SMBs?

SMBs are starting to turn to third-party platforms to build highly specialized, best-of-breed martech stacks. By weaving carefully-selected tools together, SMBs can construct an enterprise-level toolbelt that’s affordable, top-of-the-line and easy to integrate.

At Cloud Summit, a Focus on the Transition to SaaS Services

ReachLocal’s CPO Kris Barton noted that SaaS churn is typically between 6 percent and 22 percent. Media churn is between 39 percent and 86 percent. The key is to provide an integrated marketing system, said Barton: “Sixty-four percent are more likely to use a marketing system when it is integrated with core business systems.”

Local Marketing on Alexa? The Real Estate Industry Gives It a Shot

There are almost 40 real estate “skills” currently listed in Alexa’s directory. This is greater than those related to lawyers/attorneys, doctors/dentists, and a host of other SMB categories, and overall there doesn’t yet appear to be much adoption of voice technology at the local business level.

The Shift in B2SMB: It’s All About Platforms

Major changes are coming to SMB marketing as the market shifts away from media towards cloud-based services, artificial intelligence, marketing automation and location marketing. This cluster of tech movements represent real opportunities to help SMBs target and engage customers, and become more efficient.

LinkedIn Focuses on Revving Up Its SMB Efforts

“There is a huge market of smaller companies, and it is a fast-growing segment. There is definitely momentum,” says LinkedIn’s independent agency head Ryan Wilson. “But they are often made to feel like second-class citizens. Enterprise companies have been getting all the love.”

Alignable Rankings Show Lead Generation, Hiring Categories Primed for Disruption

Small businesses are largely at the mercy of the online reviews published on sites like Yelp and Facebook, but now those business owners have turned the tables with some tough critiques for technology vendors in a new report published by the SMB social networking platform Alignable.

SMB Content Marketing: Avoid the Backward Approach

Whether a business is local or not, content drives the bulk of digital marketing. A successful content marketing campaign involves topics that resonate with the intended audience, creates buzz on social media and attracts high quality links. Yet, the approach that many people take to content marketing is backward.

How SMB Networking is Driving More Referral Marketing

Many small businesses have picked up on referral marketing options, but word-of-mouth referrals are an ancillary benefit of networking with other local business owners. “The entire business community needs a way to connect and have ongoing dialogue,” says Ro Prakash, co-founder of Townsquared.