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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Surely small business owners belong to the class of ordinary users. Expecting them to invest the time and energy to become power users is a good way to guarantee that your user base will remain small. This realization could lead to a very different and more fruitful approach to product design for SMBs.
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.”
Strangely, despite the size of the opportunity you don’t find too many SMB companies in most VC portfolios. You see plenty of consumer and enterprise-focused startups, but much fewer on the SMB side. The reason for this is that it’s “hard” for companies serving SMBs to grow at the rate that can deliver “venture” returns.
“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.”
Vistaprint is expanding beyond its roots as a provider of custom printed products today, with a new suite of digital marketing tools for “micro” business owners. The company’s redesigned website building platform will include tools for social media marketing, local listings, email marketing, and business email, along with design services.