Beyond SEO: How to Reframe the Local Marketing Conversation

“I am looking for a language framework that helps business understand that the idea of ranking only makes sense in the context of not just getting more customers but also keeping them. While businesses might want a floodgate of leads, there are many things that they could be doing that would be cost-effective and productive,” Mike Blumenthal tells David Mihm in their latest Street Fight discussion.

Report: Websites and GMB Profiles Both Essential for Local Businesses

A whopping 64% of respondents indicated relying on Google My Business to find contact information for local business, suggesting it’s an indispensable platform. Yet consumers still trust local business websites most of all, and only 8% say they never consult a business’ website when making shopping decisions.

Brand Building Beyond Reviews: Is the Local Marketing Ecosystem Ready?

“I think it makes more sense for a small business to buy ‘brand building’ that includes some community events and link building than for that same business to buy SEO,” Mike Blumenthal tells David Mihm. Find out what tech tools can build a local brand and why David disagrees partly with Mike’s suggestion.

3 Revenue Growth Opportunities for SMB Marketing and Ad Agencies

While SMB digital marketing spend has seen a steady rise, SMBs are being more conservative about the agencies and vendors with which they partner. In the transparency era, consolidating spend with a select group of trusted agency partners that offer multiple core services is now the norm.

For agencies that cater to SMB brands, these trends have created opportunities and challenges. There is money to be had, but only organizations that differentiate themselves from the competition and can deliver clear ROI will benefit. So how can SMB agencies show their value to brands and ensure revenue growth? There are three opportunity areas, in particular, that can help.

SMB Marketers: Small Budget? Small Team? Search and Social Are Key

With the barrier to entry lower than ever, third-party platforms have made inroads to make it easier for marketers to leverage search and social more effectively. These platforms have made it attainable for marketers—regardless of their team size or level of experience—to launch and optimize sophisticated, targeted campaigns, providing an ideal foundation to build upon as their capabilities and budgets expand. With that, here are five reasons SMB marketers should consider digging deeper into search and social right now.

Report: Education of SMB Marketers a Glaring Hole in Vendor Approaches

The disconnect between how vendors think they are supporting and educating their clients, and how those clients actually feel they are being supported, can be alarming. BrandMuscle’s report found that local marketers are hungry for marketing knowledge, and yet 18% believe they get “little to no support” from the agencies or marketing teams with which they work. Twenty-eight percent say they get “check-the-box support,” which is still insufficient.

From Zero-Click SERPs to Rabbit-Hole SERPs

Mihm to Blumenthal: Answer Optimization and Zero-Click SERPs seem to be gaining traction as concepts in the SEO industry, but as you pointed out in our previous conversation on this topic, Google’s moving well beyond simple answers and into journeys. Cindy Krum highlighted several examples of these new search journeys, which as I saw her presenting struck me as “rabbit-holes.”

AI Technology is Getting within Reach for Small Restaurants

Rodion Yeroshek: The majority of restaurant businesses, especially the small ones, remain slow adopters and non-adopters of AI technology. People may think that the introduction of AI in small restaurant operations is nothing more than jumping on the bandwagon. However, research on the impact of AI on the world economy by McKinsey Global Institute warns the naysayers. The research predicts that by 2030 active adopters of AI technologies could double their cash flow, while non-adopters could lose up to 20% of theirs. This is a hint for restaurant managers who plan to stay in business for the next 10-15 years that it’s time they embrace AI tools or prepare to lose a big part of their market share for good.

What’s the Relative Impact of Google My Business vs. Websites on Conversion?

Blumenthal to Mihm: The consumer is on a journey and is close to making a decision when they are seeing you on Google. Whether they make it at the Business Profile on Google or at the website, it is imperative that your profile at Google has enough information to confer trust. Otherwise, the end user will just move on to the next profile and never make it to your site.

Alexa Has the Confidence of SMB Marketers. Should It?

Forty-eight percent of marketers surveyed by Uberall said they trust the e-commerce giant over its competition when it comes to marketing applications of voice technology in these early days of the medium. Google Assistant had the vote of 29% of the market, with Apple’s Siri scoring a surprisingly high 17% given the widespread consensus that voice is really a two-way race at the moment.

How Mom-and-Pop Shops Can Attract Customers Year Long, Not Just on Small Business Saturday

Dan Silver: Why should small businesses be limited to one great day of sales a year? Now more than ever, owners have an arsenal of tools at their disposal to help them drive more visits and generate revenue. Here are a few sustainable solutions for local businesses.

Will 2019 Be Remembered as the Year of GMB Messaging?

Mihm to Blumenthal: Absent a messaging competitor, even a handful of conversations with real customers make businesses *think* Facebook is where the party is. In reality, as you and plenty of others have found, 90% of actual leads are coming from Google. And a serious chunk of that 90% comes directly from Google My Business. Per my prediction, Google is *just* starting to push the “Message” CTA to consumers. And I think the floodgates are about to open.

Google Testing Restaurant Booking, Foreshadowing Ever Tighter Grip on Local Commerce

The news is an important signal that local-commerce options like Reserve with Google will get sleeker and more dominant in the years to come. And it calls to mind a crucial local-search debate: Will Google SERPs and the many options for engagement with local brick-and-mortars on them effectively supplant the local business website as the crucial interface for interacting with customers?

dataPlor: The Importance of Personal Relationships and Other Key Findings from Emerging Market Small Business Survey

At dataPlor, we know that the best way to gather data and insights on emerging market small businesses is in person. We sent our general manager in Guadalajara out on a mission to understand how hyperlocal businesses communicate with customers and potential business partners and suppliers. He spent a week speaking first-hand to small business owners about their customer outreach strategies and how they chose potential businesses partners. Here’s what we found.

Google Local Services Reportedly Expand to Canada, Signaling Rapid Growth

Launch in 2015 in Silicon Valley’s home court, Local Service Ads have since expanded to a whopping 90 markets in the U.S. and are now making their way abroad, where searches for local services are abundant.

Street Fight Daily: SMBs to Spend on Social, Location for Holidays; How AI Can Help Revamp CPG Brands

TODAY IN LOCAL & DIGITAL MARKETING AND MEDIA… Reveal Mobile Predicts Big Holiday Season Ad Spend for SMBs, With Social, Location At the Top… How GDPR Helps Consent Management Platforms… How AI Can Help CPGs Meet Millennial and Gen-Z Expectations…

Reveal Mobile Predicts Big Holiday Season Ad Spend for SMBs, With Social, Location At the Top

This coming holiday season, social, location-based advertising will dominate small business ad spend, according to a recent survey conducted by Reveal Mobile, a location-based marketing company. The survey also indicated that brands are increasingly comfortable with location-based tactics like geotargeting.

Amazon Furthers Embrace of SMBs with Storefronts

What Amazon has done is create a channel for the entrepreneurial impulse of small business owners that would appear to sidestep local commerce completely. But has local really been removed from the equation?

Report: Half of Very Small Businesses Suffer Financial Losses from Website Hacks

Half of all the small businesses with five or fewer employees examined in a recent report by GoDaddy have suffered a financial loss due to website hacking, and for one in eight, that loss was more than $5,000.

Is Google Playing the Long Game with SMB Websites?

“When you look at this Website growth + the Local Knowledge Panel with Posts + AMP + Progressive Web Apps, we are starting to see the outlines of an “open web” that Google totally controls. Or at least they control the profitable parts,” Mike Blumenthal tells David Mihm in their latest biweekly column.