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.
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?
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.
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.
“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.
“As it stands, Facebook’s latest local effort is of academic interest but hardly seems a reason for businesses to actively re-engage with the free side of the social giant’s features. From a competitive viewpoint, it hardly seems the stuff of legend needed to take on the current local search hegemon, Google,” Mike Blumenthal tells David Mihm in their latest biweekly column.
For many years, the government’s assessment of the public interest was to encourage Web access to all. The current FCC, however, contends that this position is better met by eliminating the net neutrality rules — that SMBs will be able to have a variety of ISP options based on their actual needs with the end of the net neutrality rules.
Online-to-offline marketing platform Empyr has announced a partnership with Vendasta that has the potential to rapidly scale up and deepen its customer base. The deal makes Empyr’s CPR (cost-per-revenue), performance marketing platform available on Vendasta’s marketplace, which sells digital solutions through more than 2,000 local marketing agencies.
Comparing some surveys focused at opposite ends of the local small business spectrum — franchise operators and self-employed professionals — it feels like, though the industry is selling these groups the same marketing and commerce technology and services, the two segments are more different than similar.
Many small-but-growing businesses have a multi-store operation and a dynamic online presence, but simply can’t afford the custom-built, integrated retail and ecommerce systems that keep a premium brand’s customer experience tight and consistent. Here are some tactics they can employ to hack that problem.
Websites remain a foundational marketing element for companies of all sizes and they are likely the “home base” for customers finding the detailed information they desire as well as the basics, like store hours, contact information, product details and links to social channels. While on the surface it may seem like websites are the opposite of engaging—static, one-size-fits-all, impersonal—the fact is with a little bit of strategy, businesses can create a website that provides customers with a truly engaging experience with clear calls to action as part of the customer’s journey.