DEBATE: The Marketing of SMB Marketing Solutions

Speculation over the best model for providing and marketing SMB solutions — do-it-yourself (DIY), do-it-for-me (DIFM), or the middle-ground option, do-it-with-me (DIFM) — has been swirling for years. Columns from two Street Fight contributors indicate that while technology is part of the current problem, it’s undoubtedly part of the solution as well.

SMBs and Self-Service: Are We There Yet?

The question of whether or when SMBs are going to self-provision online marketing has been a topic of intense debate for at least a decade. Signs now point to the emergence of solutions simple enough to make self-service viable within three to five years. Ultimately, rather than a do-it-yourself vs. do-it-for-me dichotomy, we’re likely to see an increasingly stratified local market that looks a lot like a three-cabin airplane seating chart.

Street Fight Daily: Apple Pay Goes International and Has a New Competitor, Amazon’s Effect on SMBs

A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology… Apple Pay Partners with AmEx to Expand Internationally (Fortune)… JPMorgan Chase Says It’s Building a Rival to Apple Pay (Channel NewsAsia)… Is Amazon Killing Small Businesses? (Forbes)…

INFOGRAPHIC: The Complex SMB Marketing Ecosystem 2.0

As the head of digital strategy for a broadcaster operating local TV stations, Lorren Elkins has been challenged to clearly understand the digital marketing space from an SMB perspective. In response, he developed an interactive chart, now in its second iteration, to both enhance his own understanding and assist SMBs in identifying potential suppliers.

Street Fight Daily: Starbucks Launches Mobile Ordering, a Recap of Google’s Local Search Updates

A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology… Never Wait in Line Again: Starbucks Rolls Out Mobile Ordering Nationwide (Mashable)… The New Google Local Search Display (Search Engine Land)… Postmates Unveils Revamped Platform, Announces 4 Million Deliveries (TechCrunch)…

ShopKeep’s Richelson: You Have to Specialize, Then Grow

“There is no way a company can start with a holistic service. You have to specialize then grow. But I will say because of the cloud it’s very easy to bolt on other providers to create a holistic service,” said ShopKeep founder Jason Richelson about branching out beyond his company’s initial focus on SMB point-of-sale software.

Getting Real: What SMBs Can Realistically Expect from Social Media

Small business owners don’t sign up with digital agencies for mediocre results. When SMBs pay for hyperlocal services like social media management, they expect to be wowed. For hyperlocal vendors working with SMB clients, failing to set clear expectations is a recipe for disaster.

Locable Zeroes in on Marketing Solutions for Digitally Challenged Merchants

There are 28 million small businesses in America, and Locable considers all of them candidates for its expanded “Main Street for the 21st Century” marketing services. Now Locable is reaching out to those millions of small businesses through its IMPACT Marketing Suite. We caught up with Locable founder and CEO Brian Ostrovsky to talk about his new initiative.

Estimote’s Cheney: Beacons Will Solve Online-to-Offline Attribution

There’s never been a good way to attribute the actions consumers take in the physical world to what they do online. Beacons are the answer to the attribution loop problem, said Estimote co-founder Steve Cheney.

Street Fight Daily: Stripe’s New Mobile Commerce Tool, Can Google Keep Up With Changes in Search?

A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology… Stripe Introduces New Tools to Simplify Mobile Shopping (New York Times)… Google Gears Up for Search Shift to Mobile and Vertical (Ad Age)… Etsy Opens To Manufacturing (TechCrunch)…

How SMBs Can Boost Their Online Reviews Without Breaking the Bank

Online reviews play an increasingly important role in helping local businesses stand out from the competition. But getting that strong rating on Yelp – or TripAdvisor, Google Plus, or Foursquare – requires a concerted effort on the part of the local business and its marketing partners. Here are some steps that can help earn a few more five-star votes.

Street Fight Daily: Facebook’s Sandberg on SMBs, Etsy Will Try Same-Day Delivery

A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology… Sheryl Sandberg: Facebook Pages Are Mobile Presence for Small Businesses (Wall Street Journal)… Etsy Will Test Same-Day Delivery Option in New York City (Recode)… Google, Twitter, and Publishers Seek Faster Web (New York Times)…

Why Brands and SMBs Need Each Other for Success in Local

Product brands commit more than $22 billion in online co-op advertising funds each year, but local businesses leave approximately $1 billion of these funds untouched. That’s a lot of money. The revenue brands stand to earn by introducing local businesses to the digital age is remarkable…

Like Other Local Services Marketplaces, Amazon Will Have to Balance Competing Interests

Anyone in the local services industry could be forgiven for worrying about Amazon as an intimidating competitor. But for all of Amazon’s Goliath brand dominance in retail, it faces the same complex challenges that the rest of us face when it comes to the services industry…

Lessons Learned While Building a Hyperlocal Startup

I recently asked our sales team what they thought about serving the local market. I drilled down on what it’s like to build a hyperlocal company in today’s ever-connected world and how to best handle the inherent challenges of this unique customer base…

How Mobile Has Reshaped Google’s Product Strategy For SMBs

James Croom, the head of marketing for Google My Business, spoke with Street Fight recently about why he believes small business adoption of the web has been slower than expected, and what he’s learned about building products for merchants..

5 Tools for Creating SMB Video Promotions

As small business marketers search for new ways to capture the attention of potential customers, they’re beginning to take a closer look at online video promotions, which are cheaper than TV advertising and more eye-catching than static banner ads. Here are five tools that SMBs can use to create localized video promotions…

6 Tools for Gathering Insight from Digital Customer Interactions

A lack of time and knowledge are two factors that explain why business owners don’t take a more active role in monitoring how they’re perceived online. However, a number of hyperlocal platforms are now aiming to streamline that process by giving small businesses access to advanced marketing automation tools and analytics suites that were once reserved for national brands and agencies. Here are six platforms that businesses can use to gather insight from online customer interactions…

6 Strategies for SMBs Using Data Visualization Tools

Data digital flowHyperlocal marketing platforms are producing mountains of data for small business owners, but many local merchants aren’t quite sure of what to do with all the information they collect. Here are six strategies for local merchants who are thinking about using data visualization tools for the first time…

4 Hyperlocal Trends to Watch in 2013

2012’s rush to capture the hyperlocal audience has begun to wane as the reality sets in that while the online SMB market is huge and untapped, it remains hard to get those mom-and-pops to spend money on newfangled marketing methods. Last year’s intense startup activity has revealed four trends going into 2013…