Archive for the ‘Small Business’ Category

Google Wildfire to Reveal Strategy for Helping SMBs Win with Social Media Marketing at SoMoConf

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Over the last few years, Google’s Wildfire has put a lot of effort and attention in helping big brands improve their engagement at the local level via very sophisticated social media marketing tools and solutions.  Wildfire’s capabilities have proven successful for major brands like Amazon, Puma, Sony, Target and many more, but now Wildfire is making its way to Main Street.

Ohad Tzur, North America Lead of the Wildfire Partnership Program.

Ohad Tzur, North America lead of the Wildfire Partnership Program, will be joining us at Social + Mobile: Show Me the Money! to highlight Wildfire’s interest in helping small and medium-sized businesses with social marketing.  With a host of case studies to pull from, Ohad will show the value in approaching digital marketing in more holistic way by combining Google’s Wildfire technology with the widely used AdWords and other Google advertising solutions.

“At Google, we are focused on providing what we call, ‘Integrated Marketing’ solutions that approach digital advertising as a whole,” Ohad said.  “With Wildfire we want to align our client’s social campaigns with the rest of their digital activity in order to improve reach, engagement and effectiveness.”

In addition to showing how SMBs can benefit from an integrated marketing approach, Ohad will also discuss the opportunities for organizations to partner with Wildfire.  From scalability to going to market, he will help potential partners understand how they can use Wildfire to help their clients win with social media.

Wildfire is a social marketing suite by Google that combines social promotion and advertising software, mobile and desktop page management, messaging and real-time analytics in one platform.  Prior to his current role with Wildfire, Ohad worked closely with Google’s channel sales partners and helped identify growth opportunities. Before joining Google, Ohad completed his MBA studies at MIT Sloan School of Management with a focus on online platforms and global strategy.

For more info on SoMoConf, check out the full agenda and register today. See you in the windy city!

Websites Viewed as Most Effective Marketing Method by SMBs but Challenges are Prevalent

Monday, July 22, 2013

Jason Peaslee is the Managing Partner of Thrive Analytics, a marketing research and analytics consulting firm. His career spans more than 20 years in marketing, advertising, product development, research, and business management.  Before founding Thrive Analytics in 2010, he held several senior leadership roles at AT&T, Reynolds & Reynolds, Berry Network, & The Berry Company.

Thrive Analytics, a marketing research and analytics consulting firm, has released results from their latest “Local Pulse Survey” conducted on 1,021 SMBs. Survey results show websites were viewed as the most effective media followed by social media, and print yellow pages (Figure 1). This is great news for industry providers that are selling websites as the foundation for additional digital products and services. In fact, 37% of SMBs surveyed stated they were going to increase their budgets for websites over the next twelve months followed by Search and Social Media (Figure 2). While this is positive, challenges still remain particularly around the loyalty of SMBs to current website providers.

Thrive Analytics gauged the SMB’s loyalty to current Website providers via the standard “intent to recommend” Net Promoter question. When the results were compiled, the website provider’s Net Promoter Scores® ranged from a -57 to +15 with an overall average of -25 (Figure 3). This indicates there are more detractors, who tarnish your image and readily switch to competitors, than promoters, who help generate profitable growth.

Several factors contribute to the overall low scores, including no or limited contact from current providers, poor results, and lack of product customization. These low scores have contributed to high expected churn rates with 40% of SMBs expecting to change providers within the next 12 months.

This illustrates the opportunity as well as challenges industry providers’ face in the SMB space. The sales/growth is there, however most will be lost out the back door. Turning over 40% of your customer base annually puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the performance of an organization. In fact, on average it costs 10X more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain a customer. Focusing on creating loyal customers and engendering it as the DNA of your culture is the best path toward sustainable growth.

In order to better gauge the attributes SMBs are looking for, Thrive Analytics asked SMBs to rate the importance of 10 attributes and the performance of their current website provider. Results show that the ability to make changes any time, customization and regular contact/follow-up are the key attributes SMBs are looking for in website providers. What is your organization doing to engender loyalty in your customer base? You can’t manage what you don’t measure. 

About “Local Pulse Survey”

For the past 3 years, Thrive Analytics has been conducting “Local Pulse” surveys on small and medium-sized businesses to gauge their attitudes about the economy, what they are doing with their marketing budgets, what role social and digital media are playing in generating leads for them, and how satisfied they are with their providers. The survey was conducted in June 2013 on 1,021 SMBs.

To obtain a copy of this report please contact jason.peaslee@thriveanalytics.com.

New Survey Shows SMBs Need Help With Digital Media and Prefer Working with Trusted Partner/Advisor

Monday, July 15, 2013

Jason Peaslee is the Managing Partner of Thrive Analytics, a marketing research and analytics consulting firm. His career spans more than 20 years in marketing, advertising, product development, research, and business management.  Before founding Thrive Analytics in 2010, he held several senior leadership roles at AT&T, Reynolds & Reynolds, Berry Network, & The Berry Company.

Thrive Analytics, a research and analytics consulting firm, has released a new report, “2013 Small Business Economic & Advertising Outlook,” offering a detailed look into the small and medium-sized business space. The report highlights SMBs attitudes about the economy over the next 12 months, the planned changes in their promotional/marketing budgets, the biggest challenges they face with online/digital advertising, and what current providers can start and stop doing to better serve them.

One highlight from the survey, conducted on 1,021 SMBs, is that nearly half of SMBs stated their biggest challenge with digital media is not having enough knowledge or expertise (Figure 1). This was closely followed by not having enough time to become knowledgeable at 42%. When asked about the specific areas SMBs need help, Search, Websites, Social Media and Mobile Marketing were at the top of the list with 30%, 24%, 23%, and 18% respectively (Figure 2). This presents a tremendous opportunity for the industry to help educate and guide SMBs in these areas.

When asked about current service levels they are receiving, the vast majority of SMBs surveyed stated they are frustrated with the current levels. Fifty-six percent of SMBs work with 2-5 providers; however 76% would prefer to work with one trusted source as they want someone that will better support their needs (Figure 3).

When asked what the providers could stop doing to better serve them the majority of responses referenced sales reps not being prepared, making mistakes, being pushy, not knowing the SMBs business…basically providing limited value to the business. Conversely, when asked what the providers could start doing to better serve SMBs the responses were all the characteristics of a Trusted Advisor. They want someone that is knowledgeable, accurate, trustworthy, listens to their needs, and contacts them on a regular basis.

These are not new concepts. We’ve heard them over and over again in the industry, however providers continue to struggle with meeting those needs. The ones that can codify and embody these traits in all their reps will have a decided advantage in the local marketplace. What is your organization doing to address this situation?

About “2013 Small Business Economic & Advertising Outlook”

For the past 3 years, Thrive Analytics has been conducting “Local Pulse” surveys on small and medium sized businesses to gauge their attitudes about the economy, what they are doing with their marketing budgets, what role social and digital media are playing in generating leads for them, and how satisfied they are with their providers. Thrive Analytics used findings from the June 2013 “Local Pulse Survey”, fielded to 1,021 Small and Medium Sized Businesses from our Connected Experience Panel™, in the preparation of this report.

The report includes the following charts/figures:

  • 1-1 SMB Outlook on Economy over next 12 Months
  • 1-2 SMB Sales Outlook over next 12 Months
  • 2-1 Mediums used for Promotional/Marketing Efforts
  • 3-1 SMB Promotional/Marketing Budget Changes over next 12 Months
  • 3-2 SMB Planned Change in Media Spend Online vs. Traditional
  • 3-3 SMB Planned Change in Media Spend by Medium
  • 4-1 SMB Planned Areas of Reduction
  • 4-2 SMB Reasons for Reduction
  • 5-1 SMB Planned Areas for Increases
  • 5-2 SMB Reasons for Increase
  • 6-1 Promotional/Marketing Methods that have been Most Effective
  • 6-2 How SMBs Measure the Effectiveness of Current Promotional/Marketing Methods
  • 6-3 Why SMBs Don’t Use Other Tracking Methods
  • 7-1 SMBs Biggest Challenge with Online/Digital Media
  • 7-2 Top Promotional/Marketing Areas in Which SMBs Need the Most Help
  • 8-1 SMBs Preference to Work with Several Marketing Specialists or One Provider
  • 8-2 What Can Promotional/Marketing Providers Start and Stop Doing to Better Serve Them

To obtain a copy of this report please contact jason.peaslee@thriveanalytics.com.

Local Marketing Experts Discuss Importance of Helping Small Businesses Win

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Google estimates that 97 percent of consumers seek information about local businesses via online search.  Yet, many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are still difficult to find online. During the 2013 Search Starts Here Conference, industry analysts, experts and influencers discussed the tremendous opportunity to help these businesses with their digital marketing efforts.  Here is a two-minute video of numerous thought leaders talking about the value in helping SMBs win:

 

SMBs Have Some Major Advantages Over Brands in Social Marketing

Friday, June 14, 2013

In my Street Fight article, I discuss the advantages SMBs have over national brands when it comes to social marketing and how they can leverage their “local” knowledge to build fans, follow leads, offer discounts and improve their reputation.

With the advent of social media tools, SMBs now have a great opportunity to compete with national brands in their local communications.  On social media, national brands must manage thousands of local pages or even just one page with sometimes over a million followers and it isn’t easy.  The flexibility, and local positioning of SMBs make them better suited for this kind of local engagement.

Read my full article on Street Fight.

Foursquare Pilots Small Business Promotions in New York City

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Foursquare

The local search space has been abuzz about the numerous changes that Foursquare has made so far in 2013, and we can add this latest update to the list!

According to Ad Age, Foursquare is testing a pilot program for a handful of New York City small businesses that allows them to promote their individual Foursquare listings and content within its mobile app.

Previously, small businesses on Foursquare could only promote themselves by offering discounts or deals to customers when they check in. Now these select NYC businesses can attract nearby customers by promoting a photo of their product, a good user review, or simply their listing.

Foursquare Promoted Post

This is Foursquare’s first program to generate revenue from small business. It will be interesting to see if it grows to cities beyond New York and if small businesses – and consumers – latch on.

For more information, head over to Ad Age.

Facebook Receives Backlash from Small Businesses

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Change.org

One small business owner is calling for Facebook fan engagement to remain an even playing field, and she’s not alone. A change.org petition from a New Jersey business owner has made the Internet rounds over the past few weeks and attracted 500 supporters in just a few days.

The petitioner writes:

“All of the changes Facebook has made in the last 2 weeks REALLY, REALLY effects people with small businesses. Now our posts are seen by virtually no one except very, very devoted fans and family. I understand not “everyone” is going to see our posts, but this is outrageous. I have over 12,000 fans and I’m lucky to have a few hundred see our post”

Other business owners agree, and have shared comments on the site voicing their concerns.

Many small businesses that can’t afford paid advertising focus instead on organic marketing through engagement on Facebook. They feel that updates to Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm, which now includes paid posts from bigger advertisers, puts them at an unfair advantage.

There is only so much room on a newsfeed, and many small businesses think their posts are now going unseen by the followers they’ve worked to secure because they can’t afford to pay.

A Facebook rep told Huffington Post that the social network is aware of small businesses’ financial limitations and that the company offers both paid and organic posts.

What do you think? With all the new changes to Facebook is organic marketing still a viable option on the platform? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

Bonfyre App Enables More Relevant and Timely Social Media Experience

Monday, May 13, 2013

Bonfyre App

These days, our Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds provide us with updates from hundreds of our connections about everything from news headlines and restaurant check-ins to engagement announcements and vacation photos. Many of us spend time scrolling through all this buzz looking for information we actually care about.

I came across an interesting article about a new mobile app called Bonfyre, which is looking to better personalize the social media experience by enabling users to share relevant information with the people who actually care about specific topics. The app founders believe that major social networks are limiting in that connections become outdated over time and lose their value and relevance. Bonfyre works to improve the social media experience by creating pop-up networks that are timely, relevant and private to those participating.

The app is being aimed at both personal users and businesses:

  • Personal users are encouraged to sign up to create private networks to share updates, photos, links and also live chat with other members. Bonfyre says these private networks can replace messy e-mail chains between groups and cut down on newsfeed clutter on bigger networks.
  • For business use, Bonfyre is marketed as an events-based app where users at a sporting game, charity event, conference or concert can share relevant content with those in attendance (Brands like the St. Louis Rams are utilizing the app). Businesses can engage in the conversation and keep an eye on what they’re saying and sharing about them as well.

I think Bonfyre also presents an interesting opportunity for local businesses to share relevant content with their customers. For example, a local ice cream shop could launch a Bonfyre to share promotions on its latest flavors with its most loyal customers, or a fashion boutique could setup a Bonfyre to watch a red carpet event and comment on similar looks they sell in-store.

It appears that Bonfyre has attracted experienced innovators to their cause as Jim McKelvey, Co-Founder of mobile payment company Square is a member of the board.

Download Bonfyre on either iTunes or Google Play and let us know what potential you see for businesses to leverage this new type of social media experience.

Trevor Nadeau of Yellow Medya Gives ‘Wake-up Call’ to Local Search Industry

Monday, May 13, 2013

In his discussion “Lost on the Map” at the Web 3.0 conference in Istanbul, Trevor Nadeau, managing director of Yellow Medya, discusses the problems local and multi-location businesses face due to their incorrect or missing business listings.  From store locators with locations in the middle of the sea, to major brands missing in digital local search, Nadeau discusses what he describes as a “wake-up call” for the local search industry regarding the need for professionals to make sure local businesses can be found and found accurately. Here is the video of his presentation:

‘Search Starts Here’: Facebook Talks Small Business Social Marketing

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

In our closing session for this year’s conference, Dan Levy, director of small business at Facebook, sat down with Greg Sterling.

Dan talked about the importance of local search at Facebook, saying there are 15 million small businesses who have pages on Facebook.  Users are responding.  There are 645 million page views in U.S. of local pages in the average week, and 70 percent of users in North America are connected to at least one local business.

Dan counseled small businesses to use the free product, Facebook Pages, to create a presence and begin interacting with customers.

For those businesses that want to go beyond Pages, Dan said there are two main options.  “We’ve built a number of ad products that work from the biggest brands in the world to the local small businesses.”

The first is a way of targeting and reaching customers that you aren’t connected with, with targeting based on the geography, age, demographics, male/female, kids, interests.  The second is a sponsored story by taking the things your customers are already saying or already doing and promoting it.

Dan said tools like Facebook Offers, Facebook Nearby, Graph Search, and Facebook Home on Android will continue to help small businesses engage with customers.  And he said that Facebook isn’t really a new approach to marketing – it’s rooted simply in how businesses and customers have interacted for years.

“We hear small businesses say ‘We are trying to grow our business … we are trying to find new customers.’  We know that businesses, since the beginning of time, have relied on word of mouth to drive sales.  That’s what we’re trying to do – provide them with a word of mouth megaphone.”

“The first thing I’d be doing is talking to your small businesses about what actually has always worked in their business.  A lot of people think about social media as a new property.  We don’t think about it that way at all.  Ask them what’s worked in the past.  If it’s coupons, maybe you should do Offers.  At a minimum, set up a Page.”

In terms of measurement, Dan said that businesses need to think beyond clicks and that measurement doesn’t have to be complicated.

“We sometimes forget the simple things you can do.  Just ask customers when they come in ‘how did you hear about us?’  That can be more useful sometimes than doing a big study.”

Greg asked Dan about Facebook’s interest in potential partnerships, and Dan indicated the field was open to find an approach.

“We have not worked very well historically with partners.  Almost all the Pages have been dome by small businesses themselves or perhaps a small agency.  We think that’s a big opportunity … So to the extent that there’s partners that have reach, relevance, and have relationships with the small businesses, we’d love to work with them.”