Posts Tagged ‘small businesses’

Yodle Survey: Small Businesses Underestimate the Importance of Online Reviews

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Although 9 in 10 consumers say they are influenced by online reviews, a large number of small business owners don’t recognize the importance of reviews in their customers’ decision process, according to the results of Yodle’s inaugural “Small Business and Online Reviews Survey” released yesterday.

Yodle’s December 2013 survey polled 300 SMB owners nationwide across a large array of service industries to get their perspective on online reviews.

The most significant findings include:

1. Only half (50%) of SMB owners think positive reviews are important.

  • In fact, almost one in four (23%) believe that it’s unimportant.

2. Most small business owners aren’t receiving or asking for online reviews.

  • 55% of SMB owners don’t receive any online reviews.
  • 19% of SMB owners receive an average of only 1-5 online reviews per month.
  • 24% of SMB owners don’t know if they receive online reviews.
  • Only 13% of SMB owners are approaching customers about posting online reviews.

3. A significant number of SMB owners aren’t responding to or monitoring for online reviews.

  • Only 20% of SMB owners respond to online reviews.
  • 68% of SMB owners don’t spend any time monitoring for online reviews.

4. SMB owners don’t effectively leverage customers’ online reviews.

  • Just 14% of SMBs post customer reviews to their websites.
5. Many SMB owners believe that the online reviews system is unfair.
  • 61% of SMB owners think that review sites favor businesses that pay to advertise with them, while only 10% don’t believe that to be the case.
  • 50% of SMB owners said they are unfairly impacted by negative reviews compared to larger businesses, while only 20% of SMB owners contradicted that opinion
  • 43% of SMB owners stated that online reviews are unfair because they don’t verify that people who leave reviews are actual customers.

The Yodle survey provides valuable perspective on the large gap between how consumers and many SMB owners view the importance of online reviews. For SMB owners to stay competitive with one another and with larger brands, they will need to adjust their marketing strategies to place more value on managing their online reputation through the reviews medium.

SMB owners who fail to encourage positive online reviews and/or address negative online reviews will be disadvantaged in winning over consumers in their path to purchase. While the online reviews system may not be perfect from the SMB owners’ perspective, they should nonetheless work to improve their presence in it rather than simply neglecting it outright.

For more information, read the full Yodle survey here.

Local Businesses Benefit from Including Yellow Pages in Local Strategy

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

As I indicated in my previous post, today we are releasing the 2012 results from our annual “Local Media Tracking Study,” conducted by Burke, Inc., which provides key insights into the reach of various local media sources. In this second of two blog posts – my first post discussed results related to local mobile usage and overall local media trends – I highlight the study’s results on Yellow Pages usage.

The study found that a majority of U.S. adults rely on Yellow Pages offerings to find nearby products and services, generating a strong volume of quality leads for local businesses and extending the reach of both online and offline local advertising. Additionally, in every category of local media measured, adding Yellow Pages advertising resulted in material gains to reaching local consumers.

(Click here to view and/or download PDF version of infographic.)

I believe these results speak loud and clear that Yellow Pages should remain an integral component of local businesses’ online and offline media strategy. Here’s why:

  • While the number of advertising channels has grown, print and Internet Yellow Pages are among the top media sources reaching consumers searching for local businesses. Both the combined reach and number of references for print and Internet Yellow Pages offerings demonstrate the combined offering remains one of the most visible in the local space.
  • Yellow Pages deliver quality leads – consumers who are ready to contact a business and make a purchase, often within the same days as their search. Approximately 75% of Yellow Pages searches resulted in a purchase or intent to purchase. The Burke study results have been consistently strong in this area over the past three years.
  • Print and Internet Yellow Pages are unique in that they boost both the visibility of offline and online local advertising, reaching consumers that other local media do not. So while it’s important for local businesses to reach consumers searching new media, it’s equally important for them to secure visibility in traditional spaces where consumers are searching and they otherwise would miss.

SMBs Help Facebook Achieve Advertising Milestone

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Facebook

Facebook announced last week that the social network has now reached 1 million active advertisers following last year’s major overhaul of its advertising program. Advertising now represents 85% of the site’s total revenue, with the majority of those dollars streaming from small businesses.

Last year, Facebook changed the way ads are displayed on user newsfeeds and streamlined the process by which advertisers purchase space, which many are contributing to the rise in small business advertisers on the network. And there is still strong opportunity for future growth. BIA/Kelsey projects that while more than 50% of small business owners use Facebook pages and groups to promote their businesses, only 16% of small businesses actually buy advertising on the site.

Facebook is working to increase the number of SMBs advertising on the network by reaching out through their incubator program, which guides business owners through the process and benefits of advertising on the platform.

The advertising overhaul seems to be a success for Facebook thus far. The company saw a 43% growth in advertising revenue last quarter, the highest rate posted since its peak in 2011, and a large improvement over the declining growth rates experienced in 2012. Small businesses seem to be happy with the updates as well, noting that advertising with Facebook is cheaper than other platforms and often more effective.

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:

 

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.

CityGrid CEO Jason Finger to Speak at LSA Annual Conference

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

We are pleased to announce our third and final keynote speaker for the “Search Starts Here” conference: Jason Finger, CEO of CityGrid.

During our fireside chat with Jason, he will discuss the current environment and future of “local” including merchant product offers and the investment landscape.  In addition, he will give a glimpse of what’s to come for CityGrid’s properties such as Citysearch, Urbanspoon and Insider Pages.

CityGrid is one of the largest content and advertising networks for local and small businesses.  Jason oversees the entire ad network in addition to all of CityGrid’s owned and operated websites that include Citysearch.com, insiderpages.com, Urbanspoon.com and GetFelix.com.

Prior to CityGrid, he cofounded SeamlessWeb in 1999 and was responsible for growing the company’s presence to 22 cities throughout the U.S. and London.  SeamlessWeb was acquired by Aramark in 2006 at which time Jason was responsible for setting and executing corporate strategy for 260,000 employees in 19 countries.

In addition to his success at CityGrid and SeamlessWeb, Jason has been named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Innovator of the Year by the Corporate Executive Council of New York, and to Crain’s 40 Under 40 list of leading young executives.

Don’t miss out on this great discussion with Jason. Register for our conference today!

SuperMedia: Seeing Success

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Check out SuperMedia’s new “Seeing Success” ad campaign! The campaign highlights what local search marketing consultants can do for small businesses across local, mobile and digital platforms.

Take a look below, we think it looks great!

SMB Digital Marketing 2012: Groupon’s Sanjay Gupta Dispels Some Common Misconceptions about Small Business

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sanjay Gupta., VP – Global Merchant Marketing, Groupon, described their approach to winning new clients for the daily deal.  He made the important point that the term SMB can be very broad – it covers a multitude of business owners from the one person kiosk to much larger, more sophisticated concerns, and each has differing needs.

His formula for reaching merchants seems to contradict accepted tropes about small businesses:

Keep it simple – everyone talks about how busy SMBs are.  Groupon has found that they may be busy, but SMBs will spend time to learn complex ideas. He addressed what he thinks are some common misconceptions about small business:

Very Concerned About Price – Groupon has determined that with trust, SMBs will pay for product/vendor stability.

Don’t Have the Time – Gupta says that merchants will find the time for critical needs.

Know it All or Not at All – maybe, but he says that Groupon’s experience is that SMBs are willing to learn.

Groupon specializes in small, “Mom and Pop”, local merchants and is winning them over through 5 main tenets –

  • Make them successful and your success will follow
  • Support – provide both sales and account support, as well as self-serve and self-prep options
  • Empower the merchant with tracking tools – a merchant center and customer interaction tools
  • Continue that support through lifecycle management
  • Align your strategy and offerings with the evolving needs of SMBs

BIA/Kelsey anticipates strong grown in the daily deals space over the next few years as large businesses enter the fray and add their loyalty programs to the mix.  Meanwhile, it appears that Groupon is continuing to reach SMBs of all sizes with a combination of new tools and traditional customer care.

Will the New Yahoo CEO Focus on Local Businesses?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

In my Local Search column on Search Engine Land this month, I discuss Yahoo’s recent appointment of Marissa Mayer as its new president and CEO, and the opportunities that presents for local businesses should she decide to focus on reinventing the company’s once dominant local search platform, Yahoo! Local.

Mayer, who previously served as the Google executive in charge of local, maps and location services, lives and breathes local. She is also an expert in creating innovative user experiences in the space. I argue that if Mayer makes local a priority at Google – which still commands one of the largest audiences on the Web with 700 million monthly users – that local businesses will have yet another platform to actively consider for local advertising.

In my piece, I overview what Yahoo! Local looks like today and provide some thoughts on where Mayer might take the platform next. Click here to reach the full column.

vSplash’s BuzzBoard: Connected On the Go

Thursday, August 2, 2012

 

A few weeks ago I wrote about the vSplash team’s new sales tool, “BuzzBoard,” which will prove incredibly valuable for sales reps, changing the way they prep for sales calls. We thought it was worth sharing a few more highlights we didn’t get to feature in our last post.

Mapping

BuzzBoard actually has the ability to map each sales call for outside reps to better keep track. The mapping tool offers the option of sorting by geography, revenue opportunity, favorites and analytical score.

Multimedia

For the outside rep, the BuzzBoard tool provides the option of using the tablet’s video, picture and audio capabilities. For instance, the audio recording tool can be used to interview local businesses about their marketing needs and expectations, eliminating the need to take written notes and assuring the most accurate information.

Using the video and picture capability offers the option of taking moving or still images of the customer’s location. Content that can then be used for upgrading or building the business’ website and other digital presence.

BuzzBoard Audit

Another great feature is the ability to audit a business’ website “on the fly.” Using BuzzBoard, a sales consultant can input a few pieces of data – name, address, URL – and within a few minutes BuzzBoard generates an on-the-go audit.

Imagine a sales consultant or rep seeing a new business in the market and being able to generate a web audit within minutes – allowing the them to walk in informed and ahead of the curve.

Some of our members are engaging with vSplash to begin market trials with the BuzzBoard tool and we’ve heard they’re pretty impressed. We’re keeping an eye on this new product as trials move forward.

To check out more on BuzzBoard go to www.vsplash.com/platforms-and-tools/buzzboard.