Posts Tagged ‘SMB’

Local or National, Big or Small – Why You Need a Mobile Campaign Now

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Please join LSA and UpSnap for an exclusive webinar presentation next Thursday, August 28 from 2 pm – 3 pm EST.

eMarketer estimates that spending on mobile advertising will soar 83% to nearly $18 billion this year. Yet this year’s spending growth will raise mobile’s share of the ad market to only 9.8% despite consumers spending a quarter of their media time on mobile devices. The opportunity is clear and during this webinar, UpSnap will provide the strategies and tools you need to quickly launch successful results-driven mobile campaigns.

UpSnap provides highly-targeted, data-driven mobile advertising to attract the ideal audience for brands big and small. Combining first-party proprietary data and real-time analytics, UpSnap goes beyond location to deliver site agnostic and results-driven campaigns that produce qualified, engaged customers. UpSnap tailors each campaign to align with unique business goals, delivering the right customers for more meaningful exposure and better business results.

Spots are limited so reserve your seat today!

Top 5 Local Ad Stats of the Week: Daily Deals & Digital Coupons

Friday, August 8, 2014

While the daily deal craze has somewhat settled down over the last few years, there are still strong supporters of this marketing tactic.  And with the proliferation of smartphones and mobile devices, digital coupons are becoming more widespread and offer conveniences that paper coupons can’t.

Some marketers find that daily deal websites are ideal for introducing new products, brands or businesses to the market. People tend to be more willing to try something new if there is a deal attached to it, rather than pay full price for something they aren’t sure about.

All in all, people like discounts and here are some stats on how daily deals and online coupons are functioning in the marketplace:

  • 53% of SMBs said daily deals are the most effective technology tool in attracting new customers. (Constant Contact)
  • 80% of marketers have no plans to use daily deal sites, such as Groupon or LivingSocial, in the near future. (Social Media Examiner)
  • More than 70% of digital coupon users will use a mobile device to redeem a discount in 2014. (eMarketer)
  • When asked about unplanned purchases, 21% stated they bought from daily deal websites and 28% claimed they buy products they had never bought before from daily deal websites. (Ryan Partnership)
  • 68% strongly believe that digital coupons have a positive impact on a retailer’s brand. (RetailMeNot)

Be sure to check back next Friday for our next edition of Top 5 Local Ad Stats of the Week. Have a great weekend!

Shift to Video Continues with New Yelp and Facebook Updates

Friday, August 8, 2014

Video continues to take a central role online for consumers and publishers.  A 2014 Cisco study predicts that by 2018, 79% of all Internet traffic will be video – and Yelp and Facebook are working to accelerate that growth.

Yelp recently introduced a new feature allowing users to post 3-12 second videos related to local businesses in order to better capture ambiance, lighting, noise and other features that are hard to capture with photos.  Currently, the feature is only accessible on the Yelp app for iPhone users but is expected to be available for Android soon. 

Image Source: Business Insider

Bringing the sights, sounds and motion from a local businesses to the digital world is going to be extremely helpful for a wide range of verticals. According to a study by Animoto, 73% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase after watching videos explaining a product or service.  In addition, Yelp users post around 23,000 photos each day, and that kind of activity should help the review site generate video content at a similarly rapid pace.

While Yelp does provide some tips and examples of what a good video looks like, the downside to the feature is that there doesn’t seem to be much the company can do in regards to video quality.  On the other hand, poor quality videos should be less a reflection of the business and more so of the uploader.

Facebook is also putting some effort into growing the influence and overall presence of videos on the social network.  In March this year, Facebook introduced a new video ad unit that is 15 seconds long and runs inside a user’s news feed. The ads automatically play without sound and when clicked, they expand to fill the screen with sound.

With Facebook’s often cited 1.5 million small and medium-sized business advertisers, the introduction of these ads may seem like a big win for Facebook and SMBs alike, but it hasn’t happened yet.  The ads are still in preliminary stages and according to a story on Re/code, Facebook is running tests and working to get users ready for the full roll out of these ads by showing more autoplay videos in the news feed.

“We have to get the consumer experience right, and autoplay is obviously a big deal,” Dan Levy, Facebook’s director of small businesses, told Re/code.

The time table isn’t clear, but much of the testing of the new ad format is taking place with the help and ad dollars of big brands.  The cost for these ads are well outside the typical SMB ad budget, with Mashable saying in February that ads start at $600,000.

The continuing shift towards video content for consumers and publishers alike is changing the complexion of the digital world. And this shift is only being accelerated as big names like Yelp and Facebook invest in video solutions and products.

LSA Member Innovation in Local: Acquisio

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

This week we hear from Acquisio, a high-powered ad management technology that enables digital and local search marketers to optimize their search campaigns and report on social, mobile and display initiatives, all in one easy-to-use dashboard. With more than 90 Google Channel Partners and 500 agencies using the platform, Acquisio has allowed companies to automatically track, report on and manage a large number of local search accounts and ad campaigns.

We caught up with Marie Lossowski, marketing program manager at Acquisio, to learn more:

What local problems does Acquisio solve? How?
1. We help small businesses maximize their limited budgets.
Budget management is a big problem. A lot of companies struggle with spending a client’s entire budget without going over. With so many small accounts, local search agencies often pause campaigns before the month is over because they are afraid of overspending. That means their clients get less clicks and calls and end up disappointed and churn.

With our automated bid and budget management technology not only do we spend close to 100% of the budget, in local search we typically generate double the clicks. The reason for this is because our system updates every 30 minutes. The technology makes constant changes to ensure the campaign performs well and the budget is spent intelligently throughout the entire month, until the last few minutes of the contract, helping SMBs maximize their ad spend.

2. We save local search agencies time by automating their reporting.
When you’re a local search agency and have a large number of SMB customers you can’t afford to spend time preparing client reports. So we came up with a solution that creates a template for local search agencies to use each month. The reports are compelling and interactive, even allowing customers to listen to the calls that came in. Local businesses get great reports and agencies save time – it’s a win, win.

3. We help prove campaign value and provide actionable data to our local clients.
One way we provide valuable insights is with clear reports and filter tools that help easily identify opportunities to improve campaign performance, and another more localized solution we provide agencies with is call tracking.

Our platform integrates a large number of call tracking services from around the world and these integrations allow our clients to see which local ads and keywords are doing well based on the number of calls generated and the quality of those calls (which can be evaluated through call recordings). Then agencies can use our technology to act on the data collected and improve campaign performance.

What makes Acquisio innovative?
We create technology solutions that solve real world problems without requiring a lot of historical data to make decisions. We provide our clients with solutions that generate results from day one and that is something no one else is doing.

Our real time approach to bid and budget management is also unique – we are the only business in the industry that offers anything like it. And so far the results have been great, with automated campaign adjustments every half hour companies are seeing more campaign clicks and lower CPC.

How does Acquisio make the local space better for advertisers and/or consumers?
We help local agencies automate and optimize their local search efforts, and the agencies help local businesses improve campaign results. That means when we deliver more value, optimize local accounts, and effectively spend ad money better than anyone else in the search industry, everyone in the local space is happy.

What is next in local?
Mobile is a huge issue and it starts with mobile landing pages. Figuring out how to build mobile landing pages for SMBs and driving conversions and calls through mobile is key. It should be high on the priority list for anyone involved in local. Local companies also need to learn how to effectively take advantage of display opportunities, that’s one of the next areas for innovation.

For more info, check out the video below, visit www.acquisio.com or call them toll free at 1-866-493-9070.

LSA Member Innovation in Local: MatchCraft

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

This week we hear from MatchCraft, a search marketing technology company that supports publishers and local advertising companies around the globe. The company’s AdVantage platform is a fully automated SEM solution that delivers campaign results with little to no human intervention and works to drive ROI for campaigns of any size - including micro-budgets of $100 (or less) per month. MatchCraft has been around since 1998 and operates in 21 countries and 14 languages. 

We caught up with Jill Hammond, vice president of marketing at MatchCraft, to learn more:

What local problem(s) does MatchCraft solve? How?
We all love the thrill of managing large media spends but we find the biggest challenge most SEM technology providers face is how to get great results for low-budget search campaigns. Many of the merchants our clients work with are spending $2000, $500, even $100 per month; with budgets at that level there’s not a lot of room for the publisher to dedicate campaign management resources to tasks like customized campaign setup or ongoing optimization.

At MatchCraft, we’ve created a fully automated solution that delivers excellent campaign results with little to no human intervention. Once the campaigns are up and running, AdVantage adjusts bids hourly, which means more high-quality clicks at lower cost.

What makes MatchCraft innovative?
We’ve been a small, nimble team for more than 15 years. The search marketing landscape has shifted hundreds of times during MatchCraft’s existence, and we’ve shifted with it, building products and platforms that meet the needs of our specific customer base and the merchants they service.

We’re innovative because not only do we provide our customers with reliable, high performance products, we are also committed to ensuring those products are easy to sell.  We empower their sales teams with the training and materials, online and in person, needed to garner greater market share. MatchCraft delivers great results to our clients because everything we do is built around our customers’ needs and wants.

How does MatchCraft make the local space better for advertisers and/or consumers?
Businesses mostly want the same thing from search marketing: more customers. MatchCraft’s technology delivers advertisers not only more potential customers but better qualified potential customers. Because our campaigns are so highly targeted by both location and content, the people who end up clicking on the ads are more likely to be the right people. And higher conversion means higher ROI, happy merchants and better retention rates for our clients.

Consumers also win when search campaigns match the right businesses with the right searches. Whether you’re looking for a plumber or a dentist or a used car, relevant results mean you’re getting the information you want at the exact moment when you’re looking for it. That’s what a good online search experience is all about.

What is next in local?
Two things, and they’re related. The first is clearly mobile. As users continue to shift their searches to their smartphones, we need to focus on helping merchants increase their presence in mobile search results. It’s essential that mobile ads incorporate click-to-call and other immediate contact options so users who are on the go can actually reach the business they’re interested in buying from.

The second thing all the companies in our space are working on is conversion attribution – all the way through to the sale. That’s easy for ecommerce companies, but historically it’s been really hard for local businesses to connect online search advertising with customers who walk in their front door and make purchases. Mobile is the key bridge, and we’re working hard to help our customers connect the dots from search to click to call to conversion.

For more info, check out the video below, contact Jill directly at jill@matchcraft.com or visit www.matchcraft.com

MathCraft’s AdVantage SEM Platform from MatchCraft on Vimeo.

SoMoConf Speaker Spotlight: Shannon Kinney, Founder, Dream Local Digital

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Today’s Social + Mobile: Show Me the Money! speaker spotlight features Shannon Kinney, founder and client success officer at Dream Local Digital, a digital marketing agency that has worked with thousands of small businesses across North America. She and her team specialize in offering online marketing assistance such as websites, email marketing, social media marketing, SEO, SEM and more.

Shannon Kinney, Founder & Client Success Officer at Dream Local Digital

Shannon has over 15 years of experience in the development of successful Internet products, sales and marketing strategies and has worked on the teams developing successful Internet brands such as cars.com, careerbuilder.com, and over 60 online media properties for newspapers all over the U.S. and Canada. Prior to that, she spent over 10 years in media sales and sales management in Maine.

We asked Shannon a few questions about her upcoming SoMoConf session, and here is what she had to say:

What are the key topics you’ll discuss during your session?
We will review top takeaways from the LMIA report and expand to cover some of the latest case studies on companies leveraging social media to build brand awareness, reach and serve customers, develop relationships and audience.

What about your session are you most excited about?
Sharing some of the great tips and best practices that we leverage every day in our work with online marketing, and making sure that every attendee leaves with ideas they can implement themselves!

Why is it important that attendees not miss your session?
Social media is one of the most powerful tools to engage your community, promote your content and your advertising products and this session will provide several tips on how to make the most out of your time invested!

What is your favorite social media platform to use?
I personally favor Twitter and Instagram as communication platforms, LinkedIn for business communication, and love Facebook for its broad reach and application. I also spend a lot of time with Pinterest and Snapchat!

Click here to learn more about the SoMoConf event or register now!

LSA Member Innovation in Local: Marquette Group

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Today we hear from Marquette Group, a cross-channel, digital agency managing marketing and advertising efforts for a long list of brands, including Edward Jones, ServiceMaster, Bank of America, Roto-Rooter and Nationwide Insurance. The Company began in 1963 as a Yellow Pages agency and over the years has successfully made the transition to digital. Marquette Group is headquartered in Peoria, Illinois with offices in Atlanta, St. Louis and Milwaukee. They recently placed among the 2014 Best Places to Work in Illinois.

We caught up with David Lenzen, EVP sales and marketing at Marquette Group, to learn more:

What local problem(s) does Marquette solve? How?
We’re in good company when we say that erroneous and missing data is a significant concern in the local space. It’s pervasive and the reason we focus intently on data management.

We find that brands typically don’t have a strong platform or strategy for collecting and using localized content. Meanwhile, at the SMB level, the challenge is recognizing the need then finding time to manage and create content across the platforms where consumers are looking–Yelp, Google+, Facebook, Foursquare, etc.

We offer the strategy, the platform, the content management, and of course, the performance analytics for brands and their locations.

What makes Marquette innovative?
We bring innovation to both campaign strategy and the technological developments needed to meet those strategies. Strategic innovation includes not just a client-specific, but location-specific understanding of goals and market nuances. We then construct the marketing programs with a unique mix of providers’ digital products combined with our own search solutions and proprietary client location data management systems.

How does Marquette make the local space better for advertisers?
Marquette Group acts as a single source for building integrated, efficient campaigns to drive results for our clients versus acting as an agency focused on leveraging and selling a singular media type. By bringing simplicity to a complex advertising marketplace and remaining media neutral, Marquette Group focuses on connecting our clients’ national brands to local consumers exactly how those consumers are searching at key moments in the customer lifecycle—regardless of medium or device. Our focus is performance and our loyalty is to the advertisers’ brand and their local lead generation goals.

What is next in local?
Social and video still have a long way to go for local and were highlighted on our 2014 predictions blog. Understanding how to use social and video for lead generation and loyalty building is still new territory for the majority of local businesses. Worth mentioning, too, is the need for greater use of content in social given the growing impact on SEO.


For more information, visit www.marquettegroup.com, email David Lenzen, EVP Sales and Marketing, or follow Marquette Group on Twitter @marquettegroup or find them on LinkedIn.

Yelp Adds New Direct Message Feature

Monday, June 30, 2014

These days, local marketing best practices highlight the importance of one-on-one engagement with consumers more than ever before. A company’s product or service may be exemplary, but in our increasingly digital and social environment, consumers are often paying just as much attention to how well businesses interact with them and address their questions and concerns.

In a move that reflects this trend, Yelp recently introduced a new feature that allows users to directly message a business via its business’ listing page. The tool, which is available to any business that has claimed its Yelp listing, relays user messages directly to a business through its Yelp account as well as via email. The email feature is a nice perk because it allows businesses to read and respond to user messages directly from their email account without logging into Yelp.

Yelp’s new tool is a great idea because it creates a simple and easy-to-use way for consumers to communicate directly with businesses and visa-versa. Consumers generally need to call a business or visit its website or social media pages to request the information they are looking for. Now, consumers will be able to contact a business they find via Yelp without leaving ever leaving the platform. Businesses often want the ability to easily mine and respond to potential leads. Now, they will be able to view and respond to inquiries directly from their email inbox.

It really all comes down to convenience. Rather than navigating through mechanized voice prompts or website pages, consumers want the ability to reach out to businesses for what they need wherever and whenever they conduct a search. In order to accommodate this, businesses want faster mechanisms for addressing consumer feedback that don’t require them to take many additional steps.

The sticking point will be how well businesses take advantage of this new tool. Unanswered or delayed messages can become a problem – especially since Yelp will publicly track business’ response times to inquiries. Yelp will also allow businesses to turn off the direct message feature. If businesses go this route, it could send a bad signal to Yelp users about how much the business values them – potentially leading to lost leads.

Yelp’s ability to continuously innovate its product offering to reflect consumer and business trends has given the company a big advantage in the local market. We’ll be watching to see how this new tool is used within the market and whether both consumers and businesses catch on.

Top 10 Tips for Local Search Success

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Business owners today see all the different ways that consumers are seeking out, discovering and considering local businesses, and they don’t know where to start their marketing efforts.

In our column for Search Engine Land this month, I offer my 10 tips for best positioning local businesses in today’s ever-changing local search environment. These include:

1)     Ensure key information about your business is accurate & accessible

2)     Populate your top local business listings

3)     Build a website with the user experience as the key priority

4)     Optimize your website for search

5)     Start a blog to provide a steady stream of content

6)     Leverage visual content, including photos and videos

7)     Ensure your business website is mobile-friendly

8)     Engage on social media channels used by your target customers

9)     Encourage reviews to add credibility to your business

10)  Pay attention to your success – and adjust your approach as necessary

Click here to read my full column on how to integrate each of these tips into your local business strategy.

Amazon to Launch Marketplace for Local Services

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Amazon.com has plans to launch a new marketplace for local services, according to a report by Reuters.  The new offering will compete directly with existing local market players including Yelp and Angie’s List – as well as home improvement chains such as Home Depot and Lowe’s – which provide resources for customers to connect with local service providers.

Third-party vendors make up about 40% of Amazon’s sales, and these existing relationships provide the critical mass needed to have a meaningful impact in local.  As the Reuters report notes, Amazon will refine the tool much like the company did with AmazonFresh, its grocery delivery service, by gauging demand and testing logistics in local markets before introducing the product nationwide.

Amazon’s move isn’t surprising to those who attended our 2014 Local Search Association Conference in late April. Industry experts Matt Booth, Neal Polachek, and Greg Sterling predicted that “Amazon will score big with SMBs beyond Amazon Web Services” in the near future.

While there are few details, I believe Amazon is getting into the local services space for a few reasons. For one, a large number of consumers are looking for local service providers. According to YP’s most recent Local Insights Report, of the top 10 most searched local categories, seven are service providers.  Plus, there are billions of local searches each month via digital and mobile, many of which are related to local services.

Second, while the local services space is massive, it has been difficult for media companies to turn a profit given the unique needs and offerings required for each locale. Industry observers estimate that the home repair and improvement market alone represents a $250 billion opportunity, and cracking the local services nut presents substantial upside for the marketplace that can do it best.

Finally, as search traffic continues to fragment across platforms, the local services offering that provides the best user experience across the board will have the greatest potential for success.  Given Amazon’s strong brand and standing as a leading e-commerce platform – in addition to its focus on reviews and security – the company is well-positioned to capture the entire purchase process for local services in one place.

While there are many other reasons that we are probably not aware of yet, this is a big move, and we will be watching it closely.