Posts Tagged ‘SMB’

Top 5 Local Ad Stats of the Week: Social Media

Friday, March 28, 2014

Given the limited advertising budgets of SMBs, the reason more and more of them are starting to use social media as a marketing tool is the potential reach these platforms allow without the need to spend big.  These social outlets are becoming a popular way for brands and local businesses to connect with, inform and reward followers and fans.

In addition to organic reach, many of the most popular social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) offer paid advertising opportunities with the capability to target very specific audience segments.  These targeting capabilities are powerful on these platforms, especially when trying to reach local consumers.

Here are some compelling stats that show how the impact social media is having on consumers and local marketers:

  • Close to 6 in 10 global consumers say that friends’ social media posts influence their purchase choices. (IBM Institute for Business Value)
  • 56% of millennial local consumers said that they have interacted with social media in the past 6 months at some point in the purchase funnel. (BIA/Kelsey)
  • 94% of SMBs said they use social media for marketing and 61% said that social media helps them gain new customers. (LinkedIn)
  • Of online adults, 71% use Facebook, 18% use Twitter, 17% use Instagram, 21% use Pinterest and 22% use LinkedIn. (Pew Research)
  • Facebook has about 25 million active small business pages. (Facebook)

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

LinkedIn Survey: 94% of SMBs Use Social Media for Marketing [Infographic]

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

LinkedIn recently shared an infographic entitled, “The Year of the Social Small Business,” which highlights results from an SMB survey on the ways businesses are using social media in their marketing efforts. LinkedIn’s survey found that about 94% of SMBs said they use social media for marketing, while 61% said that social media helps them gain new customers.

Check out the infographic below for details.

Click-to-Call Programs Drive Value for Local Marketers

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

While the local advertising landscape is changing in new and significant ways, one thing that remains constant is the importance of customer phone calls to small businesses.

Last week, Telmetrics, the call measurement company, announced that it experienced more than 160% growth in 2013 in the number of digital local search call programs it monitored.  According to the company, marketers, advertising providers and ad networks increased the use of calls as a performance metric across mobile, desktop and vertical directory search ads.

Bill Dinan, president of Telmetrics, said, “The number of marketers adopting calls as a cross-media ad performance metric is growing significantly because digital marketers recognize the value of using call analytics as key engagement and conversion indicators.”

The growth seen at Telmetrics seems to be a simple case of supply meeting demand.  While there are now so many different ways that consumers can discover or find local businesses, phone calls remain the most desired result of those marketing campaigns.

A new study by BIA/Kelsey found that approximately 2 in 3 SMB respondents (66%) said they considered calls to be an excellent or good lead source – more than any other source. Online forms and in-person interaction were a close second and third, respectively.

As the local search and advertising space continues to fragment, we expect the solutions that drive consumer actions—specifically calls—will capture an increasing amount of ad dollars.  Even though the way we advertise locally continues change, the objective for local businesses remains focused on driving consumer action and interaction with them. Calls, store visits, appointments, reservations and clicks are all strong leads to making a sale.

The importance of these consumer actions is why we started our Ad to Action competition this year.  The competition is now officially closed to further entries and the judging is underway.  We are excited to explore all of the the marketing tools that are driving consumer action and will announce the winners at our LSA|14 conference.

Top 5 Local Ad Stats of the Week: Websites

Friday, February 28, 2014

This week we focus on the importance of small business websites when it comes to attracting local consumers.  Studies consistently show that many SMBs don’t have a website, and those that do struggle with related activities including SEO, mobile optimization and formatting.

Here are some compelling stats that help put into perspective how websites are critical to any small business’ local strategy:

  • 2 in 3 American and Canadian consumers indicate that a local business having a website affects their opinion of the business and whether or not to use it. (BrightLocal)
  • 45% of US and UK SMBs said they don’t have a website, and in both cases only 6% of respondents with websites said they were mobile-optimized. (hibu)
  • 59% of consumers visit a business’ website when conducting a mobile search. (Google/Nielsen)
  • 40% of SMBs said they are going to increase their budgets for websites by 10-15% within the next 12 months. (Thrive Analytics)
  • More than 90% of SMB websites audited didn’t display a contact email address, and nearly half lacked a phone number on their homepage.  (vSplash)

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

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.

Groupon’s Deal Builder Helps SMBs Help Themselves to Daily Deals

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A few weeks ago, Groupon launched Deal Builder which is a new self-serve tool that allows business owners to create deals and offers that become a part of Groupon’s daily offering. Groupon is hoping the tool will help broaden the types of businesses using the platform, such as those not located in major urban areas outside of Groupon’s normal sales reach.

Offers that are created through Deal Builder tend to have a lower audience, as they aren’t sent out in one of Groupon’s main e-mail blasts or notifications.  While at first blush that might seem like a drawback for Deal Builder, local merchants in the past have been unprepared for the high volume of traffic that Groupon e-mails can create.

Deal Builder may also help SMBs improve their ability to connect with consumers on mobile devices.  Mobile Commerce Daily recently highlighted an SMB’s offer on Deal Builder that resulted in half of the redemptions coming from mobile devices.

Despite Social Media Examiner’s study released last year that found 80% of marketers don’t plan on using a daily deal site, Deal Builder opens the door for more SMBs to experiment with daily deals at their own pace.  The self-serve model takes away the hand-holding that was needed to create deals, takes away any sales pressure, and offers customized solutions selected by the SMB itself.

For Groupon, the tool improves its ability to house more deals and generate more locally focused content.  Similar to all the recent news related to Yahoo’s local search capabilities, Deal Builder further solidifies Groupon’s standing as a legitimate local marketing solution for SMBs.

“With the launch of Deal Builder, we now have a customizable solution for the thousands of merchants that contact us directly every month wanting to run a deal,” said Dan Roarty, vice president of product development at Groupon.

Since SMBs can’t compete with the marketing budgets of national brands, it helps to have solutions like Deal Builder that get them in the mobile ad and search space without devoting a lot of resources.  In addition, by having more control over the direction of deals, SMBs can use their local knowledge to develop customized and relevant offers.  It will be interesting to see if Deal Builder does help Groupon break into and catch on with businesses in smaller markets.

Solocal Group Gives Glimpse into the Products Driving Significant Growth in Digital Revenue

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Solocal Group

Last year at our annual conference, Solocal Group’s CEO Jean-Pierre Remy spoke about the company’s transformation from a traditional print directory publisher to an innovative local search provider.  During last week’s webinar, Bruno Berthezene, Solocal Group partnerships and business development manager, discussed the digital products and solutions that are helping make this transformation so successful.

Solocal Group’s focus is on providing local digital media and marketing solutions for retailers and service providers, both large and small.  With this focus in mind, in just six years, Solocal Group has been able to grow their digital revenues from about 34% in 2007 to almost 60% in 2012. Bruno attributed this to a variety of products and solutions but specifically highlighted the following:

  • Web YP: Priority listings in pagesjaunes.fr; 1st position for 50% of searches in a activity/geography mix; tier 2 priority listing.
  • Mobile YP: Priority listings in PagesJaunes mobile app; 1st position for 50% of searches in a activity/geography mix; tier 2 priority listing.
  • Free GPS App: Priority listings in “Mappy GPS” free app.
  • Websites: Website, mobile and tablet sites sold together; hundreds of verticalized possible looks and feels; Facebook fan page, photos, video, booking, classifieds, coupons, menus, e-commerce and more.
  • Store Locator: By generating a microsite per retail location, “BRIDGE” increases online visibility of each of the outlets.
  • Direct Marketing: Turnkey DIFM or DIY emailing campaign solution; postal mailing and text message campaigns.
  • Appointment Booking: Real-time appointment booking; fully customizable for web and mobile.
  • Classifieds: Classifieds for the real estate, cars and jobs verticals; visibility within pagesjaunes.fr and in dedicated vertical websites.

Check out the entire presentation below:

For access to all of our past webinars and a look at what’s to come, visit http://bit.ly/LSAwebinars.

Facebook, Netgear Partner to Help SMBs Offer Free Wi-Fi to Customers in Exchange for Check-ins

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Facebook has teamed up with Netgear to make it easy for SMBs to offer free Wi-Fi to customers in exchange for check-ins on their Facebook business pages.  According to the announcement made at CES 2014, Facebook Wi-Fi will be available on four of the Netgear’s premium dual-band 802.11ac wireless routers.

Customers accessing the service are automatically taken to a business’s Facebook Page and are then asked to check-in with the option to “like” the Page before they begin using the Internet. In order to make it simple, there are no special codes needed, and the customer has the option to automatically check in for free Wi-Fi on return visits.

This seems like a win-win-win for the local space. For Facebook, generating more check-ins will improve their social data and subsequently, their local search platform.  For SMBs, the partnership drives customer engagement through check-ins, allowing them to reach and build awareness among a larger audience. Finally, the always connected customers receive access to free Wi-Fi making for a positive in-store experience.

As followers and check-ins increase from Facebook Wi-Fi, SMBs will win some social media marketing longevity. In addition to reaching more customers with their future posts, announcements, coupons and other news, they are also getting access to more customer behavior and engagement data via Facebook Page Insights.  Local businesses will be able to then use this data to develop comprehensive loyalty or promotional campaigns that target their most active and loyal customers.

During his keynote address at last year’s LSA Conference, Dan Levy, director of small business at Facebook, discussed the value in SMB social marketing given that 70% of users are connected to a local business on Facebook.  More recently Levy has said there are now 25 million Facebook Pages for SMBs, and 1 million of those businesses are active advertisers. As the numbers suggest, Facebook has become an affordable marketing solution for SMBs and the social media powerhouse continues to help SMBs connect with local consumers.

Capture a Client’s Increasing Digital Ad Spend with Solutions that Work

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Solocal Group

Please join LSA and Solocal Group for an exclusive webinar presentation next Thursday, January 23 from 2 pm – 3 pm EST.

During last year’s LSA Conference, Solocal Group’s CEO spoke about the company’s successful transformation from traditional print directory publisher to innovative local search provider with a wide portfolio of print, online, social and mobile products.  During this webinar, Bruno Berthezene, Solocal Group partnerships and business development manager, will discuss the digital products and solutions behind this transformation. Join us and find out how Solocal Group is successfully capturing the increasing digital ad spend of local businesses.

Solocal Group ranks #1 in local communication in France, with revenues of €1.07 billion in 2012. It employs 4,900 people in France, Spain, Luxembourg and Austria, including 2,300 sales advisers to support its 677,000 local and national advertising customers. As a creator of useful media, Solocal Group operates in three complementary business lines: content and service provision, media and advertising representation. Thanks to its know-how and the performance of its brands, Solocal Group occupies a leading position on the Internet.

Spots are limited so reserve your seat today!

Borrell Shares Tips on Making Move from Media Company to Marketing Agency

Monday, January 13, 2014

During last week’s webinar with Gordon Borrell, CEO of Borrell Associates, he shared insight into the evolving local media space, specifically the transformation of media companies into marketing agencies.  With publishers rushing to meet SMB demands to buy SEO, social media management, reputation management and other services, their business is fundamentally changing.  Instead of selling high-margin media products, local media pros are now selling less-scalable marketing services.

When it comes to profitability, Gordon provided some best practice examples of companies that went from traditional media company to a successful digital business which included LSA members Mediative and Web.com.  He also provided some great insights and advice that can help local marketers become more digitally savvy:

  • By 2018, consumers will curtail their media time by 19 minutes, effectively saying “enough!”
  • 64% of SMBs are “very” or “somewhat” optimistic about near-term (12 months) improvement to the local economy.
  • SMB marketing budgets were up 10.7% in 2013.
  • On average, SMBs get 5 sales calls per week and listen to only 1 of them.
  • 42% of SMBs pegged digital media for more spending.
  • Online spending is an energizer bunny; it keeps going and going.
  • 70% of SMBs use FB, compared with 64% two years ago.
  • 85% of SMBs say mobile presence is important, yet only 19% engage in mobile marketing.
  • When it comes to evolving from traditional media:
    • Know how much you’re chasing; set goals
    • Partner.  Don’t go it alone
    • Build slowly; don’t invest heavily
    • Expect profitability (almost) from the outset
    • Train, train, train reps.  Then train them again

Check out the entire presentation below:

For access to all of our past webinars and a look at what’s to come, visit http://bit.ly/LSAwebinars.