Matt Greff: The Listening SMB: How Small Business is Re-claiming the Web


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In this presentation Matt will explain how small businesses can shift the balance of power by addressing three primary needs: Online Presence Management, Relationship Management, and Quality Lead Generation.

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  • Marchex starts here with overview of company.
  • And, based on an updated, intimate understanding of how leading-edge small businesses conduct business today, often to their great advantage, our product axioms are simple:
    For small businesses, clicks are nice, but calls and leads are better
    Technology should help small businesses control and learn from their digital footprint
    Engaging customers and prospects is about two-way communication
    Small businesses don’t have time to wrestle with complexity and diverse interfaces
    It’s all about taking the small business product set, which in the past half decade has advanced from the obvious to the slightly less obvious (the bucket of clicks, performance click packages, performance leads, website creation, business profiles, etc.), back to the drawing board, to help local businesses maximize the basic realities of the digital and mobile age, in ways that far exceed acquisition marketing alone.
  • My four-year tenure at Marchex is based on a shared, deeply held belief that when products are based on the real needs of customers, they create powerful changes in behavior. By putting consumers in control of highly fragmented local content, products like online directories and search engines have transformed the consumer landscape; and by putting small businesses in control of their own digital world, we can create a revolution that unlocks the promise of the “local” space. Most in the industry agree on the scope of the opportunity: capturing a broader slice of SMB marketing spend is valued in the range of tens of billions of dollars; even more dramatically, influencing offline consumer spending (the bulk of which is local in nature), approaches single-digit percentages of the US GDP.

    We need a revolution in the products available to local businesses to help them wring more leverage out of the Internet, whether that involves acquiring leads more efficiently (e.g., phone calls, form submissions, and emails in addition to just website clicks), making it easier to communicate with customers and prospects, or managing their complex digital footprint. We invite you and our industry to join us as we take the small business product stack back to the drawing board, the better to rebuild it with an eye towards solving the broadest set of needs, and tapping into ever greater opportunity.
  • What has changed: Consider the sophistication and complexity of the consumer use of the Internet in 2010 to discover and make decisions about local businesses and offline spending. Consumers find local businesses through rich mobile search and mapping applications; share their recommendations and experiences on blogs, Twitter and Facebook; upload and exchange pictures and videos of local businesses; and actively—and easily—leverage the network to find discounts, offers and coupons for locally-offered services and products. From a handheld device, a teenager can find the nearest Japanese izakaya restaurant; confirm through reviews that it’ll sate their yen; make a reservation and earn points toward future meals; find a coupon for a free dessert; get directions to it by foot or public transportation; see its storefront and interior in pictures and video; and then Tweet about, rate and review it before ever even paying the check.

    If you look back a decade, progress in unlocking the local opportunity is tied to shifts in information advantage. In the first of these, the widespread adoption of web-wide search technology, and the associated paid search models they enabled gave rise to a new opportunity: selling relevant searches, turned into clicks, to small businesses. Today, a wide proliferation of technologies has upped the ante in consumer advantage, from better local search, to mobile applications, to the role of social media in helping shape which local merchants will garner more or less local spending. Small businesses are underserved by the same technologies that have so recently given consumers an edge in defining their local spending habits.

  • By comparison, small businesses are by and large far less in control of the networks and information that bear on their success. Business listings that detail who they are, what they offer, and where they’re located are often inaccurate, spread across hundreds of disparate sites, and difficult to correct. Maintaining profile pages and an updated website, and then also staying on top of new ratings, reviews, and mentions, even on the most obvious large local information sites, can be a full time job. Creating and managing Facebook fan pages and a Twitter feed, and staying engaged in social media requires working with multiple products, accounts, and interfaces. To add insult to injury, small businesses are pummeled, on a daily basis, by vendors selling them websites, SEO, couponing programs, search marketing, reservation systems, email marketing, local offline advertising, and spots in the Yellow Pages.
  • Given the above, what the Web reflects about a business, whether that be the accuracy of a business listing, a missing listing on a site, an improperly published phone number, or whether it take the form of fleeting tweets and Facebook comments about a local business, SMB success is more and more predicated on having a well-managed, if not intentionally cultivated, online footprint. 56% of surveyed consumers relied on advice from friends and family members to help make purchase decisions; online, about a third relied on consumer ratings and reviews. (BIA/Kelsey). And 84% of consumers say online customer reviews influence their decision to purchase products or services. This fact only highlights the disparity between how critical the footprint is plus the ability to understand the problem, and the dearth of tools available to the small business to manage it.
  • One of the most striking aspects of the explosion of ubiquitously accessible local information and content and the explosion of social media is that a consumer decision to start or continue being a patron of a business is rendered in social terms. For local businesses, becoming an active participant in that dialogue, in addition to shaping a digital footprint, has come to be an expected behavior among consumers who increasingly expect local businesses to be accessible in many ways, and to broadcast, to consumer advantage, things like offers and updates. The social networking revolution has reinforced the fact that communication remains the dominant consumer use of the Internet, comprising fully one-third of all time spent online. Already, we see local businesses valuing communications more than even having a website: while 85% claim to communicate with customers through email, only 59% of local businesses even have a website (BIA/Kelsey). Couple this with the fact that greater than 80% of local businesses believe that email "performs strongly" in their marketing mix (Borrell Associates), and it’s clear while tools that simplify and aid dialogue between consumers and the local businesses who serve them is a key—and today missing—feature of what our industry provides to SMBs.
  • What has stayed the same: It doesn’t simply go without saying that new customers are effectively the lifeblood of the small business. But it’s important to note that customer retention is more cost effective than new customer acquisition, and that local businesses can—and should—rely increasingly on technology to help them maximize revenue from already-acquired customers. While the bulk of products sold to the small business push customer acquisition, increasingly we will see ever greater demand to support the latter as well.

    Claims about the death of the phone book miss the point: the entire raison d’etre for the phone book—and the multi-billion dollar industry it even today supports—is to generate leads—in the form of phone calls—for the business. For almost every segment of local business, nothing says new business more than a phone call. The benefits of selling search-generated clicks to the small business centered more on measurability and cost effectiveness than anything else, but the half-life of a click is tiny; a phone call, email, or form submission by comparison is the initiating event in a relationship, and the start of an active dialogue with a consumer. For example pertaining to calls, in addition to measurability and cost effectiveness, phone calls provide the grounds for new relationships with customers for businesses who already bank on the phone as their key acquisition channel. Based on Marchex proprietary data, the conversion ratio for a phone call is roughly five times that of a click; this is why performance-based call advertising will become ubiquitous within the next five years. Our industry needs to render the phone book model in updated terms: to deliver leads at scale, on a performance-based pricing model, with as much measurability as a click.
  • Selling search marketing to small businesses was challenging enough; translating the detailed vernacular of ad groups, key phrases, click through and CPC created our entire outsourced search marketing industry. Now add in business profiles, SEO, websites, and social media, and our ability to communicate value gets ever more strained. A raft of disparate online marketing products, offered by an increasingly fragmented and growing set of providers makes the decision of where and how to spend online very difficult for the small business. You can see this ambivalence in the data: the percentage of small businesses who think SEO is very important is roughly the same who think it’s just not important (Marchex SMB survey); this isn’t because of a lack of viable products in the market, but because of a lack of education and understanding on the part of the customer. If we are to crack the nut of local online marketing spend, our product value proposition needs to be clear, concise, and legible; similarly, that promise needs to be mapped to a product set that is easy to understand and use.
  • Selling performance search marketing packages to small businesses has helped define a market in which the measurability of results is critical. But because small businesses still rely, ironically, on the print advertising (which by definition is far less measurable than most other marketing channels) to drive leads, any product that does not supply leads, on a measurable, performance basis, will not serve the local business as it should. The new small product stack must deliver leads in the forms most useful to local businesses, and while driving traffic to websites and profile pages is of solid value, only providing performance-based leads (phone calls, form fills, emails, coupons, etc.) can truly help local businesses get the most out of their online marketing spend.
  • Technology has helped the consumer gain significant information advantage, but it has not yet done the same for the small business, for whom an online footprint, and the reputation it conveys, can make the difference between success and failure. Managing the online footprint has three distinct aspects:
    Data: we have to help small businesses understand where and how they are represented online, to determine and correct the accuracy of their listings, and to maximize the ubiquity of those listings.
    Content: Small businesses need to understand how they are perceived in the minds of customers, the better to market and operate.
    Competition: The above two views of the online footprint are best leveraged in a comparative fashion, to let small businesses understand how they stand with respect to their own competition.
  • In a world where the value of dialogue is an emergent key to high-strength relationship building with customers, and in which consumers are now more than ever dialoguing about their interactions with local businesses, it’s essential to help the 85% of businesses who today leverage email to connect with consumers. Cultivating relationships with customers is all about leveraging the heterogeneity of online communications today: Facebook updates, tweets, email itself, coupons, blog updates, and other forms of proactive and bi-directional communication with customers.
  • Matt Greff: The Listening SMB: How Small Business is Re-claiming the Web

    1. 1. The Listening SMB: How Small Business is Re-claiming the Web
    2. 2. 1 in 5Searches are local and consumers are firmly in control of the flow of information
    3. 3. 84%of consumers say online customer reviews influence their decision to purchase products or services
    4. 4. 5xPhone calls convert up to five time the rate of clicks and drive higher value
    5. 5. Marchex Marchex is a call advertising and small business marketing company. Our mission is to unlock local commerce globally by helping advertisers reach customers wherever they may be – in mobile, offline and online channels, including on our own local and category websites. Every day, our products support tens of thousands of advertisers and partners, ranging from global enterprises to local businesses.
    6. 6. Back to the Drawing Board • Clicks are good, but calls and leads are better • Technology should help small businesses control and learn from their digital footprint • Engaging customers and prospects is about two-way communication • Small businesses don’t have time to wrestle with complexity and diverse interfaces
    7. 7. Small Businesses Need a Revolution • Efficiently acquire more customers • Develop better relationships with existing customers • Better manage online presence and reputation
    8. 8. The Balance of Power Has Shifted The consumer information advantage: • Rich mobile search • Mapping applications • Social Media: blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc • Photo and video sharing • Review sites
    9. 9. Small Businesses Are Under-served • Directory listings upkeep • Website and profile maintenance • Ratings and reviews management • Social media juggling • SEO, SEM, couponing programs, reservation systems, email, Yellow Pages and other offline advertising
    10. 10. The Digital Footprint Matters • Business listing accuracy • Missing business listings • Fleeting tweets and Facebook comments • Reviews and ratings:  84% of consumers say online customer reviews influence their decision to purchase products or services 84% A business’s info is all over the Web:
    11. 11. Dialogue Is the New Marketing • Consumers expect this behavior • Communication is the primary consumer use of the Internet • Local businesses value communications more than a website: o Communication is 33% of consumer time spent online o 85% communicate through email o Only 59% have a website o 80% believe email “performs strongly” • Small businesses need tools that simplify communication
    12. 12. New Customers Are the Lifeblood of Small Businesses. Demand for leads is stronger than ever: - Phone calls, emails, form submissions initiate relationships - Conversion of a phone call is roughly 5 times that of a click - Our industry must deliver performance-based leads at scale
    13. 13. Small Businesses Are Still Baffled by Online Marketing • Search marketing • Business profiles • SEO • Websites • Social media • Email Marketing spend is a difficult decision for SMBs: = Disparate online marketing products offered by fragmented and growing set of providers.
    14. 14. The New Small Business Product Set Lead Generation Performance is critical: – Phone Calls – Form Fills – Emails – Coupons
    15. 15. The New Small Business Product Set (cont.) . Online Presence Management Data: Where and how small businesses are represented online—e.g., accuracy and ubiquity of listings Content: How small businesses are perceived in the minds of customers Competition: Small businesses' understanding of how they stand with respect to their own competition
    16. 16. The New Small Business Product Set (cont.) Relationship Management • Deliver high-strength relationship building with customers • Move beyond email • Leverage disparate online communications: Facebook, tweets, email, coupons, blogs
    17. 17. Success Stories Kurt Lundquist, Salon Moxie - Didn’t know Salon Moxie was missing on Bing & Kudzu. Added his profile. - Discovered new reviews that he is now using for testimonial. - Discovered new Seattle salon blogs to comment on. - Loves receiving alerts to keep tabs on the competition. Craig Abplanalph, Definitive Audio - Helps him stay on top of their three hifi locations. - “I don’t have to do a lot of work to find out the good, bad and ugly." - Said he would like reputation management and SEM in one place. Katherine Christofilis , Calidora Skin Care Clinic - Printed out Calidora’s RM reports and uses them at board meetings - Manage online presence for their seven locations in one place - Updated incorrect profile information and added their profile to new site
    18. 18. Q & A Matt Greff –