Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by Web Marketing Today. Practical Ecommerce acquired Web Marketing Today in 2012. In 2016, we merged the two sites, leaving Practical Ecommerce as the successor.
For a small business, managing multiple online marketing channels is a complex process that can require a sizable amount of the owner’s time and resources.
Knowing how to produce content that resonates with customers and prospects, learning the nuances of how various channels work, and understanding the contribution each makes to ROI, only adds to the challenge.
With all that’s involved, it’s no wonder that many small businesses fail to market themselves online with greater efficiency.
Here is a list of six marketing platforms and apps designed to help remedy that problem. They enable local small businesses to establish or increase their online presence, get listed in local directories, manage email and social media marketing, generate and convert leads, and monitor their competition.
The first four are “all-in-one” platforms that integrate several marketing channels; the last two perform less comprehensive, but still useful functions.
Designed specifically for use by local small businesses, ThriveHive provides personalized marketing plans broken down into action-oriented steps that the business owner can execute over time. For an additional fee, users get access to a marketing coach who provides assistance in setting up and managing the plan.
The heart of the platform is a search engine optimized, mobile-friendly website that contains a blog. The package also includes a free domain name, web hosting, email and social media marketing, tracked phone lines, a contact database, and lead scoring.
Pricing starts at $29 per month.
Similar to ThriveHive, LocalVox is an all-in-one platform that includes a mobile-optimized website, SEO, email marketing, social media marketing and management, and lead capture.
LocalVox also enables businesses to manage local directory listings, monitor their social reputation, track reviews, and promote products and services through the use of coupons and deals, both online and through mobile devices. A mobile app is available as well.
Pricing for LocalVox is not listed on the website.
ReachLocal started out as a pay-per-click optimization and management platform, but has evolved into an integrated online marketing system that provides a mobile-responsive website, organic search optimization, email marketing, lead conversion, and digital advertising via mobile, pay-per-click, and ad retargeting.
When someone completes a contact form on the site, the platform notifies the business owner via a mobile alert or email, a feature unique to ReachLocal. Call tracking is available with upgraded versions of the platform, which enables business owners to listen to calls, classify the prospects, and call them back.
Pricing starts at $149 per month.
Intended for use by B2C companies, Leadsquared is a marketing automation system structured around the use of landing pages designed for lead capture.
Lead scoring capabilities track engagement, identifies warm leads, and reports all activity through an analytics dashboard. Users can also capture leads from phone calls, make outbound calls, and send personalized SMS messages through the system.
Landing page form completions feed into a CRM database, and a built-in email marketing platform enables users to send newsletters to contacts or set up automated drip campaigns to follow-up each time the system generates a lead.
The platform offers a number of landing page templates that users can customize via a drag-and-drop editor. A mobile app for iOS and Android lets Leadsquared users manage leads, create follow-up tasks and reminders, and view analytics.
Pricing starts at $125 per month (billed annually).
5. Intuit Local
Designed for service businesses, subscribers to Intuit Local get a profile listed in its business directory that enables them to post special offers, coupons, and promotions. Prospective clients can also request or schedule appointments through the profile.
A reporting database tracks profile page views, impressions, and clicks that business owners can monitor through an admin console.
Subscribers can use the platform free of charge.
Perch is a mobile app designed to serve a single purpose — monitor competitor’s online marketing activities. Seeing how the competition leverages the web can help business owners make better decisions about their own marketing efforts.
Small business owners use the app to find businesses in their area, organized by categories, such as dining, retail, services, entertainment, and others. Perch supplies a list of suggested businesses to watch, and a search function is also available.
The app collects information from a variety of sources that include Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Google+, Instagram, and Foursquare, as well as deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial. It displays the information in a newsfeed, updated in real-time, and shows consumer reviews, social posts, and promotional announcements from other businesses.
Perch draws information about businesses from Foursquare’s database. Unlisted businesses can add themselves by using Foursquare, emailing Perch, or by completing a form on the app itself.
Versions of the app are available for iOS and Android. The app is free to use.