Website templates always made a lot of sense for SMBs. Plumbers don’t need unique art, and neither do doctors offices. Back in 2009, one company, AdReady, even created 800+ templates and provided them for free to agency customers.
How does that translate to 2018? Generally, it means providing an integrated, cloud-based platform. Players like Thryv, Vendasta, Thrivehive, ReachLocal, LocalEdge, Mono Solutions, Guarantee Digital, Matchcraft, Moz and AdviceLocal are among those providing these services for SMBs.
Columbus-based Smart1Marketing similarly, is set to provide SMBs with a platform. The 28 person company, lead by vertical marketing vet Todd Swickard (AutoDealer Traffic, AutoTrader,etc.), has set up a variety of tiered services that local media companies and others can resell to SMBs. The services typically cost $99 to $199 per month.
Smart1’s bundles have been created around 650 AdReady-like templates, with built-in features such as mobile coupons. They also integrate market intelligence via “Smart Tips” from Borrell Associates; programmatic sales; and a variety of Web partners, including Waze, Shopify, WordPress, Yext/Centro, SnapChat and Slidely (an automated video service).
The one-stop concept remains as appealing as ever. Many SMBs, for instance, wouldn’t get around to adding a youth-oriented site like SnapChat to their marketing efforts. Swickard is especially enthused about the Waze integration, which provides advertisers with branded map pins and location triggered display ads. Car connectivity is going to be one of the hot trends over the next several years, he says.
But Swickard emphasizes that it isn’t just about plugging in incremental services. It is also about one click dashboards – an idea also being pursued by SquareStack, an app management program. “We saw that you’d need 73 log-ins without a platform,” Swickard says. “We are all about eliminating the choke points.”