This is our seventh expanded post from our article on top 10 learnings about the hyperlocal digital publisher market over the past year. Our first five learnings were:
- Local Search Is A Differentiator On Hyperlocal Sites.
- Make Sure Your Side Door Looks As Good As Your Front Door.
- Don’t Be Seduced by the Quick Wins of Social Media
- The World is Mobile
- The Power of Backlinks
- Leverage Cornerstone Content
Our seventh learning is turning out to be one of the most important ones of all. And not because it’s so obvious! It’s actually because many small publishers are ignoring the very small businesses in their community that are waiting for them to help!
Based on our research, we have found that a “typical” hyperlocal community consists of approximately 2,000 businesses and 25,000-75,000 residents. Of the 2,000 businesses, 95% of them (or 1,900 businesses) are what we call very small businesses, or VSBs. These businesses typically generate less than $2M/yr in revenue and have less than 10 employees.
Your advertising efforts are primarily focused on the 100 businesses in your community that are not VSBs. They are larger, typically have bigger marketing budgets, and they can afford what you want to charge for ads on your site. Of course, every other publisher is going after those same 100 businesses, so competition is fierce. You show off your fantastic monthly viewers metrics and stress that you are 100% local, but the fact is, you know you’re a month away from an advertiser saying “I’m not getting any inbound requests from my ad on your site, so we’re going to pause for a while.”
Meanwhile, the 1,900 other small businesses are also busy fending off advertising sales people, but not just because they don’t like them. Their marketing budgets are much smaller, and they don’t actually believe they can be effective online for the budget they have. They may boost a Facebook post or place a Google Ad from time to time because they can afford a one time, small fee to get some exposure. But in terms of a campaign or any consistent effort to generate leads online? Probably not enough.
What if you could generate $50/mo. from these 1,900 businesses and offer them something that is as indispensable as their cell phone? What if you only got 10% of these 1,900 small businesses signed up? That would be a great complement to your ad revenue, wouldn’t it? This is why Bizyhood exists. We’re building tools to help you reach the businesses in your community that you don’t currently reach. They don’t have good options to market themselves online, and they need you. And that’s why you need us.
We’ve discussed before that advertising is a branding exercise. A more technical explanation would be that advertising provides “top of funnel” leads. Leads that need to be followed up on and will take days or weeks to close. A VSB prefers “bottom of funnel” leads that are already well qualified and can close in minutes or days. The best way to offer these types of leads is to direct potential customers to these businesses at the exact moment they have a need for what that business offers.
Best of all, very few of your competitors are able to offer “bottom of funnel” leads. Instead of only selling things your competitors also sell, focus on selling where the competition is less fierce. Why not offer a marketing suite that a VSB can actually afford and get value from, that isn’t advertising based? Help your local small businesses generate leads, and they will keep coming back for more. Embrace the part of your community that you aren’t getting much revenue from today, it’s a great complement to the revenue you are currently generating.