At barely two years old, Local Market Launch fills a much needed gap in the world of "findability" products and services.
Local Market Launch not only tests directory listings for accuracy and completion, but also claims listings and fills in profiles, photos, logos and descriptions with key search terms. The results are often astounding gains in search rankings.
"We are more comprehensive than the various database providers that will submit to 150 directories. Though that service has a benefit, it's not enough, which is why we use the top 4 data providers in addition to claiming the top 30 local search, social and directory sites," according to Gideon Rubin, Chief Marketing Officer.
Local Market Launch starts by creating a central profile, including a description and other details consumers want to learn about a local business when they do an online search. Most of the information comes from the merchant's website.
The basic business information is published on the four data services - Axiom, InfoGroup, Localeze and Factual - that provide the most coverage. Then Local Market Launch manually claims and enhances the merchant's small, medium and large profiles on the top 30 search and social directory sites and mobile apps including Yelp and Facebook.
"At the end you have something very powerful," Rubin said.
Other key benefits:
Multiple properties, no problem
A strength of the white-label dashboard is the ability to roll up national and regional brands with multiple locations - some have 50.
The company can zoom in and look at all locations at once to check for presence and completeness across main sites, marked with check boxes.
In the below view, for example, comparing Holiday Inn locations at a glance. If you read the data, you will see that only 1% of Holiday Inns have a local Facebook page. Company policy, or opportunity?
White -labeled dashboard
A walk through the dashboard shows a variety of useful features. For example, a central Clent profile, the starting point for each customer, can be easily viewed or enhanced.
The information for the client profile is scraped from the web site, with key words optimized for SEO, and the addition of payment methods, and images. After being manually posted to all the most popular social directory sites, the results appear in check-list format, with a "dial" that shows how this investment is "moving the dial."
Take a look at this "starting point" prior to the updating:
Below is the new report card; old "report cards" are saved by date, so the media can show the merchant gains.
A rankings dashboard also shows proof of results for business name searches.
Media partners have their own dashboard view to see how sales and performance is going:
And there is a project management view:
Other issues: Integrates with some
The self-serve tool can be used as a white label dashboard, or the information can be integrated with other dashboards, but it's never a perfect world.
Another possibility is to provide a "check my visibility" seach box on the media site, so vendors can enter phone number, run their own report and "move through the sales funnel" online.
Competitive in a crowded search marketplace
Looking for something more powerful than a listings search tool - and unwilling to do the hard work of claiming and updating manually? This is a great back-end tool that allow your company to scale deeper search upsells easily.
"It's a hard thing to deal with - not super complicated, just time-consuming. Because it is all we do it allows us to be really good at this one thing," Rubin said.
Finally, turn around time is quick. After an order is received, it only takes a day or two to push all the completed information to the channels - although it may take two to six weeks for those engines to respond the the new information and rankings to move up. It's more like changing your credit score, than a direct ROI for merchants.
There are only a few caveats to think about when introducing this new partnership: Like any new software, the integration will not always be perfect (in fact the idea of full integration may be a fantasy at this stage of the game).
The relative youth of the company is both a strength and weakness. The company has made huge in-roads in a very short time, but it does not have the track record of partnerships with journalism-based media that many of those companies require, in part because of "do not disclose" agreements.
Pricing is flexible, but low margin, like many other findability products, so packaging and getting a credit card is key to raising the ROI per sale.
For example, a simple updater service with reputation management may wholesale for $99 and resale for $200 a month. Adding the LML recommended rate adds a relatively small upsell of $600 per year (adding just $15 to the buy, and $120 to the media partner ),
But that cut increases with volume and larger media may customize the product and set a higher retail price. At scale these companies for example, could keep $375, on a price point of $1000, in addition to other products in the package, such as mobile landing pages and reputation management.
"Partners have a lot of control over pricing."
Local Market Launch allows local media to add what is essentially a content marketing for the "findability" space. Think of the product as a universal landing page on search; the dirty little secret of SEO is that few local business web sites ever show up on the first results of Google on their own. Google+ pages are responsible for map placement and directories and paid ads absorb most of the rest of the real estate. So the actual landing page from a search result link that goes to directories and on social media is, in fact, "the website" for users who track down companies via search. So, not only do rankings improve (depth of landing page affects quality scores), but also the "first click" consumer experience is better; instead of a barren address on a directory with a link to the web site, the user sees a robust description with images, and a link to the web site. Editor's give this a recommend for adding to the digital service mix.
The author, Alisa Cromer is publisher of a variety of online media, including LocalMediaInsider and MediaExecsTech, developed while on a fellowship with the Reynolds Journalism Institute and which has evolved into a leading marketing company for media technology start-ups. In 2017 she founded Worldstir.com, an online magazine, to showcases perspectives from around the world on new topic each month, translated from and to the top five languages in the world.