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LSA Member Innovation in Local: Yodle

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For today’s member innovation, we hear from Yodle. A leader in local online marketing and #9 on Forbes’ list of America’s Most Promising Companies, Yodle helps local business owners find and keep their customers simply and profitably.

We caught up with Paul Bascobert, president of local at Yodle, to learn more:

What local problem(s) does Yodle solve? How?
Online marketing takes time and requires specialized expertise to be effective. Our software platform makes it easy, fast and effective to find and keep customers so that local business owners have time to focus on running their business.

Digital is increasingly becoming the main way consumers interact with businesses, and local business owners will be at a disadvantage if they can’t keep up with the changes in consumer behavior. For example, 78% of consumers use online reviews to make buying decisions, yet only 13% of small business owners ask their customers to write a review about their business. Large companies have marketing teams with the expertise to develop a marketing strategy, and sophisticated and expensive software to manage activities and track results. Because local businesses generally lack the time, budget and expertise to manage all of this, they need a platform that works for them.

What makes Yodle innovative?
We operate in a fast-changing industry and serve a diverse customer base with unique needs. For Yodle to remain successful, we have to stay very close to our customers to understand their problems and continuously monitor the marketplace to understand how it’s evolving, and then move fast to create innovative solutions.

As a result, innovation is a core part of our culture. We encourage creativity and have an entrepreneurial spirit. We constantly communicate with our customers to see what’s working and what’s not so we can develop new ideas. We’ve set up innovation labs where dedicated teams try new ideas and discover emerging trends and technologies.

How does Yodle make the local space better for advertisers and/or consumers?
We make online marketing simple, easy and effective.

Our flagship product, Marketing Essentials, automates marketing activities across the many different online channels local businesses need to use to find and keep customers. For a fixed monthly fee, it provides a comprehensive desktop, mobile, web and social presence, reviews and offer management, and email campaign automation. With pre-built templates and marketing campaigns we make it easy for our clients to spread the word about their business.

What is next in local?
There are two trends that are emerging in local. First, there will be more demand for an all-in-one solution. We’ve seen that our time- and resource-strapped customers want to have one solution that addresses all their needs. It’s getting too difficult to manage all the different components of online marketing and keep everything coordinated, and their customers expect a consistent experience. In order to get found by new customers, small business owners need to streamline their marketing efforts so that they can develop a cohesive approach to their online, mobile, reviews and social presence. In addition, they need to use email, offers and social media to stay in touch with existing customers to keep them active and happy.

Second, there will be a shift from DIY (do it yourself) to DIWM (do it with me). Our customers often don’t have the time to build an online marketing campaign from the ground up. They also know that because they don’t have the resources of a large marketing department, they may make costly mistakes along the way. However, they want to maintain their brand identity and interact authentically with their customers. This is why we deliver templates and programs that allow for customization. Our customers benefit from the data we’ve collected on what works for 45,000 other local business owners, but they can also tailor the campaign to meet their individual needs.

For more information check out the video below or visit Yodle.com.

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