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Google, Yahoo, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter Set Sights on SMBs

Google introduces Google My Business; Yahoo “wants to help people worldwide to start, build and grow their businesses”; Amazon is reportedly launching a marketplace for local service providers; Facebook is traveling the country courting SMB advertisers; and Twitter develops an online SMB curriculum for Twitter Ads. All of this news crossed the wire within the last two months and highlights just how intense the SMB marketing and advertising space is becoming.

According to Google, Google My Business looks to make it “easier than ever to update business information across Google Search, Maps and Google+.” In the past, managing local listings and content across all of Google’s properties has been difficult for SMBs, but this new tool represents a strong commitment to SMBs.

Another search giant – Yahoo –  is developing stronger tools for SMBs. According to a report from the Silicon Valley Business Journal, Yahoo is working on a tool that interprets sales, visits and conversion data to provide businesses with recommendations on what advertising and marketing solutions they should invest in. For instance, if mobile is a strong fit for a business, Yahoo would recommend its mobile ad product, Yahoo Gemini.

One of the biggest stories comes from Amazon. The company has plans to launch a new marketplace for local services, according to a report from Reuters. The new offering will compete directly with existing local market players such as Yelp and Angie’s List, as well as home improvement chains such as Home Depot and Lowe’s,  which provide resources for customers to connect with local service providers.

The social media players that are investing in SMBs are pleased to see that businesses are increasing their marketing spend and time spent on social. According to a recent study by Social Media Marketing University, the majority (54.4%) of U.S. SMB marketers said they had increased their social media marketing spend this year.

For Facebook, traveling the country to New York City, Chicago, Miami, Austin and Menlo Park, is just the beginning of efforts to capture more SMB ad dollars. These “Facebook Fit” workshops follow the launch of the Small and Medium Business Council, which aims to put more of a face behind Facebook, build a small business community and boost advocacy.

Twitter is entering the second year with its self-serve ad products and is simply trying to promote the ad solution. With an emphasis on education, the company has developed “an awful lot” of content, including an online SMB curriculum, intended to help marketers reach customers on Twitter.

The local space is clearly heating up, and this is great news for SMBs. More competition within the space should lead to better price points. On the other hand, providers of local advertising and marketing solutions will need to have products and solutions that differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack with measurable ROI and transparent practices.

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