LSA Member Innovation in Local: VendAsta
September 10, 2014 | Contributed by: Joe Morsello
This week we hear from VendAsta, a company that builds software for local businesses to develop and manage every aspect of their online reputation. The company’s product suite is designed to drive digital revenue for re-sellers while helping local businesses monitor reviews, social sites, blogs and mentions, improve search rank and understand their success in the context of industry and competition standards. Resellers include internet yellow pages, newspaper, radio, digital agencies and marketing companies and VendAsta also offers these partners a lucrative sales strategy.
We caught up with Jeff Tomlin, co-founder and vice president of marketing at VendAsta, to learn more:
What local problem(s) does VendAsta solve? How?
We solve problems for two different audiences: local businesses and our partners (agencies).
Local businesses are starved for time. We have the tools to help them build an online presence and manage their digital reputation. Our products are the very foundation of a successful online presence, improving search rank and customer sentiment, while saving business owners valuable time and money.
We are transforming the sales process. Previously, our partners had no way to filter out leads from their current customer base. Our marketing automation software and 10X strategy surfaces customers who are ready to buy digital, so salespeople no longer need to waste time cold calling. Now, we provide them with the sales and marketing automation tool to sell our products, and any other digital products in their offering. We’ve decreased price per lead by hundreds — in some cases thousands — of dollars.
What makes VendAsta innovative?
Innovative products seldom change what people do, but rather help change or enhance the way people do those same things they’ve always done. Where local is most commonly sold and not bought, we see the need to innovate for both today’s SMBs and for the companies that are servicing them. Businesses need to make sense of all the user generated social media content about them, and have the ability to easily respond and engage. Agencies that serve SMBs need scalable ways to reach new businesses that need help, and who service a growing book of customers. We find both groups need ways to simplify, save time and scale the opportunities in front of them.
What makes us most innovative is our ability, and willingness, to change our plan. If we recognize that there is better, more effective work to be done, we’re eager to adapt our strategy.
How does VendAsta make the local space better for advertisers and/or consumers?
Almost everything we do is focused on making the local space better for businesses and the customers that access those businesses. Because nearly 90% of consumers use search engines to make purchase decisions, being found online is one of the biggest challenges local businesses face. By ensuring accurate online business listings, we eliminate customer frustration and business loss of revenue.
We are in the unique situation of selling our product to re-sellers. Almost all of these re-sellers are advertisers and media companies. Our exciting new business strategy and latest progression in software are game changers for these advertisers. We’re getting rid of cold calling by surfacing hot leads. We recognized that the traditional sales model is broken for digital sales, so we’re helping sales teams adapt a model that works for digital. We make the space better for advertisers by being much more than a traditional tech company — we offer sales training, pre-made marketing resources, free products to entice partners’ customer base and live support, all of which help partners gain a massive market share and 10x their revenue growth.
What’s next in local?
Mobile, social and the integration of the two. Mobile is growing at four times the rate of the internet; social networks gain millions of users each day; and every brand is chasing consumers on the platforms they use. Everything needs to be accessible and manageable from smartphones. Whether that’s a responsive location page, advanced email notification system or an efficient way to interact with consumers.
In addition, we’re building a system that increases the digital revenue growth for agencies tenfold. It’s a simple process — upload your customer list and let our marketing automation software filter out hot leads that are ready to go digital. Click the image below for to see how the workflow works.
Tags: blogs, local businesses, Local Search, Local Search Association, mentions, mobile, online reputation, reputation management, reviews, search rank, social marketing, social media, social sites, VendAsta, VendAsta Technologies
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