Building a Local Small Business SaaS Vendors Stack

Brian LeguizamonLocal Marketing, Review MarketingLeave a Comment

SaaS Vendors

Let’s face it: digital media marketing isn’t exactly straightforward.

A constantly shifting landscape, technology and marketing strategies with little definitive data. Whether you’ve been a part of this ecosystem for years or weeks, trying to decide exactly what kind of digital media marketing strategy you should recommend to small businesses can quickly become a frustrating experience.

And yet, no one is more susceptible to the confusion of the marketing world than the local small business owner. More often than not, they’ve spent most of their time and energy focusing on building a product/providing a service.

The unrelenting speed of the digital media marketing world makes it a challenge to keep up, especially when they have a business to run. That’s why they turn to digital/marketing agencies to choose the best tools for the job.

‘Tools’ being the operative word.

There’s no catch-all SaaS solution that will accomplish all of your client’s goals.


To create an effective Marketing Stack every aspect of the customer experience needs to be accounted for and handled. Fortunately, there’s a SaaS solution to every step of the customer’s’ journey.

That’s where the Marketing Stack comes in. Designing a marketing strategy from the ground up to guide users from prospect to converted customer. Of course, there will be slight tweaks for a Local Marketing Stack (a focus on local SEO, for example), but the idea remains the same.

Inspired by the infographic below from Tidings, here’s some guidance to help identify the best tools that agencies can provide their clients. It’s worth mentioning that if a small business has just begun to develop an online presence, agencies will likely need to completely overhaul their digital presence.

Naturally, it’s important to conduct research whenever adding a new SaaS vendor, and where do consumers go to research software products?

Capterra.com

G2Crowd.com

Issues that agencies will have to resolve include:

-Have they already started Payroll/Accounting/Payments?

-Do they have a website? Is it optimized?

-Have they decided what type of Content they’ll be creating?

-Are they using Analytics on Social?

Considering the undeniable importance of having a healthy digital media presence (with 50% of local searches leading to store visits within a day), local business owners can’t afford to leave those kinds of questions unanswered.

local marketing stack

Business Planning Software:


Business planning, performance tracking, budgeting…there’s no getting around the fact that managing a business plan can be a complex, tedious process, even for the most seasoned of local small business owners.

LivePlan


LivePlan Landing Page

As one of the premier business plan SaaS products, LivePlan was designed from the ground up to support business owners trying to keep track of their business. Setting business goals and comparing performance using industry benchmarks, all from the comfort of a user-friendly dashboard, it’s no wonder that so many business owners use LivePlan.

Here’s what people are saying about LivePlan:

LivePlan Capterra Review
Pros:
  • Straightforward User Interface
  • Top-notch Guidance Notes
  • Rich and Clean Output
Cons:
  • Could offer more accounting platform integration

Accounting Software:


Speaking of keeping track of the success of a business plan, having the right tools when it comes to accounting can make a world of difference for a local small business owner.

QuickBooks


As one of the leading account software services for small businesses, QuickBooks lets business owners manage every aspect of their finances through this platform. With instant access to every aspect of your customer, vendor and employee information, QuickBooks covers every aspect of a business owner’s accounting needs.

Here’s what people are saying about QuickBooks:

Pros:
  • Free Customer Support
  • Billing and Invoicing
  • Accounts Payable and Receivable
Cons:
  • Occasionally confusing for first-time users

Customer Service Software:


No matter what kind of business they’re dealing with, customers expect efficient, effortless service. They expect an experience that’s as frictionless as possible, with accurate, speedy answers to any questions they have. The modern consumer has high standards, and the key to meeting them lies within optimized operations and customer service.

Userlike Live Chat


UserLike Landing Page

If you’re looking for speed and efficiency, there’s nothing live chat. The best thing business owners can do is make an effort to be there for their customers when they need them the most. Userlike Live Chat revolves around the idea that no matter where customers are, business owners can work with them to find a solution to their problem.

Here’s what people are saying about Userlike Live Chat:

UserLike Capterra Review
Pros:
  • Automated Routing
  • Automatic Customer Notices
  • Customer Database
Cons:
  • Needs more intuitive website visitor metrics

Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) Software:


Every local business owner knows that happy customers are the life force of any successful business. CRMs are essentially a form of software that simplifies the process of customer service.

Pipedrive


PipeDrive Landing Page

The best CRM software helps local business owners properly take care of their customer relationships, something Pipedrive puts a premium on. As a user-friendly, intuitive solution for business owners, Pipedrive helps make sure that critical conversations and activities don’t get lost in the sea of the sales pipeline.

Here’s what people are saying about Pipedrive:

PipeDrive Capterra Review
Pros:
  • Contract Management
  • Interaction Tracking
  • Lead Management
Cons:
  • Difficulty filtering more than one specific

Analytics Software:


The keys to tracking web analytics work in two parts. First, businesses need to define their goals clearly. Once they understand which metrics matter the most to them, they’ll have a way to track traffic, click-through rate, time on page…you get the idea.

Agency Analytics


AgencyAnalytics Landing Page

When business owners need an analytics program, they should turn to software like Agency Analytics. Not only does it offer tools like rank tracking, audits and backlinks, but it also manages to integrate other services like social media and PPC.

Here’s what people are saying about Agency Analytics:

AgencyAnalytics G2Crowd Review
Pros:
  • Rank Tracking
  • Audits
  • Backlinks
Cons:
  • A bit too complex for some users

Paid Marketing Software:


On the other end of the spectrum, paid marketing is certainly becoming more important, particularly when it comes to outreach on social media. Paid marketing is less about spending as much money as possible and more about spending more in the right places.

Allocadia


Allocadia Landing Page

What makes Allocadia such a useful tool for business owners is just how easy-to-use their user interface is. Not only does the software make tracking individual budgets easy, but it manages to ensure that business owners can keep track of multiple different budgets at once, if necessary.

Here’s what people are saying about Allocadia:

Allocadia G2Crowd Review
Pros:
  • Intuitive User Interface
  • Track multiple budgets at once
  • Great customer service
Cons:
  • Constantly updating User Interface can be a challenge for some

Content Marketing Software:


Speaking of marketing, local small businesses can benefit massively once they understand the core principles of content marketing. If they want to produce engaging content, they need to resist the urge to shamelessly self-promote. There’s a difference between tastefully mentioning your own company when it’s relevant and turning every post into a thinly-veiled pat on the back.

Hubspot


Hubspot Landing Page

There’s a reason that HubSpot has been as successful as it’s been in the world of marketing software. While HubSpot offers quite a variety of services, one of the most underrated is their content marketing support.

Here’s what people are saying about HubSpot:

Hubspot Capterra Review
Pros:
  • Personalized, dynamic content
  • Phenomenal Metrics
  • Create SEO-friendly blog posts
Cons:
  • May be too expensive for some small business owners

Social Media Marketing Software:


With social media marketing becoming more and more important every day, it’s no wonder that social analytics software has risen in popularity. Frankly, when most of your customers (potential and current) are all in one place, it’s in your best interest to understand what they’re trying to tell you. And while it might be nice to get a Like or a Retweet, how many of us know that actual worth of one?

Buffer


Buffer Landing Page

What makes Buffer such a powerful tool is that it allows business owners to share their content throughout the day, automatically. Beyond that, Buffer offers some impressive analytic support, to give business owners a better idea of where they should be posting, and how often.

Here’s what people are saying about Buffer:

Buffer Capterra Review
Pros:
  • Affordable Pricing
  • Easy to Use Interface
  • Plenty of Customer Support
Cons:
  • Limitations on free version

Sales Software:


Something that most people don’t consider when they first look at the world of digital media marketing is that customers and members of your community are likely to be in different stages of the sales cycle.

Velocify


Velocify Landing Page

To understand what makes Velocify so special, you need to understand the power of its versatility. While some may use it as a lead management tool, business owners can use this as an effective way to track and manage sales performance.

Here’s what people are saying about Velocify:

Velocify G2Crowd Review
Pros:
  • Easy Organization
  • Tracking Multiple Pipelines
  • Highly Versatile
Cons:
  • Can become confusing without proper management

Lead Management Software:


Even the most effective marketing strategy is useless without a reliable system that converts. But before business owners can start focusing on sales, they need a system that helps organize their leads.

Integrate


Integrate Landing Page

This software actually works with a holistic focus on marketing and sales. Integrate is about automating top-of-funnel demand marketing efforts. By using marketing automation and predictive software, they can create efficient marketing organizations with cleaner, faster prospect data.

Here’s what people are saying about Integrate:

Integrate Capterra Review
Pros:
  • Activity Tracking
  • Campaign Management
  • Lead Capture
Cons:
  • Metrics Precision could be improved (daily clicks instead of monthly)

Sales Enablement Software:


Something that most people don’t consider when they first look at the world of digital media marketing is that customers and members of your community are likely to be in different stages of the sales cycle.

Ving


Ving Landing Page

If business owners are looking to qualify prospects more effectively (and more importantly, who to contact to convert), Ving will be their best bet. As a simple, trackable platform full of information, Ving gives business owners real-time notifications to help them uncover their best practices.

Here’s what people are saying about Ving:

Ving Capterra Review
Pros:
  • User-Friendly Dashboard
  • Collaborative System
  • Ability to add Video, Audio, Text to Information
Cons:
  • Video/Audio preparation can be an issue occasionally

Landing Page Software:


Arguably one of the most important aspects of turning a prospect into a converted customer is having a landing page that enables conversions. Simply put, business owners need to create landing pages that people will love.

Instapage


Instapage Landing Page

The easiest way to understand Instapage is to view it a vehicle for personalized digital advertising. It provides a top-to-bottom solution that quickly helps business owners build, integrate and optimize their landing pages.

Here’s what people are saying about Instapage:

Instapage G2Crowd Review
Pros:
  • A/B Testing
  • Drag and Drop User Interface
  • Templates Available
Cons:
  • Customer Support suffers in lower packages

Review Management and Marketing Software:


If you’re going to play the digital media marketing game, you might as well play it right. To stay ahead of the competition and maximize your search rankings, local business owners will need to understand how to integrate SEO into the rest of their marketing strategy.

We already touched on it earlier, but it’s worth mentioning again that the power of word-of-mouth marketing shouldn’t be underestimated. Most modern consumers have been bombarded with so many disingenuous ads that they’ve become numb to a business singing its own praises to them. That’s why referrals from another person are such a massive deal. That vote of confidence can convince more than 80% of consumers to give a particular business a shot.

Grade.us


Grade.us Landing Page

The software offered here at Grade.us helps businesses acquire, monitor, and amplify their 3rd party reviews. Not only is the dashboard easy to use, it’s intuitive enough that first-timers will be ready to navigate it almost instantly.

Here’s what people are saying about Grade.us:

Grade.us G2Crowd Review
Pros:
  • Affordable
  • In-depth, Comprehensive Marketing Coverage
  • Unlimited Users/Clients/Locations
Cons:
  • Entry level Marketer package may not be comprehensive enough to handle every aspect of your marketing strategy, depending on the size of your business

Advertising Software:


Nearly every major social media network implements some type of content preferential system, designed to prioritize paid content.

But that’s far from the only form of paid advertising. For example, paid search marketing has had its ups and downs over the last few years. Some people have gone as far as to say that it’s dying or dead. While certain aspects of it are on their way out, campaigns like pay-per-click (PPC) can still help business owners convert more effectively.

Sizmek


Sizmek Landing Page

No matter which type of advertising business owners choose, they’re going to need the right tools for the job. Sizmek offers a personalized solution for end-to-end advertising. With a wide range of strategies and solutions, Sizmek lets local small business owners build impressive, cohesive campaigns that help connect businesses to their audiences easily and effectively.

Here’s what people are saying about Sizmek:

Sizmek G2Crowd Review
Pros:
  • Efficient User Interface
  • Testing Mode provides Massive Insight
  • Fantastic Customer Support
Cons:
  • Customization controls can be a bit stiff

Closing Thoughts


It’s important to keep in mind that alone, none of these tools are comprehensive enough to handle every aspect of a small business Marketing Stack. These SaaS solutions shine as parts of a whole, each playing specific roles to support your client’s marketing strategy.

There’s nothing easy about developing (or maintaining) an online presence, but one thing is for sure: any small business armed with these SaaS solutions is going to be much better equipped to tackle the ever-changing digital media marketing landscape.

About the Author

Brian Leguizamon

Hey, I’m a content marketer that’s worked with companies like Shopify and Gigster, solving startup problems daily. Check me out on Medium. Or don’t. Your call.