Local businesses interested in getting their name out to clients and potential customers have increasing options, between social media, mobile, search and other more traditional channels. But New York-based LocalVox believes that for many small- to medium-sized businesses, navigating all of those options is complicated, overwhelming and expensive.
To address that, the company last year launched a full-service marketing platform for local businesses and today LocalVox is announcing that it has raised $7.4 million in Series A funding from Talus Holdings, a local media holding company backed by Blackstone affiliate GSO Capital Partners LP.
With the new funding, LocalVox said it plans to expand from New York and Hartford to the top 20 markets nationwide, as well as build out its products and strengthen its network of partners.
“Marketing, we feel, is one of the most misunderstood terms in business for SMBs,” said LocalVox co-founder and CEO David Pachter. “SMBs think about marketing inherently as something that big companies with marketing budgets and marketing directors do and not something that’s important for local businesses. What we’ve built is something that makes marketing an essential tool for local businesses.”
On a mostly subscription basis, LocalVox helps SMBs do everything from updating their own websites and publishing email newsletters to posting on and monitoring Facebook and Twitter to establishing presence on Yelp, Foursquare, Google Places and more. The company also enables clients to market across its network of publisher clients, which include Manhattan Media properties, CT1 Media (a Tribune company) and other local publishers in New York and Hartford.
Local online marketing is certainly a growth area – research firm BIA Kelsey expects it to grow from $27.1 billion in 2011 to $42.5 billion in 2015 and tech giants like Facebook and Google have repeatedly expressed their interest in going after more local dollars. While other companies offer solutions targeting specific channels in local marketing, LocalVox said it’s the most comprehensive platform for SMBs. But particularly with its recent acquisition of social marketing firm Wildfire, you could expect Google to offer a wider range of advertising products to SMBs. Other startups, such as ThriveHive and MarketMeSuite, similarly target SMBs with marketing platforms.
LocalVox said the 50-person company has hundreds of clients, including Whole Foods and Chelsea Piers in New York, and plans to further expand its mobile products in the coming months.
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