The Internet and social networks offer unprecedented opportunities for small businesses to run more sophisticated and targeted marketing campaigns. The challenge, of course, is that there are so many tools at their disposal, that it's hard to see the whole picture. It can become paralysis by analysis.
Yahoo! aims to address that pain point with the Yahoo! Marketing Dashboard, a dashboard that provides small businesses with a consolidated view of many metrics that they would normally have to glean from several separate tools, said Shannon Parker Hane, director of product marketing for Yahoo! Small Business.
"The range of online marketing options for small businesses grow every day, and data shows 70 percent of small-business owners are going to be using online marketing options by 2015," she said. "That is where the consumers are."
The basic functions of the new Yahoo! Marketing Dashboard service are free, Parker Hane said. They include reports that monitor how your company is listed in more than 100 search engines, basic information about online reputation (pulled from Web search, as well as Facebook and Twitter), and Web site traffic analysis. All of the information requested by the small-business owner can be displayed in one location.
You will have to pay a premium to get a deeper look into certain metrics or add several specific services.
The premium services include Local Visibility Pro (an extra $10 per month), which makes sure your business is listed in more than 100 search engines and directories; Reputation Management Pro, which allows small businesses to see a more extensive selection of reviews and comments about their business, and more data about how they compare with competitors; and Integrated Campaign Tracking, which is made possible by relationships with Constant Contact and OrangeSoda.
Even the most basic of the marketing campaign insights can help small businesses refine their investments. "You can see over the long term the metrics you really need to know," said Parker Hane. "You can dig in and see which key words are driving clicks, conversions and delivering the best cost-per-click."
The dashboard will be available broadly starting this week.