It’s been more than two years since I wrote about marketing startup LocBox, but co-founder and CEO Saumil Mehta told me that the company has been busy — it’s now up to 600 customers and is growing between 7 and 10 percent each month.
Most of those customers are small, local businesses, which is why Mehta hasn’t made it a priority reach out to the tech press. He’s making an exception, however, for a significant expansion in the LocBox model. The company already helps businesses encourage positive reviews and engage with fans through offers, rewards and contests. As of today, it aims to help with their Facebook and Google ad campaigns, too.
I’ve seen plenty of other online ad managers for small businesses (during our demo, Mehta mentioned AdStage specifically). However, those products are usually built for ad management specifically, and as Mehta put it, “There’s no marketing automation component, no landing pages, no email marketing.”
By combining ad-buying with LocBox’s existing tools, he hopes to offer local businesses “an all-in-one package” for their marketing needs, creating “a combination that does not exist today.” For example, they could use LocBox to create customized landing pages with either coupons or purchase options, then use a LocBox-managed ad campaign to promote those pages.
Mehta also suggested that LocBox has been designed with the local business owner in mind. So there’s a simple interface that doesn’t require much knowledge of the ins and outs of Facebook or Google advertising — he said it’s simpler than Facebook’s own ad manager.
Now, I’m not a small business owner myself, but for what it’s worth, all the ad creation tools and reporting dashboards that Mehta showed me were comprehensible. Despite that simplicity, LocBox can still improve campaigns, for example by optimizing the ad spending to maximum the return across different audiences.
The goal, Mehta said, is to present businesses with very simple options: “Push this button to get new customers. Push this button to reach existing customers.”
“We are not close to having ‘solved it,’ but at least we are trying to bridge the gap between businesses’ objectives and the crazy, really complex online marketing world,” he added.
And even though LocBox is starting with Facebook and Google, Mehta said he’s interested in other ad platforms like Yelp, as well.