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If given the choice, I will always patronize a small, local business over a national corporation. However, many small business owners lack the technological or social media expertise to effectively manage their online presence.
LocalVox, a startup that gives local businesses tools to wage online marketing campaigns, hopes to help and has just raised $7.4 million.
The company functions as a subscription service. Business owners load information into their profile, including descriptions, photos, testimonials, social media accounts, and keywords. The platform then distributes this information across multiple online channels, as well as through its network of local publishers. When businesses want to update their profiles, make announcements, or offer deals, they can log in to the dashboard and the information is published to various locations.
“There are 4.9 million businesses with less than 99 employees and every local business is struggling with how to manage the constantly fragmenting world of online marketing,” said founder and CEO David Pachter. “Life used to be simple when all they had to do was buy a Yellow Pages ad. Now there are hundreds of services and so many seem mandatory (a website, SEO, Facebook, Yelp, FourSquare, Google Places, email marketing, Twitter, and most recently mobile). It’s far too complicated and moving far too quickly for a local business to keep up.”
This helps LocalVox’s list of 700 small businesses communicate with and engage their existing customers, as well as attract new ones at a reasonable cost. Since the target is a local audience, LocalVox has partnered over 20 local publisher partners, including newspapers, magazines, and blogs. It not only works with restaurants, bars, galleries, and gyms with a single shop, but also with franchises such as Whole Foods that want to reach people in specific locations.
LocalVox is headquartered in New York and has solutions for businesses in the New York Metropolitan Area. With this funding, it will expand into new markets. The investment came from media company Talus Holdings, which is backed by Blackstone affiliate GSO Capital Partners LP.