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Promotional services that boost SMBs run the gamut from coupons to prizes. The most popular are free offers, discounts off total amounts, and prizes/free gifts, said Matchpoint CEO Peter Adams, who was speaking at Marketplaces 2009.

Adams noted that when companies are contacted by Matchpoint users, 25 percent respond with some kind of a promotional offer. “It is as high as 45 percent in certain categories,” he said. He also reported that the offers result in success, with more consumers considering purchases. Users, for their part, are seeking pricing and deals.

Services like Matchpoint are vital for SMBs to get engaged with promotions because they “lack time, tools and expertise,” said Adams. “They need help with offer creations. They need help getting the word out; they need help to work with their other marketing and advertising.”

Bogopod Founder and CEO Adam Leff, who was speaking on the same session, noted that online marketers have a strong chance of dislodging the $60 billion direct marketing industry. His company gives consumers “a different feeling than many directory experiences,” he said.

For businesses, Bogopod offers built-in loyalty systems, database development and integrated Web sites. Businesses can send “one convenient e-mail with hundreds of offers” — something he called “special offer optimization, or SOO.” “It is behavioral targeting with life-cycle offers.”

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