Hibu Inc. has refocused its business on digital SMB and brand marketing. The Yellowbook company announced it’s joining the Facebook Marketing Partner program to deliver bundled advertising targeting and reporting for small businesses in the United States. The company, now based in East Meadow, New York, has deemphasized its traditional print directory products to concentrate on delivering web presence, search marketing, digital display advertising, SEO and listings management services.
BIA/Kelsey has reported growing interest in bundled solutions among SMB respondents to the Local Commerce Monitor survey for the past four years. Facebook and Facebook Ads are the number one and two social media used for advertising and promotion by small businesses in LCM 20, BIA/Kelsey’s upcoming annual survey. Forty-five percent of SMBs use Facebook to market their business socially, and 25 percent report purchasing Facebook Ad inventory.
“We have assembled a comprehensive set of marketing services that help small- and medium-sized businesses achieve their marketing objectives with simple, effective and affordable solutions,” Kevin Jasper, CEO of Hibu said in a press release. “Helping local businesses reach the large and growing Facebook audience is increasingly important and our status as a Facebook Marketing Partner both recognizes and enhances our capabilities to support our clients through our solutions.”
Hibu has picked a ripe target. It’s challenge will be to improve self-service experience compared to competitors in order to scale its sales. DIY bundles are widely favored by SMBs, with Do-It-With-Me services that provide more hand-holding for clients having claimed about a fifth of the market in 2016.
Hibu has a core digital audience of up to 350,000 SMB presence (web site hosting and management) customers on which to build its marketing services revenue. Like many Yellow listings companies, Hibu historically sold digital primarily through premise salespeople. Feet on the street have become less important to SMBs as their use of digital marketing tools matures.
The success of its self-service online marketing with individual business owners and marketers will be key to hibu’s pivot away from its paper directory past. The company has reduced the size of its salesforce, which sells a combination of print and digital locally, and now leads with digital offers.
Facebook’s selection of hibu validates the successful repositioning of the company, setting the stage for a renewed engagement with its hundreds of thousands of SMB customers, a company spokesperson said.