The market for SMB Web site building basically divides into do-it-yourself with a vendor that you select, or Web sites that are bundled with other marketing services. Pushing on the latter is Websplanet, a fast-growing 50-person company that is specifically focused on enabling “batch” orders for Yellow Pages companies as an easy upsell to their SMB customers.
Websplanet works with YPs such as Yellow Book, PagesJaunes and European Directories, as well as specialty publishers like LiveDeal. It also has partnership arrangements with companies such as Kenshoo Local, Spotzer, bieMEDIA and ASEC.
Websplanet USA GM Alf Poor tells us that there has long been a disconnect for Yellow Pages’ sales divisions that don’t have a Web site solution integrated into their solutions. Websplanet’s solution allows for easy automation of normal YP sales processes. For instance, it can enable spec sites for free listing customers that can be easily sold, and bundled in with other premium features, all totally controlled by the YP.
“We are not just selling technology, we are working as partner to help sales people sell,” says Poor. He adds that Websplanet only gets paid for sites that are actually sold.
As an example of its capabilities, the company recently produced spec sites for 10,000 customers for one of its customers. These are produced from basic business listings’ name and address files. Among other things, the spec sites are customized with company logos and text.
The company’s solution also makes it easier for Yellow Pages to add on other premium features, such as SEO packages, lead generation and video hosting. “The Yellow Pages control the platform,” says Poor. The key thing is to get over the hump and make sure the fundamental Web site is launched. End costs for consumers are set by the YP, and vary based on the size of the site, which might, for instance, be one, three, five or 10 pages.
Poor emphasizes that Web sites remain a critical building block for other services, as well as for search ranking. Futuristic tech scenarios that suggest that Web sites are “over” for SMBs don’t really recognize how important they remain for SMB marketing, he says.