News Article | July 18, 2017
Manta, one of the largest online resources dedicated to small business, today released a new white paper entitled “How to Harness the Marketing Power of Online Reviews.” The white paper outlines how small business owners can engage customers who actively share online reviews, how to solicit more positive reviews, and how to approach negative reviews. “How to Harness the Marketing Power of Online Reviews” aims to educate small business owners on the best ways to engage with their local communities and current customers while building their online reputations to acquire new business. As the white paper explains, small business owners must first understand the importance of online reviews, which are key to both optimizing search engine results and convincing prospective customers to patronize your business once they find it online. Only then can they move onto accumulating new reviews, promoting positive reviews, and turning negative reviews into opportunities to positively interact with customers. “Online reviews are the most important form of customer feedback available to any business,” said Dario Ambrosini, COO of Manta. “Customers are turning to the internet for recommendations. Google and Bing have taken notice, and businesses with more reviews will see better search engine results. Once small businesses realize this, they will see the value of online reviews, make a concerted effort to engage customers this way, and capture new business as a result.” “How to Harness the Marketing Power of Online Reviews” provides small business owners with actionable recommendations for taking control of online reviews, including: Download Manta’s full white paper here to learn more about how small businesses can leverage online reviews to boost their digital presence and increase customer acquisition. About Manta Manta, an online resource for small businesses, educates, supports and empowers small business owners to succeed and grow on their own terms. Manta provides its small business members with the education and marketing tools they need to reach local customers and grow their businesses. More than 2.6 million small business members use Manta’s simple and effective solutions.
Manta Inc | Date: 2012-06-18
A system and method are provided for using a class H amplifier in a tester for testing protective relaying equipment, particularly useful in conducting end to end testing. The class H amplifier is configured to provide separation between the amplifier and the power supply of the tester using a DSP which also offers flexibility for programming algorithms to realize efficiencies in matching the waveform to the output rail. End to end testing is also improved by including expected results for the test case used by the tester to enable the tester to determine how close the results are to what is expected. This offers time savings and is less prone to error in that the expected results can be predetermined by a qualified/experienced professional.
News Article | April 2, 2012
Manta, an online community dedicated entirely to small business, has raised $44 million in funding from Norwest Venture Partners. This brings the company’s total funding to $61 million. With this investment NVP’s Jon Kossow and David Su have joined Manta’s board of directors, which includes previous investors Athenian Venture Partners and Reservoir Venture Partners. Manta is an online community meets social network for small business owners. The network aims to help these businesses easily gain an online presence, increased visibility with customers and prospects and ultimately increase sales. Owners can create, manage and share an online profile for their business; promote their companies, products and services; as well as build and engage with other businesses on the platform. The company aims to provide these services for businesses who have less than $5,000 in marketing spend. “Our investment in Manta is in line with NVP’s strategy to invest in profitable, rapidly growing business leaders,” said David Su, vice president of Norwest. “The $40B+ addressable market in which Manta plays is immense, and the company continues to grow rapidly as small businesses look to expand their online presence.” Currently, the company is seeing 3,000 business owners joining per day (up from 1,000 last year), and now has 2 million members. CEO Pamela Springer adds that Manta is seeing 28 million uniques per month. And the company is profitable. While MerchantCircle also offers a social network for small businesses, Springer sees Manta’s competition as Google (via Places) and even Facebook pages. But she feels that Manta, with its focus on connecting small businesses, is able to suit merchants’ and entrepreneurs’ needs more efficiently.
News Article | May 13, 2014
Listing your business on Manta.com is a great way to gain customers from Manta’s more than 20 Million monthly users. It’s also a great way to quickly get your business online, and showing up in search engines like Google. In this post I am going to show you how to setup your Manta business listing and product showcase pages. As a bonus, I am going to share with you some tricks that will help your listing outrank your competition, and make sure it gets the most exposure possible. The example being used is a real company, a New York City based dentist, which I recently helped create their new Manta listing. In order to set up a business profile on Manta, you need to have a personal profile. Your personal profile also gives Manta users the opportunity to learn more about you. The business listing is what Manta is all about. Business listings allow you to add your business’s contact info, business hours, social media accounts, website, products and services offered, and more. As a part of your free business listing, you are allowed to have 3 product and service showcase pages (paid accounts can have more). This is an opportunity to generate interest in specific products or services, by including an in-depth description, image, and pricing information. Start by searching manta to see if your business is already listed. If it is, then there will be a little yellow button beside the listing that you can click to claim your listing. It looks like this: When you click that button, your business listing will be automatically connected to your personal profile. You now have the ability to edit and add information to your business profile. If your business is not already listed, then adding a new listing is easy. Just click the “add your business link” in the upper right hand corner of your screen. It looks like this: Now it’s time to start filling out your profile. As we go through this process there are two big things to keep in mind: These are two of the biggest factors that will determine how highly your business listing ranks for specific keywords on Manta and other search engines. Google, which is by far the most popular search engine, allows you to see monthly estimates for the number of times any term is searched on Google.com. These estimates can give you a good idea of the keywords that your potential customers are typing into Manta as well. The Google keyword planner is therefore a great tool to use to find the keywords that you should be including throughout your Manta profile. The first step is to register for a free Google Adwords account, which you can do here. After logging into your Adwords account you can find the keyword planner tool here: Once you have selected the keyword planner, you can enter in several search terms that are related to your business. If you are a dentist you might enter in the terms: dentist, dental, and cavity. Hit enter and then click the “keyword ideas” tab, which will give you a page that looks like this: Here you can see an estimate from Google of the number of times people search Google.com using those keywords, on average, each month. The tool also gives you a long list of related keywords, along with their average monthly search traffic. This list should give you a really good idea of the search terms that people are using when looking for the products and services that you offer. Keep a list of the most popular ones, and make sure that you use them when filling out your profile. Once you know what you should include in your Manta profile, Manta makes filling out your profile easy and straightforward. After claiming your business profile, each section will have a blue edit button or box where you can update or add information to that section. It looks like this: Let me walk you through each section, showing you a live example of a Manta profile that I recently setup. The business name, address, and contact info should be the exact same info as you use on your website. If you already have a copy of your company’s logo in digital format, you can simply upload it here. If you have a logo on your website, but don’t have it in digital format, then you can take a screenshot of the logo on your website, and then upload the screenshot. For instructions on how to take a screenshot on a PC go here. For instructions on how to take a screenshot on a Mac go here. If you do not have a logo for your company yet, read our logo design buyer’s guide. If you don’t have a business email yet, you can learn how to get a free business email address here. Manta allows you to showcase in detail up to three products or services on your free business listing. Users who upgrade to a premium listing can showcase additional products and services. They also allow you to list the names of up to 30 additional products or services that you offer. You can see the services I have chosen to feature, as well as the additional products and services I have listed, in the above image. As with all parts of your listing, you want to keep in mind the keywords that you want your profile to rank for when filling out this section. Clients can get a more detailed overview, by clicking on the product or services that you have featured. When they do so it takes them to a full product/service overview section. Here’s what it looks like: There are several important things to keep in mind here: Manta resizes the images automatically, however if they do not look right, you can use Lunapic.com to edit the demensions of your images manually. When possible, you should also have at least one photo with a person’s face. People are naturally drawn to pictures featuring other people. For the business categories, you have the opportunity to list 1 primary category, and 2 secondary categories. Manta gives you the categories to choose from, so choose the category that is most closely related to your most important keyword, as the primary category. Keep your keywords in mind when choosing your secondary categories as well. The about us section is another great place to make sure you are including your keywords. The company contact section is going to default to whomever is filling out the profile. If that is not the same person that you want the public to be reaching out to, then change it. You can also list multiple people here, so if people should contact a different person for business partnerships, than general info, list both here. The additional links section gives you the opportunity to showcase specific parts of your website, or pages on other sites that cast your business in a positive light. This is also a good opportunity to link to pages on your website that you want to rank higher in Google’s search results. One of the factors that determines how highly Google ranks your website, is the quantity and quality of the links that you have pointing to your website, from other sites. For my listing, I included the company’s blog, and a youtube video with an office walkthrough. Other examples of the types of things to include here, would be positive mentions of the company in the press, the menu page of a restaurant website, or a link to a page with pictures of your office and staff. When searching for a product or service to buy, people often use the specific brand name they are looking to purchase. By including all the brands you offer in this section, you give your profile a better chance of ranking when customers search for those brands on Manta and other search engines. The memberships section gives you the opportunity to add additional credibility to your company. Here you can link up your Facebook and Twitter account. We have found that Facebook is especially effective for businesses that cater to other individuals. If you are not already on Facebook, read our free guide on how to get setup here. In addition to letting your customers know when you are open, you can add 250 characters of text below the hours. I used this as an opportunity to let people know that we accept walk-ins. If there is something specific that you would like to highlight, such as 24 hour emergency service, you can do so here. Verifying your profile is free, and gives it an added level of credibility as it shows up on Manta with the verified badge. According to a recent survey by BrightLocal.com 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recomendations. This means that getting positive reviews for your business is one of the most powerful things you can do to increase sales. When users leave a recommendation for your business it shows up on your profile immediately and looks like this: If you have followed the instructions above your new presence on Manta should put you way ahead of the competition. If you would like even more exposure on Manta check out one of their premium packages which you can find here.
News Article | April 17, 2013
Small business owners are also in need of business-focused platforms to help them connect with prospects and peers. More than half of small business owners say it was a successful first quarter for their business, despite the federal government's budget crisis in the first quarter, according to a Manta survey of more than 1,200 small business owners in the United States. Part of this may be due to the increasing number of small and midsize businesses (SMBs) getting the hang of social media marketing. Small business owners are taking an "independent and resourceful" approach to learning more about social media, the report indicated. Whereas only 18 percent of SMBs ask for social media help from third-party experts, twice as many (36 percent) turn to online resources. Their hard work appears to be paying off, as nearly 40 percent of small business owners are reporting a return on their investment, with 30 percent realizing returns greater than $2,000. "As a highly pragmatic and time-constrained group, small business owners are strategically adopting platforms that show real results for their business," Manta CEO Pamela Springer said in a statement. "However, social media is not a stationary phenomenon. As SMBs shift from the experimental stage to a results-focused phase, their social media usage will evolve to maximize the value."However, small businesses are also encountering obstacles along the way, with 18 percent of SMBs reporting Facebook is the most difficult platform to maintain, followed by LinkedIn and Twitter. Small business owners are also in need of business-focused platforms to help them connect with prospects and peers. The report revealed 36 percent of SMBs indicate the primary goal of using social media is to acquire and engage with new customers.Overall, with the potential to generate a compelling return on investment (ROI), social media involvement is trending upward in the small-business community. Nearly 50 percent of SMBs have increased time spent on social media compared to a year ago. In addition, more than one in three small business owners said they dedicate between one and three hours each week managing their social media channels, while 10 percent spend more than 10 hours. While more small businesses (nearly 26 percent) are investing in social media, online advertising and marketing, higher levels of optimism and business growth have not translated into an increase in employment, as only about 5 percent of small business owners said they plan to hire new staff this spring. This finding correlates with the results of a study by PNC, which earlier this month found American SMBs plan to delay hiring new employees or seek new loans amid cautious optimism about the economy. Three out of four (75 percent) small businesses said they expect their staffing to remain unchanged for the next six months, and nearly one out of three said they will choose to do more work with fewer employees. Social media can also act as a double-edged sword, according to an online survey from the authors of “Crucial Conversations,” a book exploring influential speech habits. The study found social media sites are fostering an increasingly hostile user base. Nearly eight in 10 (78 percent) of the 2,698 respondents reporting rising incivility online.
News Article | July 27, 2015
With 80 percent of small business owners using their mobile phone for business at least once a day, it is clear that mobile tech is here to stay. Approximately 80 percent of small business owners use their mobile phone for business at least once a day, nearly a 10 percent increase since 2012, according to Manta’s latest SMB Wellness Index. The study revealed a quarter of small businesses use their mobile device for business at least every hour, and not just when they’re on the road. Also, 78 percent of small business owners use their mobile device while in front of their computer (a 10n percent increase since 2012) for things like checking personal texts or email (48 percent) and speedier email access (25 percent). "Mobile technology has in some ways been a double-edged sword for small business owners’ work-life balance, making it easier to get away but harder in some cases to fully disconnect," John Swanciger, CEO of Manta, told eWEEK. "For example, according to our survey, 78 percent of small business owners check work email or other documents while on vacation, although most of them--64 percent--believe mobile access allows them to enjoy their vacations more." He noted with 80 percent of small business owners using their mobile phone for business at least once a day, it is clear that mobile tech is here to stay.The survey also indicated small businesses now rely on mobile phones for basic tasks such as appointment scheduling or communicating with customers (56 percent), creating notes or to-do lists (30 percent) and banking (24 percent)."Mobile tech provides opportunities for efficiency and business growth, but it can also place further demand on business owners to remain more accessible," Swanciger noted. "Having an open line of communication to the public 24/7, and helpful business tools readily available, coaxes business owners to make themselves more available and accountable, even outside business hours. As we’ve seen with the vacation example, this can be a threat to a small business owner’s work-life balance." The majority of small business owners (71 percent) report that 2015 has been a successful year so far, with business up 3 percent since last summer. Even more small businesses (82 percent) are optimistic about the remainder of the year, although less than last year are planning to hire new employees. This year’s figure of 30 percent compares to 35 % in 2014."Many small businesses can operate as lean organizations with consolidated resources," Swanciger said. "If they take the profit as is, without expanding their business, small businesses can sustain success without generating additional overhead costs of employing and training others in hopes of bigger gains."
News Article | February 14, 2013
"I know there are people out there who can start successful companies and still have time for great love affairs or deep meaningful romantic relationships. They can be a great business leader and a supportive and available husband or wife to their partner. I am not one of those people. Sadly, I have neglected every partner I have ever had for my first true love, work." That’s Sean Suhl, cocreator of Suicide Girls and cofounder of the recently released Let’s Date app. Given the demands of starting a new venture, you would think Suhl’s experience is par for the course for enterprising business people—male or female. But you'd be wrong. Stereotypes notwithstanding, plenty of evidence suggests the young, Type-A, tech-savvy self-promoter who regularly sleeps alone on the office couch isn’t your typical founder. Indeed, 70% were married when they became entrepreneurs and 65% were over 30 when they founded their first company. And now Manta, the online community for small businesses, finds that owning a small business can actually help your love life. Manta CEO Pamela Springer says 32% of respondents to their latest survey report their family life and relationships have gotten better with business, and nearly 60% of them would recommend working with their significant others. Venture capitalist Brad Feld and his wife Amy Batchelor, managing director of the Anchor Point Fund, know this all too well. In fact, they wrote the book on it. Startup Life: Surviving and Thriving in a Relationship with an Entrepreneur sprung from their personal experiences of surviving a near-breakup more than a decade ago. "It’s repeated over and over that entrepreneurship is an ‘all-in’ experience and the partner of an entrepreneur has to accept that he is playing second fiddle to the entrepreneur’s startup," they write. "We completely reject this notion. We reject the idea that the more you work, the better the outcome. We reject that time spent on work matters more than having a fulfilling life." Instead, they contend, "both you and your startup will be more successful if you have a full experience on this planet." They acknowledge that relationships, like entrepreneurship, are really hard. Failure is to be expected—in both. And just as founders are told to fail fast, pivot, and charge ahead, Feld and Batchelor believe the same is true in love: "Own your mistakes, learn from them, and move on." One big mistake they’ve found is that entrepreneurs tend to be connected to their businesses constantly. "Technology is not always your friend. You do not need to do just one more email right before bedtime. Stepping away from the computer at least an hour before bedtime helps make this happen," they advise. Still, startup stress can have a disastrous effect on sex. Only 19% of small business owners surveyed by Manta say their sex life is most important to them, and a paltry 1% say that their life between the sheets has improved since they started their business. "Small business owners are finding it hard to improve their sex life partially because of increased stress, as they have to spend more time focusing on their companies since there are many uncertainties from the current economic climate and new federal policies in the pipeline," says Springer. For his part, Suhl vividly recalls a beautiful Italian woman named Christina smoking cigarettes in the windowsill of the Soho Hotel in London. Rather than turn to him amorously after their liaison, Suhl says she demanded to know whether or not he’d surreptitiously checked his notifications during an intimate moment. "She's getting married in the fall to someone who presumably has his priorities straight," Suhl says. "I just launched a new iPhone app, though. We really got all the details right. I obsessed over everything. Instead of that balance thing." Feld and Batchelor recommend a host of standard-issue solutions to keep both sex and romance thriving along with the balance sheet, from talking about sexual preferences and always answering your partner’s telephone calls to sending love notes when traveling. For the goal oriented, they suggest putting a dollar in a jar every time you have sex (or five if it's breathtakingly awesome) as a way of measuring progress. Ironically, while the percentage of new businesses that survive past five years is 51%, according to SBA statistics, and the U.S. Census Bureau reports that the divorce rate of first marriages is around 50%, it's not entrepreneurship that dooms most marriages. Springer says that an overwhelming majority of small business owners (82%) said owning a company did not a play a role in their separations. "This aligns with our data because most small business owners enjoy working with their significant others and many agree on most work-related issues. In fact, 60% of small business owners polled are married, which is almost 10% higher than the national average," she says. As for finding love in a startup, Springer says all that time spent together could make the sparks fly. While a previous Manta survey shows that 74% of entrepreneurs believe networking online is just as valuable as networking in person to grow their business, only 12% of them say they dated through social media. "This could mean that small business owners value direct, in-person interactions more than virtual dating when it comes to finding their significant other," Springer notes.
News Article | November 3, 2014
As more small-business owners adopt payment technologies to alleviate cash flow issues, Visa and MasterCard were ranked as the top payment brands. As this year’s holiday shopping season approaches, a Manta small-business study reveals that 67 percent of 1,268 respondents are already experiencing steady or improved sales. Optimism is high, with 71 percent of small businesses feeling positive about upcoming holiday sales, and small business owners in the South are the most optimistic in the nation when it comes to holiday sales this year (75 percent). However, the increase in sales and optimism hasn’t impacted holiday hiring, as 82 percent of those surveyed will not be hiring seasonal employees this year, which is consistent with last year’s findings. "Our data shows that social media is the No. 1 technology investment that small business owners plan to make in the coming months," John Swanciger, CEO of Manta, told eWEEK. "Small businesses understand the importance of building an online presence beyond the traditional Website. They have seen the benefits that a loyal customer base has on the success of their business and discovered that social media is a low-cost way to communicate and interact with their supporters."As more small business owners adopt payment technologies to alleviate cash flow issues, survey respondents ranked Visa and MasterCard as the top payment brands most supportive of small business (29 percent).PayPal (23 percent) and Square (16 percent) ranked second and third, respectively, with American Express ranking fourth (5 percent). "Small businesses are optimistic and expect increased sales this season. That suggests the overall small business economy in the U.S. is doing well and poised for revenue growth this year," Swanciger said. "The lack of seasonal hiring, even though sales are expected to rise, is really more about small businesses being cautious and isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We will see if small businesses change their mind about hiring seasonal workers once the holiday sales start coming in later this year." The report noted PayPal and Square’s prominent rankings could indicate a shift toward mobile payment brands is underway in the small business community, as together they represent 39 percent, indicating one or both brands could displace Visa and MasterCard in the coming years. Meanwhile, the report indicated big brands, such as Google, Amazon and Apple all have a long way to go to win the loyalty of small business owners. While Apple may be a consumer darling, only 1 percent of respondents feel Apple is supportive of small businesses, although this is something that could change with its new Apple Pay offering. From increasing sales leads to networking and generating exposure for their business, social media is a must-have tool for businesses of all sizes, Swanciger added. "This year’s survey results around small business optimism are consistent with previous Manta surveys," he said. "Optimism is engrained in the small business community, something that helps in both good times and bad. Small businesses trend towards having a consistent can-do attitude and we don’t expect this to change anytime soon."
News Article | April 22, 2015
The product suite includes the automated Priority Search, which delivers clicks and calls from Google searches for local products and services. Small-business marketing solutions specialist Manta launched a portfolio of marketing automation products, as well as a newly designed Website. The product suite includes Manta Ads, which help small businesses advertise online by targeting thousands of potential customers searching for local small businesses, products and services. "Between business operations, human resources responsibilities, product and service development and customer service, small-business owners are starved for time. It's hard, if not impossible, to do it all—especially if you're on your own," John Swanciger, Manta's CEO, told eWEEK. "When it comes to marketing, automation tools can be an incredibly efficient way for small-business owners to gain visibility, but only if they're something a small-business owner can actually use." In addition, Manta provides a single business profile and one performance dashboard, so small businesses can manage their online brand presence across more than 50 different sites.The product suite includes the automated Priority Search, which delivers clicks and calls from Google searches for local products and services."What small businesses need most for marketing is a partner that understands small business," Swanciger said. "At Manta, we are exclusively dedicated to helping small businesses, and while we know that each one is unique, two primary concerns that all small businesses grapple with are consistent cash flow and getting in front of new customers. That's why Manta is focused on creating new, fast-acting and affordable products that allow businesses to market for increased visibility and maintain a consistent brand presence online." The launch of Manta's content hub, focused solely on small-business topics, provides daily articles and helpful information for small-business owners or their employees. Resources include industry research, tips, and monthly online events, while a new small-business community helps simplify the process of getting advice directly from peers, Swanciger said. "Mobile technology is an increasingly important platform for small businesses to maintain a level playing field with their larger competitors, but it can be hard to keep up," Swanciger explained. "With this in mind, Manta keeps up with the latest technology to ensure that small businesses have a mobile-optimized Manta profile and that searches and visits to their Manta profile are optimized for mobile users. We work hard to make sure that even if a small business does not have their own resources to create a mobile-optimized or responsive Website, they can always lean on their Manta profile." According to a recent Manta poll, 62 percent of consumers said they don't trust a business if it doesn't have a strong online presence, and small-business owners reported that search engine referrals are one of the most valuable assets of their business, second only to their network of business contacts.
News Article | May 22, 2015
Nearly half (47 percent) of small businesses that see ROI on social media report receiving less than $100 each month, according to the Manta report. More than half of small business owners (59 percent) don’t realize a positive return on their investment in social media, according to a survey of 540 small business owners conducted by Manta. Facebook is the top choice for small business owners. Fifth-three percent of respondents ranked the social media giant as returning the most value to their business, up from 29 percent in 2013. "Facebook has tremendous critical mass. The sheer magnitude of Facebook’s user community makes it one of the largest platforms for brand awareness," John Swanciger, Manta’s CEO, told eWEEK. "Facebook acts like a virtual community--it is already set up to reach target audiences. The simplicity of sharing, liking and commenting add a viral participation component allowing for exponential increases to awareness on well executed campaigns." He noted that Facebook also offers a large suite of tools that make marketing easy for time-starved small business owners."New features such as a Facebook live support chat function will improve how businesses connect with their audiences," he said. "The result could be more direct return on investment for small businesses and more businesses migrating to Facebook as both a sales and support channel."According to the survey, the value of other leading social networks for small businesses dropped significantly, with Google+ coming in second with 15 percent, followed by LinkedIn (11 percent).Twitter and Pinterest trailed behind at five and two percent. Nearly half (47 percent) of small businesses that realize a positive ROI on social media report receiving less than $100 each month, and nearly half (49 percent) of small business owners said they are unwilling to spend money on social media promotion. "One issue contributing to low ROI is that, for many small business owners, social media remains unfamiliar territory," Swanciger said. "Finding the right mix of platforms and content to reach your audience is time consuming. Many small business owners simply don’t have the time or resources to make a concerted effort to turn social engagement into sales." The percentage of small business owners with plans to increase the time spent on social media has slowed to 34 percent, compared with 49 percent in 2013. However, the survey also indicated small business owners continue setting social media goals, with new customer acquisition topping the list at 37 percent. This is followed by driving awareness of or marketing for their business at 17 percent, and generating leads or referrals at 15 percent. "Creating positive brand awareness and fostering loyalty will remain important, but returns will likely increase as it becomes easier for small businesses to isolate and distribute content to appropriate audiences," Swanciger said. "We will see the perception of social media ROI go up as platforms simplify conversion tracking and audience targeting."