Manta: An Online Marketplace for Small Business
The best small business in the world can’t be a success until it becomes known within its community and industry. Budget and resource constraints can make that an especially challenging task for small businesses. That’s where a service like Manta comes into play.
The web site, which allows users to post information about their company and allows consumers to find them, currently hosts more than one million registered users and 64 million company profiles. Six years after its inception, Manta is ranked the third largest business news/research website by comScore.
Manta’s President and CEO Pamela Springer, explained how small businesses can use Manta to reach a broader customer based.
BusinessNewsDaily: How is Manta different/more valuable to a small business owner than Google or Hoovers listings?
Pamela Springer: Manta offers so much more than an online business listing. We’ve become the destination site for small business owners to promote their company and connect with customers, prospects and partners. Our comprehensive coverage of small companies, including details about the people who work for these companies, and the ability to connect with the business owners and professional directly, is the foundation of our community. Traditional online business listing sites may offer either a consumer-centric experience, or simple, often limited, business information. Manta’s focus is on capturing comprehensive, unique and accurate business information directly from the business owner .
The Manta company profile is truly a source of promotion for a company. The ability to update and enhance this profile so it is accurate and reflects what the business owner wants to communicate, is a key feature. It’s essentially business connecting with more business. More than 2,000 business owners claim or add their company on Manta each day, and more than 27 million unique visitors come to Manta to find these companies.
BND: How can small business owners use Manta to transform search activity into actionable prospecting tools?
P.S.: Manta members can request to become a contact of any registered user of Manta in order to promote their company or build business relationships with sales prospects and partners. Manta’s unique filters allow users to refine their requirements in finding a particular company or set of companies based on revenue, employee size, etc. They also can save and store information, including contact information, so they can create a forecast or sales pipeline. Manta also provides business owners weekly statistics as to how many users have visited their profile compared to their peer group along with charts comparing related businesses in their area.
BND: What is your recommended strategy for a small business with limited marketing budgets to use Manta most effectively?
P.S.: Business owners don’t need research to tell them their customer is spending more time online. Step 1 of any small business owner’s online strategy is to be found. Step 2 is to make sure the information found is accurate and engaging. A Manta profile successfully implements that strategy for no charge to the business owner. To take full advantage of Manta, a small business owner should add detailed information on products and services, logos, website links, photos, press coverage, videos, event information, association memberships, and Facebook and Twitter account details. Company profiles should be updated as often as necessary to keep the information fresh and compelling.
Business owners also can purchase a Premium Business Listing, which allows their profile to be found in distinct areas of the site based on keywords they choose. By choosing keywords that match your specialty, you become easier to find for Manta users seeking businesses like yours. You also can designate geographic areas for your keywords, so that you can be found by people outside of your immediate geographic area.
BND: What kind of small business owner should use Manta? Is it appropriate for businesses whose end-user is the consumer, or business-to-business sellers only?
P.S.: While our user-experience is oriented toward answering business questions, Manta can be used by any kind of business serving any type of customer. Our company profiles include accurate, in-depth business information necessary for making introductions and initiating potential business. In many instances, a Manta company profile ranks extremely high in a search engine results page, helping promote a B2C or B2B company.
BND: You recently took a giant leap in traffic, growing from 12 million to 26 million users. Where did the audience boost come from?
P.S.: In a very short period of time we’ve become one of the largest sites on the web (#41 on Quantcast) and one of the most influential (comScore recently cited Manta as one of the top properties driving overall web growth).
As visitors search for companies on Manta, more companies claim, update and add their profiles and use the new features we’ve introduced to promote their business. Our repeat traffic from existing users is exploding. The more company profiles are claimed, the richer and more valuable our data becomes. The unique and in-depth details in our company profiles, and the ability to connect with business owners attached to those profiles, is developing a very strong following and fueling our huge audience growth.
BND: What advice would you give an entrepreneur just starting out in terms of the best and smartest ways to use the tools Manta provides?
P.S.: My advice for any entrepreneur is to use Manta to research and investigate the marketplace and use your findings to strategize and create a business plan. Using Manta, you can research and survey the business landscape by category or region and then use our “ChartIt” tool to visualize your findings.
Manta’s database of detailed company information allows anyone to research possible partners, vendors and suppliers; source products and materials, and seek information about competition or potential adjacent markets. Manta provides endless possibilities as a research tool. Finally, use Manta to network. Never underestimate what a personal connection can lead to.
BND: How might a small business listed on Manta whose owner is unsure how to use it effectively, make changes to beef up its value?
P.S: Manta gives a platform to promote business, so updating and changing the profile regularly with new information is key. In addition to our free profiles, our Premium Business Listings allow users a wider array of services and features to enhance their online presence. We send weekly activity reports on viewership and offer customer service support to our users.
BND: What is the most common misperception businesses have when it comes to using Manta? What’s the biggest missed opportunity?
P.S.: The biggest misconception is that Manta is simply a database. Manta is a community in which small businesses can promote their business and connect to customers. Through its rich, detailed profiles on nearly 64 million businesses worldwide, Manta serves as an unrivalled resource. The biggest missed opportunity for a small business owner is to simply not be a member of the Manta community.
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