Constant Contact Buys SinglePlatform | Better for Small Business Owners?

Constant Contact has bought SinglePlatform, another important company that provides marketing tools for small businesses. Both businesses share many potential customers but it is not clear if the combination of their services will offer any extra value for restaurants.

Constant Contact provides a host of online tools for small business owners to control their online marketing. Constant Contact services range from email marketing to social media marketing to promotional coupons. Constant Contact is primarily used by small business owners for email marketing and the bulk of their revenue comes from this. Their reach is bigger than the company’s name recognition as Constant Contact enables online marketing firms to resell their software, enabling marketers to create personalized email campaigns with powerful software for clients. Constant Contact claims to have a half million users.

SinglePlatform gives owners a single place to update business information such as menus, photos and hours, so that the information across the internet is correct and complete. SinglePlatform also has large publishing partners through their network, including Foursquare, NY Times, Urbanspoon and Yellow Pages. SinglePlatform’s tools try to strengthen their clients in web/mobile searches both through exposure and content. SinglePlatform claims 200 million visits per month, but they do not explain if that includes their network.

Both companies have been concentrating on reaching customers at the point when they make a purchase choice. As a good portion of searchers are not looking for a particular business, Constant Contact/SinglePlatform have set out to position small businesses to drive traffic to their website and/or business. Also, Constant Contact’s email and social media are intended to increase engagement between customers and businesses  online.

Constant Contact said that SinglePlatform’s paid Digital Storefront will continue as it did before the acquisition. They also revealed that SinglePlatform’s basic listing service will become available to all Constant Contact users. Beyond that, Constant Contact has not revealed their future strategy.

Constant Contact’s stock price has dropped almost 15% today as Wall Street seems unimpressed by the latest acquisition. The motive for Constant Contact may be diversification as both companies do not share much more than offering online marketing tools to small businesses, so I do not expect large cost-savings nor much better pricing. For restaurants, although it streamlines necessary online marketing strategies, both companies have not been able to fully communicate the know-how in addition to the equipment. The merger might only end up making it more complex for owners and less effective resource and time-wise. Indeed although both companies share the same customer pool (small business owners), they do not necessarily serve the same online marketing purpose.