Online directory firm Infopáginas, which has more than 170,000 businesses listed, is taking advantage of the challenges and opportunities of the current digital ecosystem to provide cost-effective tools to local small and medium sized enterprises, the company’s top official said Thursday.
Since 2009, Infopáginas has been steadily growing in it segment and is transforming itself now to develop and provide digital marketing products and services that meet the needs of that sector, offering annual plans divided in monthly payments to make services financially accessible, more attractive and feasible, said Reylí Maldonado, president for Infopáginas since 2013 and a 20-year veteran of the digital/mobile industry.
“Our goal is to develop cost-effective and easy to implement solutions that achieve our client’s results in a measurable manner, an issue particularly important for a sector often forgotten by big agencies and which needs support, growth, loyalty and exposition tools,” said Maldonado.
“We contribute to the steady growth of this important sector which represents almost 13 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product,” he said. “Unfortunately, this audience often believes that advertising efforts, especially digital campaigns/resources, are inaccessible, difficult to implement and costly.”
A 2015 Puerto Rico Trade and Export Company study highlighting the situation of micro and SMEs, revealed that 95 percent of local companies have between seven and 50 employees, and hence are considered small and medium sized.
Around 25 percent of employment generation in Puerto Rico, and almost 50 percent of employment in the private sector is generated by this segment of the economy, the agency confirmed.
The study also showed that 87 percent of exporting companies registered in the State Department at that time were also small and medium sized businesses, 92 percent of which are locally owned.
“Our current financially challenged environment seemed to fuel the growth of these type of companies among the unemployed, youth or people whom consider these situations as the perfect or necessary opportunity to start their own business, either pushed by creativity or the need for reinvention,” added Maldonado.
From the Yellow Pages to the digital era
In its early stages, Infopáginas was focused in growing its local presence via a physical (paper) and online directory.
The company continued to grow transitioning to the development of Web pages, social media content generation, online advertising in Google and Facebook, mobile applications development, e-mail and inbound marketing, organic positioning in search tools like Google and Bing (via Search Engine Optimization) and content development strategies.
The company has grown 14 percent in comparison to 2015 with $10.7 million in sales, despite the challenging financial environment, and expects a double-digit growth in 2017 with estimated sales of almost $12 million supported by more than 100 employees (with an 11 percent growth during the current year), Maldonado said.
The digital advertising and marketing company, generates 1.25 million monthly visits, holding the #1 position in Google ads.
For two consecutive years, Infopáginas has been recognized with Google Awards distinguishing its performance in digital campaign development and client retention. It is also the only 100 percent locally owned company to hold the “Premier Google Partner” badge in Puerto Rico.
The company was also recently certified as a Google City Partner for the “Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map,” a tool that aims to get small businesses listed on search engines.
With the assistance of Infopáginas, now small and medium sized businesses have the opportunity of a solid online presence to connect with potential clients.Infopáginas launches “Premiazos,” a loyalty app as a preamble to the development of other tools to support local businesses.
Premiazos incentives program born
To promote this connection, Infopáginas has developed Premiazos, an incentives program that allows any type of small and medium sized business to recognize its clientele’s fidelity and support. The free of charge app is available in Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.
Premiazos users benefit by obtaining points for each purchase that they can later redeem for gifts in their favorite businesses.
Business owners also benefit by establishing a closer relationship with their clients via offers that motivate consumers to come back as well as show appreciation for their patronage and loyalty.
Currently, the program has 160 islandwide businesses enrolled with the expectation of reaching 400 by the end of 2017.
Infopáginas initially invested close to $200,000 in the development of this loyalty tool with other upcoming tools on the works for the benefit of local consumers and in support of small and medium sized businesses.
The company is expected to finish optimizing the Premiazos app by September 2017 to provide more benefits for both users and clients.
Immediate plans, commitment to support local talent
Besides offering services that directly impact the important sector of small and medium businesses, Infopáginas invests in smaller companies strategically associated to common goals of their own.
One of such companies is Burea, a locally developed app to find, redeem and save in products, similar to a digital coupon finder, in which Infopáginas invested recently.
Immediate plans include the expansion and optimization of current tools, as well as the development and launching of other tools and applications that meet the needs of small and medium sized businesses and that provide even more benefit/conveniences to users.
In a similar fashion to Burea, the company also hopes to identify and establish strategic alliances with other small companies with common goals and business interests.
“The money invested and generated by Infopáginas, as well as the one from small and medium size businesses, stays in Puerto Rico,” Maldonado said.
“We put tools in the hands of our local talent so that they can concentrate in their area of expertise, while we place them in the digital era in a cost-efficient manner according to their specific needs and business opportunities,” he said.