One of the first steps in SMB marketing is presence. Before getting to promotion, SEO, and other operational tools under the SMB-SaaS umbrella, it’s simply about planting one’s digital flag. Traditionally, that’s been all about websites, though Facebook and others have challenged the notion with lighter flavors of presence.
Even within the website world, there’s a sliding scale of simplicity versus complexity. Most major website hosts/builders today try to strike a balance of SMB-friendly levels of simplicity, yet functional evolutions they can grow into. And there are SMB-focused players like Duda striking a deliberate balance.
Also on the simplicity end of the spectrum is Fisherman. Brought to our attention by local marketing veteran and Brevi founder Randy Parker, the Boston-based company just raised $1 million to eliminate friction in SMB presence. This is what CEO and co-founder Ameet Kallarackal calls the “No Effort Web.”
“Over the past 30 years, there’s been evolution from requiring extensive coding skills, to low-code environments, to the recent no-code movement,” Kallarackal told Localogy Insider. “At each stage, getting a high-quality website has become more accessible, but there’s still a massive segment of traditional SMB owners who don’t have the time, capital, or technical know-how to build and maintain a great website.”
Going deeper on Fisherman’s offering, it claims that its website builder requires less than 3 minutes to set up. To do this, it relies heavily on automation, such as pulling in data from other sources and synthesizing it into a professional-grade website. That can include public sources and info from data partners.
“It’s a unique time when a number of data sources aggregate information about SMBs,” said Kallarackal, who was on the founding team at Campus Insights before selling it to Harvard University. “We leverage these as part of our process of automatically building something that SMBs can own for themselves.”
The way this works specifically is a given SMB enters their business name into Fisherman’s site builder. It then processes the above signals and sources into a website mockup. SMBs can also select on-brand colors and styles that are incorporated throughout the site design. That way, it’s automated but not canned.
Fisherman has focused on restaurants to start, given that the business owner profile tends to align with the time-starved persona that the product targets. As noted, It has also formed data partnerships including ChowNow. These feed into its website-building process and serve as a source of business leads.
Name of the Game
Speaking of leads, Fisherman’s vertical partners have become a meaningful sales channel — the name of the game for software companies that target SMBs. One way this plays out is that partners alert Fisherman when sites don’t have a website. It can then quickly mock one up for some red meat in its sales pitch.
This distribution happens in both directions as Fisherman integrates vertical partners’ functionality into the sites it builds. For example, it bakes ChowNow’s ordering system into restaurant websites when applicable. This can appeal to restaurants that don’t want to cobble together disparate website-adjacent functions.
As for revenue model, Fisherman takes its own medicine with respect to reducing friction. That translates to a free trial, followed by packages that range from $30-$50 per month. Not only is the trial approach increasingly popular among SMBs according to Localogy data, but Fisherman sees a 95 percent conversion rate.
All of the above was accelerated in the Covid Era when restaurants — along with other SMB verticals — were forced to accelerate digital adoption. As we enter the Post-Covid era, many of those SMBs aren’t going back. We’ll watch to see if that has sustained impact on Fisherman’s addressable market and revenue growth.