Austin Andrukaitis: Helping Small Businesses Succeed Through Online Marketing

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Austin Andrukaitis has been in the business of helping people since he was in high school.

He’s now in the business of helping businesses – and helping businesses help each other – with

I’ve been fascinated with technology from a very young age,” the CEO said. “I started building websites and developing software while I was in high school. I was able to launch thousands of microsites, generating income through AdSense revenue and affiliate commission. Once I realized I could make a living building websites and computer software, I was hooked.”

Expanding his Options

The website development continued through college and he took a more formal approach with the launch of an entrepreneurial internet business focused on helping small companies with website development, SEO, and internet advertising. He was also on the lookout for more business leads.

“That’s when I met David Bayer, who was running the internet marketing company Databanq,” Andrukaitis said. “As I learned more about Databanq and the team, I wanted to learn as much as I could about developing large brands online.”

One of the sites Databanq manages was

“ is a powerhouse of an idea,” Andrukaitis said. “For starters, we take all the services and benefits of the traditional Chamber and digitize them. But it is the business model that really excites me. We are able to develop new products and programs to respond to our customers’ needs. We’re able to help build relationships by offering network opportunities based on all sorts of criteria – industry, geography, service, and so on.”

Bayer offered him a job. Andrukaitis accepted and stayed with Databanq for several years. When he was offered a position as a CMO for a law firm, Andrukaitis couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

“I was 25 and managing a $5 million annual marketing budget,” Andrukaitis said. “That was an amazing experience. We generated thousands of leads each month using every channel out there, from television to radio to direct mail to internet marketing.”

A Step Back

The entrepreneurial itch reared its head again after a couple years. Andrukaitis was working by day as a CMO and on his personal projects by night.

“I knew I wanted to develop a product that would benefit the small business community, but I wasn’t sure exactly what shape it would take or how it would present itself,” he said. “I found myself envisioning what I would do with if I owned the company, since I had a history with it. 

“Two year later, the vision became reality when I acquired”

Moving Forward

He focused on ramping up the services and mirroring the opportunities offered by the typical local Chamber office, shaking up the status quo of how the typical services are provided. 

It starts with a badge – both physical and digital – for display in a storefront or on a website, offering assurances of credibility and third-party accountability. 

“Our accreditation badge aggregates reviews from multiple sources online to give your customers a snapshot about how people really feel about your product or service,” Andrukaitis said. “This was something I thought would make it easier to showcase your online credibility. In fact, most of the membership benefits we offer were selected based on first-hand experience of needing or wanting these types of benefits for my other businesses.”

One of those benefits is a feedback safety net.

“We built Review Defender as a product offering every small business can utilize,” Andrukaitis said. “In my experience, most negative reviews are written as revenge or as the result of a misunderstanding. I thought this wasn’t fair because it may note really be an accurate perception of the business.”

The software collects reviews by SMS, email, or QR code. When negative feedback is identified, the software notifies the business before the review is made public. 

“This allows the owner of the business to address the issue before the review is posted on websites where it often cannot be removed.” 

The Power of Volume

Just as large retailers can offer discount pricing through volume, builds similar buying power through membership. 

“For example, we’ve partnered with Benefit Hub,” Andrukaitis said. “We’re one of the first non-corporate clients given access to the system. This sort of access makes it possible for small businesses to receive the same benefits as the larger corporations.”

A member suggested the idea to engage with Benefit Hub. Andrukaitis was excited to receive the recommendation and happy to investigate the possibility of a partnership.

“The idea that a customer saw a need and proposed a solution is part of why I wanted to be in this business,” Andrukaitis said. “We did the research. We did the math. It was a good match so we launched the partnership. Now, small businesses can offer more to their employees. That’s the sort of power a Chamber can bring to the community.

Since we get to work with thousands of small businesses, we get real feedback quickly on what’s working, what they need to be successful, and what challenges they are facing. We are also to leverage group buying power to help our members save money. With the volume, our members get access to a platform most small businesses wouldn’t have been able to use before.” 

Finding New Advantages

Part of his CMO job description was to demonstrate how marketing dollars were translated into revenue for the business. 

“With that requirement, it became very clear to me what advantages large companies had over the little guys,” Andrukaitis said. “Once I understood the struggles small business owners were facing trying to manage, market, and run a business, I knew I could help them compete against larger businesses.”

Just like a local Chamber of Commerce, digitized.