Inbound Marketing for SMEs and Start-Ups

I read a fantastic article from Rand the other day on his blog of SEOmoz.

Really interesting. I summarised it for myself as “Twitter, Facebook and other social media tools work but only up to a certain extend” and thought of myself about inbound marketing once again.

So let me think about it. I am an SME, do not have a lot of brand awareness, or I am a start-up, just entering the market. What is it I have to do to get noticed?

I would suggest that first of all you need brand awareness. This can be done by registering in various organisations, directories, adverts in industry specific magazines, PR and push your profile online on:

Twitter: create a company profile, start following people and stay personal in order to create a “personal brand” people like to follow. Have something to say and add value with every “tweet”. Try to engage with the community and be “a friend”.
Linkedin: create a corporate profile and make all your friends/connections aware of it. Add slide shows via Slideshare and show off the knowledge you have. Link your corporate blog to the profile too.
Blog: having a corporate blog is great to engage with your consumers/clients and it is important that you keep it up to date. Do some keyword research and write all your articles keyword rich so that your blog shows up for the same keywords as your website. Your blog can link with the right anchor text to your website.
Website – don’t be silly, I thought that was already done 😉 – make sure you do basic SEO on it and make sure that you rank for the important keywords, do some link building and watch your competitors with google alerts and make sure you get alerts if someone places a link back to your site. Later on, do more link building and concentrate on high value links, e.g. from Universities or Government sites; also increase your keywords (keyword expansion).
– Online PR: using both your blog and your PR agency, push your PR in as many channels as possible to get brand awareness.

Wow, this only took 5 minutes to write up. Is that all?

I believe that brand consistency is important. Think of a theme that you can tell your clients and prospects. Become a thought leader or a knowledgeable person that will bring new ideas and values to their everyday life. If you have a USP (unique selling point), then make use of that one before anyone else is coming after you. Create a seminar or webinar series and use email marketing, twitter and SEO, possibly a good PPC campaign, to drive traffic and attendees to the seminar. Price it affordable so that people won’t have to think twice if they want to attend or not.

Now, why am I summarising a good inbound marketing strategy and what has this to do with Rand’s article. Rand writes in his article that the ROI from your twitter or blogs might only be low to moderate, whilst traditional SEO and web marketing, this could be affiliate, display ads, email marketing, is moderate to high. Of course it takes longer but in the long run, it is more effective.

And, before I forget, don’t forget to measure it. Online marketing is measurable and therefore you need an analytics tool to track down where your visitors are coming from. If you don’t know, then it is time to find out and increase the spend on the channels that allow you for greater ROI!

If you have any questions or would like an introductory meeting on how to create your marketing plan, please contact Volker from cb consulting London.