Tag: inbound marketing

Inbound Marketing for SMEs

I wrote a lot about inbound marketingg before. Mainly for start ups and SMEs in London.

Most of the stuff is applied from the gurus in the field: the guys from Hubspot!

As part of my consulting offer, I offer advice for SMEs on how to effectively use social media, search marketing and “inbound marketing” as a tool to succeed in their business ventures. A strategy I am using at work too. Whilst I won’t take this mainstream and will always look into being full time employed with my main job.

Here is the latest slideshare presentation on inbound marketing I put together:

Have a great weekend.
Volker

job search in the recession

Having started my new job, I wanted to wrap up a few thoughts on how to find a job in a recession. Is it easy?

First of all, nothing is easy and it all depends on 2 main factors: 1) your personal profile and 2) the industry you are in.

Given my professional profile which you can see on Linkedin, I was in a good position when I was made redundant from my old employer who I was working with for just short of 18 months. It was decided to close down the sales operations and the office in London. I was not able to relocate to the head office in York due to personal reasons and therefore didn’t have a choice but to look for a new job. My advantage was that my boss did know that I was looking for a job so that I could use all means of social media. If you secretly look for a job, you cannot put it into your Linkedin profile as a status update.

What really works? I believe having a strong profile on Linkedin supported by as many positive recommendations on the profile helps employers and recruitment consultants to get a first impression of my ability, experience and what people think of me. Changing my status daily with what kind of jobs I am seeking and “shouting out loud” to the community that I am seeking a new position, helps immense. Within no time I was contacted by many recruitment consultants and friends of friends. Bottom line: it is very helpful to have a strong network and position oneself in it.

What else helps? Other networks, like Xing – but preferably for the German market – and Twitter. On Twitter you don’t only have the opportunity to broadcast your search but also to widen your search by following companies and recruitment consultants in order to pick up open positions. Particularly in the online and digital marketing industry you want to be seen and use those channels to see what is going on.

However, nothing is as effective as the personal contact. Meeting people from your network, invite them for coffee, lunch or a cup of tea in order to discuss the industry and opportunities. That is money and time worth spend! Meeting people, companies and recruitment consultants face to face is very beneficial and gives you a good impression on what is happening in the industry and whether the consultant is serious. In all honesty, I was approached by many recruitment consultants but only the one I met face to face managed to help me getting my current job.

Facebook itself, by many used as a personal network, works limited for job searches. However, if you cannot connect with someone on Linkedin, you hardly manage on Facebook.

So, it is about inbound marketing – again πŸ™‚ Broadcast your message of searching for a job in all available channels, particularly Twitter and Linkedin. Then back it up with a high flying profile that really shows off on how great you are.

And, last but not least, make a good impression in the interviews and convince them of your capabilities. You can have a polished CV and Linkedin profile, but you need to be able to put “money” where your mouth is (I hope you can use that expression in this context).

The biggest question, is it different in a recession to look for a job than it is if there isn’t a recession? I believe there are less jobs going and more applicants for each job. So it is harder to stand out and be seen and noticed. The latter was addressed in this article. You have to stand out from the crowd and be better than everyone else applying. And, that is the case in a recession as much as it is if we aren’t in a recession. But the jobs are getting less, and if you are in the banking or financial sector, a high profile might not even be enough to get you to an interview, as there aren’t any. But….we will soon be out of it. 2010 is being hailed as the year of recovery. Fingers crossed, and good luck.

Telemarketing – does it still work?

By now most people should know a few things about me. I am keen on Marketing, particular Inbound Marketing, and you might not know that I started my career in telemarketing.

A few months back I needed less convincing to use telemarketing and cold calling. I thought, if there is a company out there that fits the niche for my company’s service, then a call to them will work. And, it does. However, it is not as effective as getting this person to find you.

On Linkedina group of Business Development guys discussed telemarketing and particularly cold calling. My comment was: “I have done cold calling for many years but think it proves less and less effective. Ideally you focus on inbound marketing to generate leads. Prospects are funneled through to you and find you online (SEO, PPC, Blogs, Social Media) and if you have the right USP, they will fill in a contact form. Once that is done, you call them. I would almost call that a “luke warm” contact πŸ˜‰ Because the prospect did the first step and you already know that they know you. From there it is much easier to introduce yourself.
Having said all that, for some goods cold calling will still work and becomes a numbers game. Simple example is a washing machine. Everyone needs one, and everyone wants one. There is a saturation in the market but if you call 100 households, I am sure you can sell at least 1 washing machine
.”

So, we are looking at several cases here. Cold calling for B2C and B2B and then for products that are niche and products that are common. From my point of view, like the washing machine example, if you have a commonly available product and cold call B2B or B2C, you will eventually win new clients. It is a numbers game.

If you are B2B and you have a niche product people will find you anyway, particularly if you are using inbound marketing and optimise your site with SEO. However, if you are somewhere in the middle, a combination can work. Don’t call it “cold calling” but “telemarketing”. Start a survey and ask people “is that a service you could be interested in?” – get their “opt-in” to send them further information, get them curious about what you have to say.

Once you made them curious, then you got them to search for a keyword you can push in your email, something easy to optmise for and with little competition. You push a keyword that people will connect to your product and services. This is a great SEO tip too πŸ˜‰

So, to summarise, I still believe that telemarketing and telesales can be useful if it is used as a qualifying tool after the initial contact has been made through a trade show, a contact form or other means of marketing. Used mainly for inbound and “luke warm” outbound calls, as part of a strong inbound marketing mix, telemarketing is a good tool for companies.

And, for anyone who ever worked in telemarketing, it is a great way of starting your sales career. You never have any hesitation to pick up the phone – even if the president was on the other side of the line πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ˜‰ – 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.

Inbound Marketing – push versus pull

I am a little behind writing about things. But Hubspot who has built itself a good reputation for inbound marketing over the last while, has done a webinar about “Measuring Inbound Marketing 101“.

Coming from a telemarketing background and being a strong believer that outbound marketing works, I am not denying that inbound marketing might be more effective. The “push versus pull” approach. I agree that email marketing, Radio and TV adverts are not working as well anymore. Direct Mail I believe is still a viable outbound marketing tool as it lands directly on your desk and is used less often by companies these days. So it might be on its way back?!

What is inbound marketing? Using “pull marketing techniques” such as

a) Social media: twitter, Facebook, Linkedin
b) Search Marketing (SEO/PPC): being found rather than finding the client
c) Bringing content to people, e.g. blogs, PR, videos or podcasts

Those information need to be found, using the right “tags” by the people that are potential clients for your services. E.g. instead of you phoning 100 people a day and hoping that 10% are interested in your service, you wait until they come to you. But does that work?

Yes and No. From my opinion if you are operating in a niche, it is much easier for people to find you as you are very special in what you do. However, if you are not in a niche, e.g. you are a mortgage provider, you might want to use “push marketing” because you need to create the brand awareness and get in people’s faces. Unless you have a USP (unique selling point) that is working well and makes you stand out from the crowd and attracts (pulls) prospects in.

So, bottom line would be: create a product or serve people’s needs. Position it in above and against your competitors and wait for prospects to find you.

Now, in the webinar from Hubspot, they are speaking about how to measure it. I think that is really the tricky bit. Having a great brand or product you might generate “followers” on twitter or Facebook and you could get request, but how do you measure the direct impact?

Of course you could look at the acquisition costs or the costs per action, e.g. how many leads are coming through the door due to your marketing efforts. Question is: what if no one comes through the door? What if your target audience not looking “online”. I guess the overall concept of your marketing strategy, as always, depends a lot on your demographics too.

The latter can be measured – one from your research and also through analytics. Because if you use analytics correctly you find out how long people spend on your side, which pages they visit and what time of the day the traffic is generated. Where is their exit point?

Behavioural targeting can play a role here, as you might want to target a certain demographic and target audience based on their online behaviour? But that is a topic for another time.

So yes, you can measure the reach but you cannot measure the impact, or can you? Maybe you can. Because Search Marketing is measurable and your referrals from social media is too. And, if one of those are not working in your favour, you need to step up the game in that channel.

To sum up – when and how does inbound marketing work?

1. know your prospect/client base
2. if they are online users (and most are nowadays), find the channels they use
3. use those channels to establish your profile
4. make yourself and your proposition “search-able” in the chosen channels
5. make yourself aware to your target audience with the right “keywords”/sales proposition
6. measure the impact
7. close the deal

Thanks for this lesson. If you want to find out more about which digital or online marketing channel works for you, visit cb consulting.

Yours
Volker