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Blog posts tagged inbound marketing

SMEs and digital marketing - could do better

May 19, 2014 by Marketing Donut contributor

SMEs and digital marketing - could do better/ Computer keyboard with word Digital{{}}I read the 2014 Lloyds Bank Business Digital Index with interest. Its findings broadly corroborate our own research conducted at the London Business Show into SMEs’ attitudes to online marketing — although the Browser Media survey found that most small firms do in fact have websites, compared to the 50% in the Lloyds study.

However, both reports found that SMEs generally have a laissez-faire attitude to digital marketing. Many small businesses build their website and sit back and wait for clients to arrive, instead of actively promoting themselves online.

It’s not that SMEs think their website is working for them — many admit to being unhappy with their Google rankings and online presence — but they aren’t investing in marketing to improve the situation.

I initially thought this was a financial issue and still believe that’s a big part of the problem. Any small business will tell you they have to cut their cloth according to their means and can’t invest in everything on their wish list.

However, I also think there may be a certain “Britishness” behind these attitudes as well. Many small businesses start up because the owner has already worked in a particular field or has a particular personal interest. Either way, the business tends to focus on a small group of prospects at first; and, let’s face it, promoting yourself is just not a very British thing to do.

Professional advice

Our research also found that those companies that were using an external agency for digital marketing were happier with the results than those who were undertaking this in-house. This may be partly because the external agencies have more expertise but it is also much easier to market someone else than market yourself.

We also looked at SMEs’ understanding of various marketing disciplines: most had heard of social media marketing and email marketing but few were aware of content or inbound marketing (although more were familiar with the related field of SEO).

In fact, small businesses can really make an impact with content and inbound marketing as they’ve usually got a lot of niche expertise. Building up a loyal customer base by providing useful content is an excellent way to create a long-term business.

The power of content marketing

If you’re a small business, don’t make the mistake that other SMEs may be making of sitting back and admiring your shiny new website — use content as an online megaphone and spread the word about your business to the digital universe. If recent survey findings are anything to go by, you’ll already be one step ahead of the competition.

Ali Cort is the PR director at digital marketing agency, Browser Media.

SMEs and digital marketing - could do better/ Infographic{{}}

Why you are rubbish at inbound marketing

January 22, 2014 by Marketing Donut contributor

Why you are rubbish at inbound marketing/epic fail stamp{{}}Okay ­— maybe rubbish is a little harsh. But if you’re not getting the results you need from your inbound marketing strategy, then you could be making some common errors. Do any of these apply to you?

 1. Lack of segmentation

Sending the same sort of marketing to your entire customer base may well give you a few leads every time, but will more often than not end up annoying people for whom it has no relevance. Segment your customer base as far as you’re able, so marketing materials can be strategically targeted — the number of leads should increase and the quality of them certainly will.

2. Not putting yourself out there

Instead of hanging around and waiting for people to find you either through a search engine or your social media profiles, go and seek them out. Find out where your customers meet online and develop a presence there. Let people know who you are, what you do and how you can solve their problems.

3. Mis-timing

Do your competitors tend to blitz the market at certain times of the week/month/year? If you’re a smaller company with less marketing resources then it can be difficult to get noticed in the tumult. Break the mould, and focus your inbound marketing at times when your competitors are quieter and you can be heard.

4. Your content isn’t up to scratch

There could be all kinds of reasons for this — are you writing in a style unattractive to your target market? Is your content unimaginative or disconnected from what the company actually does? Are you failing to adequately explain to people how your product can help them?

Good tips include: looking for new content angles; encouraging colleagues from across the business to provide content; Inviting external guest bloggers to contribute; brainstorming ideas; and planning in advance.

5. You haven’t learned to share

Where is all this content you produce being placed? On your company blog? Or as downloadable white papers that are rarely opened? You need to ensure you have a well-developed social media presence. When you blog, you need to post or Tweet a link; when you announce news, aim for as many Likes, Shares and Retweets as you can.

6. Resistance to change

Inbound marketing can only be successful, when everyone in the business is on board. It requires a company-wide culture change that can be unsettling for the old guard. But a willingness to open up about your company’s operations is now expected by consumers searching for authenticity in brands.

If you don’t embrace change, it could look like you’ve got something to hide.

Sophie Gradon is search marketing executive at Silverbean.

You posted a link — like or comment?

August 04, 2011 by

Finger pushing a like buttonFacebook is the slightly less refined older brother of Twitter. They share a few of the same ideas, but with Facebook you can delve deeper into the conversation with your contemporaries and clients.

Here are some tips for using Facebook as a business tool:

  1. Updates are bigger (at least compared to Twitter). With Facebook, you can post significantly longer updates than the 140-character limit of Twitter. While the messages won’t be as succinct and catchy as shorter ones, more information can be given without needing to click through a link to get the whole story.
  2. New apps and tools are being developed all the time. Features such as questions allow you to ask a question to all of your friends, and are completely customisable. Whether you want to find out what your site is lacking or simply what device most of your fanbase use, questions are quick and easy, without the hassles of organising a survey in person.
  3. Likes and comments are where the conversation starts with Facebook. If someone likes your post for whatever reason, it will show up in their friend’s feed – and show their interest. Comments allow for rapid responses to questions or ideas you may have, and will allow you to shape your progress or business model accordingly.
  4. Have you noticed that one person in particular seems to love all your content? Why not continue the conversation in private, through chat or direct messages? These are even less limited than the already generous news feed, and allow you to start building more personal relationships with people easily. (Plus, messages are exciting – show me someone who doesn’t get a little pang of excitement when they see the little red notification icon, and I’ll show you a liar.)
  5. While even less customisable than Twitter, Facebook allows you to do a lot more with regard to your image/online persona. Pictures are easy to upload, and display proudly on your profile – so make them good. Pick whatever you like, but I recommend some more personal pictures – not your boss passed out after the Christmas party, I might add – but perhaps a view of your office, or a happy client shaking hands with your top sales guy. The personal touch can go a long way, removing the anonymity of your company, and making people feel more comfortable interacting with you.

James Walters is an expert contributor to Marketing Donut and is an Account Director at Inbound Marketing Consultancy, Tomorrow People.

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