When Inbound Marketing Was as Easy as "ABC"

In 1989, when I was starting my first business, the most important marketing element was your Yellow Pages listing ranking. The Yellow Pages was the Google of it's day. Back then, you didn't Google a business, you grabbed "The Book" off the shelf when you were looking for products and services. This was market research the old-fashioned way, before internet search engines.

When choosing a name for my company, the goal was to ensure that my new business would be close to the top of it's heading in the Boston Yellow Pages. Just like Gary in the video above, I was determined to find a name that started with an "A" and that was relevant to the services I was providing. I spent hours combing through yellow pages from all over the country because it was important that the name was not currently being used in other geographic markets (I had very big dreams for my new business).

The inbound marketing strategy was the Yellow Pages. It worked for many years until the dawn of the internet.

The TV ad from the folks at Fed X ... it is funny now, but it also dramatizes how far people would go to be at the top of their business heading in the Yellow Pages.

Fast forward to 2011. Mike and I ....How did we find the "Inbound Edge Marketing" name? We brainstormed and searched Google looking for a name that describes us. We now come up #1 - 5 when you Google "inbound edge".

Now it is about Google rankings. How you get found before your competition is still the name of the game. Although the tools have changed, the basic concepts of how you are found remain the same. Your ranking is still the critical marketing concept. The difference is that instead of using a phone to call, prospects are using search engines on laptops, tablets & smartphones. Instead of talking to you during regular business hours, they are checking out your website when it is convenient for them.

Your first contact with a prospect will more than likely not be on the phone. You need to engage with customers on their terms. Allow them to check you out and see what you have before the first conversation with you.  

Here are 3 things that can help your visibility on the web:

  1. Get Found Locally - There are several online sites and tools you should be listed on, and many are free and easy enough to implement them yourselves. Download our white paper on local search, "Seven Free Sites to Promote Your Business Online". It provides you with a road map of the free tools and instructions on how to implement them yourself.
  2. Provide something of value or interest - Determine your niche, your edge!  Figure out what really makes you unique. Provide something of value to your prospects such as a downloadable white paper. Maybe helpful hints that they won't get from your competitor. This will give you credibility with them and they may very well share the information (and your webpage) with others.
  3. Stay engaged with them - Develop a strategy to follow-up with your visitors. Depending on your number of visitors and resources, it could be as simple as contacting visitors directly by email or implementing an automated marketing strategy.  

How have you improved how you are found on the web? What is your favorite content to share? Please share your comments below!