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January 2, 2011

Marketing Recommendations: How I Would Market Roebling Partners

Internet Marketing TipsHere are the marketing strategies that I recommend Roebling Partners (http://www.roeblingpartners.com) pursue.

Background information: Roebling Partners is a diversified valuation services firm focused on the needs of startup companies and their investors. Their compliance products (IRC 409A, FAS 141/142, FAS 157) are audit-class and tailored to the needs of startup companies.

I spent an hour writing the following marketing strategy suggestions for Roebling Partners:

1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Strategy: All companies, particularly startups, need to have an SEO strategy. However, examining Roebling Partner’s website I see no efforts made for SEO.

The Roebling team should create a blog on the website (it can be a wordpress blog plugin and can be titled ‘Articles’, etc.) and will then need to identify keywords. From a quick search using Google’s Keyword Tool it is appears that: irc 409A, 409a valuation, and fas 123r (although this is an outdated term) would be suitable keywords.)

The Roebling team should identify 5 keywords and create an article post at least twice a week. In each post they should focus on one of their keywords. (Make sure every article is at least 200 words). In each post they should include the keyword twice in the 1st paragraph and once in each of the remaining paragraphs. Most importantly, the keyword should be included in the title.

Taking the effort to build an SEO strategy will be far more profitable than purchasing keywords on Google’s Adwords. I would strongly encourage Roebling Partners to start this; as the longer the company waits the more competitive keywords will become.

2. Inlinks + Blog Coverage: The next step for the SEO initiative should be to increase the number of inlinks to the company website.
Roebling Partners is in an advantageous situation in that much of the knowledge they have is scarce and very valuable to their select audience. The more information they spread the more influential their voice will appear. I would recommend the following:

a. Gather a list of blogs/websites related to technology websites (you can outsource this data collection or can delegate the task.)

b. Spend 30 minutes writing a short email introducing yourself, the company Roebling Partners, and your interest in collaborating in the future. If you have permission from one of your clients, include an example of how the company’s services helped them. (As an example, you may be able to contact a former client The Digerati Life.)

c. Briefly propose how you could collaborate; for example the company would be happy to write an article about what upcoming reforms are going to mean for startups or a few broad steps about the valuation process of a startup.

d. This initiative will not take a long time. You can spend 1 hour creating this email, and delegate the collection of blog contact information and the sending of emails to another person on the team.

e. The most time consuming part will be creating the content; however there are strategies you can take to reduce this time.

3. Google Alert: I would set up a weekly Google Alerts for any key terms you are focused on. If any key term came up on any blog posts, QA websites, or forums, the company would have the opportunity to introduce themselves and potentially earn a new consumer.

4. Forum Postings: This can be one of the most effective ways a company can bring in traffic. As an example, one thread I created on a forum received over 10,000 views. I would aim to become a thought leader on some of these forums. Youngentrepreneur.com is just one example of the popular forums focused on entrepreneurs. These won’t take much time, however the effect can be substantial.

5. Content/QA Websites: In addition to forum posting, I would focus on specific QA websites (in particular Quora.) One example would be having a user post a question regarding a problem that your company solves and then answering the question on behalf of the company.

6. Referrals: A large part of future business will derive from referrals from prior clients. If this is not currently implemented, I would recommend emailing clients 2-4 weeks after working with them, and not only thanking them but asking for referrals. As an example:

Saying thank you for using Roebling Partners; if you do know of any peers who are interested in our services, we would be very appreciative of your referral.

7. Speaking: As opposed to attending a number of technology events, I would recommend that the company reach out to event organizers and introduce themselves (the best method would be contacting through LinkedIn). Focus your conversation on why the company information is valuable for entrepreneurs (Stock Options, Company Valuation, etc.) and let them know that if any speaking opportunities arose, that you would be happy for the opportunity to present. This will amplify the influence of the company and the number of people you would reach.

8. A/B Testing and Funnel Optimization: I’m actually very interested to dig into the analytics and see where the exit points are on the website. The conversion rate should increase with a stronger call to action on certain pages. They should create one very strong call to action on the Home Page and continue to test to improve the conversion rate.

9. Social Media Strategy (Facebook + Twitter): Regarding a Facebook strategy, I actually don’t believe this will be the most effective marketing strategy. However, after looking at their current page I would recommend the following:

a. Spend 15 minutes: On the design, information, and overall layout of the Facebook page; it is representing the company.

b. Create an RSS feed: From your blog to your Facebook Page and Twitter account. Your posts will automatically be relayed which will at least create continuous content.

Regarding a Twitter initiative, this may be very effective. Similar to setting up Google Alerts, I believe the best allocation of time will be on Twitter’s Search section. Focus on searching for a specific set of keywords and when they arise, you have ample opportunity to earn new customers.

10. Paid Advertisements: I’m not sure if the company has determined the specific sources where they are deriving their revenue, but because the value per each client is very high, there should be a number of opportunities for paid advertisements with a positive return on investment.

These are some of the marketing strategies I recommend the management team at Roebling Partners pursue. As some initiatives prove to be more successful, I would recommend allocating resources differently to areas that are most effective.

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