Inbound marketing can be a lot of fun—it’s cool to watch the download form notices streaming in, have people sharing your content all over the world, and start to see your sales numbers climb. It can also be extremely frustrating if you’re putting in tons of hours or spending lots of money and not seeing the results you want.
It’s a lot like March Madness. Right now, Kentucky fans are in a frenzy due to the success of their currently undefeated Wildcats team (there hasn't been an undefeated Division I men's basketball team since 1976). On the other hand, many here in Ann Arbor are wringing their hands over the likelihood of the Michigan Wolverines missing the NCAA Tournament altogether.
Like developing a winning basketball team, there are key components to winning the game of inbound marketing.
Six Tips for Winning the Game of Inbound Marketing
1) Recruit a great team
A wide range of skills is needed to execute inbound marketing well. From writing to graphic design to business strategy and technical development, it’s important to make sure you have the right mix of skills on your team. The people you hire must be able to work collaboratively and efficiently, and you need to be very clear about roles and responsibilities to avoid wasting time on fumbled handoffs and missed passes.
2) Develop a playbook
Make sure you document your core marketing processes to avoid wasting time running into each other or standing around waiting for other people to do grab the ball. Make sure everyone understands and follows your processes to ensure consistency and efficiency. For example, consider documenting common activities like:
- How to Write & Optimize a Blog Post
- How to Circulate a Content Offe
- How to Send an Email Newsletter
- How to Publicize a Webinar
- How to Follow Up After an Event
3) Leverage your “sixth man” and start a wave
Pay attention to the people who love your content—thank them on social media, ask for their help in creating more content, reward them for referrals. You’ll spread your message faster if you build relationships with your customers and prospects because they’ll help you spread the word. Think of social media like a crowd doing the “wave”—when you first start the wave in an arena, only a few people stand up, but pretty soon, more people catch on until the whole crowd is going wild. Your fans are your sixth man that spurs your team to dominate the game.
4) Keep an eye on the scoreboard
It’s easy to get caught up in the world of task lists and individual activities, and forget to glance up at the scoreboard to see how you’re doing. Pick a few key metrics to pay attention to each week and adjust which plays you’re running based on the results you want to achieve.
5) Pace yourself
Teams who play extra hard in the first half of the game often start to lose steam when they can’t sustain that accelerated pace. Know your limits, set reasonable goals, and pace yourself when you’re planning your monthly and quarterly marketing activities. Instead of trying every shiny creative idea you have, it’s better to do a few things really well, evaluate your performance, and build on your success.
6) Watch your game films
Every marketing campaign can’t be brilliant—sometimes the tactics we try don’t work as planned, or the messaging we loved falls flat with our intended audience. Taking time each month and quarter, as a team, to evaluate what worked and what didn’t is the key to learning from your mistakes and improving performance over time.
You can also try talking to yourself like an over-enthusiastic basketball announcer giving a play-by-play, but that might not endear you to your co-workers. She shoots, she scores! The crowd goes wild as five more ideal customers download eBooks and submit BOFU lead forms!
In celebration of Inbound Week, the Ann Arbor HubSpot User Group is hosting an “Inbound March Madness” event at the Whole Brain Group office on March 3, 2015. Register today—the event is free!