I can admit it—I have been on my fair share of diets. The Atkins Diet, the Grapefruit Diet, Nutrisystem, Weight Watchers and my personal favorite (because I came up with it) the Caveman Diet. The one thing I learned from all these different diets is that it's very, very hard to stick to a diet and follow it through to your goal.
At the same time, this resonated with me relative to inbound marketing. Why? First, when you start a diet you have a strategic goal in mind—to lose weight. It might be 10 pounds or 50 pounds but there is a goal in mind. The same is true for inbound marketing programs. Typical goals could be to get 10 leads a month or 100 leads in the next 6 months. It could be to drive a 10 times increase in website traffic. Regardless of the details—there is a strategic goal in mind.
Once your diet starts, you have to change your behaviors. No more sugary snacks at 10PM. No more cheese steaks at the games. You have to exercise four or five time a week. You might have to go from three large meals a day to five smaller meals a day. These changes are hard and this is where most people give up, fall off their diet and end up gaining back any lost weight plus a few pounds as an added bonus.
The same thing is true when you move to an inbound marketing effort. You have to stop doing what you’ve been doing. No more direct mail, no more cold-calling and no more random ads in selected magazines. Now you have to create educational content on a regular basis, find places to share that content and drive new visitors to your website. Your website has to look a little different than your competitors. You have to convert visitors into leads and then you have to systematically nurture those leads. Wow! That sounds complicated and like a lot of work.
It is—but the rewards are worth the work. Just like the rewards from successfully losing weight.
Here are a couple of tips on how to push through the fear, anxiety and general discomfort associated with all that change.
Focus on short term gains not the long term goal – As an avid runner I know that when I think about the 5 miles I need to cover in the next hour, my pace slows and I get discouraged but when I focus on getting to the next mile marker, trash can or stop sign everything looks a lot brighter. The same works for your diet and your inbound marketing. Can you lose just one pound this week? Can you get an extra 50 visitors to your website this week? These smaller goals are easier to attain and they give you the energy you need to push on toward the larger goals.
Celebrate the small successes – Give yourself credit when you achieve goals, even the smaller short-term goals. Celebrate the milestones along the way towards your larger goals. This gives you encouragement and rewards you mentally for the hard work that went into moving the needle, even if it was just a small increase. Remember, small increases add up over time to major improvements. Take the metric from the first tip. If you increase website traffic by just 50 people a week by the end of 12 months you would have added 2,600 new visitors to your website.
Continually adjust your effort to fit your specific needs – Every person is different and every business is different too. Some people despise broccoli so making it part of their dietary plan would be a mistake. Make sure you adjust your inbound marketing plan to fit your business, your industry and your specific products/services. Lots of diets also hit plateaus midway through the effort. Marketing too requires continual adjustments to ensure positive results. This mindset of continuous monitoring and improvement gives you the best chance for success in both short and long term.
Make sure you are doing everything you need to achieve your goals – Just drinking eight glasses of water a day and doing nothing else is not going to result in weight loss. Just doing a single marketing activity isn’t going to produce results either. You need to be doing it all, in an organized and integrated way. The more you do, the more you should expect results. The less you do—well, you get the idea.
Just like a diet—how badly do you want it? If you truly want to build a Marketing Machine for your business and you're willing to push past the natural human desire to quit because it’s “just too hard” or “it’s taking too long” or “it’s just easier to do it the old way” then inbound marketing is exactly what you need to help your company get found, get leads and close more sales.
Start Today Tip – Let’s be honest. This is a self-reflective exercise. Are you really ready to try something new? Are you going to do everything possible to make it successful? Are you going to follow your trainer’s advice even if you think you know better? Are you going to keep pushing forward even if you hit a speed bump or set back? Are you willing to change your behaviors and do it differently?
All of these questions could pertain to a diet or to your inbound marketing effort. The feelings are the same and how you deal with those feelings make or break your diet and your inbound marketing program. Take a long look in the mirror and then jump into the deep end. We promise to help you swim!
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