If You Can’t Adapt On The Fly, You Can’t Do Inbound Marketing Well
If we’ve learned anything after almost 14 years of inbound marketing for clients big and small, it’s that the key to getting results is being adaptable to how the data uncovered during the engagement directs future inbound tactics.
This ability, or should I say this requirement, is impacting almost every aspect of inbound deployment. Some of the paradigms that we’ve been working with are quickly becoming obsolete and being exchanged with more progressive thinking.
For example, the 12-month marketing plan and a rigid marketing planning process have already been replaced with a series of 30-day plans and a more Agile marketing approach to planning, one that focuses on the areas that will produce the biggest impact with the least amount of time.
Here is how you want to apply this new Agile thinking to your inbound marketing effort.
Setting Shorter-Term Inbound Marketing Goals
You can aspire to lofty goals, but make sure those big goals get broken down into smaller goals. Monthly goals are easier to attain if you look at weekly and even daily goals. Agile works best when your team has the tools and the rituals to adjust midweek.
Miss the daily goals two days in a row? Make some adjustments so that you overachieve for the next two days to make up for your two days of underperformance. Now when the week ends, you’ve hit your weekly goals, and by the time the month closes, you’ve hit your monthly goals.
Making The Inbound Marketing Team More Collaborative
Inbound marketing requires brains, and the more brains the better. Don’t leave work to a single individual regardless of their role. You’ll get better performance if you allow your team or teams (internal or external agency teams) to collaborate regularly about almost everything.
Landing page not performing? You’ll get better ideas if you ask your designer, interactive, copy and marketing people to work on solutions together.
Designers look at problems differently than copy people, and marketing provides a strategic oversight while the interactive people tell you how long it might take to make a new widget for the website that the team brainstormed.
Together you get a more efficient, more effective and results-oriented effort. You also get buy-in from everyone who has to implement the solution. In no time, everyone is off working on their piece of the project with clear direction and team cooperation.
Fewer Specialists, More Generalists In Agile Marketing
We learned early on that while you need people with specialized skills on the team, you also need people who can do more than one thing well. You might not have as much design work one week, so if your designer can jump in and build a landing page or tweak a form on your site, you're getting more done in a more efficient manner.
Agile quickly shows your team what skills are necessary and gives team members the opportunity to learn new skills, support their teams and develop some very positive professional experiences.
Shift In Prioritization Techniques With Agile Marketing
How do you prioritize tactics? Does the boss set the list? Is it whoever yells the loudest or whoever’s been there the longest? None of these methods are right. You need an actual prioritization methodology to effectively select what the team should be working on. Inbound marketing comes with a huge list of potential tasks and projects, and it can be confusing trying to decide what to work on when.
Since your team is now defining the effort required and defining what “done” means, it should also be setting the priorities. Your team know the goals as you’ve set them daily, weekly and monthly. The metrics are easily monitored. Now, go out and work on what’s going to take the least amount of effort to produce the biggest impact on results. That’s how you prioritize.
Those items that take only a few minutes, but produce big results — they get done first. Make tweaks and adjustments. Upgrades and updates usually take precedence over big builds. Done is better than perfect. Get assets out, get data on performance and make adjustments on the fly.
Inbound Marketing Produces Real-Time, Results-Driven Responses
Yes, results drive much of what the team is going to work on. Today you should have real-time access to real-time results. How many people have visited your website as of 10 minutes ago? How many leads have you generated as of NOW? What is your conversion rate today? What keywords are you ranking for and where are you ranking? What can you do to increase those rankings today?
A variety of levers can be moved today to impact results tomorrow. If you’re not thinking about your marketing in this way, you’re still practicing some old-school techniques that are not putting you in the best position to compete, grow your business and hit your goals.
You can apply inbound marketing to the old-school planning methodology and still get results, but if you’re looking for more impressive results and a more dramatic lift in the performance of your program, you need to consider making some of these changes.
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