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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistTue, Feb 23, 2016 9 min read

How To Use Baseball Thinking To Power Inbound Marketing Results

To Have A Great Inbound Marketing Season, You Need To Hit Singles, Doubles, Triples And Home Runs

Inbound Marketing Campaigns Produce Big ResultsThe weather’s starting to warm up. Pitchers and catchers have reported to Spring Training, and soon it will be baseball season. That got me thinking. Do you remember the movie Money Ball? The premise was that you dont need superstars if your team can get on base. If they get on base enough times over the course of the year, you’ll win enough games to make the playoffs.

There are a lot of similarities between that thinking and the thinking behind inbound marketing. Inbound is a lot about putting together a string of singles. Its consistently hitting singles, walking and getting on base. If you don’t get on base, you can’t score. Get on base enough times, and you move your team around the bases to score runs.

This might sound a little like inbound to you: blogging weekly, optimizing your website to squeeze a few more percentage points out of a page, publishing a new whitepaper, having a webinar in the hopes of getting a handful more leads each month, watching the metrics inch up month over month, wondering if they’ll ever deliver a hockey stick growth model.

Unless you strategically build your inbound marketing plans to deliver more big hits, you’re probably going to be looking at a lot of singles, walks and infield hits.

Here’s how to ensure you hit more doubles, triples and home runs with your inbound program.

Take Some Risks

It’s easy to fall into a rut with inbound marketing. The repetition of it all means you get into a rhythm of blogging, posting, social sharing, publishing, reviewing the metrics, rinsing and repeating. This is how you end up hitting a lot of singles and never any homers. Sometimes it makes sense to say, "Let’s try something different."

With inbound marketing and the access to data it provides, you have what you need to take some risks. "Let’s try this and see what happens." This approach gives you the opportunity to come away with some bigger hits. Recognize that it might also produce some strikeouts. But, as I’ve said in the past, your mistakes teach you more than your successes do. So, don’t be afraid to strike out every now and then, especially if it means you tried something new.

Spend Time Planning To Deliver Bigger Hits

The key to hitting more home runs in your game is simply planning. Hitting triples and homers requires longer-term planning. It might require a partnership with another company, a purchase or joint marketing execution, a higher level of coordination or a longer runway to promote the campaign execution.

Here’s an example of a client home run and the work that went into it.

As we’ve mentioned many times, one of the important pieces of the personal strategy work is understanding the prospect’s online behavior. For one of our clients, we found a website associated with a trade magazine that was highly visited and highly popular among targeted prospects. We worked with the web properties marketing team to create a joint content offer targeted to their 5,000 members. We created an email, used their list, offered exclusive content on a dedicated landing page and drove hundreds of leads in one afternoon. HOME RUN!

It took us a couple of months to work out the program details, establish the schedule, coordinate what they were doing and what we were doing, get the content together, gain client approvals, schedule the campaign, track the results and nurture all the leads. So, while this is very doable, it requires energy and planning outside of the day-to-day inbound work required to deliver the steady string of singles. But, it was well worth it.

Add To The Singles, Don’t Try To Replace Them

After that story, you might be thinking, why not just focus on hitting home runs? It’s worth thinking about, but remember that if you swing for the fences every time, you’re going to strike out a lot. You don’t want your inbound results to be spiky like traditional marketing. You don’t want to run four campaigns a year and have three misses and one hit.

You want to keep plugging away, hitting singles, walking and bunting, then add the big hits on top of the basic inbound results. Now you have the steady movement up and to the right PLUS the occasional home run, triple or even double that adds to your results. By the end of the year, you’ve put up some respectable numbers.

Train Harder To Produce Bigger Hits

Look around the major leagues: There are very few big boppers. Not everyone can hit 50 homers a year, and the guys who can train hard to deliver that kind of impact to their teams. They work out, they hit more balls and they hone their swing to hit more home runs. You have to take the same approach. If you want to generate more big hits with your inbound program, you have to study, you have to practice, you have to plan, you have to make sure that the details are covered and you have to use all of your resources.

Inbound marketing home runs might require strategic relationships, negotiation, partner selection and working with outside teams. It might require longer-term planning and campaign elements that you’ve never executed before. The first time you do it, you might make some mistakes. Consider working with an agency that regularly delivers programs that produce bigger results. This gives you the opportunity to see firsthand what goes into bigger campaigns. Then it’s going to be easier to execute on your own, when you’re ready.

Keep in mind that the key to inbound is doing those things that produce the best results for the least amount of work. You could create a single blog article that drives thousands of new visitors to your website, but it’s more likely that you’ll need to create a lot of blog articles, and a handful will produce great results while most produce modest results.

Planning for some big hits gives you the opportunity to deliver big results. It’s worth thinking about these bigger campaigns while you’re putting together your 30-, 60- and 90-day inbound marketing plans. Remember, if you never get up to bat, you’ll never deliver that big hit. Make sure you get to bat, and when you do, you’ll be ready to give that ball a ride up into the stands.

Start Today Tip – Adjust your plan to include at least one major campaign. Give yourself enough time to plan it, get ready for it and cover all the necessary steps to execute it flawlessly. Giving yourself more time, especially the first time, ensures you’re not rushing. Set some expectations, but focus more on the key learnings around execution than the actual results. What you learn while you’re doing this is very valuable. Again, even if you strike out, you should know what you need to fix the next time so you don’t strike out again. Remember, just because you hit a home run, that doesn’t mean you’re going to hit one every time you step up to the plate. But, the more prepared you are, the better your chances of delivering a consistent string of big hits to go along with your already consistent ability to deliver a lot of little hits. Once you get both down, you’re headed to superstar territory.

Square 2 Marketing – Inbound Results Start With ME!


Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.