No one ever said that inbound marketing was going to be easy.
Think about being on a diet. Most of us can relate to this process and would say that it's anything but easy. Interestingly enough, planning, implementing and managing an inbound marketing program is exactly like selecting, being on and then maintaining a diet.
Let me show you how remarkably similar these too efforts are.
Picking the right diet for you
Any physician or dietary consultant will tell you that you need the right diet for your lifestyle, personality and general health. The same approach is important with inbound, too. You have to make sure that your company, team, products/services and prospects' buying behavior are right for inbound. Perhaps most important, you have to be sure that you or your chief marketing exec are right for inbound. You can’t be "kinda pregnant" with inbound marketing. In our opinion, you must be all in, or don’t bother. We haven’t seen it work well when companies are only partially committed to an inbound approach.
Getting started on the diet
This might be the most important phase of your new diet. Don't expect results on the first day. In fact, it might take a couple of weeks to start seeing even the first signs of real results. Your body has to adjust, your metabolism has to increase and you have to adopt a whole new set of eating habits. Inbound works in a very similar way. You have to reset all of your marketing and sales tactics. You have to learn an entirely new set of approaches. You might even have to build a brand-new inventory of marketing assets: new website, new educational content, new email and lead-nurturing campaigns. All of this work takes time and patience before you'll see any results.
Setting expectations for your weight loss
Again, the most critical aspect of dieting and inbound: DON’T EXPECT FAST RESULTS. The best diets are the ones that deliver slow and steady weight loss. The best marketing delivers steady, repeatable and escalating lead generation. Dramatic ups and downs are just as problematic with inbound as they are with dieting. Slow and steady wins the race with diets and with inbound efforts.
There are a few inbound tactics that have been proven to accelerate results, much like certain activities can be combined to accelerate weight loss. But make sure that these are applied correctly because the last thing you want to do is take a short cut that limits your results over the long term.
Seeing real weight loss
Just like with real weight loss, any real, sustainable, repeatable, predictable lead generation comes only after you’ve created a foundation built on a solid inbound strategy. Once your foundational tactics are in place and you’re executing frequent blogging, creating regular content, effectively nurturing leads, driving increased website visitors and moving your sitewide conversion rate up to two or three percent – that’s when you can expect to see solid, up-and-to-the-right lead generation results.
Maintaining the diet
Go off the diet, and gain back all of the weight and more. Stop your inbound efforts, and see your results fall right off a cliff. It’s really that simple. We’ve seen it over and over again. Once you stop executing inbound marketing activities, you are going to find your business back where you started. All that traffic, all those conversions and all that social media juice can go away in less time than it took to gain that mojo.
Changing your behaviors and lifestyle for long-term health
Just like dieting, inbound requires a change in your philosophy around marketing, as well as a major shift in the day-to-day behaviors associated with marketing activities. You have to be committed for the long term. But, there is great news for those who make the commitment and stick with it: Results from inbound accelerate over time.
Once you break through and hit the critical mass required to drive up lead generation, those leads come in fast and furious. Just like individuals, each business is a little different, and until you get to know the nuances of your own inbound effort, it’s hard to predict when the acceleration will take place. We’ve seen it time and time again. Companies that stick with inbound see dramatic improvements. Those who quit early see dramatic declines in all the key metrics.
It's just like making that very important decision and mental commitment to start, stick with and maintain a diet. The same mental commitment must be made before you start inbound. Think of that feeling when you walk into a party and everyone says, “Wow, you look amazing!” Consider how you’re going to feel when you realize you’ve built a Marketing Machine that drives hundreds of leads each month and your business is growing like it’s never grown before.
Nothing easy is worth doing, and the work that’s hard always makes us feel the most satisfied when it works.
Start Today Tip – Your tip today is simple: Make the commitment to inbound. Get off the sofa and start your diet. Get into the office today and start working toward a new way of selling and marketing your products or services. Get your head around the long term, around the expectations of results. And get a clear perspective on the hard work associated with executing an inbound marketing program.
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