Yesterday, I went to the gym. What does this have to do with inbound marketing, you ask? Quite a bit, as it turns out, but you’ll have to bear with me to learn why.
Yesterday’s workout was the first time I have exercised in months, and let me tell you, it was painful. I’ve been really focused on growing my agency and have let staying in shape fall too low on my list of priorities. Getting back into a routine after months of inactivity is tough. The first few workouts are awful, but I know if I can get over the hump it will get easier.
What kills me about this situation is that I used to be in great shape. I have run a marathon and competed in several triathlons. I’ve done pilates, yoga, TRX, Insanity, and a slew of other workouts. But I have to confess – I’m a yo-yo exerciser and I have a really hard time sticking with things. This isn’t the first time I’ve found myself in this situation, and I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last.
As I was in the gym yesterday huffing away on the elliptical machine and praying my 20 minutes would soon be over, it occurred to me that if I had just stuck with it, I wouldn’t be in this situation. To stay in shape, you don’t have to work out really hard or really long or really often – you just have to be consistent. It’s that simple.
If you’ve been wondering how to get better inbound marketing results, I’ll let you in on a little secret. I think it was Woody Allen who said, “80% of success is showing up.” So true! To be successful with inbound marketing, you don’t have to spend all of your time on it, you don’t have to write the best ebooks in the world, and you don’t have to blog 20 times a week – you just have to be consistent.
As an agency owner, I often feel like we at Quintain are the cobbler’s child. We spend so much time producing content for our clients that we tend to let our own marketing slip. For example, there was a long stretch of time this spring when we published blogs 5 times a week. Recently, that number has dipped to one or two because we’ve been busy onboarding new clients and some new team members, and several of our employees have taken much-deserved summer vacations. It’s not the end of the world, but it has impacted traffic to our site (which we can clearly see thanks to HubSpot).
Similarly, we typically put out a monthly email newsletter and host a monthly webinar that we promote in that newsletter. We took a break from that routine for the past two months and you can see the impact on our leads.
Again, not the end of the world, but also not the upward trend I like to see when I check our monthly leads report.
Why is consistency so important when it comes to inbound marketing?
When I look at these numbers, they tell a pretty clear and compelling story. Consistency is key, and our lack of consistency of the last several months has a direct correlation with our website visits and leads. When you’re not filling the top of the funnel, you can’t close deals, so this dip is ultimately going to hurt our ability to bring in new business. Yikes!
Why am I sharing this with you? Aside from beating myself up about not working out enough this past year and letting our blogging, newsletter and webinars slip, I hear all the time from our clients that they don’t have time to review the blogs we’ve written or they know they are “the roadblock” to getting content produced on a regular basis.
I get it. I too am a business owner and I struggle with juggling everything I have to do in a day. Too often, if something isn’t on fire, it gets put off until the next day (and the next day, and the next day).
I also understand that sometimes the problem isn’t enough time – it’s the perception that the content you produce has to be GREAT. I tend to let this be the reason I don’t work out. If I don’t feel like I have the time to put in an hour at the gym, then I don’t go. The reality is that a quick 20 or 30 minute run would suffice, but in my head, it’s all or nothing – either I run AND lift weights or I don’t run at all.
There’s an old saying about this attitude – “perfect is the enemy of good” – and it applies just as much to inbound marketing as it does to working out. Your content doesn’t have to be perfect. You’re not writing the great American novel, you’re just trying to produce something (be it a blog, ebook, video, podcast, webinar, or email campaign) that is helpful, meaning it answers people’s questions or solves their problems.
Don’t approach content creation like you’re writing a term paper. Treat it like you would a conversation with a friend and think, “what would I tell someone if they were sitting across from me right now?” That’s what I did when I sat down to write this blog. This could have been a well-researched, data filled white paper on the impact that changes to blogging frequency have on visitor traffic and lead gen, but that would have taken me days to put together (and, quite honestly, would be kind of a snooze to read and write). Instead, it’s pretty much exactly what I would say to you if we jumped on the phone or you came to visit me in my office. I’ve shared my personal story about working out and how that led to my “Aha Moment” and I’ve even shared the ugly truth about the poor marketing results I’ve gotten for my own business the last few months.
It’s not a pretty story, but it’s the truth, and my bet is that many of you that are reading this will really be able to relate to it. My hope is that you’ll also get the message, which is – make consistency in your inbound marketing a priority and give yourself a break. Stop trying to be perfect when it comes to your content, and start telling stories and sharing your advice.
For my part, I’m going to commit to personally posting to this blog twice a week (in addition to posts by other employees) for the rest of the summer so that we can get our blogging frequency back up and as part of an experiment to see if that helps to increase our page views. I’m also going to restart our email newsletter and offer a webinar in August and we’ll see what impact that has on our leads. And finally – last but NOT least – I’m going to work out twice a week.
Really, I am!
What about you?
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