Several years ago, I was fortunate enough to compete in the 1998 Olympics, and we brought back a gold medal. Today,
Editor's note: This opening sentence was inserted compliments of the HubSpot team, Colleen is way too modest. We on the other hand, have no reservations about broadcasting her general awesomeness at every opportunity. You would too if you had an Olympic gold medalist working in midst. Photo of medal included below].
As the 2008 Summer Olympic Games approach, I find 2 things happening. 1) I am getting very excited to watch my favorite events. I am one of those crazy people who records the events I like and then avoids all news media until I can get home and watch for myself. 2) I find that my mentality as an inbound marketing consultant is shifting from time-to-time into "Olympic Coach" mode.
As you might expect, (Amateur) Athletes that reach the Olympics are extraordinarily committed to their goals and their teammates. I believe most people can sincerely relate to this and I believe it is why the Olympics are so popular.
While most observers only see these athletes once every four years, it is the time in between when they are paying the price for the opportunity to participate in such a grand event. In fact, the motto of the U.S. Olympic committee is "It's not every four years, it's every day".
Like reaching the Olympics, inbound marketing success doesn't happen overnight. It is an ongoing effort that you must be willing to put forth if you desire to be successful. With that said, I'd like to pass along some tips that I received while I was training and trying out for the Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team. Some of these came straight from my coach, others from different sources. Nonetheless, they all apply to anyone who wants to be a successful inbound marketer.
- Don't train harder, train smarter - There are plenty of inefficient ways to train and there are plenty of inefficient ways to market. It can be difficult sometimes to veer away from techniques that are traditional, leave our comfort-zone and try something new. As an athlete, I had to trust that my strength and conditioning coach was doing his job in keeping up with the latest and best techniques. His whole business depended on him remaining at the forefront of the industry. Once I recognized that, I spent less time questioning and more time implementing the plan he had developed for me.
- Success is a decision - If you are reading this article or subscribe to this blog, I have to assume you are interested in marketing and, specifically, in inbound marketing. You have made -or are considering making- a decision to expand your marketing efforts. There is a part of you that has seen the shift and you are realizing that there just might be a better way to find new customers. Are you willing to dedicate the time and put forth the effort needed to succeed? That is the question you must answer. That is your decision to make.
- Plan the work - Once you have realized that inbound marketing must become a part of your overall marketing strategy, you need to make a plan. If you are a HubSpot customer, this is almost done for you in the form of our Methodology. Your long term goal should always be on your mind. It is important, though, to have smaller interim goals that are achievable so you see and feel the progress you are making while working towards your ultimate goal.
Work the plan
- Just creating a plan isn't enough. If you don't execute, all the planning in the world is not going to help you succeed. In many cases, this may call for a trade-off. I know time is limited. Look at what you are doing today. Take some of your more inefficient campaigns and put them on the bench while you try some new strategies like blogging or developing cool new tools that your customers will find helpful. (see
Press Release Grader
Be in position to be in position
- Anticipate the possibilities and make sure you are prepared to take advantage of them. Hockey enthusiasts understand the concept of a "garbage goal". This is a goal that is scored almost by mistake and invariably by being in the "right place at the right time". In regards to inbound marketing, a good example of this might be making sure that of the most popular pages on your website actually have great
Calls to Action
on them that will entice visitors to convert into leads. You never know who might visit your site. It is wise to be prepared to capitalize on all opportunitues.
- Nobody cares what you want, they care what you do - I know this sounds a little harsh, but it really is the truth. We all want to be successful. We all want more customers. If you didn't, you wouldn't be reading this. The problem is, wanting it isn't enough. You have to prove yourself. Show your target market that you are worthy of their trust by producing great content that is helpful and interesting. Keep them coming back by providing knowledge and insight they can use to improve their businesses or their lives.
- Hang out with & watch the pros - You can learn a TON by observing. When I was not in residency up in Lake Placid, I did my training in Boston. I, and my teammates from the area, worked out alongside professional hockey players with one of the better known strength and conditioning coaches in the NHL. What I learned was invaluable. Internet marketing is no different. You have to find the folks in your industry who are the most successful. Read their blogs, study their websites and find out who is linking to them. What can you learn from them that you can then apply to your own marketing strategy?
- If you are not getting better, you're getting worse - There is no such thing as "maintenance" in business (or in sports for that matter). Everything you do (or don't do) contributes to your level of success. Those with the most focus and most stamina will prevail. It truly is survival of the fittest.
What keeps you motivated to succeed? Do you have analogies from sports or life that help you on a daily basis? We'd love ot hear from you.
Enjoy the Summer Games, folks. I know I will.