Have you ever read, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum? As the inspiration for my college admissions essay, I have a special fondness for the book, in which Fulghum offers "uncommon thoughts on common things." Recently, I came across my essay, and now that I've moved onto my professional career as an inbound marketer, I'm looking at the book from a whole new perspective.
It turns out, a lot of what I know about inbound marketing, I learned in kindergarten! Here are 7 of Fulghum's insights and how they relate to marketing.
All I Really Need to Know [About Inbound Marketing] I Learned in Kindergarten
1. "Share everything." How ridiculously applicable is that to inbound marketing? Inbound marketers everywhere should be nodding their heads in agreement like a flock of drinking birds. One of the core concepts of inbound marketing is creating valuable content and giving it away to members of your target audience -- and Fulghum agrees. To be a truly effective inbound marketer, you must share everything, especially your content.
2. "Don't take things that aren't yours." With all the free-flowing content available on the web, it's all too easy to take others' ideas (and content) and pass them off as your own. Don't be tempted. If you reference someone else's work -- data, a quotation, an infographic, or simply an image -- within your own content, make sure you attribute it appropriately. Oh, and give them some link love, too.
3. "Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody." We all make mistakes, even as marketers. The important thing to understand is that if you do screw up every now and again, it's important to own up to it. Whether it's a solitary customer complaint in social media or a more widespread issue like your products or services failing to meet expectations, a great crisis communications strategy to adopt is to respond quickly and openly, apologize, and explain what went awry as well as the steps you're taking to improve/fix/remedy the situation. In marketing, transparency is key.
4. "Live a balanced life." The same can apply to your marketing strategy. Balance the individual tactics you use in your overall marketing strategy, and be sure to include a healthy mix that incorporates social media, SEO, content creation, email, lead nurturing, landing pages, and yes, even offline tactics when appropriate. Don't rely too heavily on one tactic. Rather, balance your time and efforts based on the effectiveness of each marketing channel for your specific business and industry.
5. "Take a nap in the afternoon." Inbound marketing can take a lot of brainpower, creativity, and, well, work! Work hard, but don't run yourself into the ground. Manage your time efficiently, and eliminate ineffective tactics and time-sucks from your inbound marketing program where possible. If you're struggling to come up with content ideas or are suffering from blogger's block, take a break -- yes, even a nap! You'll be surprised how many fresh ideas will pop into your head once you've taken a break or even during your break when you're not directly focusing on coming up with ideas.
6. "Remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned -- the biggest word of all -- LOOK." Don't undermine the power of such observatory tactics like looking, reading, listening, and researching. Look and keep watch of what your competitors are up to. Read case studies and learn lessons from how other businesses are responding to and leveraging the latest trends in marketing. Listen to your fans and followers -- whether they are prospective or current customers, subscribers of your content, or diehard fans of your business. And research how to make your marketing better by subscribing to marketing and industry-specific blogs, websites, and resources.
7. "When you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together." Don't go at inbound marketing alone. Even if you're the sole proprietor of your business and you're wearing multiple hats (one of which is marketing), there are always resources and tools that can help you out, especially in regard to content creation. Invite guest bloggers to contribute content, use marketing software to improve your efficiency, and lean on educational content from others to improve your inbound marketing knowledge and, ultimately, effectiveness.
Obviously, these lessons aren't all you need to know about inbound marketing in order to be successful. But they certainly do build a solid foundation.