Successful inbound marketers are like successful golfers for many reasons: To succeed, both require creative imagination, proper planning, continuous improvement, measuring results, patience, long term discipline, passion, conviction, and focus.
Great inbound marketers, just like great golfers, require a creative imagination. A great golfer always sees the shot in their mind before executing the swing. The same holds true for an inbound marketing agency prior to effectively executing a content marketing strategy.
Before an inbound marketing agency can execute an effective content strategy, vital information is needed. The inbound marketing agency and the business owner should directly work together to answer the following questions:
What is the general makeup of the buyer persona(s)?
What are the pain points of the buyer persona(s)?
What are the trigger points the buying persona(s) possesses?
What are the solutions needed to possible problems for the buyer persona(s)?
Once these questions are fully answered, your inbound marketing agency now possesses a concrete foundation to plan creative content for the buyer persona(s). This foundation allows an inbound marketing agency to:
See It (establish a vision);
Feel It (allow outside colleagues and other business to review and asses the agency’s vision)
Trust It (trust the vision’s success because the foundation set is solid)
Further, successful inbound marketers
and golfers both incorporate planning into their strategy. A great golfer plans for the next shot by making educated shot selections, i.e., shot distance, club selection, slope of green, approach shot angle, etc. This same diligent planning translates to inbound marketers as well.
Just like a great golfer, a successful inbound marketer sets up content for the next shot. The next shot in content creation is converting the reader or website visitor to become a lead or sale. This is done by presenting the reader with quality offers, including: whitepapers, ebooks, guides, videos, demos, etc. By presenting readers with quality offers, the inbound marketer is setting it up to receive lead information about reader. Gaining this irreplaceable lead information can be achieved in a variety of ways, including:
creating relevant call-to-action buttons on content;
creating high conversion rate landing pages;
creating a valuable offer that is not self-promoting: rather, is educational and unbiased;
setting up automated email workflow to nurture leads down sales funnel.
As it was once famously stated, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”.
Evolution is a real thing, taking place in real time. This truism holds firmly in both golf and inbound marketing. Because evolution is omnipresent, inbound marketers and golfers must embrace continuous improvement and evolve with changes in their respective professions.
Golf’s past greats, using hickory shafts and wood-headed drivers, would be unable to compete against today’s elite golfers because of today’s modern equipment. The same holds true for online marketers.
Using the golf analogy above, search engine updates are to inbound marketing what modern day golf equipment is to Tiger Woods. Search Engine Optimization is far more different today than it was just a few months ago. For example, as of late September 2013, Google now operates a brand new search engine called the HummingBird. See HummingBird - The New Google Search Engine.
The main take away is that successful inbound marketers should practice and play with the new modern equipment like HummingBird search engine. Here is a consequence of not using the most current equipment (search engine marketing updates): businesses can lose traction online.
"70% of searches come from Google" -Hubspot
How do you know if your content strategy is working?
Measuring the Results
Both golfers and inbound marketers use smarter data to help make better decisions. Smarter data questions for golfers, include: What golf shaft flex to use, what lie works best for swing, shaft length, and even the type of golf ball to use. Technology allows this data to be captured. No one golfer has the same swing thought or swing plane. And no two businesses are exactly the same. Inbound marketing uses data to measure results to see what content is most effective.
One of the most powerful aspects of inbound marketing is that its fully transparent. Especially if one uses a all-in-one marketing software that effectively measures results. In traditional marketing, bulk money is hemorrhaged without ever gaining accurate assessment of ROI. Now, for the first time in history, there exists comprehensive marketing tools that measure true ROI. Business owners and executives love this!
Perhaps one of the most important traits to have in golf and inbound marketing, and, for that matter life is patience. To become successful at golf or inbound marketing, patience is an indispensable virtue. Regardless of an agency’s yearning for success, success is not gained overnight. Success in inbound marketing may take an agency anywhere from six months to year prior to gaining an ever-growing market share.
Many business owners lack patience and want to see results immediately, so a little bit of discipline will go a long way to further their goals.
Long Term Discipline
To become great at golf and inbound marketing, long-term focus, consistency, and discipline are requirements. One should focus on what their best qualities are, while taking the time to get better in areas they struggle in. A complete game in golf requires efficient driving, iron play, chipping, bunker play, and putting. The inbound marketer is no different. The inbound marketer needs to be disciplined in:
creating a content marketing strategy;
embracing change (staying up to date with market);
article writing and content creation (i.e. blogs);
operating marketing software & measuring and testing results;
generating new leads and customers online
When there is a short fall in one of the above areas, the inbound marketer makes sure to fill that void with the best with quality resources.
Having passion for what you do is a good recipe for success. To become great at golf and inbound marketing takes a lot practice. And when lots of practice is required, passion provides the extra motivation to succeed.
An inbound marketer must have a reason for every strategy or decision they make. Also, an elite golfer should be able to tell why they do certain things through every aspect of thier swing.
If an elite golfer can answer with convcition about thier swing, they gain a sensory of consistency in their game. Golf is all about having a plan for every shot; a swing for every circumstance. Inbound marketing is no different. An elite inbound marketer should be able to have a conviction for each decision that is made as well.
Some of the questions that should be answered with conviction by each include, but are not limited to:
Focus & the 6 Keys to Success
Finally, one of the most important elements of a great golfer and an inbound marketer is relentless focus. In both fields, one should always keep the end goal in mind. To do this, they must remain focused. Here are 6 keys to success:
develop a planning process while using creative imagination;
have patience by understanding inbound marketing is marathon not a sprint;
have a passion for the journey - understand the importance of conviction;
a long term discipline;
trust the results are measurable - because they are; and
consistency is a must!