It did not surprise me when I saw final results of our poll. We ran a Hotjar poll on our website for the past few weeks, asking a simple question "Do you have an inbound marketing strategy you're following right now?" Thanks to all 172 respondents, we have our answer - 75% don't.
That sounds about right based on my experience. Many businesses simply don't have an inbound marketing strategy. There are many different reasons for that, but usually it comes down to not knowing how to create a strategy and then how to execute it.
Although there has been a huge amount of educational resources about inbound marketing - from books to ebooks, from blog posts to videos - but nothing so far was able offer a clear framework that one could follow to create their own strategy. Everything out there has been about the tactics, yet everyone forgot about the strategy to align tactical activities in a single direction to reach business objectives.
This is why inbound marketing didn't yield any results for you and your business. You simply engage in random acts of marketing. This is one of the reasons why I'm not fond of "growth hacking" term, and I know that growth hackers will get a bit uptight about this. Instead of looking for that "hack" to go viral, businesses need to focus on long term strategy and success. And frankly, the best growth hacking strategies are always aligned with the overall business and marketing strategies.
Instead of wasting time trying to find your magic bullet to get leads, that growth hack that will propel your sales into the stratosphere, why not simply do the uncomfortable work that's necessary?
An Hour vs a Lifetime
5 Hour Energy Shots will give you energy for about 5 hours ( or none if you're like me). But eating proper diet, exercising and getting enough sleep will give you energy for a lifetime. Yet, these overwhelming and uncomfortable things are always done last if done at all.
Marketing plays by those rules too. Everything in life plays by those rules.
If you put a solid inbound marketing strategy in place, it gives you a foundation for all your tactical activities - even growth hacking. But instead of a 5 hour window, it gives you sustainable and predictable results over a longer period of time.
Did You Get That Light Bulb?
When you read that statistic, 75% of respondents don't have an inbound marketing strategy to follow. Did a light bulb go off? No? Alright, pay attention.
It's an opportunity for you. You can dominate 75% of your competitors by creating and executing an inbound marketing strategy.
Is it that simple? Yes! Consider this.
You have 5 cars, 5 gallons of gas and each car consumes 1 gallon/mile. If you put 1 gallon in each car, the furthest you can go is only one mile. But what if you put all 5 gallons in one car? You would drive for 5 miles!
Your limited budget (time + money + resources) is your gas. When you have no strategy, you spread that gas in different cars trying to get somewhere - those random acts of marketing. In many cases, you don't even know where you need to go (no goals and/or objectives). But the moment you put all your gas into that one strategic car, you'll know where to go and be able to get there with the gas you have! Clarity drives action.
You Hold Yourself Back
It is very simple, but it's not easy. One of my clients recently told me that when she looked at my 45+ page workbook she got overwhelmed and ended up doing nothing.
If the work doesn't overwhelm you, if it doesn't make your gut turn a bit, you might not be doing meaningful work that will get you outcomes you desire. I'm terrible at this too.
That project we're procrastinating to start.... Man that's a lot of work. You know what, I really don't feel like doing it right now. Let me take 5 minutes to check email and respond, and then I'm on it! Few hours later, still that feeling, you just don't feel like doing it - it's so overwhelming. We always follow the current of comfort, we must swim against that current to get meaningful work done.
That overwhelming feeling is just that, a feeling. Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson put it nicely in an HBR article on getting things done that really did resonate with me:
Frankly, I can't do anything to make you do the hard work that's necessary. If you choose to swim with the current of comfort, that's your choice. That current will NEVER get you to where you want and need to go. It's always in the opposite direction.
It is simple, but it's not easy. The choice is yours. Do you give up control over your life and let the current of comfort take you further and further from where you want to go? Or, do you commit to your own success and begin an overwhelming, uncomfortable journey against the current to your desired outcome?