Any marketing professional or business owner has at some point been "caught in the weeds" of marketing activities. Ironically, we too are inundated with products, services and advice (ahem, this article not included) meant to make our jobs easier, yet they can quickly clutter our daily activities and strangle our ability to be effective.
Here are some simple tips to gain your inbound marketing edge back and stay on target.
Consolidate & Integrate
You know the startling statistics you read about the time you spend on everyday activities over the span of your lifetime (like 106 days spent brushing your teeth)? Well, for those of us handling inbound marketing for our companies, logging into and managing social media, CRM, CMS and other accounts can add up pretty quickly. And, like brushing our teeth, we can't just NOT do it. At least not if we want to, you know, have friends and a decent job.
So the key here is consolidating and integrating your tools. Rather than logging into every single account that you have, find clever ways to integrate them and manage them from a single portal. For example, inbound marketing software like Hubspot allows you to manage your contacts, website, social media accounts, email campaigns and more all in one platform. So even if that saves you an extra 10 minutes per day, you're saving about 2.5 days per year. More than enough time to do something personally enriching, like watching all of the Rambo and American Ninja movies. Michael Dudikoff anyone? Anyone?! Nevermind then...
Focus on the Right Metrics
Metrics that matter to marketers don't always matter to the company's leadership team. For example, a CFO is much less likely to care about unique page view or click-through-rates than a marketing manager would. So when it comes time for the monthly report, focusing on these metrics is not necessarily the best use of time nor does it reflect the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
The solution is to know which metrics matter most to those you are reporting to. If you're a marketing professional and haven't been told what to report on...ask! If you're the owner, CEO or part of the leadership team, you need to focus on the metrics that directly correlate to your marketing ROI. More specifically numbers that relate to Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC), Marketing Percentage of CAC, Ratio of Customer Lifetime Value to CAC and those types of things. By understanding which metrics matter most to your business or various members of leadership, you can save yourself some time and improve your overall inbound marketing effectiveness.
Read & Research
Getting wrapped in the daily minutia of marketing can be grueling and sometimes overwhelming. Most importantly, it can keep you from checking up on best practices and critical changes within the digital landscape. Just think about how excited you were when your website started to rank well for certain keywords after you've spent days upon days building backlinks, optimizing web pages and cleaning up your navigation. Then, suddenly, your search engines rankings suck. Shot right off the first page, or worse yet, you get penalized and removed from search engines entirely. "Panda? Hummingbird? What's up with these Google update critters and why the heck are they attacking my site?!"
Unfortunately, you focused so heavily on the activities that you missed out on some critical news that impacted you directly. It's important to take time each day to check in on the industry, take it's pulse and see how it's feeling. For the type "A" people out there, rest assured, reading is still "doing something". Don't feel bad posting up in a comfy chair, cracking open your laptop and delving into the marketing world in which you live. It will lead to much better decisions and definitely contribute to the effectiveness of your efforts.
"Gosh darn it, if it's gonna get done right, it's gonna get done by me!" Whoa, tiger. There are plenty of people qualified to publish that Facebook post or Tweet with the clever little hash tags. Hopefully, you hired these people. It's common for any professional to be afraid of giving up control. The thought of someone doing something you asked them to do and then screwing it all up can keep some of us up at night. But the truth is, that very rarely happens and it's more important to free your time up to focus on strategy or more business critical activities.
To become more effective at marketing, you've got to be comfortable delegating tasks. In fact, in an Inc. article written a few months ago by Peter Economy (yes, his last name is Economy), our ability to effectively delegate even gives us a competitive advantage. Effectiveness + Competitive Advantage = Inbound Awesomeness.
Get Out of the Office
Are you reading this at your desk right now? Stop it. Seriously, stop reading this. Go outside and get a breath of fresh air. Heck, if the neighborhood is nice enough (this can be tricky in LA), then go for a short walk. Don't worry, this article will be here upon your glorious return. I'll wait.
*queue elevator version of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing."
Hey, you're back! Feel better? Odds are high that your answer is a resounding "yes." Good. Physically, we are just not designed to sit behind our desk 8 to 10 hours per day. It's quite literally wrecking our health and mental well being. If you're going to be more effective at inbound marketing or just plain life in general, you've got to stay active. Study upon study has shown that our sedentary work lives lead to more than just a few inches around the waist, they can also lead to depression, anxiety and even downright anger.
If you're going to be a more effective inbound marketer, don't feel as though you have to be tied to your desk all day, every day. Get up and be active.
Heck, maybe even get one of those fancy stand-up desks or bicycle powered workstations. But please, leave the neon bicycle shorts at home.