Running a marathon isn't easy, it's hard, very hard. It takes months of hard work, a decent diet and plenty of determination. But this is an inbound marketing blog so why am I even talking about running a marathon? Because the similarities are remarkable.
Success Requires Preparation and Hard Slog
There are two aspects to getting ready to run a marathon. The first is your diet and the second your training regime. To get marathon ready you simply have to put in the miles, lots of them. A perfect diet with no training will result in abject failure, there's no getting round pounding those miles. However, if your diet's not great but you put the miles in you stand a good chance of success. You might make it a little harder for yourself, you might suffer afterwards but you'll make the finish line.
How's That The Same As Inbound Marketing?
We preach about the importance of preparation in most of the stuff we write. It's vital to develop a strategy before embarking on tactics such as blogging; you'll set yourself up for failure if you don't. However, this is the easy bit, just like eating the right diet's the easy bit when it comes to preparing for a marathon.
The harder part is consistently producing all the amazing content that's going to improve your search rankings and attract the right customers, just like the harder part of marathon preparation is putting in the training miles. For weeks and months, come rain or shine, you need to pull on your trainers and head out.
You need to tackle the hard stuff like running up hills, you have to learn how to carry on moving when your body is screaming at you to stop and, more than anything, you just have to keep going. Attracting people to your website and turning them into customers involves the same discipline.
Tracking & Measuring
To keep the analogy going, when training for a marathon most people measure their progress. They monitor their times over set courses, their pace, their body weight, recovery times and a whole host of other weird and wonderful metrics. It's all about making sure progress is being made and adjusting regimes based on outcomes and progress.
Creating a successful inbound marketing campaign is just the same. By measuring and adjusting you find the sweet spot, the content that resonates, the offers that trigger the actions you want your prospects to take, and that's how you make progress towards your marketing goals.
Put The Work In, Feel The Joy
If you've ever run a marathon or similar (my punishment of choice is the annual Keswick to Barrow 40 miler) you'll know how you felt at the end. Relieved, elated, exhausted and very, very happy. If you create a predictable, repeatable and scalable lead generation machine by developing a successful inbound marketing campaign you might not feel quite the same, but you'll certainly be very happy as well as extremely popular with your sales team.
Whether you run a marathon for personal fulfilment or competitively, it's hard going. So is securing traffic and leads using your website. But in both cases you'll be glad you did. The final analogy is the time. We've spoken about inbound projects taking six to nine months to start delivering leads. Getting ready for a marathon is similar, so pull on your trainers today and get out pounding those miles.
When you're back, showered and resting with your isotonic drink in your hand, consider what you're going to do about your website and how you're going to approach the challenge of generating leads.