Six Ways to Overcome the Fear of Inbound Marketing
Marketing costs time, money, and resources. Every marketing move comes with risk. If we spend our time, money, and resources to try this tactic, what if it fails? We won’t have money, time, and resources to try something else. The risk of doing something is often overshadowed by the fear of losing.
There is good news: marketing is often best accomplished by the most consistent, not the most creative approach. Just like Dory said to Nemo’s father, Marlin, “Just keep swimming.”
It also doesn’t matter where you are in your marketing journey or how much you have in your marketing budget, the same fear can creep in. Let’s take a look at six ways to beat it.
1. Have a Plan
Do you have a written marketing plan? Only 51% of companies do. Ouch. If you don’t have a written plan, you will feel afraid. You won’t know what to do first, next, or later.
The plan doesn’t have to be difficult, 40 pages long, or require a PhD in astrophysics to read. You just need a plan.
Every good marketing plan is tied to key performance indicators (KPIs). You wouldn’t fly in a plane if the pilot couldn’t quickly determine altitude, speed, windspeed, the angle of the plane, or the horizon. You need KPIs for each goal, no matter how many or few you have.
2. Trust the Data
Nothing ruins a good fish story faster than an eye witness. Nothing takes the fear out of your marketing decisions faster than looking at the numbers.
Spending time in Google Analytics or your CRM’s reporting structure is not wasted time. If you can get a grip on where the problems might be or what’s working, you can move. You can fix the problems or you can repeat the winning formula.
Here are some things to look for:
- What three topics are getting the most traffic on our blog?
- Which five emails have the highest open rate?
- What are our top three most downloaded resources?
- What is the conversion rate of our landing pages?
- What is the conversion rate of our paid ads?
If you can’t quickly answer those questions, you don’t know your data well enough. No wonder you’re afraid of investing time, money, and resources. Put your fears to rest by investigating your existing marketing and where you go next will show itself.
3. Practice the Fundamentals
My father was a successful high school and junior college basketball coach. He drilled his players on dribbling, passing, shooting, blocking out, defense, rebounds, and free throws. I watched many of the players roll their eyes at my dad as he blew his whistle for one more repeat of a drill. My dad knew that with a game on the line, fundamentals make the difference, not miracle plays. (His win/loss record is testimony to the validity of his perspective.)
If you’re afraid of adding new tactics to your marketing plate, refine and improve what you’re already doing. The fundamentals of inbound marketing are:
- Emailing your list (newsletters and nurturing emails)
- Crafting effective calls to action to increase your mailing list
- Creating a diversity of content that educates, persuades readers of your solution, and is sharable
- Selecting and using keywords throughout your content and webpages so that you can be found in search
You can convert new leads and improve your search results just by practicing and improving on the fundamentals. Pick one of tactics from the list and click on the links. Use the practical suggestions you find to put your plan together for incremental growth.
4. If It’s Too Big, Shrink It
There is a story told of a tractor-trailer truck getting stuck in the entrance to the Holland Tunnel because it was too tall for the clearance. New York City traffic was snarled for hours. Engineers, first responders, and other experts couldn’t figure out how to get the truck unstuck. A ten-year-old girl in a passing car suggested, “Why don’t they just let the air out of the tires.”
If you’ve got big marketing dreams that are scaring you, make the monster smaller and go for it.
In the movie “Working Girl,” Mr. Trask wanted to get into television, but lowered his expectations and bought radio stations instead.
A publishing company I worked with wanted to buy national in-theatre advertising for a new resource, but the budget was so big they chose to test three cities instead.
A B2B tech company wanted to put a large booth in a leading trade show for its vertical, but the space rental, travel, hotel, and other expenses would have used up the entire year’s marketing budget. The company chose, instead, to be a vendor at a regional trade show for the same vertical.
How can you accomplish the same idea but on a smaller level?
5. Learn Your Technology
Matt Zilli, Marketo’s Chef Customer Officer, wrote :
“Most marketers have only 30 percent of their technology stacks integrated. That means all those fancy marketing technologies you’ve invested in see only a sliver of the overall picture, which means you probably see only a sliver of the picture, too. Fearless marketers are not afraid of tackling complex technologies, bringing them together and finding hidden insights in the data that other marketers would miss. Don’t fear the tech.”
Are you using your CRM, project management software, and Google tools to their fullest? None of us is, to be honest. Most tools like Marketo and HubSpot have dozens of training videos, courses, quizzes, step-by-step instructions, and helpful support staff to get you trained to do what you need to do.
If you’re afraid of the technology you need for the next tactic, just do it. You’ve got help.
Plus, that’s where an agency partner like Golden Spiral can come alongside to support you, too. Lean on the agency’s expertise for the technology and tools. Cast the vision, let the agency help you refine it, and then cut the agency loose to maximize the tools.
6. Start Slowly on the Next Tactic
No matter where you are in your marketing journey, there’s always another tactic or tool to try. You read articles about how effective it is and how it will improve your numbers. For some of you, you are afraid of trying a tactic that would be the equivalent of a graduate level course while others are looking at a junior high school level tool. It doesn’t matter where you are, press on.
Not on social media? Begin. Not on the right social media or the next one? Begin.
Not sending regular and faithful emails to your list? Begin.
Not using paid ads? Begin.
Not writing pillar pages? Begin.
Not presenting at trade shows? Begin.
Not using automation? Begin.
You get the idea. To address the fear, realize this: it is only one more thing. It’s not every tactic known to man. Begin your next one thing.
The Value of Fear
View fear as a gift. We fear putting our hand on a hot stove because we know if we do, we will get burned. We fear improperly riding a Bird motorized scooter because we might get hit by a car. Fear keeps us from doing things that will hurt us. When we respond to fear correctly, we find wisdom. That wisdom allows us to do the right thing.
So, you’re afraid to try something to market your company. Take a deep breath and determine if it is wisdom keeping you from being clobbered or just plain fear.
I run many road races and our VP of Creative, Bennett Farkas, has ridden in many bicycle races. One thing remains true no matter how technologically advanced racing and timing technology becomes: you only have to be a tiny bit ahead of the next racer to beat them.
You only have to be a step in front of your next closest competition to make a difference. So, hold your breath and face that marketing fear. Do what you don’t think you can. And marvel at the results.