Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, is arguably one of the top five personal development books written during the 20th century. Nearly 25 years in print and more than 25 million copies sold are evidence to that claim. The principles espoused in this gem are not only timeless, but applicable across a wide range of personal and professional pursuits. In fact, they can be applied to almost any career or life pursuit.
Personally, I have found the 7 Habits to be so helpful that I’ve related each of them to the essential aspects of inbound marketing.
Habit 1: Be Proactive
Get out in front of your marketing efforts. Don’t wait until you have visitor information pouring in from each and every angle before you get a handle on things. There are several tools available at low or no cost that can help you be more efficient with your time.
- Are you pre-scheduling your social media posts with a publishing tool like Buffer or Hootsuite?
- Have you thought about integrating some of the great marketing automation tools like Hubspot?
- Are you measuring your results using Google Analytics or any of the wonderful tools provided by Moz?
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
It is vitally important to clearly define goals before beginning your inbound marketing strategy.
What do you want to achieve – in 6, 12, and 24 months? Is it more leads for your sales force? Is it driving sales on your e-commerce website? Are you trying to build a base of followers on your social media channels like Google+, Twitter, and Facebook? Are you looking to establish your firm (or yourself) as an industry expert?
Answering these questions will help you to develop the right voice for your content.
Habit 3: Put First Things First
I cannot over-stress the importance of this habit. Content is king in the new world of inbound marketing. Focus on creating helpful, relevant content and keep a constant eye towards user-experience. According to Hubspot’s recent report, 57% of companies who blog monthly have generated a new client from those efforts. Even more impressively, when blogging daily, that number jumps to a whopping 82%.
If you aren’t generating original content, here are 5 Compelling Reasons to Start B2B Blogging Now – Before Your Ship Sails.
Habit 4: Think Win-Win
The obvious goal of any inbound marketing effort is to drive website traffic and convert that traffic into leads, BUT the only way you get there is by improving the lives and careers of your readers, followers, and connections. If you focus on them—help them win—they will reward you by sharing your content, thus driving more visitors and leads to your site. Remember, capitalism, and life, for that matter, is not a zero-sum game. As the late, great Zig Ziglar said, “You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood
There is NO success to be had in inbound marketing without first understanding your buyer persona.
Who is your target market? What are their biggest concerns? What do they do for fun? What are their career/life aspirations?
Once you’ve developed a clear image of your target audience, you’re better able to tailor your message to their needs. Use this information to shape how you speak to them and relate to their issues. Help them, rather than sell them.
Habit 6: Synergize
Inbound marketing is not a one-touch approach.
A great blog is made more valuable by a well-thought-out social media strategy. A beautiful website is not of much use unless it is optimized for relevant keywords using SEO best practices.
Make sure that all of the weapons at your disposal are firing on all cylinders. This way, their combined productive capacity will produce a much bigger bang for your buck than if you were to focus solely on any one of them.
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
Produce, share, test, refine. Produce, share, test, refine. Produce, share, test, refine. A highly effective inbound marketer will be constantly measuring her results and looking for any way she can improve upon her efforts.
On a final note, Dr. Covey points out a great principle in the early chapters of his book—the “P. versus P.C. balance”. The “P” stands for production and the “P.C.”, productive capability. The analogy used in the book is that of the goose that lays the golden eggs. It will be difficult to resist the temptation to focus all your efforts on the “golden eggs” of your inbound marketing strategy, what with all the leads you’ll be generating. But it is critical that you maintain consistency with your inbound efforts, or you may risk killing the goose.
Until next time, happy marketing.