We launched LeadG2 as its own brand in August 2014, after existing as a department in The Center for Sales Strategy for two years. We started doing inbound marketing for ourselves in 2011, and we were able to apply what we learned as we grew to a full-fledged agency.
Here are six inbound marketing lessons we've learned since we launched:
1. Start by Setting Realistic Activity Goals
How many blog posts are you going to post every week? Answer honestly, and don't make it a stretch goal. On The Center for Sales Strategy's blog, we post five days a week, without fail. But our pool of writers is deep, and we have developed a process to ensure we have blog posts every day. When we launched over here, we knew we'd have fewer writers, and less bandwidth overall to make a big splash. So, we committed to posting three times a week, and that has suited our needs very well. Will we increase to five posts per week? It's hard to say, but my guess is, we will. But until we're ready, we have a schedule we know we can stick to.
2. Don't be Afraid to Make Mistakes
Never let perfect be the enemy of the good. We spent a lot of time on the design of our blog (and website!), and while we think it really catches the eye, we realized we'd probably never consider it "done" because there's always something else to do to make it even better. But, when the launch date came, we launched anyway, because we knew we'd probably allow ourselves to keep pushing back launch for weeks, until we were satisfied. Launch. Fix typos as you go. That's the beauty of the internet. We're not casting anything in stone.
3. Be a Part of the Conversation
Get social! Find your peers, and work with them. We can't tell you how much we benefit from our relationship with HubSpot. We continue to find connections and collaborations between our peers and our audience outside the blog. If you're not already doing so, interact with your audience on social media. Note: Be smart. Don't hang out in the wrong social network. Spend time where your target persona spends time.
4. Launch a Contest
When we launched LeadG2, we wanted to make a splash. So we launched the Inbound Marketing Makeover giveaway, which was a hit! Everyone likes a giveaway, right? Not only did we launch with a splash, but we loved giving away an inbound marketing makeover that we'll do it again this year! If you go this route, be strategic. Sure, everyone would love a chance at a free iPad, but that's not the point. Give something away that your target persona wants -- not something that everyone wants.
5. Have a Variety of Premium Content
And don't be too worried about perfection here, either! Decide that it's more important to have a variety of offers (so your target persona can keep downloading valuable information) than it is to have something so pretty it could be framed. Mix it up! Sure, resources like ebooks are great, but so are spreadsheets and calculators, or even a presentation that helps you develop goals are great ways to give your readers incentive to download things.
6. Remember that Inbound Requires at Least One Devoted Team Member
When inbound is everyone's job, it's no one's job. Make someone responsible for sticking to the scheduler. If you have a blog, you need a blog manager (even if that role isn't his or her only role). Assign someone to the tasks of creating content (or outsourcing it), editing content, and publishing content according to your schedule. Everyone is busy, that's true, but if you decide to launch an inbound marketing program, understand the time commitment necessary. Of course, if you want to launch inbound, but if you don't have the resources within your own company to do so, we're happy to talk.
We've learned a lot since we launched LeadG2, and we're excited about the year ahead.
What are your goals?