Ok Roman, so you want me to do more stuff next year? Well, I am pretty busy already, you're thinking. I know we all are. But let's face it - we can't rest on our laurels. There's a new inbound marketer born every day, it seems, and to push into the ranks of superstardom you must always strive for greatness, young Jedi. So, here are some things to do more of in the coming year...
- Reading - And no I don't mean read more blogs or more Mashable.com, I am referring to deep reading. "Recent research in cognitive science, psychology and neuroscience has demonstrated that deep reading — slow, immersive, rich in sensory detail and emotional and moral complexity — is a distinctive experience, different in kind from the mere decoding of words." Yes that is the kind of reading that will actually help you think better and probably be more focused and get through your emails quicker.
- Writing - With our never ending focus on content, this is almost a necessity to be filed in the "practice makes perfect" category. But there are many cathartic and health benefits to writing regularly. Oh and that emotional email you were planning on sending to your client or significant other? Sleep on it, re-read it and then either delete it or save it as a draft. Focus on a positive tint to any writing you share.
- Speaking - Have you ever dictated a blog using a tool like Dragon Naturally Speaking? It's a useful experience. I've found that you have to form your thoughts and do the heavy lifting of structuring your content before even uttering a sound. It's much different than writing for me - which allows you to stop, start and iterate. If you start dictating nonsense as it's being written out in front of you get a much different sense of creating quality content.
- Signaling - I've written about Hubspot's Signals previously so I'll keep this short - if you're interested in who opens your emails or clinks links in your email you should check it out. You can also connect Signals to the HubSpot CMS or COS.
- Calling - or perhaps Skyping. If you've exchanged more than five emails with someone, it's probably time to call them. There is a lot we can get done through email and instant messaging. But sometimes, a five minute voice to voice conversation can eliminate the need for superfluous emails, texts, assumptions of intonation and instant messages.
- Serving - Stop thinking it's all about you. It's not and it never was. It's about your clients, your company, your family and your friends. All of that includes you but is not solely about you. Are you a servant or a leader? Or a servant leader? Are you more worried about your career or how you can help the companies you're a part of?
- Renting - no I don't mean an apartment. I mean software, or teams, or expertise. Whether you have a subscription to Salesforce or HubSpot you're renting world class software while at the same time decreasing your internal infrastructure costs. Similarly, rather than spending significant time on searching for and hiring an internal inbound marketer, consider "renting" an entire team of inbound marketers from an agency. You'll get a lot more bang for your buck.
- Purging - I recently moved to a home less than half the size of my previous home. I was tired of the upkeep, the yardwork and the time spent not doing something I truly enjoy (i.e. marketing, writing, being a Dad). What (either in life or in inbound marketing) are you doing that isn't bringing value or benefit? Is Pinterest really growing your B2B client's reach? Do those email lists really work? Marketing is always a test of a null hypothesis. Don't ever stop purging or experimenting.
- Being Responsive - whether it's email or websites - you need to be responsive. And no I don't mean calling your customer back. I mean making sure your virtual salesperson (i.e. your company website) responds to whatever type of device your web visitors are using to view your site. Don't make your website hard - your visitors will leave, quickly.
- Automating - Where would we be without Henry Ford? Relatedly, where would salespeople be if they had to send out their own emails - without tools like HubSpot or InfusionSoft. Probably in a lot worse place. The more you can intelligently automate your marketing and sales in 2014 - the better off you will be. Key here - intelligently. Otherwise - it's all just spam. In 2014, automate personally and contextually.
- Platforming - Are you a Facebookie? A member of the Twitterati? Pick a platform of focus for 2014. Maybe it's Instagram or G+ and focus your brand or your client's brand there. Focusing will help you learn the intricacies of your new platform.
- Sleeping - Are you sleeping your way to the top? As marketers we are part of the creative class and people depend on us for the best and brightest ideas. Your best ideas may not come while you are sleeping - but they may come in the shower after a good night's sleep. We are paid for what's in our brains. Make sure you let your brain rest more in 2014.
- Coaching - are you coaching and/or being coached? If you're an executive it's useful to consider an executive coach or an executive program outside of your company to keep your skills sharp. Similarly if you are an experienced executive you should also be giving away your experience and helping others. Even Tom Brady needs a head coach and quarterback coach - he doesn't do it all alone.
- Inbounding - and finally take all of the above and apply it to better inbounding. The better we are as inbound marketers the more respected we are as a profession. Be the best inbounder you can be in 2014.
So that's what I have. What are you going to be focusing on in 2014, inbound friend?