Just like that, another Fourth of July is upon us. As we all bask in the glow of our nation's independence (and our day off), here are ten nuggets of inbound marketing wisdom from one of our greatest American presidents, Abraham Lincoln (as a point of clarification, the quotes are Abe's, the commentary is mine).
"Don't worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition."
Rather than being outwardly focused on why your business is not getting enough sites visits, leads, and sales, look inward and analyze what you are doing to create value for or solve the problems of your target audience. Inbound marketing strives to attract relevant leads by providing valuable content that informs and enriches.
"Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe."
In wood chopping as in business, preparation is most of the battle. The speed of your inbound marketing success is directly correlated to the amount of time and effort you put into forging content, building CTAs and landing pages, performing keyword research and organic SEO, crafting email lead-nurturing campaigns, and analyzing data.
"When you have got an elephant by the hind legs and he is trying to run away, it's best to let him run."
This is your consumer as you continue to shout out what you think they need. Stop lecturing and start listening. Don't add to your customers' problems; try to solve them. Listen for pain points and needs, and try and offer relevant solutions.
"How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg."
Inbound marketing is dependent on honesty and transparency-just ask the erstwhile SEO charlatans who've since learned to check their black hats at the door. Those who try to pass off their stilted, prosaic keyword-laden content will find little purchase (literally) with today's online consumer, who is looking for fresh and original content that is both relevant and actionable.
"I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday."
Learn from your mistakes. Tweak and Improve. One of the cornerstones of inbound is to use the data analytics gleaned from your website and social media to constantly enhance your brand's online marketing efforts. You can do this effectively with a comprehensive marketing automation software platform such as that offered by Hubspot.
"Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored."
If your marketing colleagues or fellow business owners aren't embracing inbound marketing, here's your chance to be a trail blazer. Like Abe says, genius is seldom found on the beaten path, but rather in the undiscovered country.
"That some achieve great success, is proof to all that others can achieve it as well."
Inbound marketing works, plain and simple. Companies that employ inbound marketing best practices often see dramatic growth in web/social traffic, leads, and sales. Moreover, they can re-invest the cost savings realized from inbound's lower operational costs, creating a virtuous cycle.
"The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time."
Inbound marketing does not produce is flash-in-the-pan results. Rather, think of it as a slow burn that takes time to heat up, but ultimately provides a long-lasting return on your investment. The leads will not pour in immediately, but in the end they will pour in.
"Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle."
This is perhaps the soundest nugget of inbound marketing wisdom from Honest Abe. Technology continues to tip the balance of power in favor of the consumer. Brands that recognize this early and adopt inbound marketing best practices will reap the greatest reward, while those who continue to try and tell consumers what they want will face increasing marginalization. Don't be the last company standing when the music stops.
"I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep on doing so until the end."
A great Lincoln quote to end on. Strive to give inbound marketing your best effort, and you'll likely find success. Honest Abe is considered to by many to be the greatest president in US history. Though you may not achieve such lofty heights by following his sage advice, you'll likely line your pockets with considerably more than the two cents offered to give it.
This is America, after all.
Happy Independence Day to everyone....
¹ Brainy Quote, "Abraham Lincoln"