I’m presenting at Hubspot’s Inbound conference today, which marks my second time there with about six years distance in between. Has anything changed? No. Yes. But it would depend who you ask. There have been some really smart posts about the future of inbound marketing. I want to give you a simpler take than all that.
The Value of Inbound Marketing
Jacqueline and I completed our first Spartan race in August of 2014. Note that I say “first.” This is your first clue that the organization is doing something right. My friend, Chad, just completed what’s called a double trifecta. This means that Chad has raced the three main Spartan race distances (sprint, super, and beast) and completed those races twice. The Reebok sneakers at the top of this post? Those are only sold to people who have completed the Trifecta. You can’t even buy them without proof that you’re a pretty badass obstacle course runner.
I’ll admit it. I’m obsessed at the moment with this video with CT Fletcher, Kai Greene, and Dana Linn Bailey. (NOTE: this video is FULL of curse words, so if you’re a bit sensitive to such, do not push play). I’m obsessed for a reason. I’m thinking a lot about intensity.
The Vast Distance Between “Doing” and Intensity
I’ve been working on my fitness for a while. Those of you who follow me on Instagram have been subjected to my sweaty selfies for years. But two major changes have happened back to back, and in them, I’ve found a lesson (two!) to share with you.
There are few people who I think have the opportunity to start and maintain a cult. Chris Guillebeau is one of them. He’s so lovable, so damned addictive, and his ideas are YOUR ideas. He gives them to you and hopes you’ll do what he did: work and make them real.
Pick up this book by Chris Guillebeau – The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life. The deal is this. You’ve got to read the book, but you have to DO something with it. Oh, and here’s my interview with him:
Writing posts on this blog has been a cornerstone of my business for quite a while now. I started blogging in 1998 (we called it “journaling” back then), but it wasn’t really until somewhere around 2005 that I started figuring out how it would be part of my actual business (and by that, how it would be a way to make money).
How to Blog for Business
There are so many ways to look at this. You can choose to think of your blog as a media company, and stuff ads on it. I love ads, well, ads for things that make sense. The sidebar at [chrisbrogan.com] is full of companies I strongly support. Some people think just putting any old ad on their site will work. Or Adsense. (And it does, for SOME sites. Especially if you have 500,000 monthly unique visitors, which I don’t. I have only 200,000 or so.)
It all started making sense a little bit at a time, and then a lot at a time, and then I really saw it all, in a kind of continuum. By spending a lot of time analyzing what people have said to me at various events, in my inbox, in between their “official” statements and professional posturing, I’m starting to understand what’s needed by the Owners I so humbly intend to serve. There’s a war, such as it were, and the enemy has been named. But before we talk of war, we have to start where it always starts: at home.
Build Your Home
Life has changed over the last few decades. The promises that were handed to the Baby Boomer generation were as such: do good work, be loyal, show up, and everything else will be handled. We told their parents to serve their country and then come back and buy a house. The American Dream was one of the greatest marketing events to ever face the western world, and we exported it, too, so that people who were perfectly happy overseas could suddenly feel inadequate as well. If you weren’t following the American Dream mindset and model, what the heck were you doing? Certainly not living.
If you look at chrisbrogan.com, it’s built for conversion. There are my courses for sale, other projects, and then some of the free resources (which are also built to convert you). This is the front shop. This is where people stop by. They get here via Google (The #1 search term lately for people finding this site is “Chris.” Talk about people not being especially picky with their time.” It’s up to me to help them understand the better story so they can choose what to do next.
But that’s the “front shop,” where anyone can browse. Once people get my newsletter, they’ve been invited to the “back room,” where you don’t necessarily have to buy, but where the stories are better, the information is a bit more free-flowing, and the opportunities to connect with others is better still. That big difference, between the front shop and the back room, is a missing element for lots of folks.
I’m going through survey results as they relate to my recent webinar (now available on demand). Of the hundreds, who attended and purchased, I received surveys back from about 115. Of those, 111 people were positive to very positive, with some being effusive in their praise and kindness. Four people said fairly negative and disappointed things. They hated it. They thought it wasn’t worth it. They thought I was a bad man, whatever.
Now, pop quiz: guess which feedback I’ve been thinking about for days? (Aw, you already know, because YOU do the same thing!)
All of my work seems to be pointing to the same direction lately. People are struggling. They’re running out of time, running out of money, running out of motivation. If I’m to take everyone at their word, they’ve “tried everything” and “nothing works.” And yet, what I see, more and more, is that “good enough” or “you tried” or “why work so hard” are gaining momentum in every direction.
Comfort is the Enemy
The economy isn’t why people aren’t buying your product or service. Your competition isn’t why people aren’t buying your product or service. YOU are the answer. But the challenge that everyone faces with this information is the same: ‘so what do I do now?’ And the problem is that the answer is almost always “work really hard,” and that’s when people tune out.
Jacq and I work well together. She has this uncanny ability to point me towards interesting things that end up being passions of mine. She decides to get back into lifting weights, and then I rush out and get fanatical about it. She decides to work promoting Visalus, and then I go nuts. Jacq’s given me lots of ideas over the past few years. In talking about this, we both realized there something that separates me from lots of other people. I love to fail.
How to Fail Your Way Out of a Hole
I should probably rephrase that. I don’t love to fail. Who does? Last place? Yay! No, not me. But, I’m not afraid of failing. Not at all. I just learn from every experience, and do more with it. As part of this, I started realizing that there’s a few differences between what I do with all this learning and failing.
When we get antsy, we stop what we’re doing. When we are unsure, we grind to a halt. In Steven Pressfield’s Gates of Fire, there’s a great speech given by King Leonidas to his generals before the night of The Battle of Thermopylae (the movie 300 also covers this, kind of). Here are just a few excerpts from the speech:
“Keep your men busy. If there is no work, make it up , for when soldiers have time to talk, their talk turns to fear. Action, on the other hand, produces the appetite for more action.”