7 Ways Inbound Marketing is Like a Snowball Fight

On Saturday, January 12, the people of Seattle will gather for Snow Day, the world’s largest snowball fight. Dump trucks will deliver 162,000 lbs. of snow to more than 5,000 people attempting to set a new Guinness World Record. Plus it’s a fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Clubs of King County.

What on earth does this have to do with Internet marketing? More than you know… here are 7 ways inbound marketing is like a snowball fight.

1. Action plans are essential

You might have some success in life or in snowball fights without an action plan. But if you want to go beyond whitewashing a single opponent to dominating an entire field, you have to plan ahead. Your inbound marketing plan should cover earning attention, making yourself easy to find, and providing value to your customer.

2. Exploring new territory

The Internet has been around for a while, but the landscape changes as fast as any melting battlefield. Every time Google updates their algorithm, we must reassess our strategies and make new battle plans. Whether you are creating the freshest content or building a catapult on the fly, adaptation is key to survival.

3. Some people play dirty

Some Internet marketers will sell you a bundle of links along with promises of glory. This is not inbound marketing. Like those rats who put rocks in snowballs, they may be successful in the short term, but there’s a lot of collateral damage. Play unto others as you would have them play unto you…

4. Capture the high ground

You want to rank #1 on Google. That prized, top-of-the-hill position helps your customers find you. Just expect that once you plant your flag, you automatically become a target. So be ready to defend your position when you get there (see step one).

5. Even little guys can compete

You don’t have to be a megastore to compete on the Internet. In fact, being small has its advantages. With the right set up, whether we’re talking a killer fort or an awesome site design, you can grab customers (or fling snowballs) while staying under your competition’s radar. Heck, if you can create super-awesome video without owning a camera, you can do anything.

6. Capitalize in the short term

Trending topics are as fleeting and wonderful as Seattle snow. People get very excited about them in the seconds before they melt. Part (and only part) of your content strategy should be to grab onto a hot topic for an easy content win.

7. Teamwork is the best strategy

Beating South Korea’s 2010 snowball fight world record will require 5,388 combatants. That could mean you against 5,387 snowball-flinging strangers or you could team up with a friend who can cover your back. Same goes for inbound marketing. Because the Internet sometimes looks like this:

Consider teaming up with someone with field experience to help you draw up a plan of attack.

Don’t forget to sign up for Snow Day on January 12 at Seattle Center. Together we can set a world record, raise money for charity and have a rockin’ good time.

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  1. Isla,
    This is a great comparison. I especially like the point of little guys still being able to compete. A lot of business think the big guys have a strong-hold on the market, but all it takes is a little disruption.

  2. Hi Isla,
    Thank you for this article. I have a few questions for you. First, can you recommend any tools to assist small businesses with their inbound marketing initiatives? Second, how long should a marketer ride the coat tails of a trending topic before it becomes irrelevant?

    1. Hi Ryan,
      I’ll answer the second question first. I think you have to be hyper-aware of boredom when riding trending topics. If you are at all over a particular celeb or story, everyone else is too (or will be soon). I’ll never forget when while watching Sofia Vergara strut across the TV screen for K-Mart, my husband said, “She’s over-exposed.” And she was. The next commercial starred her too and I changed the channel.
      As far as tools, maintaining a kick-ass blog is a big first step (more on that here http://www.portent.com/?p=14600). WordPress is a great CMS. Continue producing great content and people will find you in time. MailChimp can help you distribute that content. Then you want to make sure you are measuring the impact of your content using things like Google Analytics and Open Site Explorer.
      Hope that’s a good start. An agency can help you with bigger questions like creating a content strategy.

  3. I agree with point 7 Isla, building relationships with those who have inbound marketing experience is a great strategy. You can’t do it all yourself. It also helps that as well as the inbound experience they have swift reflexes and large hands to maximize their snowball fight effectiveness 🙂

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