Summer lasts forever here in Florida. Most of our year is bathed in high temps and stifling humidity. How do we endure?
The Tampa Bay area is home to over 60 breweries! And what beats a cold pint on a sunny day?
The beer culture thrives thanks to passionate homebrewers, who tend to be equal parts creative, analytical, and fun, much like us marketers.
In fact, here at Bluleadz, our team has always dreamt about concocting our own craft beer (the name BZ Brew has such a nice ring to it, don’t you think?)
At-home brewing is definitely becoming more and more popular among beer-connoisseurs. The thought of crafting your own ale or lager brewed with your favorite flavors and your unique taste buds in mind? Sounds dreamy.
Ok, but what does this have to do with inbound marketing?
Well, we are glad you asked.
Inbound marketing and brewing beer actually have a lot of similarities you wouldn’t necessarily notice at first glance. I mean, both are extraordinary processes that result in extraordinary things – a 6-pack of perfectly crafted brew and a binder full of new clients, to be exact.
To get into more detail, here are four similarities between brewing beer and inbound.
Note: for the purposes of this article, we followed home brewing instructions from Northern Brewer.
1. There Are Clear Steps to Guide You Through
If you’ve never looked up what it’s like to brew beer, I encourage you to do it right now. Yes, it does sound awesome to be able to brew your own alcohol, but personally I wouldn’t have the patience.
Luckily, there are steps to help guide you through each phase. With brewing, those steps include the following: Preparation, Brewing, Fermentation, Bottling.
With inbound, we follow the three key steps of the inbound flywheel: Attract, Engage, Delight.
These steps are put in place to help make the process simpler. Without a clear guide, it can be easy to get lost in the process, leaving you wondering, “What do I do next?”
You’ll notice that both brewing beer and inbound have only a few key steps. But that’s not all.
Within each step, there are proper substeps that help keep your focus aligned on specific tasks. As with brewing beer, inbound marketing isn’t just a one-size-fits-all step process.
In fact, the four-step brewing process is actually a 15- to 20-step system (depending on what set of instructions you choose to follow).
Although the first step of the inbound methodology is Attract, there needs to be substeps in place to guide you in the right direction. The Attract phase is where inbound marketers turn strangers into visitors: the content they create is intended to generate awareness about their company and the products or services they sell.
- Writing blog posts
- Creating videos
- Posting on social media
- Building a content strategy
A content strategy allows your company to plan out everything you will distribute to customers. Having a strong content strategy lets you map out your campaigns and see how engaging your content is with your audience over time. This planning element holds similarities to the Preparation stage of brewing beer.
During Preparation, you should check that you have all the equipment, sanitize everything, and lay out everything you will need before you get started. By prepping beforehand, you are encouraging a smoother process down the line.
Similarly, by preplanning what content you will publish, when you will publish it, and what channels it will be published on, marketers can follow a repeatable, scalable process that is sustainable and efficient.
2. You Must Monitor the Process Closely
When brewing beer, you must pay close attention to the different processes your beer moves through to transition from a bunch of wheat to a perfectly brewed cold one.
If one small thing goes wrong in the brewing phase, you’ll have to add an extra step or two to solve the issue; worse, your entire batch will be left undrinkable (I can only imagine how depressing that would be.)
Let's say you added yeast to your wort, but after two days, you don't notice a change. One reason for this could be improper sanitation: as a result, you'll have to start over and pitch new yeast. Bummer.
What if you spent two hours bottling your beer only to find out that your brew is overcarbonated? You may have jumped the gun and started bottling before fermentation was complete. Because of this error, you'll have to vent and re-cap all the bottles.
Unlike outbound marketing, where businesses bothered customers with cold calls, inbound marketers have to be aware of how their prospects, leads, and customers are reacting to and engaging with the content and information they provide.
If you aren’t monitoring and analyzing the efforts you make in the Attract phase, then how will you know what is working and what isn’t?
When posting blog content, ads, and social media content, monitor who you are attracting: are the right people (those who match your buyer personas) finding and interacting with your content? How engaged are they with the content you are publishing?
Don't improperly "sanitize" your work: ensure your published content addresses the challenges and pain points of each of your buyer personas and sparks engagement with your target audience.
Without monitoring, you might have to add extra, unnecessary tasks to compensate for the lack of progress your content is making toward finding new customers for your business.
In the blink of an eye, something can change that shifts the entire model of how your business functions and markets toward consumers. Once a strategy or campaign is implemented, you can’t just sit back and call it finished.
With close monitoring and data tracking, you’ll be able to spot what is working, what isn’t, and how your work is impacting your long-term marketing goals and your bigger picture business goals.
3. It’s a Long Process...
Home brewing is a long, tedious process – but it’s not that different than inbound marketing.
Ingredients like yeast and wheat remain in the Brewing step for up to six hours, and the fermentation process can take up to two weeks until the finished beer can be bottled and consumed. Likewise, inbound marketing doesn’t just happen in a day, even if you really want it to.
Inbound takes a lot of work. If you want your marketing efforts to succeed, you must:
- Find the right audience and platform for your content.
- Build a content strategy to build authority in search engine rankings.
- Write and publish content targeting your buyer personas and the various stages of the buyer's journey they reside in.
- Create tools to foster engagement with your brand, from lead flows and conversational bots to email marketing campaigns.
- Build SMART content to keep visitors coming back for more, feeding them new information each time they log on.
The list could go on and on and on, but I figured I would spare you 20 minutes.
Moral of the story: inbound is about finding your niche, targeting the right people at the right time, and delighting them with your informative marketing content and continuous support from your sales and service teams.
4. But in the End, It’s Very Rewarding
There’s nothing better than cracking open a cold one – and knowing that you poured your own blood, sweat, and tears into brewing it yourself makes it all the better.
In marketing, experiencing all that hard work, the long nights, and the constant hiccups and seeing results come to life is a rewarding experience. You can watch your planning and commitment turn into new hand raises, qualified leads, and happy customers.
However, you can't really just take a seat and watch the results roll in.
It doesn’t mean you stop here. Like both brewing and inbound, it’s a repetitive process that continues to grow. If you want more beer, you can’t just stop the brewing process once your first batch is complete – eventually, you will run out, and that will be a sad day.
If you want to grow your business and attain more qualified clients, your efforts can't be put to rest; they must be repeated and changed to attract even more leads and to nurture them into customers.
So, we've learned that inbound marketing and brewing beer really do have some key things in common.
As you build a marketing strategy following the inbound methodology, consider what steps are most important to implement, what steps you need to closely monitor to ensure your efforts are successful, and how long you plan to dedicate to your strategy.
While it does take time, the reward you get from your growing business will be worth the wait. Cheers to that!