John Lincoln

What Is the Flywheel Marketing Effect? A Top-Down Focus

At one time, you may have encountered an executive who spoke favorably about ‌“The Flywheel Effect.”

But what exactly is Flywheel Marketing?

That’s the subject I’ll cover in today’s article.

I’ll explain the marketing flywheel: what it is and how you can use it. More importantly, I’ll share some real-world examples that apply to digital marketing.

What Is the Flywheel Effect?

It’s a concept that comes to us from the great Jim Collins. He wrote a must-read business book some time ago called Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t.

One reason some companies “make the leap” is because they use the Flywheel Effect.

The Flywheel Effect happens when you score little wins for your business. But here’s the key: those quick wins build on each other.

After a while, all those stacked successes generate momentum for your brand. 

And, before you know it, your business seemingly grows itself. The entire process is automated.

It’s called the Flywheel Effect because it’s the business process equivalent to the mechanical device it’s named after.

A flywheel is a heavy wheel attached to a rotating shaft that delivers power from a motor to a machine. The amount of energy it stores depends on how fast it spins, the amount of friction it encounters, and the size of the wheel.

The bottom line: it’s an efficient engine.

And your business can run like a well-oiled machine too if you build flywheels specific to your company.

Flywheel Marketing: Breaking It Down

Before I apply the principle to business strategy, let me apply it to another subject you’re interested in: winning customers.

At least that’s where Jim Collins went with it.

According to Collins, your customers are your best sales reps. So if they’re happy with your product, they’ll tell their friends about it.

Which leads to inbound marketing, the foundation for our first flywheel.

Breaking it down into three parts: attract, engage, and delight. 

  • Attract – Use outstanding skills of persuasion in your marketing. Draw people to your brand while eliminating barriers. The goal is to attract potential customers without being too forceful.
  • Engage – Make it easy for folks to learn about your product. The focus here is to build solid relationships with your audience. 
  • Delight – Sell them a product that lives up to its promises. Offer outstanding customer service alongside loyalty programs or multichannel availability to make accessing help easily. 

Speaking of easy, that is the overarching keyword for flywheel marketing.

The entire basis of the marketing flywheel rests on reducing impediments to marketing. That’s like reducing friction in a real flywheel.

So take a break right here and think about some barriers in your marketing process. Then ask yourself what you can do to eliminate them.

Think about what processes you could implement to make it easier for people in your target market to engage with your brand.

Other Flywheels

There are micro flywheels within your business as well. And I’ll cover some of them here.

Consider, for example, a financial flywheel. Use it to evaluate your finances weekly and ensure that they’re running as expected.

Or maybe an internal review flywheel? Create efficiencies even when it comes to bureaucratic hoops your team members must jump through.

Or how about a sales process flywheel? That can consist of several steps:

  • Brand-building – Get the word out about your business while promoting your unique selling proposition (USP).
  • Inventory – Ensure you have the products on hand when customers come to your site.
  • Sales Rank – Rank well in search engines for keywords related to your product.
  • Traffic – Reel in the customers and make it easy for them to click and purchase.
  • Click and Buy – Streamline the checkout process so people can put money in your bank account without hitting snags.
  • Reviews – Encourage reviews and let those 5-star ratings fuel more sales and business growth.

Make each step of that process as easy as possible and you’re on your way to flywheel euphoria.

The Sales Cycle Flywheel

Let’s dig deeper into a specific example of a flywheel that’s likely near and dear to your heart: the sales cycle flywheel.

This process involves using your CRM to convert contacts into happy customers who will tell two friends about your product. And then they’ll tell two friends. And so on.

In a B2B environment, you probably assign each contact one of five stages:

  • Contact
  • Proposal
  • Contract
  • Contract Negotiation
  • Close

Now let’s further assume that this flywheel takes 60 days on average to take a person from Contact to Close.

What if you’re able to get that number down to 50 days? Or, even better, 30 days?

That’s an example of a flywheel that you’d automate within your own business.

The trick to getting it down from 60 days to 30 days is easier said than done, though. It involves streamlining processes and removing impediments to forward progress.

In other words, you’ll need to eliminate the friction in your flywheel.

Automation Nation

One of the best ways to eliminate friction is with automation.

Marketing automation is all the rage these days. But you should use it not just because it’s trendy but because it can help get the flywheel going.

So how can you automate your business processes? Let’s examine some possibilities in the stages I mentioned in the previous section.

If the first step to reel in contacts involves information gathering, think about how you can automate that. One way is to create an online form that collects info for you.

Then there’s the process of creating a proposal. Can that be automated with online tools?

After that: proposal presentation. You can record a presentation and send it out to save yourself some time.

And, yes, you can even do contract automation once you’ve closed the deal. How about with the aid of e-signatures?

There are other ways you can use automation as well. One example: email automation.

Countless tools on the market today exist to automate your email outreach. Use one of them to grease that flywheel and get it spinning.

Keep Those KPIs

Keep in mind: you’ll never know if your flywheel is doing well unless you measure it. So make sure you establish quantifiable key performance indicators (KPIs) up front.

Usually, you’ll lean heavily on your reporting software to determine whether your flywheel is spinning as it should. 

Just compare the stats that your tool gives you with your expectations and make the adjustments.

Wrapping It Up

I hope you enjoyed this top-down look at Flywheel Marketing. More importantly, though, I hope you found it useful.

If you haven’t tried flywheel marketing yet in your business, why not get the wheel spinning today?

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Welcome to John Lincoln’s personal website. On this website, we offer courses by John Lincoln, review software, publish articles and videos. You can also learn about John Lincoln’s books, films, book him to speak and contact him. John is directly associated with many of the businesses mentioned on this website and freely discloses this information. 

About the Author

John Lincoln is CEO of Ignite Visibility, one of the top digital marketing agencies in the nation. Ignite Visibility is a 4x  Inc. 5,000 company. Ignite Visibility offers a unique digital marketing program tied directly to ROI with a focus on using SEO, social media, paid media, CRO, email, Amazon and PR to achieve results. Outside of Ignite Visibility, Lincoln is a frequent speaker and author of the books “Digital Influencer” and “The Forecaster Method.” Lincoln is consistently named one of the top digital marketers in the industry and was the recipient of the coveted Search Engine Land “Search Marketer of The Year” award. Lincoln has taught digital marketing and Web Analytics at the University of California San Diego since 2010, has been named as one of San Diego’s most admired CEO’s and a top business leader under 40. Lincoln has also made “SEO: The Movie” and “Social Media Marketing: The Movie.” His business mission is to help others through digital marketing.

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