As a young child, you likely played the drawing game connect the dots, or dot-to-dot, which probably helped you learn about counting, practice drawing straight lines and improve your hand/eye coordination. In the world of inbound marketing, we find that left-brain thinkers who excelled at connecting the dots as children and later grew up to be engineers or architects have an affinity for understanding the detailed processes required for developing great inbound marketing programs.
Effective inbound marketing campaigns start with the strategy and planning needed to devise a structured, step-by-step approach that engineers and architects can easily recognize as being akin to their own need for detailed blueprints and schematics. The many complicated components required to produce an effective inbound marketing program can be reduced to a series of data-driven steps that follow a linear progression, like going from one dot to the next, until the complete picture appears. And even if you’re not quite as analytical or detail-driven as an architect drawing up plans for the creation of a new structure, you can understand the importance of the builders having a track to run on – going from step A to step B without skipping steps in haphazard fashion.
For an effective inbound marketing campaign, these steps start with the creation of an amazing website containing valuable content with effective calls to action leading to landing pages with offers that guide prospects on their journey along the conversion path.
These must all be properly aligned, consistent in their messaging and in sync with the overall plan and strategy. Each prospective buyer’s journey includes three basic stages: awareness, consideration and decision making. Each of these stages should be met with high-quality content, value and various offers in order to be effective, and the alignment of each component should logically bring the prospect to a positive conclusion.
Don’t Expect What You Don’t Inspect
The vast array of components, strategies and tactics integrated into the production of an effective inbound marketing program requires continual management to not only ensure proper alignment of all the “dots,” but to measure the performance of each individual step. Each moving part of the inbound process, including website construction, content production (with attention to SEO), tantalizing offers and effective calls to action, well-designed landing pages and well-defined conversion paths need to be measured for effectiveness. Metrics need to be tracked and evaluated on a daily, weekly and monthly basis in order to optimize the tactics being used to drive growth and generate quality leads, which is the name of the game.
Properly connecting the dots begins with numbers one and two - strategy and planning – without which the whole system falters. It’s a linear process, just like building a house. You start with a strong foundation and move on from there. We call this step-by-step structured approach “systems thinking” and, once successfully established, the performance can be repeated again and again. There’s no need to guess what will work anymore. You need only act based on past performance and future goals.