The Principles of Inbound Marketing Design

Marketing under the influence

Drinking may make your content look better but why not try a little planning instead?

Have you ever been the victim of marketing that felt less like premeditation was involved and more like alcohol was a contributing factor? Good marketing doesn’t just happen. It has to be designed. Borrowing from the principles of graphic design I thought I’d share a few ideas for inbound marketers.


Balance is achieved when inbound marketing communication feels like a conversation. There are many ways to achieve balance, but a good way to lose it is to be manipulative, take what you want from your audience, and give nothing in return.


Establish a a rhythm of regular posts or touches so that your audience knows what to expect and has a sense of where the relationship is going. You can set the tempo. Create a sense of anticipation, certainty, or progression it’s all up to you.


As a marketer today you have a remarkable variety of tools available to you. In choosing the right marketing mix its important consider the experience of the user. Over reliance on one mode of communication leads to monotony.


Make sure your value proposition is clear. Direct your reader to the most important information. Make it easy to consume. Give your key points the most weight. Ensure that subordinate ideas get their due without hijacking the message. Repetition, bullets, and graphic elements can help clarify your key points without making the audience think too hard and losing them.


Unity describes the relationship between the individual parts of a whole and arises from the way the human brain stores information. I believe, communication is most naturally organized in the human brain through conversation and story-telling.

One of the keys to making communication feel like conversation is a sense of order. The sequence of messages need to naturally follow what came before. If not, a confusing experience will result. Inbound marketing is not a natural conversation the audience is going to have to fill in missing information for themselves. It’s a good idea to anticipate questions that are likely to arise and answer them when they are likely to occur.

It’s also important to recognize the reader may move in a different direction than your were originally taking them. Be aware of this so that instead of letting the conversation end, you can move to a new topic when they do. This can be achieved through means as simple as links to related topics or as sophisticated as marketing automation tools that read their digital body language.


B2B content marketing tips for more blog viewers

It's hard to be under a microscope Why aren’t you getting more blog viewers? It can be hard to put yourself under a microscope to find out. Not liking what you see could be terrifying. It feels safer to read what the experts have to say:

“Simply put, do these six things, get more viewers”, says Joe Chernov, VP of content marketing at Eloqua. I read these 6 tips and so should you.

I thought the post included useful stuff that already seemed familiar. But looking closer I thought the most interesting thing about Joe’s insights is where he got them:

We recently deconstructed why some of Eloqua’s 280 blog posts generated considerably more views than others. We looked at the headline, topic, author and whether or not there was any PR driving traffic to the post. Then we came up with six absolute locks for triggering views.

In short they looked at where they were having success, identified the factors that were common among their most successful posts and shined a light on how they could reproduce those results elsewhere.

This is the same method suggested by Chip and Dan Heath in their new book Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard. You probably think their names sound familiar. That’s because they also authored Made to Stick, which is a favorite in my library.

When change is hard, Chip and Dan recommend looking at the data, finding the bright spots, and figuring out the underlying cause of success. Getting more traffic to your website or blog is a continuous fight. Some posts do well and others do not. Why not find the bright spots, and reproduce success?