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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistTue, Oct 22, 2013 7 min read

What Salmon Can Teach You About Inbound Marketing Website Design

Inbound Marketing

There are certain characteristics unique to salmon that other fish aren’t able to imitate, and it's these characteristics that help me relate their behavior to inbound marketing and today’s website design strategies.

First, a few facts: Salmon live along the coasts of both the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and have also been introduced into the Great Lakes of North America.

Typically, salmon are anadromous. This means they are born in fresh water, migrate to the ocean, then return to fresh water to reproduce.

Folklore has it that these fish return to the exact spot where they were born to spawn. Tracking studies have shown this to be true, and this homing behavior depends on olfactory memory, which means they remember the smell of their birth waters.

They swim upstream – An inbound marketing website is going to look different than a non-inbound site. In addition, when you add Reality Marketing strategy overlay to your website design, you now have a site that is going to be different than all of your competitors. This is a good thing. While other companies and your competitors swim downstream with the other fish, inbound marketing encourages you to blaze your own trail and swim against the current.

Good marketing demands that you stand out, that you do it differently and that you do your best to get noticed. You want your website to look different, feel different and most importantly, deliver a different experience for your visiting prospects. If your site looks and feels like your competitors, it might be time for an inbound marketing website.

They remember where they came from – Inbound marketing people are passionate about their craft. They know the challenges facing marketers in the past and they know how inbound marketing improves the performance of the money invested in marketing. They know that marketing’s one true goal is to generate leads, not get one's name out there. As inbound marketing professionals, everything we do is designed to help your business get found, get leads and close sales. That single focus allows us to constantly drive towards one goal: results.

The websites created for inbound marketing programs have this single focus in common. They have a wide variety of conversion points, and these sites are filled with educational content designed to turn visitors into leads. Inbound marketing websites are closely connected to the social media sites highly relevant to targeted prospects, and these websites are search engine optimized with on-site and off-site search techniques.

They face fierce predators – Salmon don't take the easy path. They don’t hide in a school of similar fish. They leap out of the water facing rocks, swift currents and bears who pluck them from the air mid-leap. Inbound marketing website design faces fierce predators, as well. It can come under fire, mostly from people who don’t understand all the intricacies of an inbound marketing site and an inbound marketing effort.

We often coach our clients during the feedback stage of a website launch to ask one simple question to their clients, prospects, partners or employees. The question is not, “Do you like this website?” The question is, “If you were a prospect for our company, would this site entice you to click on one of the conversion buttons?” That is the only question you should be asking.

Your inbound marketing website isn’t written or designed to appeal to you, your current employees or your friends. It’s designed and written to attract and engage your prospects.

They are comfortable in both fresh and salt water – It’s rare for a fish to be comfortable in both fresh and salt water, but salmon are adaptable to both. Inbound marketing professionals are similar, in that they have adapted to the inbound and outbound worlds. In fact, an advantage of this is that they are able to adapt outbound marketing tactics, such as advertising, trade shows and direct mail, to the new inbound marketing world.

Clients regularly ask us for advice on the advertising they plan to run. While we would love to be able to talk them out of these ads completely, often we counsel them to add offers to their traditional print ads, along with a dedicated landing page to improve response and track the overall performance of the advertisement.

They have a keen sense of smell – For a fish to be able to find its place of birth simply by smell is an amazing feat of nature. Likewise, inbound marketers have an intuition as to what tactics drive results, and this intuition is backed by data.

While outbound marketing is a lot of unmeasured art, most of the inbound marketing tactics you should consider are based in science, data and facts. This refined sense of what works and what doesn’t contributes to your ability to drive program performance for your business.

Start Today Tip – It’s not easy swimming against the current. You’re on your own. You might feel exposed or even a little isolated. You have to be true to your instincts and follow your gut. If you think your current marketing investments aren’t delivering the level of return you expect, it might be time to make a change. Moving out of your comfort zone is important. It exposes you to new ideas and new ways of doing things. It's these new ideas that often result in amazing successes.

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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.