Inbound marketing is like datingTwo strangers meet, exchange glances … and get married on the first date.

Traditionally, that’s not how the story goes.

To be successful in dating – and in marketing – we must pace ourselves to properly nurture and grow the relationship.

HubSpot, the pioneer of inbound marketing, developed a relevant consumer journey model, which includes four actions: Attract, Convert, Close, and Delight.

Let’s explore how that consumer journey, also, applies to dating:

Stranger meets brand and is interested in learning more about how this brand can help solve a particular problem or need. This stranger now becomes a website visitor.

Dating: Two people meet and an initial interest is sparked! They begin the process of getting to know each other.

Brand nurtures website visitor. The brand provides valuable information to the prospect and answers any initial questions, without being too pushy. The website visitor becomes a lead.

Dating: The courting period! One party begins to pursue the other; they learn more about each other and begin to assess their compatibility.

The prospect decides to do business with the brand after realizing he/she can trust the brand and feels confident in the brand’s ability to continue providing value. The lead becomes a customer.

Dating: Going steady! Both parties decide to enter a committed relationship after getting to know – and feeling comfortable with – each other.

Loyalty. The brand continues to nurture and satisfy the customer by checking in periodically, being responsive, and providing value. The customer becomes a brand promoter.

Dating: Long-term dating! The partners continue to grow together and find the relationship fulfilling and mutually beneficial, adding to each of their lives in a positive way. (They are in love and everyone knows it!)

And, while it may seem like a simple and automatic progression through this consumer journey, keep in mind, 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance. (Source: MarketingSherpa).

The bottom-line? Moving too quickly through the four actions or skipping actions will affect the outcome of the journey – both in marketing and in dating.