What is Inbound Marketing?

Posted on August 21, 2013


Inbound marketing is a method of marketing that allows you to attract targeted visitors to your website, convert those visits into sales, and turn otherwise strangers into dedicated customers that promote your business for you.

In other words, inbound marketing allows you to stop wasting time chasing the wrong customers down, and brings the right customers to your doorstep. Sounds great, right?

But how does inbound marketing work?

Unlike traditional forms of push marketing, inbound marketing relies on pull marketing techniques to attract buyers searching for your products and services to your website. This marketing method works by building awareness about your brand and increases interest in your services over a period of time. Also unlike traditional marketing methods, inbound marketing is effective at all stages of the buy cycle.

Push vs. Pull Marketing

Push marketing techniques, such as television ads or telemarketing, push your marketing message out onto a wide audience. These marketing techniques are not targeted and rely on pushing your message out to the masses in hopes that a select few will hear the message and take action. With these types of marketing techniques you are often unable to accurately track your return on investment.

Pull marketing techniques, such as inbound marketing, involve the creation of useful content designed to specifically appeal to your target audience. Rather than push a direct marketing message, magnetic content is created that answers the questions your buyers are asking and develops trust in your brand. An effective inbound marketing campaign will keep your business in front of buyer at all stages of the buy cycle – from awareness, to research, to evaluation, to purchase.

What are some examples of inbound marketing?

One type of marketing used for inbound marketing is content marketing.  Useful enewsletters, webpages, ebooks, infographics and blogs can all be part of an effective content marketing campaign. Copyblogger has put together a great series of 7 free content marketing ebooks that explain the value of publishing free content to that is of value to attract and convert customers.

Another type of marketing used for inbound marketing is social media marketing. Social media can be a great avenue for developing brand awareness and trust, and for sharing content. But the ROI of social media can’t always be seen in dollars and cents. Hootsuite recently released an interesting blog post highlighting how one business defined their social media strategy and the targets used to measure their ROI.

A third type of marketing used for inbound marketing is Internet marketing. Like inbound marketing, Internet marketing is a broad umbrella term that encompasses a variety of online techniques used to improve search engine positions and draw traffic to your website, such as: search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM) and pay-per-click advertising (PPC) campaigns.

Written by: Michelle Thompson