What is Inbound Marketing and How Does it Work?

Andrew Copeland

By now, you’ve probably heard all the buzz surrounding inbound marketing. What you probably don’t know, though, is what that means and how it works. The truth is that inbound marketing can help businesses of all sizes reduce their marketing costs and increase revenue. But before we dive into the nitty-gritty of marketing analytics, let’s discuss what inbound marketing is and how it works.

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is a term coined by HubSpot CEO Brian Halligan that is used to describe methods of drawing customers to products or services through SEO, content marketing, social media and other permission-based tactics. It stands in stark contrast to traditional, or “outbound,” methods of advertising that attempt to grab the audience’s attention through interruption.

And that makes it better?

Yes! In the age of mass-marketing, consumers are faced with an overwhelming amount of messages and, as a result, have learned to tune them out. Think about it. How often do you actually read pop-up ads or pay attention to T.V. commercials?

Inbound marketing is based on the idea that by creating content your customers actually want to see – content which is educational and informs their purchasing decisions – it is possible to improve the customer experience and build trust with your brand. And if a customer has trust in your business, they are much more likely to become a customer.

How Inbound Marketing Works

The overarching idea behind inbound marketing is to create content that is actually valuable to your audience and that they want to see. By providing information that is relevant and useful, you can attract high-quality traffic to your site that and improve your chances of converting. Your content should be educational and should help to guide your visitors along in the buying process. This way, they are much more likely to choose your product or service over that of your competitors.

Inbound marketing is a multi-faceted approach that can be broken down into four main stages:

  • Attract – This involves bringing the right kind of traffic to your site. In order to be successful at this stage, you’ll need to have a solid content strategy in place, blog on a regular basis, and be well-versed in social media.
  • Convert – After you’ve attracted qualified visitors to your site, you can convert them into leads using forms, gated content, and other methods to open a dialogue. You can also use a CRM to track your leads and collect information that can be used to optimize future interactions.
  • Close – After you’ve streamlined the conversion process, it’s time to close the deal and turn your leads into customers. This can be done through a well-thought lead nurturing process that involves emailing, lead scoring, and a few other moving parts.
  • Delight – This is the final stage of the inbound process. This is where your customer determines if they will be coming back to you for future transactions or if they decide to refer their friends. You can be successful in this stage by using smart content, responding to inquiries, and being active on social media.

Think of it this way: inbound marketing is not about bringing a ton of traffic to your site, it’s about bringing the right traffic to your site. Then, by providing these visitors with helpful content, you can convert them into leads and, ideally, customers. Once they have bought from you, take an active role in their success to ensure they are happy with their experience and recommend you to their friends.

Inbound Can Work For You

Putting together a successful inbound marketing campaign isn’t easy. You’ll have to be able to manage a variety of different channels and tactics including content creation, social media, SEO, lead management, analytics, and many more. However, the work will all be worthwhile when you start to see your customer acquisition costs plummet and your retention rates skyrocket.

Did You Find this Content Helpful?

If so we invite you to download our FREE guide below on inbound marketing. Have a read and see how your business model fits in to this methodology. Got questions? Call us; we love to talk shop.
Download The FREE Inbound Marketing 101 Guide.

Andrew Copeland is the Inbound Marketing Strategist for WEBITMD. With over 7 years of experience in content writing, SEO, and digital marketing, his vast knowledge of different platforms allows him to solve marketing problems for a variety of brands. Andrew specializes in creating innovative marketing strategies that both elevate his client’s online presence and create a meaningful, lasting connection with their audience. He is also an avid reader, artist, and beachgoer. On weekends, you can find him combing through used bookshops and record stores looking for rare artifacts.