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Is There a Difference Between Inbound Marketing and Lead Generation?

Posted by Laura MacPherson

August 4, 2017


Marketing is notorious for its jargon. And while the terminology itself isn’t really important, what you do need to know is how these strategies and tactics can help you. In this post, we’re going to look at inbound marketing and lead generation, and what each can do for you.

What is Lead Generation?

More people are familiar with this term. Lead generation is the process of attracting and converting strangers into known people that are interested in what you have to offer. Lead generation is warming up potential clients, getting them on the path to eventually buying.

There are many, many methods of lead generation. Here are a few.

  • Direct mail
  • Advertising
  • Referrals
  • Word-of-mouth
  • Cold calling
  • Networking
  • Public relations
  • Special events
  • Trade shows
  • Seminars
  • Sponsored emails
  • SEO/Landing pages
  • Google AdWords/Landing pages

Lead generation includes both outbound tactics (you reaching out to prospects) and inbound tactics (prospects finding out about you and reaching out to you). tweet-button-1.jpg

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing focuses on inbound lead generation tactics. With inbound marketing, you are creating lead “bait” — highly-valuable items like checklists, webinars, and email subscriptions that contain information that your prospects want to know. You then use that “bait” to get them to fill in a form with their contact info that will give them access to it.

But inbound marketing goes beyond lead generation to nurture the leads you’ve attracted. Once you’ve captured the contact information of someone, you’ve now have a lead that you know is interested in your services. Your job is now to nurture that lead with additional valuable information and resources until that person is ready to make a purchase.

The best marketing today includes a combination of outbound and inbound techniques, integrated by a strategy built on the buyer’s journey. While it’s no longer effective, in today’s multi-media, multi-channel world, to simply interrupt people and ask for their business, you need to get the word out to your target audience about the helpful information and resources you’ve created as bait. Outbound tactics, particularly like Google Adwords, sponsored email, and certain types of advertising, can get your bait seen by the people who will want it and (eventually) want your services.

The key to effective lead generation and inbound marketing in particular, is to use truly valuable bait. tweet-button-1.jpg No one will give you their contact details in exchange for something that’s so-so or something they can easily get elsewhere. If you spend some time and resources creating something that’s highly attractive to your audience, you’ll experience much greater success.

Lead generation and inbound marketing should have a significant role in any B2B marketing system. Unless you’re selling $10 widgets, most prospects will need to be educated on the impact of their pain points, how the solution you sell solves that pain, and why you’re the one to deliver that solution.

Lead Generation Toolbox

Topics: lead nurturing, lead generation, inbound marketing, media, lauramacpherson, professional services

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