Definition of Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing is a style of marketing that focuses on getting found by new visitors, converting website traffic into leads, and analyzing performance. It’s a concept based on Seth Godin’s idea of permission marketing, and it includes the idea of utilizing content in the sales process to provide prospects with the information they are already searching for online, and therefore getting in front of them sooner.
David Meerman Scott recommends that marketers “earn their way in” (via publishing helpful information, nurturing leads, etc.) in contrast to outbound marketing where you might find yourself buying, begging, or bugging your way in (via paid advertisements, cold calling, etc.).
Examples of Inbound Marketing
Many people use the terms "content marketing" and "inbound marketing" interchangeably, but we really consider content marketing to be one part of the entire inbound marketing umbrella. However, the content part can't be overlooked. The foundation of a strong inbound marketing strategy starts with compelling content written to answer the questions that your prospects and customers have, and most often seek the answers to.
Other tactics that are part of an effective inbound marketing strategy include:
- Keyword strategy and SEO
- Use of CTAs, forms, and landing pages to convert leads
- Lead nurturing
- Email marketing
- Marketing automation
- Lead scoring
- Social media promotion
- Sales acceleration tools
- Integration with a CRM
The Inbound Marketing Methodology
HubSpot's inbound marketing methodology highlights how inbound marketing tools and strategies can apply to every step of the sales process, even after the sale.
This involves turning strangers into visitors, visitors into leads, leads into customers, and customers into promoters.
Inbound marketing isn't just a program you try, or a campaign you launch, it's a shift in the way you do business and the way you interact with your prospects and customers. Inbound marketers understand that the way buyers research and make decisions has changed, and as brands, we need to too.
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