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What Is Inbound Marketing?

If you've been in the marketing world in the past couple years, you've probably come across the term "Inbound Marketing." It seems to be gaining more and more steam, and people are more interested in what Inbound Marketing is and how it can help them.

Inbound Marketing is the practice of bringing warm, qualified leads into your sales funnel rather than reaching outward to cold, questionable targets

Traditional "outbound marketing" was largely focused on outbound methods such as cold calls, print ads, attending tradeshows, etc. The idea behind these techniques was to get in front of cold leads and warm them up to the point where they would try your product or service.

This form of marketing was largely a numbers game - you knew you had to, on average, get in contact with a certain large number of people before one of them would be interested and make a purchase. This method was inefficient and expensive, causing marketers to waste time getting in contact with tons of people who may have had no interest in their offering.

Especially in this resource-strapped recession, Inbound Marketing is becoming more popular as marketers look for efficient and affordable ways to acquire new leads. Some of the most popular Inbound Marketing techniques are blogging, interacting on social media, search engine optimization, and webinars.

All of these inbound methods pre-qualify the leads that discover your company, so you can be sure that your message is greeting welcoming ears rather than random outbound contacts. By bringing these warm leads into you, you will greatly save time and money on the old outbound strategies.

How Can I Use Inbound Marketing?

The most important part of a successful inbound marketing strategy is creating great content that will bring people into your sales process. Another important element is ensuring that you have a site that is optimize to close leads into deals and engages visitors once they "land" on your website.

One of the most popular methods to accomplish this goal is by keeping an updated blog. A blog can provide many benefits for your organization, and almost all of them relate to Inbound Marketing. By creating great content, you'll rise in organic search results, create linkable content, and educate your audience. All of these outcomes will help you bring in warm leads that have been pre-qualified through a Google search for relevant terms or by reading similar content that links to you.

In addition to blogging, there are many other forms of great content to create that will bring interested visitors. Hosting webinars, offering e-books for download, and developing microsites will all attract leads that are interested in your offerings and are eager to engage in a conversation with you about your organization.

By sticking with these Inbound Marketing strategies, you'll continually bring in new leads and grow in authority, however, it won't happen overnight. While Inbound Marketing will save you money, it does take an ample commitment and patience. You won't be the top Google result for desired terms overnight and your first webinar may only have a few people register, but by making a longterm commitment to inbound marketing you will see results.

This commitment requires that you create quality content through a Content Management System, engage with people through social media, and try new ideas to bring traffic to your site.

Have you had success with Inbound Marketing? How much did it save your organization in advertising dollars? We'd be excited to discuss your current marketing efforts and how to help you bring in new, qualified leads through Inbound Marketing.

Comments

Channel Marketing's avatar
Channel Marketing
Very nice summary of the most pertinent aspects of inbound marketing. The point you make about ample commitment and patience is an important one. I think that's why plenty of companies still opt for the more expensive, but immediate, gratification (or lack there of in most cases) of cold calls and direct mail.
Kayla's avatar
Kayla
This is a great article! Check out more information on the benefits of permission marketing here: http://bluewheelmedia.com/permission-marketing
The Indoor Cycle Training Guy's avatar
The Indoor Cycle Training Guy
We're in the process of establishing a new online business and inbound marketing is proving key to increasing direct and organic traffic through our website. That being said, it does take time to find relevant sites and make a meaningful contribution to them in terms of comments, posts, etc.

We have not yet incorporated a blog into our website but see it as being a key part to developing a sense of community for our customer base. We have to be more than just a provider of training videos. Ideally, we need to offer content that keeps our customers constantly engaged so that when they do need a training video we're the first company they think of.
Michael's avatar
Michael
Indoor cycle training guy - blogs add so much to website I'd advise to get it up ASAP. They offer unique content which search engines love. Be sure to target specific keywords and blog at the very least once a week.

For a small business like yours use Social Media to it's full extent, I reckon you'd get great use out of it

Overall nice article from New Media Campaigns. Inbound marketing is very much an integrated approach
Arvind's avatar
Arvind
Brilliant article!
Jim Mueller's avatar
Jim Mueller
What do you think the adoption rate for "inbound marketing" versus "internet marketing" or "online marketing" is meaningful?
Clay's avatar
Clay NMC team member
Hey Jim,

I think the adoption rate of the term "inbound marketing" has been really impressive. It's already widely accepted after only a couple years. However, it applies to just a specific subset of the two bigger terms "internet marketing" and "online marketing," so I don't think it will ever overtake those.

Clay
Joel Stauffer's avatar
Joel Stauffer
"Inbound marketing" is a valueless distinction between traditional and social media marketing activities. If it's anything, it's a brand. Check Wikipedia. The entry is authored by an associate of the person who claims to have coined the term. It's purely an attempt to give a new name to something that already exists; i.e., marketing via social media.
Clay S's avatar
Clay S NMC team member
Joel,

I agree that Inbound Marketing is a term that was created to encompass existing tactics/technologies, but I don't see why that makes the term invalid? Search Engine Optimization, Direct Mail, etc. are also terms that were also created by someone to describe an industry or set of strategies. Inbound Marketing is a nice term to use when talking about a group of specific tactics without needing to outline each one (there's more to it than just social media marketing, btw). So, I guess I agree that it's a term that someone created, but don't see any reason why that's bad or why it would invalidate a post explaining the phrase.
Bernard Barcenilla's avatar
Bernard Barcenilla
excellent post! outbound(cold calling,tradeshows) positions you as the hunter..... Use inbound marketing and become the hunted
WebsterJ's avatar
WebsterJ
Strawman? You've completely left out modern forms of paid advertising such as AdWords. This platoform delivers relevant messaging exactly at the time the prospect wants it.

If I need a good plumber I don't care if he's also a great writer. I just want my plumbing done. This is the problem with content marketing and inbound marketing. It diverts attention from a companies core business and refocuses it on producing owned media.

I'm not saying inbound doesn't work, it does. Just pointing out that both inbound and outbound have their strengths and weaknesses.
Mahendra Yadav's avatar
Mahendra Yadav
Wonderful article. Recently SEOMoz got Millions of dollars in funding and the reason being their Inbound Marketing Strategy. They Create great piece of content and this helps improve conversion.
Gabrielle DeCrescenzo's avatar
Gabrielle DeCrescenzo
Clay,

I just stumbled upon this article today, although I see it was written a few years ago. Nevertheless, you clarified a marketing term for us non-marketing people and wrote in a way that was easy and enjoyable to read. Before this, I thought inbound marketing was some kind of slogan SEO companies used! Thanks.

Gabrielle
Clay Schossow's avatar
Clay Schossow NMC team member
Gabrielle,

Thanks so much for the nice comment! I'm glad that the article was helpful for you and that you can now put the strategy to work!

Clay
Shabaka Ture's avatar
Shabaka Ture
Clay,

Thanks so much for this article on "Inbound Marketing". I had seen the term before but did not know what it meant.

As you pointed out, in this current economic recession, one has to choose the most economical way to market products and services. Certainly the old way is neither effeciant nor economical.

The article was well written and easy to comprehend. Thanks, again!
Pieter's avatar
Pieter
Brilliant article. I agree marketing has changed, target markets has become empowered and not just cold masses we want to hit. what a time to be alive and kicking!
Rakesh's avatar
Rakesh
Inbound marketing is now integral part of any marketers' agenda. So how does one go about it... A logical way of going about it is - Understanding scope (KW Competitor analysis) followed by fixing website (SEO) - followed by having a long term Content Strategy (creation and distribution) and finally selecting a marketing automation platform- Sounds like a plan? http://www.rakeshsingh.me/b2b-inbound-marketing/
Blaze's avatar
Blaze
Great and simple text especially the part explaining about the specific inbound marketing techniques. Thank you for this highly educational and also practical input

Blaze
Oluwatobi Soyombo's avatar
Oluwatobi Soyombo
Very important points in this piece. Patience and Consistency is key in inbound marketing.
Jim Mueller's avatar
Jim Mueller
Solid article on Inbound Marketing, however, the second leg of the stool (convert) is becoming our biggest focus at our agency. We're finding that we're really good at driving new traffic to websites but relying on the client to convert it all is risky...if they don't then they blame us and cancel.

We're working really hard on conversion optimization every month with our clients so they turn the valuable traffic we drive to their site into revenue...then they continue to be a client and start buying more services which is great!
Clay S's avatar
Clay S NMC team member
Jim,

Thanks for your comment! You're exactly right -- getting people to the site is only half the battle (albeit probably the more important half, since they need to find you to convert). Conversion is a critical component of an inbound marketing strategy.

One important element is to make sure that your inbound tactics are leading people to a central landing page focused on conversion. That way people can get to the page, quickly learn about you, and then convert through a contact form or whatever you're using to quantify conversions. For example, we use inbound marketing to promote our work with non-profit websites and many of our tactics are all centralized at this page: http://www.newmediacampaigns.com/services/non-profit-web-design.

Landing pages are just one piece of the puzzle, but you're exactly right that the on-site experience is critical to a successful inbound marketing campaign.

Thanks for the comment!

Clay
Quazi Elahee's avatar
Quazi Elahee
nicely described and well understood. will surely help me utilise the methods of Inbound Marketing discussed here. as modern SEO is evolving we must accept the new strategies of Marketing. Inbound Marketing is surely one among those.
sebastian's avatar
sebastian
Nice article, lots of useful information here. I find the importance of inbound marketing and great content crucial here because companies need to shift their goals. That is, making the customer feel awesome with great content instead of relying on the customers to become more popular. When we cater our content to genuinely reach and engage our viewers the message will gain more momentum. I’ve found that by using a social media monitoring and network discovery tool like, My Viral Web I can build a more relevant and interested network in which to share content. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of tools like this but they definitely as leverage to your efforts.
Thanks for the read,
T
Bhuvnesh Rohilla's avatar
Bhuvnesh Rohilla
Amazing post! today's marketing world revolves around content, and inbound marketing just proves that point!
Bhuvnesh Rohilla's avatar
Bhuvnesh Rohilla
Amazing post!
You can read the following article to know more about inbound marketing :)
http://onlinemarketingpit.com/inbound-marketing-explained-examples/
Maryland SEO's avatar
Maryland SEO
Great..Blog posts are great..how about other than blog posts? Classified ads, social networking, etc which one is works best for small business owners?
Chris Fossenier's avatar
Chris Fossenier
Good article Clay. Every day more and more people are becoming aware of what Inbound Marketing really is.

Nori, you are right. Content Marketing is a component of Inbound Marketing, a BIG component. Blogging, whitepapers, videos, slideshows, applications, demos, etc.... are all bits of content marketing.

Hubspot is a great tool to track everything and provides a solid structure to simplify everything that has to be done!

I think it is important to note that inbound marketing techniques do find the customers, rather the customers find your website as a result of implementing inbound marketing techniques!

Here is a simple document that can help businesses begin their planning for inbound marketing. It all starts with real business goals.

Here is a page with a couple of handy Inbound Marketing documents and videos to get started with Inbound Marketing. Whether you are a marketing firm or a Do It Yourself business owner, they can help.

Jim/Clay, your comments on conversion are very important. It is conversion that all paying clients are really interested in. It is so rewarding to have a client call you and say "I"m cancelling all of my radio and putting it toward Inbound!!".


Thanks Clay.

Chris.
Paul Lion's avatar
Paul Lion
I'm starting to see some success with inbound marketing.

My main sticking point was that I was creating articles, but didn't really find a way to expose them. Since then I've focused on finding different streams where I can expose myself or my website.

Answering questions people had (which gave me some credibility) - and used different information streams like videos and ebooks.
kevin's avatar
kevin
I would interesting to know what software the commenters are using we are currently using Infusionsoft and would love to know what everyone else is using and their experiences.
Steven Lim's avatar
Steven Lim
Inbound marketing is the way to go for the future..
Social media like facebook is one great way to reach out to the crowd.

If you can give good content and you can make the content go viral, you will be saving alot of money compared to traditional TV ad which force people to see the advertisement.

People are getting smarter and smarter now.
Lidia's avatar
Lidia
Inbound marketing is the future. Customers are bored and exhausted with all this outbound marketing. TV spots, outdoor and other stuff. Good inbound marketing followed by measurement of effectiveness (with the help of tools such Colibri IO https://colibri.io) is now something crucial
интернет казино игровые автоматы's avatar
интернет казино игровые автоматы
Благодарю за неуместный черный юмор.
Воткнул не по детски в безценную
мы. Как сказано, что продвинуться уже завтра просто?
Ошеломлен.

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