3 Examples of Inbound Marketing at Work

July 1, 2011

Inbound marketing is the idea that you can attract visitors and leads to your site and into your sales funnel without spending dollars on outbound marketing, such as advertising, cold calls, conference booths, etc.  It's a strategy that we really embrace at our company and preach to all of our clients.  We spend virtually no dollars or time on traditional, outbound marketing and sales techniques, instead focusing on drawing visitors by the content we create. 

This strategy has paid great dividends to us in both sales and earned press, and I wanted to give three quick examples of inbound methods that worked well for us.

  1. Blog comment turned into multiple articles.

    In 2010, Inc. announced that they were going to spend a week working virtually to get the experience of many startups whose teams are geographically spread out.  As a follower of Inc. and someone who works at a company with several employees working virtually, I found the Inc. article quite interesting and I left a comment on the blog saying that we worked virtually and enjoyed it.  The next thing I know, I'm on the phone with Inc., giving them our five tips on successfully working virtually.  The simple comment led to us being featured in a prominent publication. 

    The Inc. article ranked well in search engines and has caused many journalists doing research "virtual working" stories over the past year to reach out to us, including a large profile in the local News & Observer, which directly led to new business for our company.  This simple blog comment drew in thousands in earned impressions and real revenue for our company.

  2. Blog interview with local business leads to work for national client.

    We write a variety of posts on our blog, and we recently decided to interview a local business owner that we thought was doing an admirable job online.  Being a runner, I had always been impressed with Fleet Feet Carrboro's online marketing mix of email blasts, social networking, and blogging. (At the time,) FF Carrboro was not a client of ours, and we didn't really even think they'd be a great fit for us.  We interviewed Brian White, the owner of Fleet Feet Carrboro, posted it on our blog and publicized it in our monthly email newsletter and across our social networks.  Our goal was to help provide tips to other local, small businesses and also continue our commitment to the region.  However, our return on this endeavor ended up being much bigger. 

    Within a week, our blog post had caught the eye of Fleet Feet Sports Inc., the national organization that franchises the local stores, and they reached out to us to start a conversation about their own website.  We ended up working with Fleet Feet Sports on their new site (which just launched) and rolling out a template option that can be used by their our franchises.  Our simple blog post interview led to a large engagement with a national client.

  3. Consistently creating content around politics and online campaigning.

    One of New Media Campaigns niches is political websites (our name makes more sense now, right?).  Online campaigning is a really interesting and unique topic, so we find ourselves creating a lot of quality content about political web development on our blog.  This content gets picked up by other folks in the industry, and they frequently link to it, which helps our Google rankings.  After years of doing this, it's now at the point where we rank near the top of Google for most terms about political websites.  These rankings are really valuable to us as they not only drive a lot of traffic to our site, but that traffic is incredibly qualified.  These are people who are looking to buy or research political websites, coming to our content.  It has led to us being featured in publications and speaking on panels around the country about political websites, and it also provides a steady source of inbound leads in the political space.

These three strategies have all resulted in generating both attention and sales for our company, and we didn't have to spend a dime on marketing or employ someone to cold call businesses all day.  To be successful with inbound, you have to really commit to the strategy and make sure you're actually creating quality content and not just trash, since you ultimately want people to read and link to your items.

Have you had success with inbound marketing?  What has worked for you that we didn't mention here?


Eric Goldman's avatar
Eric Goldman
It gives one a good understanding of the elements of Inbound Marketing and Marketing Automation, or what we call, Inbound Marketing Automation (IMA).

We've found that it helps to think of IMA as a process. And although our process phases sound similar to some of your elements, it's perhaps worth reader's time…

The IMA Process consists of 4 major sub-processes:
1) Attract - SEO, SMM and PPC if you need it
2) Engage - Content (White Papers, Videos, Tools/Tips, Blogs, etc), Website copy, and, especially, Calls to Action (the buttons on the site which touch the user’s buttons ☺).
3) Convert - Change a faceless visitor into a named prospect with a valid email address.
4) Qualify/Nurture – Qualify leads by scoring and grade them to separate out the chafe, and cultivate them with drip emails campaigns, to result in feeding sales with hot leads only.

If you run the IMA system according to the dictates of Continuous Process Improvements (CPI’s Think, Plan, Do, Measure and Repeat), you will get better and better at running it as time goes by. You’ll also be able prove your marketing budget’s worth with the Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) for every campaign (online and offline).

Our website’s has more on calculating ROMI and white papers on all of the above, (link in bio). It’s ROMI Calculator (no registration required), teaches and calculates so you can print your result at the end.

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