Inbound marketing is based on the concept of earning the attention of prospects and making your company more easily found online by producing content your customers value
Inbound marketing is promoting a company through blogs, podcasts, video, eBooks, e-newsletters, whitepapers, SEO, social media marketing, and other forms of content marketing.
In contrast, buying attention, cold-calling, radio, advertisements, sales flyers, mass email marketing, telemarketing and traditional advertising (are considered "outbound marketing) . Inbound marketing earns the attention of customers, makes the company easy to be found and draws customers to the website by producing interesting content.
Inbound marketers try to "earn their awareness" (via publishing valuable information on a blog etc.) in contrast to outbound marketing where they "buy, or pitch their way in" (via heavy paid advertisements)
Inbound marketing is generally more effective in knowledge-based products or services, where potential clients are more likely to hire someone that demonstrates authority and expertise. In these areas prospects are more likely to get informed and hire someone who demonstrates expertise.
An inbound marketing model from Business2Community illustrates the concept in five stages:
- Attract traffic
- Convert visitors to leads
- Convert leads to sales
- Turn customers into repeat higher margin customers
- Analyze for continuous improvement
Complex inbound marketing practices target potential customers at various different levels of product/brand awareness. The most scaled tactics attempt to funnel customers from semantically related market segments, who have no product awareness or intention to purchase. This is usually achieved by taking the customer through a structured informational path, that builds awareness and increases interest over time.