- For a related term coined by Seth Godin, see Permission marketing. For the product management sense of Inbound Marketing, see Product management.
Inbound marketing is promoting a company through blogs, podcasts, video, eBooks, enewsletters, whitepapers, SEO, social media marketing, and other forms of content marketing which serve to bring customers in closer to the brand, where they want to be. In contrast, buying attention, cold-calling, direct paper mail, radio, TV advertisements, sales flyers, spam, telemarketing and traditional advertising are considered "outbound marketing". Inbound marketing refers to marketing activities that bring visitors in, rather than marketers having to go out to get prospect’s attention. Inbound marketing earns the attention of customers, makes the company easy to be found and draws customers to the website by producing interesting content.
David Meerman Scott recommends that marketers "earn their way in" (via publishing helpful information on a blog etc.) in contrast to outbound marketing where they "buy, beg, or bug their way in" (via paid advertisements, issuing press releases, or paying commissioned sales people, respectively). The term is synonymous with the concept of permission marketing, which is the title of a book by Seth Godin. The inbound marketing term was coined by HubSpot’s Brian Halligan, in 2005. According to HubSpot, inbound marketing is especially effective for small businesses that deal with high dollar values, long research cycles and knowledge-based products. In these areas prospects are more likely to get informed and hire someone who demonstrates expertise.
- 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.
- Leary, Brent (January 27, 2012). "Jeanne Hopkins of HubSpot: All Leads Are Not Created Equal". Small Business Trends. Retrieved January 10, 2013.
- Basu, Dev (June 29, 2011). "Inbound marketing: The customer finds you". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
- Prescott, Bill (February 5, 2012). "Business Sense: Inbound marketing". Times-Standard. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
- Benner, Michael (January 19, 2012). "Get Found: 7 Steps to Fire Up Your Inbound Marketing". Business2Community. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
- David Meerman Scott. (2010). The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Blogs, News Releases, Online Video, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly. (2 ed.). Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons Inc. ISBN 0-470-54781-2.
- Gilbert, Alison (February 4, 2012). "INBOUND MARKETING: How to Get Customers Without Really Trying". Digital Brand. Retrieved February 29, 2012.
- Pollitt, Chad (October 21, 2011). "The New 5 Step Inbound Marketing Methodology". Business2Community. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
- Halligan, Brian; Shah, Dharmesh (2009). Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs. John Wiley & Sons Inc. ISBN 0-470-49931-1.
- "Disruptor of the Day: Brian Halligan, Dharmesh Shah & HubSpot – Taking The Hassle Out of Marketing". Daily Disruption. February 8, 2012. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
- "What is Inbound Marketing with Brian Whalley". Internet Marketing Podcast. February 21, 2012. Retrieved February 27, 2012.