- See also product management, often referred to as inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing is the promotion of a company or other organization through blogs, podcasts, video, eBooks, newsletters, whitepapers, SEO, physical products, social media marketing, and other forms of content marketing which serve to attract customers through the different stages of the purchase funnel. In contrast, buying attention, cold-calling, direct paper mail, radio, TV advertisements, sales flyers, spam, telemarketing and traditional advertising are considered "outbound marketing".
"Inbound" refers to marketing activities that bring visitors in, rather than marketers having to go out to get prospects' 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. An important facet of inbound marketing is providing the customer with feedback channels to the company for creating both trustworthy relationships as well as for consultations and sales. This may be a phone number, a feedback form, live chat (e.g. HipChat, LiveChat, LiveAgent), or an automatic free callback (e.g. Callmaker[clarification needed]). Many companies are now realizing that their technical documentation, often considered a "necessary evil", is authoritative, trustworthy content that can be a company's most effective inbound marketing channel, generating more than half of overall site traffic and over half of lead generation.
David Meerman Scott recommends that marketers "earn their way in" (via publishing helpful information on a blog, for example), 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).
The term "inbound marketing" is synonymous with the concept of permission marketing; it was coined by 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.
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- Fulkerson, Aaron (August 9, 2010). "The Evolution Of User Manuals". Forbes. Retrieved February 14, 2016.
- 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.
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- Kelvin (February 21, 2012). "What is Inbound Marketing with Brian Whalley". Internet Marketing Podcast. Retrieved February 27, 2012.