Inbound Marketing


content is king

Inbound marketing is promoting a company through blogs, podcasts, video, eBooks, electronic newsletters, whitepapers, SEO (search engine optimization), 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 (marketing stunts), 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 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. Many companies are now realizing that their technical documentation, often considered a ‘necessary evil,’ is authoritative, trustworthy content that can be their most effective inbound marketing channel, generating more than half of overall site traffic and over half of lead generation.

Online marketing strategist David Meerman Scott recommends that marketers ‘earn their way in,’ for example by publishing helpful information on a blog, in contrast to outbound marketing, where they ‘buy, beg, or bug their way in’ (e.g. paid advertisements, press releases, sales people). The term is similar to the concept of ‘permission marketing,’ and both are the opposite of ‘interruption marketing’ (instead of interrupting the customer with unrequested information, they aim to sell goods and services only when the prospect gives consent in advance to receive the marketing information).

The term inbound marketing was coined in 2005 by Brian Halligan, CEO and co-founder of HubSpot, an Internet marketing company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is also a senior lecturer at MIT. 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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