What is Inbound Marketing?

What is inbound marketing san franciscoInbound Marketing Defined

Inbound marketing focuses on earning, not buying, a potential customer or client’s attention.  It is the practice of online marketing that deliberately uses a combination of search engine optimization (SEO), various social media channels and optimization of them (SMO), and blogging.  All done to publish content that people seek-out, find and engage with.  In another post I offer a deeper look at some of the essential elements to an effective inbound marketing practice.

The premise behind inbound marketing is that customers are in the driver seat, and don’t like interruptions.  When people are trying to solve a problem or find a solution, 98% of the time, they will open a web browser, and do a search. They are focused on and looking for information that will guide them or help them solve a problem, not necessarily to be sold on anything.  So rather than you reaching out to them (i.e. outbound marketing or traditional advertising), they are calling and reaching out to you.

“Inbound marketing focuses on earning, not buying, a potential customer or client’s attention.” 

With effective inbound marketing, you are creating a ‘hub’ and bringing your target market to you.  You are not overtly selling them, or intimidating them with sales and marketing material about how good you and your product are.  Instead, you are providing them with relevant information, establishing a relationship, nurturing it, and guiding them to decide for themselves that doing business with you makes sense.  

The cornerstone benefit of inbound marketing is that a comprehensive, effective, and well-run strategy creates prompt, measurable results to help businesses grow.  And because you control the content and distribution through social channels, good inbound marketing costs less and has better ROI than traditional outbound marketing methods. 

Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing

When it comes to this distinction, I choose to leverage from the best when it makes sense.  Voltier Digital created this fantastic infographic distinguishing inbound from outbound marketing:  

Inbound-Marketing-Infographic-vs-outbound-marketing