When many of our new clients come to us, they have a fair understanding of some common digital marketing tools or initiatives, such as Google Ads or content marketing. They may have dabbled with these methods on their own in the past or have learned about them in their search for a professional digital marketing agency to work with. But one digital marketing method they rarely know about or understand is inbound marketing.

What is inbound marketing?

Three talk bubbles with question marks.

Inbound marketing is the digital marketing method of creating valuable content and experiences that attract customers. Outbound marketing methods (such as emails, direct mail, or telemarketing) seek out members of a target audience and interrupt or disrupt their day with content they don’t necessarily want or need. Inbound marketing draws them in and creates satisfying experiences that cultivate lasting relationships.

Think about a time when a company approached you with outbound marketing initiatives. You might have expressed mild interest in their product or even made a quick one time purchase. Suddenly, you’re receiving jumbo postcards in the mail, several promotional emails in your inbox, and even a telemarketing phone call. You might even hear an ad for them on the radio on your way to work, or see an ad on TV when you’re winding down for the night.

All of these outbound techniques were used to push their latest product. Maybe it worked and you made a purchase, or maybe you threw away the postcard, ignored the emails and ads, and asked to be removed from their phone list, growing tired of the brand frequently interrupting your day.

Now think of a time where a company got your attention without force. They might have shared a video or graphic to their Instagram and it caught your attention when you were scrolling through your feed. Maybe your colleague shared a blog post published by the company and you found it useful, too. Or perhaps you were searching for a specific product or service and their website, directory listings, or social profiles appeared on the SERP (search engine results page) with titles and descriptions that piqued your interest.

Did you visit their social profile or their website to learn more? Did you subscribe for updates or special offers? Were you more motivated to make a purchase once you found that they were credible, reputable, and their company consistently produced content that you found interesting and attractive? That’s the magic of inbound marketing.

How does inbound marketing work?

A gear indicating the process of inbound marketing.

Inbound marketing can be performed through a variety of platforms or methods including social media, blogging, and SEO (search engine optimization). But no matter what tools you use, the process of inbound marketing is made up of four stages:

  1. Attract
    The first stage of inbound marketing is to attract new potential customers to your website by creating captivating content that interests them or is useful to them. Depending on your industry and audience, this might be blogs about topics that are relevant to your product or service, or social media posts that excite and inspire your target audience.
  2. Convert
    Once you have attracted your target audience to your site, you want to convert them into leads. They might not be ready to make a purchase decision right away, but with a contact or subscription form you can collect their email address or other contact information to send them more useful content that builds credibility, trust, and interest.
  3. Close
    You have attracted them, converted them into a lead, and built your credibility and trust with them. Now it’s time to close the deal and make your first sale with them. You might want to consider offering a first time discount or an incentive to purchase that shows you value them.
  4. Delight
    The final stage of a successful inbound marketing is to delight your new customer. Your content attracted, interested, and excited them—make sure they are just as satisfied with the product they purchased and the customer service they receive moving forward. When you delight your customer and value the relationship you’ve established with them, you can cultivate a lasting relationship and earn a loyal customer.

How to create an inbound marketing strategy.

A digital marketing expert writing an inbound marketing strategy in a notebook.

Creating an effective inbound marketing strategy starts with knowing and understanding your audience. When you know your audience’s interests and behaviors, you can create content that will interest them and use the right platforms to present that content to them.

Once you have identified your audience and determined what type of content to create and how to distribute that content, start creating! Inbound marketing relies on consistent content marketing. If you are going to write and share blog posts, create an editorial calendar with relevant, useful topics so you can post blogs on a regular basis. If you’re going to post on social media, create high quality photos, graphics, or videos that are well-branded and attention grabbing.

But remember that inbound marketing isn’t just about getting their attention with great content. You are attracting them and drawing them in so you can convert them into leads and, eventually, loyal customers. Make sure you have effective conversion opportunities on your site, like a web form, and that you’re ready to follow up with that lead through email marketing initiatives or other lead nurturing strategies.

We can help you create an effective inbound marketing strategy.

If you’re ready to increase your traffic, conversions, and revenue online, learn more about our inbound marketing services or contact us today. Our experts will help you create an effective inbound marketing strategy that attracts valuable prospects and convert them into promising leads and loyal customers.