Definition: Inbound marketing

/ˈinˌbound/ /ˈmärkitiNG/

Inbound marketing is a particular process by which marketers create sales from new customers by creating resources that potential customers want. The main premise is to create content linked to your business and experiences that customers actively seek rather than pushing content onto them via advertising, bought email lists or hopes and prayers.

Once they’ve found you, the trick is to nurture those potential customers and convert them into real customers.

Here’s the 1,000 foot overview


Awareness comes down to attracting your customers to your company on their terms. The best way to do that is to make really compelling marketing content that is invaluable and exciting to them. Things like blog posts, social media, search engine optimisation and promotions work really well as long as there’s some intelligent thinking and strategy behind them. This is called content marketing.

Education has to be quite subtle. Providing good, informative and unbiased opinions work well with a touch of  “and by the way, we do this really well” added to the mix. This sort of thing works well in slightly more directed blog posts, immersive online experiences, whitepapers and with videos.

Action is the good one that all your hard work has gone towards, still, it might not be action towards a sale but it should at least be an action towards a contact and a lead. The best way to go about optimising this part of the process is in scientifically improving your customers “buying funnel”. The experience they have from landing on your site to clicking “buy now”. Easy steps to take are to create landing pages, improve SEO and create specific and well thought out calls to action. What works really well once you’ve caught leads is a nurturing email campaign (that fits nicely with the consumer buy cycle) and monthly industry specific updates via email.

Retention is so important but often overlooked. It\’s often a continuation of action to upsell products but it\’s also to let customers know that you care. Follow customers and support them through automated email campaigns, helpdesk support and social media.

Advocacy is the ego booster and the knowledge that you\’re doing a great job. The best form of marketing is word of mouth and so if you can enter that realm, then the sales will come. To let people show their support, reward them for doing so. Brand ambassadors, case studies, video and reward programmes help people share your benefits with their friends and colleagues. It’s also really important that you track and analyse these recommendations so you know how they’re working.

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