What is Inbound Marketing? The Definitive Guide

Anyone who is familiar with marketing knows that there’s a distinct difference between old marketing and new marketing. To be specific, old marketing relied upon email blasting; telemarketing, cold calling and traditional advertising while new marketing relies upon creating great content that readers want to interact with.

Incidentally, both schools of marketing have a name: outbound marketing is old marketing while inbound marketing is new marketing.

For content marketers interested in learning more about inbound marketing, this article seeks to act as the definitive guide to everything you need to know about this exciting and effective marketing tactic.

Read on to learn more.

What Is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing relies upon a variety of tactics to draw customers to a business. These tactics include the following:

Content Creation and Distribution:

Inbound marketing seeks to develop and distribute targeted content that appeals to a certain reader base. The purpose of this content is to be distributed through various content channels to reach customers on their favorite online platforms.


Inbound marketing seeks to develop personalized content that is useful for a specific set of readers. Put another way, inbound marketing content is designed to apply to a target persona that has been developed through careful marketing research and ample analytics consulting. Since personalized content is far more valuable that one-size-fits-all content, it provides a valuable platform for customers to research a product, good, or service, interact with a company, solve problems and answer questions.

Lifecycle Marketing:

Lifecycle marketing refers to the journey a lead takes from being a stranger to being a customer and the ways in which a company markets to that lead at various points in the journey. Inbound marketing relies heavily upon a long-term approach at customer acquisition and trusts that, if a company supplies a stranger with high-quality, valuable information, that stranger will eventually become a dedicated and paying customer.

Multi-Channel Distribution Approach:

Inbound marketing works so well because it utilizes a multi-channel marketing approach. This allows inbound marketing content to meet customers on their web-based platform of choice and to speak to them in languages they understand. This, in turn, translates into a better customer experience and higher conversion rates.


Inbound marketing embraces integration and relies upon the seamless combination of analytics tools, publishing and content creation. When these things work together, companies are able to create content that is more useful to customers and more efficient to create. Additionally, the cooperation of all the separate pieces of a company mean that content is produced and distributed without missing a beat.

How Inbound Marketing Works

In marketing, there are four main actions that determine the success or failure of a campaign. These actions are Attract, Convert, Close and Delight. Inbound marketing seeks to fulfill all of these marketing actions in the following ways:


High-quality inbound marketing is one of the most effective ways to attract high-quality traffic to a site. Because inbound marketing content is highly personalized, it attracts customers who are looking for very specific information. This means that people who are drawn to your inbound marketing content are most likely drawn to your product, good or service, as well. This, in turn, means that leads attracted via inbound marketing tactics like blogs, SEO, web pages or social publishing are highly likely to become paying customers.


In addition to attracting high-quality leads, inbound marketing tactics are also great at converting those leads to customers. Generally, inbound marketing does this by gathering contact information. Typically, this comes in the form of email addresses and results in a robust email list that is designed to distribute more content. Customers who have found your site via inbound marketing sign up for email lists in return for things like eBooks, whitepapers or Q&A’s. Generally, emails are gained through sign up forms, CTA’s or landing pages.


Inbound marketing uses tools like Customer Relationship Management systems, closed-loop reporting, email and marketing automation to close a sale and turn leads into customers. Because inbound marketing is non-invasive and completely customer-controlled, however, these invitations are welcomed by the customer and are much less expensive and much more effective than their outbound marketing cousins.


Once you’ve closed the deal, it’s time to delight your customer with your product, good or service but, because you’re utilizing inbound marketing tactics, the customer has had faith you can do this all along. Delighting a customer, in terms of inbound marketing, involves offering surveys for customer feedback, using smart CTA’s to personalize content to buyer preference and lifecycle stage, using great content tailored to customer needs and interests and interacting with customers via social media. Each of these things allows for a deeper relationship and more effective company/customer communication.

For companies who want to get out there and get found online, inbound marketing is one of the most effective tools you can use. Gone are the days of outbound marketing tactics that only push customers away. Inbound marketing is effective, inexpensive, enjoyable and welcoming and, by all accounts, it looks like it’s here to stay.

To learn more about the best practices for marketing your business, visit Bigfoot Media today.

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