What Is Inbound Marketing And Why It Matters In Business

Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy designed to attract customers to a brand with content and experiences that they derive value from. Inbound marketing utilizes blogs, events, SEO, and social media to create brand awareness and attract targeted consumers. By attracting or “drawing in” a targeted audience, inbound marketing differs from outbound marketing which actively pushes a brand onto consumers who may have no interest in what is being offered.

Why is inbound marketing important?

Before the advent of the internet age, outbound marketing techniques such as catalogs, TV advertisements, and cold calls were reasonably effective. However, consumers are now savvier and more empowered.

They see outbound marketing as aggressive, pushy, and most importantly, not tailored to their individual needs. Inbound marketing is the way of the future since it seeks to build a relationship with high-quality leads who have a prior interest in a product or service.

Indeed, a HubSpot study of over 6300 businesses found that 68% of those using inbound marketing strategies believed their marketing strategy was effective. Yet only 48% of those engaged in outbound marketing could say the same. 

Inbound marketing is a more effective strategy because it provides solutions to problems that consumers are actively searching out. Indeed, a 2016 Nielsen survey found that adults spend an average of 10 hours a day in front of a screen consuming content.

Businesses who provide helpful content to consumers build trust, reputation, and authority in their niche without being seen as motivated by sales. Importantly, they provide answers where consumers are looking for them.

An example of inbound marketing methodology

While providing value is essential to any inbound marketing strategy, it is not enough to solve consumer problems and then wait for sales to materialize. 

Businesses must have a methodology that moves the consumer from an interested lead into a happy and satisfied consumer. Here is what that might look like.


Attracting customers is the first step, and it must be done with precision. Businesses need to draw in consumers who stand a good chance of being converted into customers. 

Attracting the right consumer means creating content that resonates with a business’s target audience – while also compelling them to move to the next stage of the methodology.


Once the customer is attracted to a brand, businesses must capture their contact details to begin the process of relationship building. 

In exchange for such details – usually an email address – marketing teams must offer something in return. This is usually a free industry report, a chapter of a paid book, or access to exclusive blog posts or webinars.


Closing describes the process of turning a lead into a happy customer through a combined sales and marketing strategy. However, it’s important to note that closing will only be successful if the consumer has been properly nurtured in the previous step and been primed to purchase.

Effective closing marketing strategies include marketing automation, email marketing, and sales promotions or discounts.


Many businesses abandon their customers once they have closed the sale, but this is to their detriment. In the delight phase, the goal is to establish brand loyalty by showing consumers that you still value them and what they have to offer.

This is achieved through continuing to engage with them and ensuring they are completely satisfied. This is particularly important for businesses that offer ongoing services such as subscriptions, but all businesses should make customer retention and satisfaction one of their main priorities.

Key takeaways

  • Inbound marketing is a process of attracting and then converting customers through valuable content.
  • Inbound marketing is an effective way to reach consumers in the modern age. Businesses must cultivate a brand that consumers associate with value first. Only then should the focus move to selling.
  • A four-step inbound marketing methodology details how a business might attract and then convert consumers in their target audience.

Connected Marketing Concepts  

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing describes the process whereby an affiliate earns a commission for selling the products of another person or company. Here, the affiliate is simply an individual who is motivated to promote a particular product through incentivization. The business whose product is being promoted will gain in terms of sales and marketing from affiliates.

Ambush Marketing

As the name suggests, ambush marketing raises awareness for brands at events in a covert and unexpected fashion. Ambush marketing takes many forms, one common element, the brand advertising their products or services has not paid for the right to do so. Thus, the business doing the ambushing attempts to capitalize on the efforts made by the business sponsoring the event.

Brand Building

Brand building is the set of activities that help companies to build an identity that can be recognized by its audience. Thus, it works as a mechanism of identification through core values that signal trust and that help build long-term relationships between the brand and its key stakeholders.

Brand Equity

The brand equity is the premium that a customer is willing to pay for a product that has all the objective characteristics of existing alternatives, thus, making it different in terms of perception. The premium on seemingly equal products and quality is attributable to its brand equity.

Brand Positioning

Brand positioning is about creating a mental real estate in the mind of the target market. If successful, brand positioning allows a business to gain a competitive advantage. And it also works as a switching cost in favor of the brand. Consumers recognizing a brand might be less prone to switch to another brand.

Business Storytelling

Business storytelling is a critical part of developing a business model. Indeed, the way you frame the story of your organization will influence its brand in the long-term. That’s because your brand story is tied to your brand identity, and it enables people to identify with a company.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is one of the most powerful commercial activities which focuses on leveraging content production (text, audio, video, or other formats) to attract a targeted audience. Content marketing focuses on building a strong brand, but also to convert part of that targeted audience into potential customers.

Digital Marketing

A digital channel is a marketing channel, part of a distribution strategy, helping an organization to reach its potential customers via electronic means. There are several digital marketing channels, usually divided into organic and paid channels. Some organic channels are SEO, SMO, email marketing. And some paid channels comprise SEM, SMM, and display advertising.

Growth Marketing

Growth marketing is a process of rapid experimentation, which in a way has to be “scientific” by keeping in mind that it is used by startups to grow, quickly. Thus, the “scientific” here is not meant in the academic sense. Growth marketing is expected to unlock growth, quickly and with an often limited budget.

Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing is an advertising strategy that seeks to utilize low-cost and sometimes unconventional tactics that are high impact. First coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in his 1984 book of the same title, guerrilla marketing works best on existing customers who are familiar with a brand or product and its particular characteristics.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy designed to attract customers to a brand with content and experiences that they derive value from. Inbound marketing utilizes blogs, events, SEO, and social media to create brand awareness and attract targeted consumers. By attracting or “drawing in” a targeted audience, inbound marketing differs from outbound marketing which actively pushes a brand onto consumers who may have no interest in what is being offered.

Integrated Marketing

Integrated marketing describes the process of delivering consistent and relevant content to a target audience across all marketing channels. It is a cohesive, unified, and immersive marketing strategy that is cost-effective and relies on brand identity and storytelling to amplify the brand to a wider and wider audience.

Marketing Mix

The marketing mix is a term to describe the multi-faceted approach to a complete and effective marketing plan. Traditionally, this plan included the four Ps of marketing: price, product, promotion, and place. But the exact makeup of a marketing mix has undergone various changes in response to new technologies and ways of thinking. Additions to the four Ps include physical evidence, people, process, and even politics.

Marketing Personas

Marketing personas give businesses a general overview of key segments of their target audience and how these segments interact with their brand. Marketing personas are based on the data of an ideal, fictional customer whose characteristics, needs, and motivations are representative of a broader market segment.

Multi-Channel Marketing

Multichannel marketing executes a marketing strategy across multiple platforms to reach as many consumers as possible. Here, a platform may refer to product packaging, word-of-mouth advertising, mobile apps, email, websites, or promotional events, and all the other channels that can help amplify the brand to reach as many consumers as possible.

Multi-Level Marketing

Multi-level marketing (MLM), otherwise known as network or referral marketing, is a strategy in which businesses sell their products through person-to-person sales. When consumers join MLM programs, they act as distributors. Distributors make money by selling the product directly to other consumers. They earn a small percentage of sales from those that they recruit to do the same – often referred to as their “downline”.

Niche Marketing

A microniche is a subset of potential customers within a niche. In the era of dominating digital super-platforms, identifying a microniche can kick off the strategy of digital businesses to prevent competition against large platforms. As the microniche becomes a niche, then a market, scale becomes an option.

Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing involves businesses and their brands forming long-term relationships with customers. The focus of relationship marketing is to increase customer loyalty and engagement through high-quality products and services. It differs from short-term processes focused solely on customer acquisition and individual sales.

Sustainable Marketing

Sustainable marketing describes how a business will invest in social and environmental initiatives as part of its marketing strategy. Also known as green marketing, it is often used to counteract public criticism around wastage, misleading advertising, and poor quality or unsafe products.

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