What is Inbound Marketing?

August 18, 2021 Nikole Rose

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Inbound marketing is a marketing approach that attracts and engages customers with useful content and experiences tailored to be highly relevant to them. Unlike outbound tactics like cold calls and cold emails, inbound marketing creates sales opportunities by connecting customers with the information and solutions they’re already looking for about the problems they have.

Learn How to Attract and Engage Your Ideal Client

The Inbound Marketing Methodology

The inbound marketing methodology is the method of drawing the right consumers, prospects, and customers to you organically, earning their interest, and building connections.

The heart of inbound marketing is helping customers by being an informed and trustworthy guide toward their success. By empowering customers with relevant content and resources, you meet their specific wants and needs, gain their trust, and nurture relationships. 

Here are the three steps of the inbound marketing methodology:

  • Attract - Bring the right people into contact with your business. By producing useful content, relevant thought leadership, and insightful conversations, you’ll prove your value and encourage your ideal customers to engage with you as a trusted partner. 
  • Engage - Once you’ve made contact with prospects, present expertise, resources, and solutions to address their problems and goals. The more personalized you can be, the more likely your prospect will see you as a good fit and purchase.

Delight - A great experience goes beyond the purchase. Provide the insight and support needed to help your customer succeed and maintain a valuable relationship.

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Outbound vs. Inbound Marketing

There are several differences between outbound and inbound marketing. Traditional outbound marketing involves proactively reaching out to people to get them interested in your product or service. In contrast, inbound marketing draws people to your website and nurtures them with exceptional content, data and customer service. 

While both types of marketing have their own place, inbound marketing offers important benefits. Inbound marketing is non-invasive and educational, attracting qualified leads over time and nurturing them with content designed for every stage of the buyer’s journey. 

Inbound content generates three times more leads than outbound tactics. In fact, companies that focus on inbound tactics have a 62% lower cost-per-lead than companies that focus on outbound tactics. 

The Inbound Flywheel

Often, businesses think of their marketing, sales, and customer service in terms of a funnel. But according to Hubspot, the leading inbound marketing tool, “rather than viewing your marketing, sales, and customer support in terms of linear processes with a beginning and an end, it's more effective you think in terms of cycles that propel your company's growth nonlinearly.”

Like a flywheel, each customer stage and the efforts you put into them propel continued success. Once you attract, engage, and delight enough customers, your flywheel can keep spinning, and getting referrals is easier. That’s because you have the momentum and established processes to easily promote your business and attract new customers.

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Here’s how it works:

  • Marketing, sales, and service provide force that “spin” the flywheel through inbound tactics.
  • Their efforts eliminate friction, things that slow your flywheel— like lack of information, distrust, hesitancy, or miscommunication. 

For example, during the attract stage of inbound, Marketing will play the biggest role. Marketing may focus on blogs, ads, search engine-optimized webpages, and events like webinars that bring the right people to your business. Then, your Sales team can add force to the flywheel by following up and nurturing qualified leads. Your Service team can then ensure customer satisfaction and make it easier to get referrals and brand advocates.

Because handoffs can be a common place to drop the ball, it’s crucial that each of your internal teams has the alignment and tools needed to prevent confusion. 

How Do You Do Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing requires you understand your ideal customers, or buyer personas, and create effective content offers that are useful to them. Inbound marketing uses organic search traffic, targeted paid ads, opt-in email forms, and continuous content publication to bring in customers. 

Inbound marketing strategies

Attract strategies

Inbound marketing strategies that attract new customers involve content creation and distribution. 

To reach people searching about problems you address and solutions you offer, create content like ads, video, blogging, and social media. Provide value in content like guides, case studies, and customer testimonials to appeal to buyers at different stages of awareness, consideration, and decision-making.

To reach the maximum amount of your audience, make sure that your content is search-optimized. To rank in the SERPs (search engine results pages), you will need to focus content strategy on certain keywords and keyword phrases being searched by your target audience. To develop these keywords, you should consider common questions your prospects are asking, solutions they’re looking for, and the information they need about your product. 

It’s good for SEO to create content clusters around specific topics your customers care about. For example, as a marketing agency, some of our content clusters are inbound marketing, account-based marketing, and website development.

Engage strategies

Inbound strategies that engage prospects and customers involve communicating with leads to provide resources and develop deeper relationships. With each interaction, prospects and customers should feel better equipped and gain more trust in your business. 

To nurture people in this stage, you should lead with value. Whether it’s links to resources in follow-up emails, more information about your products, or a demo or sales call, you should make it solution-focused. At Mojo Media Labs, we use the StoryBrand Framework to clarify brand messaging to be solution-focused and lead with value. 

Engage strategies can be streamlined through automation by creating automated marketing workflows, organizing sales pipelines, and using CRM tools like Hubspot

Delight strategies

Inbound strategies that delight customers ensure customer satisfaction and provide customer support. These strategies involve you coming alongside your customers as advisors and experts to help them at any time. 

When onboarding new customers, it’s essential to equip them with knowledge and skills to succeed. Providing beginner resources and service team follow ups makes sure customers feel welcome and prepared. 

Chatbots and knowledge bases can serve as important sources of information. In addition, your Service team should be equipped to provide timely, helpful, and friendly assistance when called or contacted. 

It’s also essential to pay attention to customer feedback. Surveys, reviews, and social listening help you understand where you can improve, so you can take what your customers say to heart. You should facilitate feedback in emails, calls, and online, gather testimonials, and encourage happy customers to become promoters via referrals.

Inbound Marketing Examples

Let’s take a look at a couple inbound marketing examples from our own experience.

Hoya Vision USA: Using Inbound Blogs and Emails for Prospects and Customers

Blogs play an important role in attracting the right customers. For Hoya, we built a blog that provided eye doctors with a thought leadership resource hub. 

Focusing on relevant content and resources for practice growth resulted in higher than average click-through rates and conversion opportunities.

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To engage prospects, we targeted eye professionals with promotional emails and resources they could use to grow their practice.

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Our initial OYE campaign was able to generate a continued ROI of almost 1400% of their marketing investment. By getting the Hoya brand in front of existing customers and prospects, sales were able to expand existing accounts. 

Learn more by reading the case study.

Start Growing Your Business with Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing helps you and your customers succeed. With the right inbound marketing tactics, you’ll grow your business by attracting, winning, and keeping more customers, and getting them to spread the word through referrals. 

As an experienced inbound marketing agency and Hubspot Diamond Partner, we’ve helped tons of businesses grow their revenue with the right inbound strategy, and the capacity to execute it. By learning about your customers and buying process, we can help you target, reach, and engage your ideal customers with useful content— right when they’re looking for the solutions you offer. Learn more about why you need an inbound marketing agency.

Want to build your inbound marketing strategy? Schedule a call, and let’s talk. 

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Nikole Rose

Nikole Rose

As President & COO, Nikole is obsessed about building a great company made up of an inspiring culture and highly successful client engagements. Outside of Mojo, Nikole is also pretty obsessed with traveling, spending time at their cabins in Broken Bow OK, her Golden Retriever, Bella, and enjoying Italian dinners and wine with her husband, Mike.

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