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Apr

27

2012

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound Marketing

It's marketing with a magnet, not a sledgehammer — marketing based on content that attracts and nurtures prospects, not spam that interrupts them.

Inbound marketing is marketing that's useful. It means acquiring customers by attracting and nurturing prospects with exceptional content, data and customer service, not interrupting them with spam. It means pulling prospects in with a magnet, not beating them over the head with a sledgehammer.

Why should you consider inbound marketing? Simple. Inbound marketing tends to be cheaper than traditional marketing strategies. In fact, companies that focus on inbound tactics have a 62% lower cost-per-lead than companies that focus on outbound tactics.

How does inbound marketing work?

Think of your sales and marketing process as a funnel. Fresh prospects come in at the top of the funnel, happy customers go out the bottom. As a marketer, your goal is to maximize both the number of people you attract at the top of your funnel as website visitors and the number that come out the bottom as customers. There are three types of tactics to do this:

  • Get Found
  • Convert
  • Analyze

Get Found tactics such as blogging and search engine optimization that help you attract visitors to your website (prospects to the top of your funnel). They're the most important inbound marketing tactics because they're like a building's foundation: You can't build anything without them. If you don’t have any website visitors, you can't generate leads.

Convert tactics help you take the visitors you attracted to your site with blogging, social media, and search engine optimization and convert them into into paying customers. Often seen as optimized landing pages and lead nurturing devices. Ultimately, You can generate a lot of activity on your website without convert tactics, but you won't generate any revenue.

Analysis is the critical third category of inbound marketing tactics. Once you start attracting people to your site with blogging, social media and SEO, and you start converting those new website visitors into leads and customers, you need to implement tactics that aim to improve the efficiency of the entire process — to get more of the right people in the top and out the bottom.

Inbound marketing analysis should begin with a series of questions designed to pinpoint the place where you have the most leverage as a marketer — the place where you have the greatest opportunity to make changes that could result in increased sales. Doing this not only helps define your marketing goals in concrete terms, it helps you reach them.

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