What is Inbound Marketing

  • Brad Gillis
  • |
  • Saturday, November 21, 2015
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is attracting customers to come to your company/brand by using good content through social media channels.
It is sometimes referred to as Attraction Marketing because you are attracting the customer by creating helpful and meaningful content.
You create useful content on your website as well as posting, blogging or commenting on other Social Media platforms. This content usually is free in the form of advice or solutions that are useful in your area of expertise.
Traditional marketing is outbound advertising through such media as print and TV advertising or junk emails or infamous cold calling on the phone. We have all experienced this type of interruptive advertising and got a cold call at dinner time.
Inbound Marketers reverse the traditional advertising model.
It is much more effective as the consumer is looking for useful content in a particular industry or category. They are ready to engage in the topic so are mentally ready to absorb your content provided it is of good quality.
Inbound Marketing is about setting up a win-win situation with the brand and the consumer. It is not about pushing a product on the consumer but about establishing a relationship so if and when the consumer is ready to buy they will pick your brand.
Why will they buy from you? Because you have shown them you care about their needs and wants. They no longer feel like just another number in your Sales Funnel.
Inbound Marketing is focused on getting found by consumers and once found establishing a consumer-based relationship that is helpful. The consumer feels the focus is on their needs or wants and not solely a focus on your sales.
Inbound is about establishing a relationship through conversation with the consumer where your brand is a part of the solution.
Perhaps your content sparked his/her curiosity about a topic or hobby that interests them. Or your content solves a problem. The main thing about Inbound Marketing is to give the consumer what they want in the form of great content.
By being part of the conversation and sharing relevant content with your visitors, you are drawing people into your circle.
It is taking the web and becoming the friendly neighbor grocer with practical and helpful tips and advice that everybody respects.
As Mr. Rogers says, “Be a good neighbor “and help out your web visitors and it could reap big rewards.
Do not be the Slick Talking Willy, a salesman that talks too fast and only tries to push a sale by trying to talk faster than you can think.
Consumers are tired of tricks but if you are friendly and give great content that is relevant and helpful they will come back again and again.
If your content is useful the consumer will stay on your website to gather more information and when they are ready to buy you will be their first choice.
The web gives consumers a vast array of information and buying options. Today, when considering a purchase it is common practice to hop on the web and read a few reviews or guides before completing that purchase.
Relevant information is at the consumers fingertips and if you want that information/content to be yours then you must understand the Inbound Marketing Model.
  1. The Inbound Marketing Model consists of 4 stages:
  •  Attract
  •  Convert
  •  Close 
  •  Delight 
The first order of business is to attract total strangers to visit your website. The most common ways to attract new visitors to your website is by optimizing it for search engines (SEO), blogging and, of course, social media.
Next you will need to “build a list.” The list is the step in the conversion process where you convert visitors into potential leads.
The list consists of contact information you have gathered from your website visitors most likely in the form of an email address. In order for you to get that information from your visitors, you must offer them something of value in return for their email address.
If you are running a website on video games or music it could be as simple as an offer to notify them when the next hot game or music CD is released. Other forms of “free offers” as an incentive might be free eBooks, tutorial, course or a valuable tip sheet.
What you “offer” your visitors as the incentive to give you their email address all depends on your market. You have to decide what kind of “free valuable” you can offer in the exchange to make it “worthwhile” for your visitors to willingly give you that information.
Remember, many people get a lot of emails every day so they are not likely to give you their information in exchange for something frivolous.
Once you have your list it is time to convert them from leads to customers. Here is where a lot of people get it wrong even the some of the top marketers.
How many times have you signed up for a free offer that turned out to be the same old bait and switch?
Then every day in your email is a hustle to buy their $47, $97, $197, $297 or even $997 course or product?
So now you know it was all a scam to get your email address so how likely are you to trust that person especially if it is for $997.
Now you have spent a lot of time curating content on your website to make visitors feel welcome.
Once you have their trust don’t short-circuit it with a barrage of buy me offers. Keep up the relationship and trust with good content and the “occasional” offer will not seem offensive.
The first order of business is to attract visitors that have the potential to become customers.
In order to do this we need to design a storefront and advertise. Since we are on the web things are often a bit different though many of the principles are the same.
The storefront is your web page and if people are going to see it then we need to advertise. So you need to hire an advertiser which in this case is a search engine. The good news is the best advertising is free but only the best brands get promoted to the front page.
The secret to getting promoted on the front page is to curate a reputation for the being the best in your field. To accomplish this you must optimize your website in such a way that the search engines see your website as one of the most relevant for your topic.
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO is the process of making your website more attractive to search engines so it will get promoted to visitors on the web ahead of other websites in your field.
The first stage of Inbound Marketing is attraction so Search Engine Optimization is one of the first elements that should be addressed so your website can begin to attract visitors.
I’ll cover this in the next installment of the “Inbound Marketing Series”.


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