That's a good question! And, you have come to the right place if you're looking for a clear, concise definition of inbound marketing.
“If you have more money than brains you should focus on outbound marketing,” says Guy Kawasaki, former chief evangelist at Apple and current chief evangelist at Canva. “If you have more brains than money, you should focus on inbound marketing.”
Red Wheel is comprised of inbound marketing experts and content marketing professionals. Our team boasts a blend of marketing and writing know-how plus design and data savvy. We live inbound. Buckle up, we're here to teach you the keys to turning strangers into customers via content! But first, inbound's definition according to the team at Red Wheel.
What is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing is the digital practice of attracting qualified leads to your business. As opposed to going out and interrupting random people to generate leads, inbound draws website traffic via content. By creating valuable content aimed at very specific readers (we call them "personas"), inbound marketing gains the attention of potential leads by answering the questions they’re asking online.
It is only after earning a reader’s attention by providing valuable information that your business can ask for something in return: their contact information. Answering your personas' questions, solving their problems, and entertaining them with content nuggets is the means by which your business gains their trust. This is the roadmap to being viewed as a resource, rather than a company trying to sell them something.
Think of inbound marketing like building a relationship with a stranger. Inbound marketing is all about attracting strangers, gaining trust, converting website traffic into leads, establishing your company as the thought leader in the industry, closing leads into customers, and keeping your customers delighted so that they stay with your company longer.
By writing and creating content that your dream customer needs, wants, consumes, and engages with, inbound marketing attracts web-based searchers and readers, and keeps them coming back for more. Building an effective inbound marketing campaign and gaining the trust of your prospects doesn't happen over night. If you commit to inbound marketing and do it well, you will turn strangers into customers. Remember: Inbound Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.
There is a logical process that drives the inbound machine. In short, the inbound marketing methodology
boils down to four steps:
- Attract Website Traffic
- Convert Website Traffic Into Leads
- Close Leads Into Customers
- Delight Customers and Increase Customer Lifetime Value
What inbound marketing is not:
Outbound marketing has been the way in which businesses have tried to grow for generations. Outbound is the disruptive advertising that businesses have employed in an attempt to reach new customers or “demographics." Picture the advertisement that breaks up the ballgame you are watching on television, the cold call that interrupts your work day, the unrelated banner ad on your favorite website, and the blanket email that clogs your inbox (otherwise known as SPAM). Outbound's goal is to generate unqualified leads that hopefully work. And, nowadays, outbound marketing is archaic and ineffective.
- Inbound marketing attracts. Outbound marketing interrupts.
- Advertising is not a cost-effective strategy for companies to get a users' attention.
Inbound marketing is affordable and very effective!
- Rather than interrupting your prospect while they're online and searching,
become what they are typing into search engines.
- Make marketing more human. Inbound marketing is all about H2H marketing ("Human to Human").
- Provide value by answering the searcher's question.