Basis of Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing is a relatively new marketing approach that has gained a popularity in recent years. According to HubSpot, a main website about inbound marketing that is run by the inbound marketing theorists Halligan and Shah, inbound marketing is a marketing method that focuses on attracting customers through content and interactions that are relevant and helpful. With inbound marketing, potential customers can find a company or product/service through various channels like a blog, social media or search engines. By creating high-quality content, which is designed to address needs, problems or concerns of ideal customers; inbound marketing attracts qualified prospects and builds trust and credibility of the business.
Inbound marketing is about pulling people in, it is the potential customers who find the company. Inbound marketing focuses on publishing the right content, in the right place and at the right time, making the marketing relevant and helpful for the customers.
Inbound marketing provides several unique benefits for companies. Inbound marketing is a very powerful long-term marketing strategy for lead generation, conversions and for in- creasing overall website traffic and brand awareness. By implementing this strategy, companies can reach positive results and even save money. Inbound marketing costs 61% less per lead than a traditional outbound marketing. Moreover, inbound marketing does not have to be as time consuming as it might look. Many of the inbound marketing tasks can be automated. Lastly. inbound marketing is the most effective marketing method for doing business online.
Comparison between Inbound and Online
Before getting deeper into inbound marketing, it is important to differentiate inbound marketing from online/internet marketing - two marketing theories that might at first glance look the same but that differ.
To start with, inbound marketing is about practices performed online, practices that aim to organically pull people, particularly ideal customers, to the company. Although this will be obvious from further inbound marketing elaboration, there is no direct statement saying that inbound marketing is only about practices/tactics performed online. However, this can be indirectly inferred from several inbound marketing descriptions. The first, provided by HubSpot that says that inbound marketing is the most effective method for doing business online. The second, stating that inbound marketing can be seen as practices that can be done on the web to earn traffic and attention, and that do not directly cost money.
Inbound Marketing Practices
Although inbound marketing is about practices performed online/on the Internet, inbound marketing is not the same as online/internet marketing. Online marketing refers to any efforts that aim to spread the word about the company that uses the Internet to reach people. Online marketing is an umbrella for different tactics done online, such as search engine optimisation, search engine marketing (the paid ver- sion of SEO), social media marketing, affiliate marketing, content marketing or email marketing.
Unlike inbound marketing, online marketing does not limit itself to the use of organic (un- paid) practices and attracting customers through relevant and helpful content as can be seen in inbound marketing. Online marketing includes also outbound marketing practices that will be described below. However, this is not the only difference that can be seen be- tween inbound marketing and online marketing. It is important to notice the difference in how the tactics (i.e. SEO) and practices are viewed in online marketing as separate units that are shield under the online marketing term, whereas in inbound marketing as systematically used tools/components that help to transform a companies ideal customers from strangers into the customers, and ultimately into the companies promoters.