Inbound marketing is a relatively new player compared to Outbound marketing. Coined by Hubspot co-founder and CEO Brian Halligan, inbound marketing has grown along with Hubspot since its founding in 2006.
Who better to define inbound then than the founders themselves. Here is the Hubspot official definition of Inbound Marketing:
“Inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your company and product, where they naturally want to be. By aligning the content you publish with your customer’s interests; you naturally attract inbound traffic that you can then convert, close, and delight over time.”
So what does that mean?
Inbound is the reverse of outbound. Instead of reaching out to prospects, you entice them with free advice and information so that your prospects come to you. It is a combination of content marketing, social media marketing, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and front-end website design that ultimately aims to collect entirely consensual and interested leads; that will later, hopefully, be converted to customers. Examples of inbound marketing would be your company website and landing pages, your blog, any content you produce, lead nurturing (newsletters), your social media presence, webinars, podcasts, even your LinkedIn profile.
Another term that describes many inbound methods is ‘permission marketing’ – which again is the reverse of ‘interruption marketing’. As Seth Godin, author of Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers, puts it in his blog, “Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.” Whether you are sending a newsletter or ebook to someone’s inbox, or whether they are interacting with your blog or a freemium version of your product online, prospects have chosen to receive or see your messaging.