Inbound Marketing – What Is It?

The term Inbound Marketing has been gaining traction over the past few years, but what does it mean? In a nutshell, Inbound Marketing is a way to promote an interest through the use of the internet. The interest may be a company representing them through a corporate website, or an individual who is simply trying to get more readers for their blog.

To begin, it's interesting how our society has changed over time. Back in the 1950's our access to advertising was limited to radio, mail ads, billboards, print ads, and the fairly ubiquitous television set. In fact, in this time frame, people paid far more attention to marketing and advertisements because they were not with it, and it actually served to educate them on new products and services at a reasonable pace.

Now let's fast forward to the present day and look at what has happened:

  1. The number of advertising channels has expanded (telemarketing, email, etc.)
  2. The volume of advertising has exploded
  3. Information overload is a fact of life.

Interruptive or Outbound marketing has reached such a fevered pitch today, that you can not even pump gas into your car without an eye-level TV monitor clicking on and assailing you with advertising. When you couple the level of interruptive advertising with our personal channels of input such as mobile phones, email, texting, etc., it becomes an unmanageable level of information overload.

The result of this is that we, as a society, have developed ways to throttle down the noise in a desperate battle to regain some sanity, marking the beginning of the end for outbound forms of marketing. Today we have the ability to mask out a reasonable amount of interruptive marketing through the use of the following tools:

  1. TV mute
  2. Digital Video Recorder (DVR or TiVo)
  3. Do not Call Registry (DNCR)
  4. Answering machines
  5. Unsubscribe links at the bottom of commercial Emails

The really cool thing about modern marketing is that the consumer is in the driver seat now that we have the ability to cruise the internet with Google and other search engines. Consumers are able to educate themselves on products and services without ever speaking with sales people or paying attention to any traditional marketing events like TV. This is a neat thing for marketers too because we are now able to market effectively to highly targeted groups. For example, a company selling office supplies knows that its customers will go to Google, and will enter particular search strings for products that they offer. Armed with this knowledge, the office supplier can take steps in optimizing his / her site to rank for these search strings, or keywords, so that their site is returned in one of the top positions within the search results page.

So that's basically what Inbound Marketing is. It's letting your prospect customers find you rather than broadcasting your marketing message to the masses hiring it reaches a prospective customer (as in Outbound Marketing).

There is actually quite a bit to learn about this new and essential marketing methodology, read more about how to successfully implement it in this white paper: Essentials of Effective Marketing Online . Inbound marketing is here to stay, and it's all about generating traffic to your site, and then converting that traffic into customers. Organizations expecting to succeed in this day and age simply must embrace these techniques or risk being left behind in the dust of their competitors.