What Is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is a business methodology that attracts customers by creating valuable content and experiences tailored to them. While outbound marketing interrupts your audience with content they don’t want, inbound marketing forms connections they’re looking for and solves problems they already have.

Inbound Marketing Strategy

Inbound marketing is about delivering solutions and opportunities that have a positive impact on people and your business. So, how do you do that?
 
An inbound marketing strategy can include a number of different channels and types of content to attract prospects and customers to your website. But inbound marketing is just one part of a larger movement in the business world. It's the foundation for the idea that it's not enough to just attract people to your website; you have to continue to help, support, and empower them well after they become a customer. That's how your business grows -- by keeping Marketing, Sales, and Service constantly focused on how to help current and future customers.
 
We call this the flywheel, and the philosophies of inbound permeate and accelerate that flywheel -- from Attract, to Engage, to Delight -- to help your business grow faster, and better.
 

Inbound marketing flywheel to attract, engage, and delight customers

What is inbound?

Once people arrive at your website, your sales team can engage with them using conversational tools like email and chat, instilling continued value as they learn about your brand. Then, your customer service team can delight them long after they’ve become customers -- acting as an empathetic advisor and expert on your product.
 
Inbound is a method of attracting, engaging, and delighting people to grow a business that provides value and builds trust. As technology shifts, inbound guides an approach to doing business in a human and helpful way. Inbound is a better way to market, a better way to sell, and a better way to serve your customers. Because when good-for-the-customer means good-for-the-business, your company can grow better over the long term.
 
By creating content designed to address the problems and needs of your ideal customers, you attract qualified prospects and build trust and credibility for your business.

Inbound Marketing Strategies

These strategies will help you effectively market to your target audience the inbound way. Below, you’ll see there are specific strategies for each inbound method of attracting, engaging, and delighting consumers to help your business grow better.

Attracting Strategies

Inbound marketing strategies that attract your target audience and buyer personas are tied to content creation and development.

To reach your audience, start by creating and publishing content — such as blog articles, content offers, and social media — that provide value. Examples include a guide on how to use your product, information about how your solution can solve their challenges, customer testimonials, and details about promotions or discounts.

To attract your audience members on a deeper level through inbound marketing, optimize all of this content with an SEO strategy. An SEO strategy will require you to target specific keywords and phrases related to your products or services, the challenges you solve for customers, and the ways you help target audience members.

This will allow your content and information to organically appear on the search engine results page (SERP) for the people who are searching for this information — also known as your target audience or the right customers for your business.

Engaging Strategies

When using inbound strategies to engage your audience, ensure you’re communicating and dealing with leads and customers in a way that makes them want to build long-term relationships with you. When using these engagement strategies, inject information about the value your business will provide them with.

Specific engagement strategies may include how you handle and manage your inbound sales calls. Focus on how customer service representatives handle calls from interested people and prospects. Additionally, be sure you’re always solution selling rather than product selling. This will ensure all deals end in mutually beneficial agreements for customers and your business — meaning, you provide value for your right-fit customers.

Delighting Strategies

Delighting inbound strategies ensure customers are happy, satisfied, and supported long after they make a purchase. These strategies involve your team members becoming advisors and experts who assist customers at any point in time.

Incorporating thoughtful, well-timed chatbots and surveys to assist, support, and request feedback from customers is a great way to delight these people. Bots and surveys should be shared at specific points in time throughout the customer’s journey to ensure they make sense and are of value.

For example, chatbots may help current customers set up a new technique or tactic you've started offering that they’d like to take advantage of. Additionally, a satisfaction survey may be sent out 6-months after customers have purchased your product or service to get their feedback and review ideas for improvement.

Social media listening is another important strategy when it comes to delighting customers. Social media followers may use one of your profiles to provide feedback, ask questions, or share their experience with your products or services. Respond to these interactions with information that helps, supports, and encourages followers — this shows you hear and care about them.

Lastly, the mark of an inbound strategy focused on delighting customers is one that assists and supports customers in any situation, whether or not your business gets any value out of it. Remember, a delighted customer becomes a brand advocate and promoter, so handle all interactions, both big and small, with care.

The Proven Methodology for Growing Your Business

During the past few years, the same change in buying behavior that sparked the inbound movement has also spread throughout the whole customer experience. How people communicate and what they expect from your business has changed.

The good news? The inbound methodology, along with technology, continues to help businesses adapt to fast-changing needs — not just with marketing but with the entire customer experience.

Supporting this methodology is a full platform of software for marketing, sales, service, and customer relationship management. These tools are powerful alone, but they’re even better when used together, helping you grow with the inbound methodology.

By combining the inbound methodology with the HubSpot software, you’ll grow your business and get customers who buy more, stay with you longer, refer their friends, and tell the world they love you.

Using the Inbound Methodology in Marketing

As an inbound marketer, your goal is to attract new prospects to your company, engage with them at scale, and delight them individually. You also partner with your sales and services teams to keep the flywheel spinning effectively and help the business grow. It's a big job, but the inbound methodology and Marketing Hub have you covered.

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Attract

You don’t want just anyone coming to your website. You want people who are most likely to become leads and, ultimately, happy customers. How do you get them there? You attract more of the right customers with relevant content at the right time.

Use the content strategy tool to build your authority in search and rank for the topics that matter the most to your prospects. Publish your blog post or video content across social networks using the social media tools. Create ads to increase awareness of your brand with your target audience. Throughout each stage, you’ll be reporting on and analyzing these efforts to stay informed on what’s working and where you need to improve. 

Engage

Use HubSpot Conversations to create lasting relationships with prospects on the channels they prefer — through email, bots, live chat, or messaging apps. Use the conversion tools — CTAs, forms, and lead flows — to capture the information of prospects visiting your site. Use all the prospect and customer information in the CRM to personalize the website experience using smart content, and the entire buyer’s journey using email and workflows. Create brand loyalty by targeting specific audiences with your social content or ads. Choose from hundreds of HubSpot Connect integrations to add additional tools and features to fit your business’ unique needs.  

Delight

Use email and marketing automation as well as HubSpot Conversations to deliver the right information to the right person at the right time, every time. Use the Conversations inbox to align with your sales and service team members to create contextual conversations with the people you do business with. Create memorable content your prospects can share with their friends and family by using a variety of content formats — like video — that your prospects prefer.  

Using the Inbound Methodology in Sales

As an inbound salesperson, you spend your days attracting new leads to grow your pipeline, engaging with people who are ready to have a sales conversation, and delighting them with solutions to their problems. This is where the inbound methodology and Sales Hub come in. IM-sales-hub-tools

Attract

It’s all about showing your prospects they can trust you to help them solve their problems. Put your meetings page on your website, making it easy for visitors to grab time on your calendar to discuss their needs. Use the prospects tool to see who’s visiting your website. Use HubSpot Conversations and calling to connect and converse with people.

Engage

Keep in touch with the people you’re most focused on with email templates and sequences. Use documents to track how much time people are spending with your content, and make it easy for these people to put time on your calendar by using meetings links. Use calling to record and transcribe the calls you make and playbooks to guide your interactions with people. Use quotes to make your recommendations crystal clear. Automate pieces of your sales process with workflows so you can respond to people faster.  

Delight

Meetings, HubSpot Conversations, and quotes don’t just make life easier for you — they make life easier for your customers, too. Use these tools to make your sales process as pleasant as possible for your customers.  

Using the Inbound Methodology in Services

As an inbound service professional, you help your existing customers find answers to their questions, get help when they need it and how they want it, and enjoy their experience with you. The inbound methodology and Service Hub can help with that.

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Attract

People look for answers to questions. If those questions are about your products, goods, or services, they’ll look to you for answers. By using the knowledge base tool and a strong knowledge strategy, you can provide the right information in the right way. Craft meaningful solutions to problems that a person may be dealing with and publish those solutions on the knowledge base. With the ability to include rich media like video, audio, and images, you can provide answers and insights that are effective for multiple types of learners.  

Engage

Knowledge base articles may not always provide the information someone is looking for, and this is where tickets and the conversations tool come into play. Tickets are fully integrated with HubSpot Conversations, and with the availability of live chat and chatbots, your customers can request help and advice in real time, receiving expert-level assistance across multiple channels. Because you have the ability to know where and when someone is looking at a certain web page or knowledge article, you can create a chatbot that provides contextual, relevant answers and resources that may not normally live in the article itself. If all else fails, the ability to automatically create a new ticket, assign it, and notify the user streamlines the service process.

Delight

How do you know if you’ve provided a positive customer experience? Ask. With Service Hub’s built-in feedback system, collecting feedback on a customer’s experience has never been easier. By combining feedback scores with chat and email transcripts, you can iterate over your shared knowledge resources on a continual basis, refining and enriching your content each time.  

Learn Inbound Marketing

Sign up for HubSpot Academy for free to learn about the inbound approach to marketing, access free tools to try inbound yourself, and get certified. Grow your business and your career with the inbound methodology.