4 Types of Inbound Marketing

Written by Nick Stamoulis

Inbound Marketing Commerce Content Social Media ConceptInbound marketing refers to a style of marketing that is designed to bring visitors to you. Unlike outbound marketing, which consists of push techniques like TV, print, and radio advertising, public relations, direct mail, and telemarketing, inbound marketing is about joining the conversation that a prospective client or customer is already having with themselves. Once the visitors reach your content, the goal is to convert them into paying customers.

It’s not about trying to create a want or a need; it’s about satisfying a want or a need that already exists. In other words, people find your content online and when they feel compelled, they join in on the conversation. So what exactly constitutes inbound marketing? Here are some examples:


Search engine optimization is the practice of making changes in different areas of your website and through your website presence so the search engines can find and deliver targeted visitors to your website. This all begins with the targeted keywords that are chosen and they are the foundation of your SEO campaign.

A website will only appear on a SERP (search engine results page) organically if what the website offers matches what the searcher is looking for. Instead of seeking out a target audience, a target audience is seeking you out. You aren’t interrupting them, you are assisting them. For instance, if the user is looking for information on creating a website, they’ll gravitate towards articles that give them options on how to do it. If you’re selling a special “website creation” service, you then have the potential of converting these visitors into paying customers.


Pay-per-click advertising is based on keywords, which means that it is also considered a form of inbound marketing. This is because the keywords match the intent of the search query. PPC is similar to SEO, the only difference is that in PPC, the keywords are paid for in order to guarantee that the ad is placed.

For example, when a user searches for information on a particular topic, the SERPs deliver two kinds of results – those that came about organically (SEO) and those that came about by paid means (PPC). Anyone who is searching for information has the option to click on either one. They’ll simply chose the one that looks as if it will meet their needs the most, regardless of whether or not the business paid to be on the results page or not. Both are considered inbound marketing.

Social Media

Young woman showing tablet computer that states likeSocial media gives you the opportunity to connect with people on a more personal level. It’s a form of inbound marketing because they essentially come to you when you share information with them. The backbone of this strategy is that people don’t like to be marketed “at” by anybody and everybody. However, if they are interested in a particular product or service they can very easily choose to receive targeted messages via social media.

Through social media, users have the chance to connect with, follow, and become a fan of a company or brand on social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. There are also a number of niche social networking sites. Social media marketing puts the power in the hands of the consumer. They can just as easily choose to stop following a brand on social media as they can choose to follow it. Therefore, it’s in the best interest of the company to ensure that the marketing provides value and isn’t annoying. It’s about pleasing the audience.

Content Marketing

A big part of inbound marketing is creating and sharing useful content with a target audience. This establishes the company as a legitimate source of information and knowledge. There are several types of content that can be shared. This includes videos, articles, podcasts, etc. The most common way to utilize content marketing is through blogging.

Content Torn Paper ConceptContent marketers aren’t forcing people to read the information that they’ve posted on their blog or website. People who read the article, watch the video, or listen to the podcast do so on their own because they are getting some value out of reading the content.

Inbound marketing is an extremely important part of the marketing mix these days, as consumers grow tired of “interruption” marketing. However, this doesn’t mean that traditional outbound marketing is dead. It still serves a very crucial brand building purpose. The best marketing strategy is diverse and includes both types. After all, the success rate of inbound marketing tactics is higher when the user has already heard about the brand via traditional marketing channels.

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