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what is Inbound Marketing?

Learn Everything You Need To Know About Inbound Marketing

What Is Inbound Marketing? Is It Better Than Traditional Marketing?

Inbound marketing is a marketing methodology that is designed to attract visitors and potential customers in, rather than outwardly pushing a brand, product or service onto prospects in the hope of generating leads or customers.

In terms of digital marketing, this means using a combination of marketing channels – most typically SEO, content marketing, and social media – in creative ways to attract customer’s attention. The goal of a successful inbound marketing campaign is to increase reach, and drive quality traffic, engagement and conversions using ‘earned’ and ‘owned’ media.

Inbound marketing software provider, HubSpot, coined the phrase ‘inbound marketing’.  HubSpot defines inbound marketing as the process of attracting, converting, closing and delighting customers. Through using different types of content at the different stages of the buying cycle, the ‘inbound methodology’ is “the best way to turn strangers into customers and promoters of your business.”

There are 4 pillars of inbound marketing that are critical when you are talking about inbound marketing:  Attract, Convert, Close & Delight.  

We will explain each of these in more detail: 

  • Attract: Attracting customers is the first pillar in the inbound marketing methodology. At this initial marketing stage, the customer is provided with the right content, at the right place, and at the right time through search engine optimization and social media marketing.
  • Convert:  Once the right visitors have been attracted to the site, the goal is to convert them into leads through obtaining their contact information on a landing page. In order to receive this valuable information, the remarkable content they need at that very moment is offered to them. This helps give them the information they are looking for, while providing you, the marketer, with their contact information to effectively market to them.
  • Close: The closing stage is where leads are transformed into customers. At this later marketing stage, specific marketing tools such as marketing automation, lead nurturing, and social media monitoring are utilized to ensure that the correct leads are closed at the perfect time. 
  • Delight: Inbound marketing revolves around providing outstanding content to both your leads and your customers. This means that even after a lead is closed, they still must be engaged through dynamic content, social media, and trigger marketing. The goal of delighting the customers is both being able to solve their issues, and turn them into promoters of your business.  



Inbound marketing concentrates on drawing potential customers in, while outbound marketing is about outwardly pushing a business’s offering. Inbound marketing is about earning attention, while outbound typically involves buying it.

Inbound Marketing: Owned And Earned Media

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Inbound marketing uses owned and earned media to engage potential customers in creative ways.

  • Owned media are those channels that a business has control over. For example, your website, blog, brand social media profiles, and YouTube channel. You choose what to publish, how to publish it, and when.
  • Earned media is the exposure you earn as a result your hard work. Offline, this includes traditional coverage in newspapers and magazines. Online, it’s coverage on news sites often gained through digital PR, but includes mentions on social media, use of a campaign hashtag, conversations in online forums, and online reviews.
You have less control over earned media, but it should be a reward for the work you’ve put into your inbound marketing campaign and works wonders for you rankings online also. Inbound marketing charlotte based RiseFuel has expertise in both owned and earned media.


Outbound Marketing: Paid Advertising & PPC

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Outbound marketing is typically associated with paid media or paid advertising. This could be traditional offline advertising, PPC and display advertising, or paid email services.

Paid media also includes social media advertising, for example Facebook advertising or LinkedIn ads, or Google Adwords.

Although typically associated with outbound marketing, social media advertising is often an effective way to boost the performance of inbound marketing campaigns. 

Advertising on Facebook, for example, allows you to promote your content and campaign to your target audience, no matter how niche it might be. This can be an effective ROI strategy to integrate into your marketing strategy.




Reach the Right Audience in the Right Place to Generate Quality Traffic

By focusing your inbound marketing work on reaching the right audiences in the right places, you can attract your target customers in order to meet your digital marketing objectives.

This is instead of spending money attracting traffic from people who are unlikely to ever convert or may not be interested in what you are offering.


Increase Trust, and Assistance

Inbound marketing is all about giving potential customers the information they are looking for – even if they don’t know it – in a creative and engaging way. It’s not about pushing unwanted sales at every opportunity. Present your brand as a useful and reliable resource, the hope is they’ll come to you when the time to purchase does arise.

Protect Yourself From Over-Reliance on One Channel

By pursuing quality traffic from various sources – organic search, social media referrals, affiliate marketing, and referrals from other websites talking about your awesome work – you reduce the reliance on one channel alone, and therefore the associated risk.


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Measurement (Defining ROI)

Measuring the impact of inbound marketing work in a way that demonstrates understandable ROI has always been a tricky one. The key is to be clear from the beginning.

It may be that you can’t track the number of leads generated as a direct result of your campaign, but you can track how many downloads your resource has had, the average duration people watched your video for, how many new social media followers you gained, etc.

When you’re planning your campaign, be clear about what it is you’re trying to achieve and measure that appropriately and honestly.

That way, everyone’s expectations are set – and therefore, are more likely to be met. 

Long-term Marketing Strategy

Successful inbound marketing campaigns don’t happen overnight. They take time to plan, implement and refine. It can be labour-intensive too – you might need content creators, designers, developers, outreach specialists, social media marketers and a campaign manager to even get the thing off the ground.

That said, if you put your time and effort into the right evergreen campaign, you should have something that continues to provide value for the foreseeable future. Utilizing the HubSpot Growth Stack along with RiseFuel makes implementing, managing, and succeeding in your marketing much easier and effective.

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Some Great Examples of Inbound Marketing

  • Content or Resource hubs offering how-to video guides and related product information

  • User-generated content and social media campaigns, such as photography competitions or review collation

  • Interactive online content pieces created in partnership with related business to increase promotional opportunities 

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Inbound Marketing Strategies Include:

Analysis & Adjust Always

One thing you need to remember about inbound marketing, is the importance of tracking performance and adjusting your approach accordingly.

This is where testing comes in  – discover what messaging, types of relevant content, imagery, landing pages, and calls to action etc. is working best for your target audience and make sure you institute these on a permanent basis, and in your campaign's moving forward..

For Inbound Marketing in Charlotte or Inbound Marketing across the United States, RiseFuel can help you grow leads, increase traffic, and scale revenue.

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