Digital TransformationMarketing

Inbound marketing: Definition and Strategy

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know on how to create a successful inbound marketing strategy. This includes the exact definition, the difference between inbound and outbound marketing, and 5 different proven and tested strategies you can use to start attracting customers like a magnet. 

What is inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing is a strategic approach to creating valuable and relevant content for your target audience with the goal of fostering long-term customer relationships. What sets this type of marketing apart from traditional marketing is that it usually takes place online. Potential customers are always looking on the Internet for solutions to their problems. In fact, 81% of retail shoppers conduct online research before buying. Companies that focus on consistently providing high-quality content – aligned with customer needs – may see an increase in repeat visits and user engagement. 

The type of marketing involves other engagement marketing forms in order to attract customers:

  • Content marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Event marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Blog post

Why is it important?

Inbound marketing can benefit your business in several ways. Attracting new customers organically will be easier and existing customers will stick with you for much longer. This saves time because you don’t have to chase potential buyers and money because acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer.

On the customer side, they will gain value as soon as they engage with your content. When your customers find your company this way, it has a stronger influence on their future marketing decisions and their feelings toward your business in general. What’s better is inbound marketing tends to generate more organic leads, so it relies more on strategy than on budget. 

Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing

While both marketing strategies aim to drive business and create long-term customers, their methods of attracting their target audience are different. Inbound marketing tends to provide sustainable organic reach. It focuses on offering valuable content to attract the target audience and convert them into customers. While outbound marketing focuses on reaching as many people as possible with non-targeted content to promote products or services. 

The 4 Stages of Inbound Marketing

Understanding the four stages of inbound marketing will help you decide what marketing strategy will best fit your needs. The four stages of inbound marketing include: attract, convert, delight, and engage.


The first stage of inbound marketing involves attracting your target audience to your brand. You can reach and attract your audience to your website by creating valuable content, like blog posts, content offers, and social media. Before creating content, you should do keyword research to see what your target audience is looking for and implement search engine optimization (SEO) in order to get discovered.

In addition to website content, a strong social media presence can help you rank higher in Google search and be more visible in your target audience’s social media feed.


When traffic lands on your website, the second phase automatically starts. Since 92% of visitors won’t buy the first time they land on your website, you have to make the most of their visit to your platform. Your landing pages should be specifically designed to direct the clients to other pages on your sites and prompt them to take action. Converting this traffic can be done in the following ways:

  • Sign-up forms
  • Effective calls to action (CTAs)
  • Incentivize subscribers to sign up to your newsletter


Now it’s time to build relationships with your newly generated leads and close the deal. Using customer relationship management (CRM) software will give you the ability to:

  • Capture and store leads in a safe and secure manner.
  • Analyze the purchase history and other information the audience provides to gain valuable insights.

It is important to note that once a visitor has your product or service in their shopping cart, the purchase doesn’t always go through. Sometimes they get distracted or abandon their online shopping cart for various reasons and fail to purchase the product. Therefore, you should study customer behavior on your website to identify opportunities for improvement. 


During the delight phase of the inbound marketing strategy, you reward customers for their purchases. 

Inbound marketing aims not to win a single customer transaction, but to build long-term customers by providing a long-term customer experience. This includes:

  • Strong product quality that meets or exceeds customer expectations.
  • Reliable customer service that boosts a positive customer experience.
  • Continuous engagement with customers through multi-channels

5 Winning Inbound Marketing Strategies

Here are five inbound marketing strategies you can use to attract customers like a magnet.

Research and get to know your customers

Just like starting a campaign, the first step in developing effective inbound marketing strategies for your business is to understand your customers. One of the most important things in inbound marketing is how to identify your target market’s sentiment and challenges, and how your business can help them overcome them. 

You can first segment your customer into prominent groups based on their buying behaviors and demographics so you can market to each group more effectively. These customer segmentation groups can also be used to begin discussions of building a marketing persona. 

The marketing “persona” is by definition a personification of a customer segment, and it is not uncommon for businesses to create several personas to match their different customer segments.

When crafting personas, you can take into account the following factors:

  • Who they are
  • What they do
  • What they want
  • What challenges they face

Effectively segmenting your target audience will also help you come up with a suitable strategy on how to turn them into your brand advocates, who will market your products and services to other shoppers. 

Content marketing

Content marketing is a marketing strategy used to attract, engage, and retain an audience by creating and sharing relevant articles, videos, podcasts, and other media. The main benefit is that content marketing generates over 3x as many leads as outbound marketing and costs 62% less.

Using valuable content is an effective way to introduce your brand to potential customers. Your content will provide a valuable bridge between their interests and the products and services you have to offer. Among the different types of content marketing are newsletters, podcasts, social media posts, and videos. 

Spotify launches every year a successful content marketing campaign focused on user-generated content. Near the end of every year, Spotify users get a fun roundup of all the music they’ve listened to that year. The roundup is broken down into genres, years, artists, and more, and is displayed with brightly colored graphics. Users have the option to share their Spotify Wrapped playlists on social media. This is a key element because it has made the campaign trend on social media every year since its inception.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website or a web page from search engines.

Most potential buyers (81%) conduct research before they buy products or services.The moment  these potential buyers use a specific keyword that is also displayed on your website, then your page may appear in their searches on the Google search platform. 

The probability that the potential buyer actually lands on your website depends on your rank within the search engine. For instance, if your website is SEO optimized and you appear in the top 3 of the keywords search results, then there is a +10X more chance that this traffic will land on your website compared to the 10th place.

Elevate your organic social media presence

While traditional marketing uses paid advertising to reach out and communicate with as many potential customers. Elevating your social media presence can be a straightforward and cost-effective method to build trust and engage with your target audience. 

Even small business owners who do not have a formal advertising budget can use social media to their advantage. It doesn’t cost anything to create a profile on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and Snapchat. However, it is a long-term strategy that takes perseverance to cut through the sea of voices and bring awareness to your products. To do this, a company’s social media profile should:

  1. Provide interesting, relevant content like videos and photo collages
  2. Network with other pages for cross-promotion
  3. Engage in online discussion via comment threads
  4. Reply to private message inquiries from other users

Offer email content to boost engagement and conversion

Sharing content through email to engage with your audience is considered a powerful way to establish long-term relationships. Email marketing and advertising can influence the buying decision of customers up to 50.7%. Email is used primarily for lead generation (85%), sales (84%), lead nurturing (78%), and customer retention (74%).

You can utilize this approach by collecting email addresses from potential customers first and then sending them relevant updates periodically. These updates can contain various types of content, like product announcements, sales launches, and other valuable (non-sales related) content.

Key Takeaways

The genius of inbound marketing is that by creating one, you can reach a wider audience with valuable content. Despite the hard work involved in inbound marketing, your content and search engine optimization can pay off for years to come.

Inbound marketing: Definition and Strategy

  • The secret to a successful inbound marketing strategy is providing the solution that your target audience is searching for by providing valuable content focussed on these needs.
  • There are four stages involved in inbound marketing: attract, convert, close, and delight.
  • Both marketing strategies aim to provide long-term customers, while the main difference is in their approach in attracting these.
  • Use the 5 inbound marketing strategies shared in this article to attract customers like a magnet.

If you find this article helpful, check out our blogs and articles on how to create a digital transformation in your business so you can thrive in the internet era.


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