To understand what inbound marketing is, first we need to understand how it is different than traditional marketing which you could call “outbound marketing”.
Outbound marketing is marketing that reaches the audience when it wants to. It interrupts a person who is thinking about something else at the time. It goes out and taps him on the shoulder and says “hey could you spare a few seconds to let me tell you why you should buy my product?” The hope is that at least a small percentage of the audience really does need or want to receive the information.
Here are just two examples of traditional marketing:
Billboard: Out of the thousands of drivers passing by in a day, how many of them truly care about the message at the moment they are receiving it (if they are receiving it at all)?
Radio/TV advertisements: The viewer wants to get back to the program, but she’s interrupted by a message that probably has no relevance to her at the moment.
So how does “Inbound marketing” reach the customer at just the right moment and actually give her something she wants to receive?
Imagine that you handle inbound marketing for a company called Awesome Toothpaste. Your potential client may go to Google and search for: “What is the best way to brush your teeth?” This potential customer will probably find an article with almost the exact same question in the title. This customer reads the article that explains the best method for brushing teeth. There may be another article suggested that details the best ingredients to look for in a toothpaste. She may also watch a video that shows how to do it and why those ingredients are so effective. The video and the article don’t need to mention Awesome Toothpaste, because guess what website that article and video is hosted on. You guessed it, AwesomeToothpaste.com
Why is this better?
The customer is not interrupted. The customer takes in this information a million times more deeply than a television commercial because this is the right time, the right place and the right message.
People come ask for your marketing message you because you or your company is the expert.
That is inbound marketing in a nutshell.