Inbound Marketing
4 min read

What is Inbound Marketing (+ Free Checklist)

In this post, James Cook, MD of Bound Marketing outlines what inbound marketing is, how it works, and why it is a crucial strategy for businesses to use today.

He also uses his 15 years of experience in the industry to provide some insightful examples, showing what inbound marketing looks like when it's done well. Keep reading to find out more.

Introduction to inbound marketing

What is inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing is a methodology that helps businesses attract strangers and turn them into customers. It is a holistic approach to marketing that encompasses all the ways you can attract strangers and turn them into customers and promoters of your business.

It's a way of thinking about marketing that's focused on attracting customers to you, rather than interrupting them with messages they don't want.

The purpose of inbound marketing is to create valuable marketing content that pulls people toward your product or brand, where they naturally want to be. By matching the marketing content you publish with what your customers want, you create a situation where they are organically drawn toward your product or brand.

In turn, this means you attract prospects that are much more likely to convert, while also building credibility for your business.

What are the stages of inbound marketing?

The inbound marketing method can be broken down into four main stages: attract, engage, convert, and delight.

  1. Attract strangers with your unique value proposition
  2. Engage them with relevant and targeted content
  3. Convert them into leads with calls-to-action and landing pages
  4. Delight them with exceptional customer service to turn them into promoters of your business

The inbound marketing approach is effective because it aligns with the way people make purchasing decisions.

How does inbound marketing differ from outbound marketing?

Inbound marketing is a term that covers a range of marketing activities all designed to bring customers or clients in, rather than going out to them. Inbound marketing covers everything from SEO and content marketing to social media and email marketing.

Outbound marketing, on the other hand, is the more traditional approach where businesses go out and actively try to reach their target market through advertising and other means.

Inbound marketing is often seen as being more effective than outbound marketing because it is more targeted. With inbound marketing, businesses can reach their target market more directly and with less wasted effort.

In addition, inbound marketing is usually less expensive than outbound marketing, making it more attractive to small businesses and startups.

If you're thinking of starting a marketing campaign for your business, it's worth considering an inbound approach. Inbound marketing can help you to reach your target market more effectively, while also saving you time and money.

Is inbound marketing the same as content marketing?

Inbound marketing and content marketing are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. Inbound marketing is a methodology that focuses on attracting customers to your company or product, rather than interrupting them with traditional advertising.

Content marketing is one of the tools you can use to attract customers through inbound marketing.

So, while all inbound marketing uses content marketing, not all content marketing is inbound marketing.

Content marketing can be used to attract customers through various channels, including search engines, social media, email, and more. Inbound marketing aims to get website visitors to convert into leads or customers.

Why use inbound marketing?

People today are inundated with marketing messages from businesses vying for their attention. Inbound marketing allows you to cut through the noise and be there when your potential customers are looking for what you have to offer.

Not only is inbound marketing more effective than traditional marketing approaches, but it's also more efficient. Inbound marketing requires less effort and fewer resources to generate results.

If you're not using inbound marketing to attract and engage potential customers, you're missing out on a huge opportunity to grow your business.

Inbound marketing is even more important than ever before because the way people buy has changed. Nowadays, customers are more likely to do their own research online before they make a purchase, and they're more likely to base their decision on the information they find.

To be successful, businesses need to focus on getting found by their ideal customers, and that's where inbound marketing comes in.

Great Inbound bound marketing examples

Coca Cola

The Coca-Cola ‘Share a Coke’ campaign is a masterclass in attracting customers. In 2014 it uses 250 of the country's most popular names, swapping them out for the traditional Coca-Cola logo on one side of the bottle, the intention is to provide customers with their very own personalised bottles of the popular soft drink.

The effect this campaign has was that people went out to search for bottles of coke with their names on them, or the name of their loved ones.

Additionally, if customers saw a bottle with a meaningful name they were much more likely to buy it than pass it over.

the result of this meant a 7% increase in coca-cola consumption in young adults, as well as over 12 million media impressions.


Another example of highly effective inbound marketing is the music streaming service Spotify. They leveraged an asset they already had - a high amount of data about the music its users like to personalise emails with events and information about individuals' favourite bands, and singers.

Spotify has since gone on to enhance this marketing strategy by running its ‘Wrapped’ campaign every year around Christmas time. The campaign features a dynamic visual presentation of the music that each listener has consumed over the proceeding year, as well as salient facts and statistics about their use.

It is this specific personalisation combined with the entertaining visual medium in which it is displayed that encourages individuals to share their own ‘Wrapped’ summaries on social media, ensuring it goes viral each year.Final Thoughts 

In essence, inbound marketing is all about drawing your customers in so they come to you. To achieve this you have to not only attract them but engage, convert and delight them so they continue to come back time and time again. 

The critical benefit of inbound marketing is that its a much more efficient and so cost-effective way of ensuring you have plenty of people to buy your product.

Indeed, as we can see from the examples, above, done well inbound marketing can be one of the most impactful ways to support business growth. 

Looking to improve your inbound marketing, but not sure where to start? Check out our free 32 enviable inbound marketing examples from companies that are killing it with their campaigns. From social media to email marketing, these examples will show you what's working right now and how you can apply these tactics to your own business.

Download ‘32 Enviable Inbound Marketing Examples', free today.