What is inbound marketing?

Typing on laptop closeup, chatting in FacebookFor years, when people thought of marketing, the first things that came to mind were flyers stuck on their windshields and over-the-top sales people pushing products in person or over the phone.

These methods were interruptive and worked hard to push consumers to take a specific action. Over the years, the marketing world, especially in the world of B2B marketing, has shifted to something called “inbound marketing.”

Inbound marketing focuses on building up the brand and creating long-lasting relationships with the consumer. When it comes to inbound marketing, it’s crucial to understand your target audience so that you are providing content that they will appreciate and engage with.

Pull vs push

Inbound marketing relies on pull tactics that draw consumers in naturally rather than pushing them in a certain direction. It communicates on a platform where the audience has given the marketer permission to interact with them, and is a more natural process where consumers observe and make decisions for themselves. Respecting the consumer’s space builds trust — which is important for not only gaining customers in today’s crowded market, but retaining them as well.

Relationship building

Inbound marketing helps shape brand preference for consumers and influences their purchasing habits in the future. For example, think about walking around the mall. Are you more likely to visit a store because someone is standing outside shouting at you about their deals, or because you received an email earlier in the week informing you about their sale? You probably chose the email, right?

People don’t like to feel pressured when making decisions. Inbound marketing takes away some of the pressure from customers. It’s based on building relationships with customers who are actually interested in your product. This organic creation of desire for your product or service is much more lasting than the pushy efforts of some in-your-face outbound marketing. While it’s a big deal to get people to initially buy your product or service, it’s an even bigger deal to make them want to continue purchasing it.

Digital presence

The widespread use of the internet has dramatically shifted the way we market things. Inbound marketing is centered around the use of the internet and is directly related to digital marketing. The audience for inbound marketing typically originates from blogs, search, and social media. 

When using these platforms, your customers may not even realize that you are marketing to them, which allows them to feel like they have more control and gives them confidence when making purchasing decisions. Another great advantage of blogs, search, and social media is that your online audience is much larger. The number of people online is constantly growing, which means that the number of people you can market to is constantly growing as well. In today’s mobile-social world, a strong social media and online presence is key to drawing people into your business.

About Lauren Usrey: Lauren is a student at the University of Texas at Austin and a marketing communications intern at Manzer Communications. She supports clients with social media, blogging and tech PR activities. Manzer Communications has offices in Austin, Denver and Houston and provides digital marketing and PR services for tech companies seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and ad buys, email marketing, and media relations.

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