What is inbound marketing and 4 stages of inbound marketing

Although inbound marketing is said to have existed before the 1900s, Brian Halligan, Hubspot's co-founder and CEO, is credited with officially coining the term in 2005. So, we'll take Hubspot's definition as well to understand more. :

“Inbound is a method to attract, engage and delight people to grow a business that provides value and builds trust. As technology changes, inbound guides an approach to doing business in a humane and helpful way. Inbound is a better way to market, a better way to sell, and a better way to serve your customers. Because when good for the customer means good for the business, your business can grow better in the long run.”

In other words, inbound marketing is focused on engaging customers through content and interactions that are relevant and useful. With inbound marketing, potential customers find you through channels like blogs, search engines, social media, etc. and maintain a natural relationship over time.

Through definition, we can arrive at these key features:

      Attract: We do not pursue the client in the traditional way, the client will come of his own free will.

      Qualified Traffic – Your content needs to target your audience in order to engage, help, and convert.

      Building Loyal Customers – You won't stop there, you will continue to create content that turns users into long-term, loyal customers.

On the other hand, outbound marketing strategies (such as referral marketing, cold calling, etc.) are the traditional way of promoting products and services. Those were the days of newspaper and TV ads, banner ads, pop-ups, which are unexpected ads that fight to grab the audience's attention. Today's shoppers want to control the information they are exposed to, and outbound marketing aims to do the opposite, so inbound marketing is already on customers' minds.

4 stages of inbound marketing

Like any promotional strategy, successful inbound marketing is the result of carefully considered planning. A good way to approach inbound marketing is to look through the lens of these 4 important stages:

1. attract

This is the top of the marketing funnel. It's all about building awareness and brand recognition among key target audiences. The goal is to educate your customers on the solutions you offer. How to do this? Content creation.

At this stage, you need to focus on getting people to your website for the first time. This typically includes a mix of search engine optimization (SEO), content, social media, and paid media.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

With SEO, you need to focus on using keywords properly and sufficiently. SEO focuses on expanding a company's visibility in organic search results.

The basics of SEO are:

      Your URL should always be optimized with each product page, including keywords.

      Keep your page titles short and easy to read.

      The meta description must not be longer than 300 characters and briefly show the content of the page.

      Canonical tags remove duplicate content. This is extremely important for eCommerce websites.

      Image alt text should be specific and relevant to the actual images.

      Link Building is good for promoting your brand and getting your referral business.


The inbound marketing mantra is "Content is King." So how do you create quality content? Things that provide value to their buyers. Which can be blog posts, case studies, videos and more.

      Blogging – Ecommerce blogs are a fantastic way to increase website traffic. Always remember to include a clear path to purchase on your blog, using images and links linked to product pages.

      Guides – Around major shopping holidays, these can be useful for directing people to specific pages on your website where they can easily find what they are looking for.

      Ratings and Reviews – Adding the ability to rate and review products directly on your site gives you benefits in search rankings and visitor trust as well.

      Social Sharing – Engage your social media followers to share your content and posts. Another tactic is to encourage friend referral, which rewards customers when they share your products with their friends via email and on social media.

Other reading:

      Using Instagram for Businesses: Attract Customers with Visual Content

      Facebook Marketing: How To Promote Your Business With Facebook

paid media

      Paid media is a category of online advertising that includes:

      Search engine marketing (paid search engine placements)

      Display advertising (banners on websites)

      Advertising on social networks (ads on Facebook, Twitter, etc.)

      Facebook features lookalike audiences

Display and social media advertising is generally more geared towards expanding brand presence. While Lookalike Audiences helps you very narrowly focus your ad spend and can significantly improve the ROI of your Facebook campaigns.

2. Convert

Convert can have different meanings in different business categories, but here is the definition of starting some kind of relationship with a potential customer. This usually means capturing an email so you can continue to market to them over time. There are also some more interesting ways to get more conversions.


Forms are a good and easy option for lead generation. You can offer immediate value on submit to encourage customers to fill out forms.

Catalog optimization

This is extremely relevant in e-commerce. You can prioritize your best selling products and have a promotion for some low traffic products. Or some high traffic pages may have low conversion rates and vice versa. Be sure to analyze your product offerings so that you can optimize correctly.

Chatbots and conversational marketing

Did you know that between 35% and 50% of sales go to the companies that respond first? Chatbots create instant communication with customers and can add up to a 400% increase in conversions. They are also very popular with millennials and baby boomers.

Welcome Offers

Offer a discount on your first order in exchange for your email address. This allows you to start collecting data about them early in the buying process. The sooner you can capture an email address and link it to a cookie in your browser, the faster you can engage with them in a meaningful way.

3. Close

This is the stage where the sales process takes place. After all, this is what you want in the end. As soon as someone becomes a customer, the nature and depth of their relationship has the potential to change. We say potential because you will not only close a sale, but you will continue to try to close sales with them over and over again. We'll have more to say about that in the Delight section below, but for now, let's explore some of the key tactics for closing sales on your website.

site search

Try including a search button on your website so your customers can proactively find something specific. They are much more likely to buy once they are interested. Monitoring and analysis of what visitors are looking for. Once you understand the needs of your prospects through their searches, you can provide better search results that lead to better sales closing.

Simple checkout and free shipping

This is self explanatory. Make it easy for your customers to purchase the product and pay. The one page checkout extension is available to install on various eCommerce platforms. Many customers love free shipping, so if you can provide it, mention it on all your high-traffic pages, and of course your product pages too!

Cross selling

This refers to selling an existing customer a product or service relevant to what they initially wanted. This can build customer loyalty and lower the price, while improving your profitability. With cross-selling, you always want to enhance the value you offer.

The closing stage is where you make money. So don't forget to track your sales conversions! Ideally, you shouldn't end up with just one sale. Once you've closed a customer once, you want to keep them coming back. It is your ultimate goal with Inbound Marketing.

4. Delight

This final stage is where your ecommerce business not only fulfills an order but exceeds customer expectations. The goal here is to strengthen customer loyalty and encourage that customer to share their experience with their friends and social networks, thus amplifying a company's exposure, reach, and reputation.

This stage is extremely important. Ideally, customers should become your promoters. You kept your promises. And not only that, you exceeded their expectations. So when they buy from you again, they will tell their friends too.


Make sure it stands out. Ask yourself: How can I add a little more love to my packaging? Make opening the box fun, surprising and loving.

Post-purchase follow-up

You can really make a difference by following up with the customer by requesting a product review, sending them a notification when their items have shipped, recommending complementary products, or even special offers. This can go a long way to building loyalty and keeping them coming back.

And if someone has bought from you in the past, but hasn't bought anything in a while, it's probably time to reach out to them. Sometimes just a push is all it takes to get them back.

Special offers

Build brand loyalty. Contact your customers on their birthday and offer a free product or a discount. And don't forget about the holidays!

You should carry out a similar disclosure for almost all holidays: Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, etc. But there are other "special occasions" when you can invite a purchase as well, such as the anniversary of a customer's first purchase. .

The key here is to be fun and engaging, and the great thing about these campaigns is that you can have full automation so that customers receive these emails every time they reach a milestone.

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