Inbound Marketing seems to be the latest buzzword today. If you have a look at job listings, this word is mentioned in many marketing job descriptions. My dad, who is a retired employee had never heard of this inbound thing. ‘Marketing is all about bringing people in, so why do you have to specify that? Is there an outbound marketing as well?’, he asked.

Let me now explain the difference. Outbound marketing is the old-fashioned marketing where you would announce your product to the world and hope that people would think ‘Wow, that’s a great product, I want to have one of that!’ and rush to the store to buy it. TV ads, newspaper ads and direct selling are all outbound marketing techniques.

Inbound marketing is not in-the-face as outbound marketing is. Here, you attract the attention of a prospective customer in a more subtle manner. For example, assume that you want to buy a new mobile phone. In the earlier days, you would look at a full-page ad of the latest Android/iPhone model on the front page of a newspaper, go to a store and ask for that particular model. But now, things have changed. If you want to buy a mobile phone, you will probably open Google (or in rare cases, Bing) and search for something like ‘good mobile phone under ₹15000’. This is where inbound marketing comes into play.

Think of a mobile phone dealer who wants to increase his sales. He now knows that there’s a person who is already looking for a mobile phone, and tries to influence their decision by showing them some good products on the SERP (search engine results page). He doesn’t have to spend huge amounts on airing 20-second TV ads in the middle of a cricket match to viewers who are not interested in buying a mobile phone. He now creates a website and posts a new article every month – explaining about 5 new models of mobile phones under ₹15000, their features, specifications and prices.

The person searching for a mobile phone under ₹15000 sees this website in the search engine results page and clicks that link to visit the website. He then compares the features, prices, clicks some links to see if there are some other models and then zeroes in on the one which he likes the most. At this point, the website displays a message showing a 10% discount on purchases made within 24 hours. The buyer thinks for a while, decides that this is a great deal and adds the phone to his cart! The mobile phone dealer has converted this guy on Google into a buyer!

Of course, it’s not as easy as it seems. How does the mobile phone dealer get his website to page 1 of Google search? That’s where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes into play. You need to have great content on your site to make sure Google shows your page on top of the results. There are a lot of parameters used by Google’s algorithm to determine if your website is the best result for a user’s query. There are also other ways of Inbound Marketing like social media marketing and email marketing and I will be discussing these in my upcoming articles.

I hope this article has been helpful to you. Do post your comments and queries below and I will try to answer them as best as I can!