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Inbound marketing: the ultimate guide to attract clients online

Updated: Oct 15, 2021

In this step-by-step inbound marketing guide, you will learn how inbound marketing methodology works and how you can use it to grow your business online by crafting high converting sales and lead generation funnels.

I’ll show you bulletproof inbound marketing examples to increase traffic and convert visitors into high qualified leads.

You will be able to craft a successful multichannel digital marketing strategy to attract customers on a consistent basis and smash the competition by moving their audience onto your platforms.

In addition, I’ll teach you how to shift your funnel-based marketing model to the modern flywheel-based marketing model.

Table of contents

  1. Difference between inbound and outbound marketing;

  2. How to craft an inbound marketing strategy;

  3. Examples of attracting inbound marketing strategies;

  4. Marketing funnel vs inbound marketing flywheel.


Who invented inbound marketing?

The term “inbound marketing” was first mentioned in 2005 by the co-founder and CEO of HubSpot, Brian Halligan.

In a 2007 interview, Brian Halligan revealed what inbound marketing means and why it represents the reason why HubSpot came to life: a full-stack inbound marketing software for marketing, sales and customer service, with a completely free CRM (Customer Relationship Management) at its core.

What is inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing is a process enabling businesses to attract customers on a consistent basis by pulling the demand through relevant content and meaningful experiences.

The Inbound Methodology builds tailored connections with potential buyers and provides solutions to problems that they already have.

The Inbound Methodology
The Inbound Methodology is an inbound marketing process invented by HubSpot to convert visitors into customers and increase their retention. It is formed by 4 phases: attraction, conversion, closing and delighting.

Inbound marketing is founded on all those activities meant to attract and retain consumers like:

  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization);

  • Personalized UX (User Experience);

  • Blogging;

  • Vlogging;

  • Storytelling;

  • Content marketing;

  • Influencer marketing;

  • Social media.

What is outbound marketing?

Outbound marketing is represented by interruptive marketing activities meant to reach potential buyers.

Outbound vs inbound marketing
Outbound marketing is characterized by intrusive and interruptive forms of marketing, like: cold calls, cold emails, interruptive ads and so on. Inbound marketing has a customer-centric approach and aims at SEO (Search Engine Optimization), blogging and attraction.

While inbound marketing is customer-centric, outbound marketing is marketer-centric and it starts from the company towards its audience. It includes traditional and digital forms of marketing, like:

  • TV commercials;

  • Radio ads;

  • Print advertisements (newspaper ads, magazine ads, flyers, brochures, catalogs...);

  • Trade shows;

  • Cold-calling (outbound sales calls);

  • Cold emails (spam);

  • Online intrusive and interruptive advertising (Facebook Ads, Google Ads, video ads and so on).

Is outbound marketing dead?

Outbound marketing is not dead and it can still be effective when done correctly. The best strategy starts with an inbound marketing approach and supports it with outbound marketing activities.

Keep reading and discover how to do it right.


Your objective is to create a marketing system that automatically generates profit over time. It means you need to put in place an ecosystem that attracts visitors and locks them in.

It’s not a stealing if consumers want to stay in your ecosystem by their own will, right?

We can modernize and substitute the traditional Inbound Methodology with a flywheel and divide an inbound marketing strategy into a loop composed of three phases:

  • Attraction;

  • Engagement;

  • Delighting.

The Inbound Marketing Flywheel
The Inbound Marketing Flywheel by HubSpot.

Determine your target audience

An inbound marketing strategy consists of creating a system to attract visitors, but you don’t want to attract just anyone.