Inbound Marketing is often defined in terms of what it is not. It is not the old manner of marketing which involves blanket TV, radio or print advertising, advertising hoardings, or similar. This could be called “push-marketing”.
Inbound marketing, on the other hand, is “pull marketing”. It is based on the newer technology of the internet and involves drawing in potential customers who are interested in your product type, by presenting compelling, informative views and information.
At Hubspot  they use an effective diagram when discussing their Inbound Methodology:
The larger text at the top of the diagram denotes the process steps (Attract | Convert etc). The words in circles represent customer states as they progress through the steps, while the tools used in the process are positioned at the bottom of the diagram. The purple line between Promoters and Strangers shows the fact that the stranger, after a good experience, becomes someone who testifies to your company’s value to them.
Now, you don’t want to attract everybody, even if you could. You want to attract those who are most likely to become Leads. You can use a technique called Buyer Persona to narrow down your target clients. The persona embodies demographic information such as age and location, aims, challenges, and often the objections to your type of product. Armed with the persona, you can choose the tools and techniques you will use in attracting people and converting them to customers.
Three techniques to attract visitors are:
SEO. Landings on your web page are mostly from a search done via a search engine such as Google (which is the predominant engine). This is why SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is so important. Keywords, informative content, correct use of so-called meta-tags, and external links, amongst other tactics, are all important.
Blogging. A blog is a great way of spreading information related to your trade or profession. The two major ways blogging can assist you are in attracting Google with the use of keywords; and attracting prospective clients by giving them information they can use.
Social Media, such as Twitter, Pinterest, and particularly Facebook, can be used to channel the interest of potential customers to your primary platform: your website. As with the website, content must be compelling, though of a shorter length. Twitter posts are limited to 140 characters.
The next step is to convert visitors to leads. Your business needs to, at least, collect a contact name with an email address and / or a phone number. But how do you entice them to give that personal data? It must be by giving them information they cherish, perhaps by your fare on the website or by offering an eBook or tip sheets.
Some of the tools you can use for conversion are:
Forms. A visitor must fill out a form and submit their information. Optimize your form to make this step of the conversion process as easy as possible.
Calls-to-Action. Calls-to-action are buttons or links that encourage your visitors to take action, like Download a Whitepaper or Fill in a Contact Form. If you don’t have sufficient calls-to-action or they aren’t enticing enough, you won’t generate leads.
You’ve attracted the right visitors and converted the right leads, but now you need to close the deal and ensure those leads become customers. How can you most effectively carry out this step? Some marketing tools can be used at this stage to ensure you close the deals.
Email. What do you do if a visitor clicks on your call-to-action, fills out a contact form, or downloads your whitepaper, but still isn’t ready to become a customer? A series of emails containing useful, relevant information can build trust with a prospect and help them become more ready to buy.
CRM. Managing your relationships is important. If you ensure you have the right contact details, with notes relating to communications you’ve had with the Lead, you’re ahead. Especially important are notes of spoken or unspoken objections to buying your product.
The challenge in this step is getting customers to become partners. Continuing to provide your best service will ensure clients continue to purchase products or services from you and give you glowing testimonials.
Tools to delight customers are:
Surveys. The best way to figure out what your users want post-sale is by asking them. Use feedback and surveys to ensure you’re providing customers with what they’re looking for into the future.
Updates. Provide your existing customers with remarkable information tailored to their interests and challenges. Help them achieve their goals, as well as introduce new features that might be of interest to them.