This is the first chapter in our Inbound Marketer's Handbook, a complete guide to Inbound Marketing for small businesses. Here we introduce you to the topic and describe the purpose and scope of the Handbook.
Inbound Marketing has become one of the hottest topics in the general field of Internet or Online Marketing. We first became aware of Inbound Marketing through Hubspot's videos and blogs on the subject.
The concept is fairly simple. In more traditional "outbound" marketing, you send your customers and potential customers something to read or view, whether they like it or not. Inbound marketing involves inviting these same people to join you in a conversation. Once the conversation heats up and relationships start to form, only then do you ask for their business, or ideally, they ask you first. The analogy most often described is a cocktail party where you introduce yourself, start or join a conversation, and network around. Hopefully after a few drinks, some real business gets done. The question is, how do you get your network, your marketing plan, and the Internet to work together as a virtual cocktail party where new relationships, leads and ultimately customers are created?
We have created this handbook to address this question in detail. The ideas, resources and recommendations herein have been gathered over several months from our own journey into Inbound Marketing, which we have chronicled in our blog, Inbound Marketing Journal. We started from scratch, researching the subject and trying it ourselves. Our goal was to learn and apply our own set of best practices to promote our company, specifically to raise brand awareness and reputation, which would hopefully lead to new business.
We will talk in more detail about strategy, but this document is intended for small businesses and individuals who share our general goal and want to find out how to leverage Inbound Marketing to achieve it.
You should know that this is a huge subject and there are many companies and individuals offering Inbound Marketing and its various components as a service. Our approach is to educate you first, so that you can immerse yourself enough to make an intelligent decision about whether to insource or outsource or ignore Inbound Marketing altogether. We will spend more time on the strategy and tactics than the individual tools, although we will provide plenty of resources for using them. We will assume that you know nothing about Inbound Marketing except that it's a very hot topic in business these days.
We won't try to convince you of the merits of Inbound Marketing here, but at the end of this Introduction we have included some excellent references on the subject. Instead, we will guide you through the path we have taken in adding Inbound Marketing to our own marketing strategy. We will recommend do's and don'ts based on our own experiences as well as research. We will hopefully leave you a little less confused and maybe even hooked on this new approach to marketing. If we have a role to play in your future plans, fair enough. After all, this handbook is in itself a key component of our Inbound Marketing strategy, and we will explain why shortly.
Next Chapter - What is Inbound Marketing?