As a marketing veteran, I sometimes shudder at the jargon and buzzwords that permeate our industry. As technology advances and marketing evolves, new “types” of marketing appear. (Here’s forty that are current considerations).

In addition, there is no shortage of acronyms and marketing-speak in discussing all the strategies, tactics and metrics associated with managing a multi-faceted marketing effort. It can get out of hand, and left unchecked, I have to admit how ridiculous it might sound to someone who does not understand our community’s shared language.

So, what about “inbound?” Is it just another buzzword? What do marketing professionals mean when they talk about inbound? Your social feed is likely littered with articles on inbound strategies, tactics, and tools, but you may still be like many of the business owners I speak with who have no clue what these tips and tricks are really about.

Don’t discount inbound as a passing fad! It is so much more than that. This is a serious challenge to traditional marketing tactics—  and it works.

The History of Inbound

The term “inbound marketing” was coined in 2006 by HubSpot’s co-founder and CEO, Brian Halligan. However, even though Halligan came up with the term, the concept had been around for quite a while.

Seth Godin was probably the biggest and most notable proponent of what would later become known as inbound marketing. He wrote about “permission marketing” in his 1999 book, Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers Into Friends and Friends Into Customers.

Godin defines permission marketing as “the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal, and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.”

This, of course, is the opposite of the “interrupting” style of outbound marketing. Instead of forcing information to show up in front of potential customers, Godin respects the customer’s choice and time. Until someone gives permission to the marketer, a company should focus on building trust and rapport through valuable content.

Inbound Methodology

For the consumer, the buying journey progresses through three core stages:


Similarly, the inbound methodology for marketers focuses on three areas:

Attract>> Engage>>Delight.

Inbound businesses use the methodology to build trust, credibility, and momentum. It’s about adding value at every stage in your customer's journey with you.
  • You attract prospects and customers to your website and blog through relevant and helpful content.
  • Once they arrive, you engage with them using conversational tools like email and chat and by promising continued value.
  • And finally, you delight them by continuing to act as an empathetic advisor and expert.

What is an Inbound Agency?

So, an agency that offers inbound services believes in the inbound methodology and offers services that fall into four general categories.

Traffic Generation

Visibility and awareness are the keys to driving traffic to your website. Components of this phase include website design, content publishing, blogging, social media, SEO, paid search and more.

Lead Generation

Once you've successfully driven traffic to the website, the next step is to separate the casual visitors from the ones with a genuine interest. Providing value in exchange for the consumers’ “permission” to market (aka email address). Thus, lead generation services include content offers, calls-to-action, landing pages, form creation and contact management.

Customer Acquisition

After you've generated leads, you of course want to nurture them and convert them into paying customers. Here you’ll utilize periodic outreach with additional info, meaningful insights into your products or services, offers with email marketing, remarketing, and workflows, and marketing automation.

Additionally, tracking engagement via Customer Relationship Marketing (CRM) and lead scoring can help identify sales opportunities and proper time to reach out and connect, providing the sales team with rich & valuable information to help close sales.

Tracking and Analytics

Another benefit of digital marketing and sales is that it’s all measurable. Tracking, measuring and analyzing data from your marketing efforts helps you make smarter decisions. To grow, business owners need to know what is working and what is not. Data-driven marketing can improve the return on your marketing investment

Although simple in concept, inbound marketing can be overwhelming with the myriad of strategies, tactics, tools, services and technology. Getting help to navigate these complexities is an important step, especially for companies who are just figuring out inbound marketing.

At Revv Partners, our mission is to help small businesses grow. We believe in the inbound philosophy, process, and methodology. We also strive to keep it simple. Our goal is to explain everything to you in a way that you can understand the strategies we are implementing for your company. If you’re interested in learning more about inbound methodology, let’s talk!


Bob Lange

Written by Bob Lange