WTF Is Inbound Marketing?

Don’t worry, I didn’t know what it was at first either.

I get this all the time.

Especially at dinner parties.

Dinner Party Person: “What do you do? You write blogs? Are you a blogger? Do you just write blogs all the time?”
Me: “I’m in inbound marketing. I work for a super awesome HubSpot Partner Agency.”
Dinner Party Person: “What’s that? Is that a fancy title for a blogger? What’s HubSpot? Is it a blogging site?”
Me: “Blogs are included, but it’s much more than that. And no, HubSpot is not a blogging site.”
Dinner Party Person: “But what is it?”

And I find myself, time and time again, totally sucking at explaining it.

I’m also way better at explaining things in written form than verbally most of the time. Sometimes I think my mind moves too fast for my words to keep up — especially when asked a series of questions about something that I love. My mind just starts to explode with answers that just never come out right.

So, I figured I should take to the written word to fully decipher and explain WTF inbound marketing is.

If not just for those who are constantly wondering and asking me about what I do, but for me to get some sort of cohesive idea down that I can confidentially rattle off over Saturday night vodka martinis.

So let’s set the stage for my new dream “What do you do?” scenario and how I’m going to kill it next time I’m asked:


IIt’s a weekend evening. I’m sitting around a sleek black table with some friends. One friend is there who I haven’t seen in a while.

But she’s seen my Facebook posts.

She knows I have a job. She knows I love it. She knows babies come to visit and that we love dogs. She knows our walls are orange. She even read that cool piece I wrote on How Myspace Led Me to HubSpot because she remembers when I was a Myspace star and thought it was hilarious.

So she does the normal thing and asks me the heavy question that always leaves me stumped:

Innocent Interrogator: “So Dee what exactly do you do now?”

It happened. The question. The small talk-turned-big talk question. Now normally, remember, my mind would start to explode in this really complicated melody of the HubSpot backend, marketing articles, blog posts, books, the color orange, keyword rankings and SERP results. I’d try to explain all of this in one fell swoop, fail miserably, and order another glass of wine.

But not this time.

Not this time!

Me: “I’m in inbound marketing. I work for an agency that specializes in inbound web design and digital marketing.”

I know what’s coming. The follow up question.

Innocent Interrogator: “What’s inbound marketing?”

It never fails.

Me: “Well, there are two types of marketing. Outbound and Inbound. Outbound marketing is basically traditional marketing — it’s when a company goes out and promotes itself in order to gain leads. Methods include television commercials, unsolicited e-mail blasts, cold calls, and print advertisements. It’s not very personalized and can be perceived as pushy and in-your-face to potential customers. Most people are numb to it.
Inbound marketing is the total opposite. Rather than cold-calling customers, inbound marketers find helpful and authentic ways to gain customer trust and loyalty for their clients. They also make it easier for potential customers to find these clients on search engines. By creating quality content including helpful blog posts, eBooks, whitepapers, videos and opt-in email lists, building a community, developing organic SEO and properly nurturing leads, inbound marketers create customers with a foundation of trust and a knack for delighted promotion.”
Innocent Interrogator: “How do you do that?”

I’m going to rock right now. I’m going to explain this in a way that someone can actually grasp. I’m going to inbound market my inbound marketing explanation. I’m going to tie it up in a big red bow. I’m so excited.

Me: “Well think about the last thing you searched for on Google. Maybe you had an issue you needed solved. Maybe your hair dryer crapped out on you and you wanted to search for the best one on the market — so you googled ‘best hair dryer’ — then a page of results came back and you most likely clicked on what? The first result, maybe the second or third. Then you probably poked around on the site. Read a couple articles, checked out some testimonials. Maybe you watched a video about the hair dryer. Right?”
Innocent Interrogator: “Sounds about right!”

Yes. I can see the connection happening.

Me: “Maybe you even checked them out on social media.”
Innocent Interrogator: “Always.”
Me: “Exactly. So my job is to get my clients website found — and to create all of that really cool and helpful content that you read and watched. To grab your interest and keep it. To educate you on the product. And eventually, to turn you in to a happy customer for my client.”
Innocent Interrogator: “That’s cool.”

Yes. Yes it is cool.

Me: “I know right? And aside from all of that content, my job is also to get my clients website, for when you search for ‘best hair dryer’, to the first page of Google… because do you ever really click to the second or third page?”

I know you don’t. Nobody does.

Innocent Interrogator: “No not usually — I look at a few on the first and move on. I can spend a while on a cool site though when checking out a product to make sure I really want to buy it.”

I am killing it.

Me: “Exactly. So by doing exactly that, making a cool website with awesome valuable content, building up a websites SEO to be found easily on search engines and executing all of this in a way that’s genuine, organic and real… that’s inbound marketing.”
Innocent Interrogator: “That’s awesome!”

Whew.

Another cocktail, please.


I am an Inbound Content Developer at Morey Publishing. Learn more about our awesome Long Island ad agency & let’s be creative.