Have you heard of inbound marketing? Chances are you know what it is even if you haven’t heard of the term. With the explosion of online marketing, and the concept of content marketing in particular – inbound marketing has become an effective and profitable way to market your business.

The basic idea with inbound marketing is that your prospects and customers find you instead of you having to go find them. In the online world, this usually happens when people discover content you have created that is related to what they are searching for, and it directs them to your website. Once on your site, you want to have them sign up for your list, read your blog, open and read your emails and social media posts, and eventually become a customer or client.

In it’s simplest form, inbound marketing is a three-step process. Step one is to get found, or ATTRACT. This is done by sharing great content in a variety of formats across the web. A critical part of the attract process is that you must have a clear definition of who your target market is and where they hang out online.  This is often referred to as an ideal customer profile. Step two is to get those people into your funnel or CONVERT. For that to happen, your goal is to get them to your site and then have them sign up for your list. This allows you to capture their email address and communicate with them in a consistent, meaningful way. Step three is of course to make offers and get them to spend money with you or CLOSE.  How you do this depends on your business model and your sales process. Inbound marketing works across almost any and all businesses, and works for complex B2B environments as well as transactional businesses.

Although there is a lot to it, the concept of inbound marketing is not that complex. Share relevant and high quality content so prospects can find you. Communicate and build a relationship with them via email and social media. Finally, you move them through the various stages of their buying process, proving your value and earning their trust. It’s a great approach to business that’s a win-win for everyone involved.

The key takeaways are to offer great content and position yourself or your organization as a thought leader. The content needs to be in places where your customers can find it. You must provide excellent customer service and build a strong relationship with your prospects. Finally, you want to continually provide them with relevant offers. Do that, and you will build a stable, consistent lead generation funnel that can fuel your