In inbound marketing the communication is interactive or two ways. The purpose is to actively engage visitors, gain their interest and convert them into customers. It is done through mediums like blogs, videos, eBooks, SEO, info graphics, podcasting, webinars, seminars, discussion on forums, social media platform etc.
Below is the Inbound Marketing methodology (Hubspot adapted illustration1):
Strangers: There are people out there who need the product/service
Attract: The purpose is to get founded by people who are in search of the product and services.
Visitors: Once the strangers are attracted they will view the content and become visitors of the website/blog/facebook page/youtube video etc.
Convert: The landing page must have some CTA to prompt customer to take some immediate action. It can be call now or contact now or mail now for free coupon, discount for limited period, limited period offer, limited stock etc.
Leads: As the customers respond to CTA they get converted into leads. Next step is to close the deal.
Close: Try to track sales lead and close the deal. This can be carried out by CRM integration, emails, sales interaction etc.
Customers: Once people buy product/service, they become customers. Next step is customer retention, it serves two purposes, getting customer loyalty and turning them into brand advocates.
Promotion: These loyal customers then advocate the brand and help in promotion through Word of mouth, Influence marketing etc
There are companies who provide products/tools for automating inbound marketing, example: Hubspot, Infusion Soft, Act-On, Genius, Loop Fuse etc. They provide blog/content management system, landing pages with lead capture forms, lead nurturing through auto responders, email marketing for the lead generated, social media updates and monitoring the activity on social media, SEO tools and optimization etc.