What Is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound Marketing is the process of earning the interest of visitors and customers rather than buying it. Unlike paid advertising, the cost of distribution of inbound marketing tends to zero since the visitors and customers share it instead because they believe it's worth sharing. It's earned attention.
Inbound encompasses anything and everything marketers do organically to attract attention, but most commonly refers to the channels of:
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) - making web pages accessible, conducting keyword research and optimizing web content to better appear in major search engines such as Google, Bing, Baidu and Yandex
Social Media Marketing - participating and contributing to networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube and the long tail of social sites, blog communities and discussion forums on the web in such a way that earns the attention of a relevant audience.
Content Marketing - creating and promoting web content in any form (blogs, videos, presentations, infographics, photography, etc) to earn awareness, traffic, branding and mindshare.
CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) - the practice of iterative improvements and tests to build a better marketing funnel promoting use of your ideas, products or services.
These topics, along with many others, are the focus of stories submitted to Inbound.org.
Is Inbound Marketing free?
Short answer, no. Time and money goes into creating great content can amount to something significant, but the beauty of inbound marketing is the it becomes very cost-effective when it gets to scale since one piece of content can be infinitely shared and viewed at no cost to the creator. It's earned attention.