New Breed Expert Guide

What is Inbound Marketing?

Increase Marketing Contribution to Revenue

Inbound marketing is a customer-centric marketing approach that attracts customers to products or services through a combination of content marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) and smart branding.

Compared to more antiquated outbound marketing tactics, inbound marketing offers prospects reciprocal value in exchange for their time and attention by providing relevant, helpful and engaging content to Leads at every stage of their buyer's journey.

How Can You Attract the Right Visitors and Leads?

Inbound marketing is focused on attracting customers by creating helpful and relevant content that leads to meaningful interactions. Potential customers find your brand through channels like search engines, blogs and social media platforms. Using inbound marketing tactics, you can communicate with specific target personas, directly address their needs in relation to your solution and nurture trust and credibility so that, when they're ready to buy, your brand is top of mind.

The inbound marketing approach is built on the ability to track, interpret and understand customer behavior in order to perpetually optimize engagement efforts. It's a scalable and results-driven marketing strategy intended to foster greater customer satisfaction and drive sustainable company growth.

The Inbound Marketing Methodology

Provide Value Before You Ask For Value

Inbound is focused on being human, helpful and holistic. It's not forcing your product into the limelight through pop-up ads, billboards or other intrusive outbound methods — rather, it's about meeting your prospects where they are and providing value when they need it. Ultimately, this leads to happier, more successful customers, longer engagements and better business.

Unlike the traditional marketing funnel, the inbound marketing methodology is represented as a flywheel. The inbound marketing flywheel puts customers at the center of all marketing efforts, and unlike the funnel, which ends at the point of closing, the flywheel continues indefinitely by building, maintaining and continuously improving relationships with customers. It's composed of three stages:


The first stage of inbound marketing is focused on not only attracting visitors to your website, but attracting the right visitors to your website. This stage allows you to find prospects who might already need your product or service and giving them valuable information when, where and how they ask for it. Some tools involved in attracting visitors are:

  • Digital Ads
  • Videos
  • Blogging
  • Social Media
  • Content Strategy


The second stage of inbound marketing is focused on building trust and relationships with your prospects. Once a visitor comes to your website and converts into a lead, it's time to have relevant, timely conversations with them about their goals and challenges. At this stage, you can offer them personalized, targeted content through:

  • Lead Flows
  • Email Nurture Campaigns
  • Conversational Bots
  • Marketing Automation


The final stage of inbound marketing is about offering relevant, memorable content and experiences that will delight your customers and encourage long-lasting brand loyalty. However, it's important to note that the inbound methodology doesn't end here; delighted customers can be marketed to for retention and upsells, starting the cycle all over again. Delight your customers with:

  • Smart Content
  • Email Marketing
  • Conversational Marketing
  • Attribution Reporting
  • Marketing Automation

For a step-by-step guide to developing, executing and optimizing an inbound marketing strategy, download our e-book, "The Ultimate Guide to Inbound Marketing."

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Top 5 Challenges of Inbound Marketing

A comprehensive inbound marketing campaign requires the right mix of people, process and technology. From first-touch to retention and upsells, there's so much for the inbound marketer to consider, analyze and optimize — so it's no surprise than many marketers find inbound challenging. If you're struggling to develop and implement a successful inbound marketing strategy, you're not alone. Here are some of the most challenges we see.

1. Your sales and marketing teams work in silos.

Traditionally, marketers and sales representatives don't cross paths often — but this is a major problem. Misalignment and miscommunication between the sales and marketing teams prevent marketers from attracting high-quality visitors and leads and sales reps from closing deals. For a successful inbound marketing campaign, sales and marketing teams need to be aligned on lifecycle stages, revenue goals and personas. If you find your sales and marketing teams constantly bickering, getting them in the same room to discuss their goals, plans and challenges is the first step to a harmonious revenue team that drives results.

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2. You don't have the time or resources to create enough good content.

This is one of the most common challenges we see with inbound marketing. Content is the bread and butter of your inbound campaign, and without it, your inbound strategy is likely to fall short. But the content development process is often too cumbersome for one marketer alone. If you have a small team or limited resources, outsourcing content development, recycling existing content and optimizing your social sharing strategy can be great ways to stretch the bandwidth of your team and get the most out of your inbound campaign.

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3. Your blog isn't attracting web visitors.

No visitors, no leads. If nobody is ever reaching your website, it doesn't matter that your content is relevant or your website is optimized for conversions. If visitors aren't landing on your blog, you could have an issue with your content strategy, SEO strategy, social sharing strategy or persona development.

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4. Your visitors aren't converting into leads.

Maybe you have killer content that's attracting tons of visitors, but none of them are converting into leads. Without leads, you can't engage prospects with your inbound campaigns. If your visitors aren't converting into leads, you may have issues with your conversion strategy, premium content offers, or persona development. If the content you're developing isn't helpful, high-quality or relevant to your personas, they won't be compelled to convert on forms.

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5. You're not tracking and measuring marketing attribution.

Without comprehensive, accurate data and analytics, you won't be able to measure the success of your inbound strategy. To accurately track and measure the impact of marketing efforts, you'll need the right marketing automation and analytics software. With data-driven insight into what's working and what isn't, you'll be able to not only optimize your strategy for the future, but also prove the value of your marketing efforts to your executive team.

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Key Elements of a Successful Inbound Marketing Strategy

Attract, Engage and Delight

Inbound has many moving parts, but once you've learned to juggle them all effectively, you can use it drive powerful results for your business. Here are some key tactics for attracting, engaging and delighting your customers the inbound way. 


Successful, data-driven inbound marketing requires forming your strategy with concrete goals in mind. By setting sales and marketing goals and then aligning those goals with your buyer's needs, you can develop a more focused inbound strategy.

However, setting and achieving goals isn't always an easy process. The goals you set should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. These are known as "SMART goals," and they help marketers develop true, actionable plans for seeing their dreams to fruition. If your goals are too general, difficult to track or impossible to reach, they won't do anything to help motivate your team.

Having trouble defining your marketing goals for each stage of the sales and marketing funnel? Download our Marketing Goals Calculator Template to work backwards from your revenue goals for more accurate quotas.

Persona Development & Buyer's Journey Alignment

Because inbound is all about being helpful, personalized and contextually relevant, successful inbound marketing begins with buyer personas. Consult your sales and marketing teams and conduct some outside research to understand who your ideal customers are, what their goals are, what their main challenges are, how your solutions solve for their challenges and which messages would resonate most with them.

Once you've developed three to four primary personas, combine external research and current customer data to understand the buyer's journey for each. Ask yourself: What content would be most helpful to my personas at each stage in their buyer's journey? What content is so valuable that they'd be willing to share their personal information in order to reach it? Use this insight to inform and optimize all of your other inbound marketing tactics.

Aligning your marketing and sales departments is key to developing accurate, comprehensive personas. Download our white paper, "Unify Your Marketing + Sales Teams Today" to learn how to bring these teams together.


Attracting high-fit leads in the first stage of inbound marketing requires fully-optimized on-page SEO, a killer keyword strategy and — when appropriate for your personas and your business — paid search advertising. Once you've developed optimal buyer personas, you can begin determining the key search terms that your personas will use when searching for solutions to their problems.

Use these terms to optimize your on-page SEO from the title to the metadata, create topic pillar pages to build your domain authority, develop an SEM strategy that will put the right ads in front of the right people and continue to audit, update and optimize your content for the best results. Remember, Google now understands the context search terms, so an effective SEO/SEM strategy takes into consideration a searcher's intent.

Ready to optimize your content and attract more high-fit leads to your website? Download "The Ultimate SEO Checklist" to learn how.

Strategic Content Development

If you've poked around the inbound marketing community for any amount of time, then you've probably encountered the phrase "content is king" — and it's true. From video and blogs to checklists and emails, content may be the single most important component of your marketing endeavor, so it's important to get it right.

Revisit your buyer personas. What information are they looking for? What content would they find helpful? How would they prefer to consume that content? Create or repurpose genuine, relevant and informative content with the goal of educating your prospects and giving them the tools they need to make informed decisions.

Ready to take content marketing to the next level? Download our guide, "Why Content? A Comprehensive Guide to Content Marketing" to learn more.

Email Nurture Strategy

After a prospect has subscribed to your blog or converted on a premium content offer, email is a quick and easy tool to engage those prospects and delight them as customers. If that weren't enough, re-engagement campaigns can revive interest in your brand if a prospect has fallen away, and blast emails are a great way to announce product updates and other new offers to your existing customers.

However, most people get dozens, even hundreds of marketing emails every day. To ensure your email avoids the spam folder and stands out from the competition, the content of your email needs to be helpful, engaging and contextually relevant to the people you're sending it to. Segment your contact list based on persona, and send each segment targeted, conversion-optimized content to keep your brand top-of-mind and continue to nurture them until they're ready to talk to sales.

Email is a powerful channel for engaging with inbound leads. Download our Email Best Practices Checklist to learn how to create an effective email marketing campaign.

Conversion Optimization

With an in-depth understanding of your ideal customers, an abundance of content that educates your prospects and builds brand equity and an SEO strategy that attracts quality visitors to your website, you're well on your way to attracting, engaging and delighting leads. However, you still need to optimize your website to drive conversions.

Using a data-driven approach, determine the most effective conversion pathways for each of your primary personas. These pathways will start with relevant, ungated top-of-the-funnel content, lead into premium content offers via compelling calls-to-action and end with landing page forms and delivery of the offer. By optimizing your website for conversions, your prospects will be able to navigate the buyer's journey without any additional input from you.

Conversion Optimization gives your website the power to sell for you. Download our guide to learn how to turn your website into a lead generation machine.

Sales Support and Enablement

Traditionally, a marketer's job ends as soon as they pass leads over to sales — not anymore. The modern inbound marketer works closely with the sales team to align lifecycle stages, offer support and develop a holistic strategy for closing more deals and retaining more successful customers.

Make sure that your sales and marketing teams are aligned on lifecycle definitions, and meet regularly to discuss any ideas or challenges that come up. Using the lead information you've gathered in forms, market to leads in your pipeline with relevant and personalized content. Create sales enablement content, such as case studies, demo videos and assessments to help your sales reps convey the value of your product or service.

Successfully generating demand for your business requires an optimized sales strategy as well. Download our guide, "The Complete Guide to Inbound Sales" to learn more.

Inbound Marketing Tools

Smart Tech to Support Your Strategy

Inbound marketing is a powerful way to grow your business — but you can't execute a successful, holistic inbound strategy without the right technology. From drawing customers into your website, engaging them in relevant conversations and measuring the impact of your marketing efforts, these tools will help you implement an inbound strategy the right way.

Content Management System (CMS)

A CMS allows you to easily create, edit, manage and track the success of the content on your website, including blog posts, landing pages, site pages and email campaigns. By removing the design elements and technical skills required to upload blog posts and other content assets to your website, you empower your marketers to write, optimize and track all content on their own in one central place.

We use HubSpot's integrated CMS solution to streamline our content development process. Learn more about HubSpot's CMS in our cheat sheet. DOWNLOAD THE CHEAT SHEET.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System

A CRM system is where you store all of the information captured when a prospect fills out a form and converts on one of your gated content offers. Without an effective CRM, it would be next to impossible for your sales and marketing teams to organize contacts, qualify leads and nurture prospects into a sale.

New Breed favors HubSpot's CRM system for its flexibility, scalability and ease of use. Learn more about the HubSpot CRM in our insider's guide to the HubSpot Growth Stack. DOWNLOAD THE GUIDE.

Marketing Automation Software

Like its name suggests, marketing automation software is used to automate certain marketing activities. Typically, marketing automation software automates your email process for you by triggering specific email nurture campaigns based on a prospect's behavior on your website — although some platforms are much more robust. As your business grows, marketing automation software is key to stretching your resources and making the most of your marketing efforts.

Marketing automation software can make your life so much easier, but only if it's a good fit for your company's needs. Find out if it's time to switch in our webinar, "It's Not You, It's Me: When to Break Up with Your Marketing Automation Software." WATCH THE WEBINAR.

Analytics Tools

You should never just publish your content and forget about it. Use data analytics to understand which keywords attract the right visitors to your website, what content has the highest engagement levels and which content offers are driving leads. With this insight, you can optimize your current content and develop better content in the future. Rather than embedding a code into your blog and connecting that to a separate analytics tracking tool, you can use the HubSpot platform for an all-in-one content management and data analytics tool.

The HubSpot platform allows you to host, edit, share and track all of your content in one place. Watch our webinar to learn more about HubSpot's various marketing tools. WATCH THE WEBINAR.


Proven, Predictable, Data-Powered Results

New Breed's inbound marketing services are driven by the same full-funnel, data-led approach that drives the rest of our business. Working closely with our inbound strategists, our clients have developed successful inbound marketing strategies that ultimately track to their pipeline contribution and revenue goals.


Bigcommerce offers an e-commerce platform that enables fast-growing businesses to launch professional online stores. When they came to New Breed, they were looking for support in setting up an analytics platform that would allow them to measure free-trial-to-paid conversion rates. We worked with them to establish key metrics, identify their ideal personas and implement an inbound growth strategy based on the insights we pulled from their data. Together, we were able to increase free-trial-to-paid conversion rates by 14 percent and boost predictable revenue. Click here to learn more about Bigcommerce's growth with New Breed's inbound marketing team.

BLUE Software

BLUE Software is the leading provider of Label and Artwork Management solutions for marketing, consumer brands, retail, and life sciences companies. When they came to New Breed, they were struggling to generate leads and they didn't have the strategic direction they needed to fill their funnel with high-quality leads. We helped them identify their target personas, develop a form strategy to identify those personas, automate the lead hand-off process, develop SEO-optimized content, increase conversion opportunities on their website and more. Throughout our engagement, we were able to increase their lead-to-MQL rate by 65 percent, well above the industry benchmark. Click here to learn more about BLUE Software's growth with New Breed's inbound marketing team.


Kalibrate offers a fuel and convenience analytics platform and strategic consulting all around the world. When they came to New Breed, the marketing team at Kalibrate was struggling to identify their ideal prospects and develop inbound content with limited resources. We helped Kalibrate establish buyer personas, develop content to target those personas and amplify that content with SEO, SEM and conversion optimization. While working with us, Kalibrate has seen 72 percent growth in leads generated, 90 percent of which are qualified. Click here to read more about Kalibrate's growth with New Breed's inbound marketing team.


Accelerate Your Growth With New Breed

New Breed can help you attract and engage more, higher-quality leads to grow your business. Our Inbound Marketing services include our Growth Acceleration Workshop, Sales-Ready Website development, content development, search engine optimization and more. Download our services booklet to learn more about how New Breed can help you generate demand for your business.

Assess Your Current Inbound Strategy

We can help you identify gaps in your inbound marketing strategy and provide recommendations for attracting, engaging and delighting more, higher-fit leads.

Content Audit

Maybe you already have a wealth of inbound content at your disposal — but are you maximizing its worth in your inbound marketing strategy? Our content audit will help you understand if you're speaking to your personas, mapping your content to the buyer's journey and optimizing your content for maximum value to your business. Learn more about how our content audit can help you identify gaps in your inbound marketing strategy and create high-quality content that converts.

SEO Audit

If you're not attracting visitors to your website — or you seem to be attracting all the wrong visitors — your problem could lie in your SEO strategy. Our SEO audit will comb through your blog and website to uncover technical SEO errors, discover quick wins and provide actionable recommendations for optimizing your SEO strategy, targeting keywords that speak to your personas and amplifying your inbound plan. Learn more about how our SEO audit can help you enhance your inbound marketing strategy through organic growth.

Set the Foundation for Inbound Marketing Success

The first step to effective inbound marketing is gaining a deep understanding of your buyer personas, developing a website that has the power to convert and properly configuring your marketing automation tools. Our foundational services can set you up with these inbound marketing basics.

Growth Acceleration Workshop

An effective inbound marketing strategy begins with fully-developed buyer personas, a roadmap for each persona's buyer's journey and clear metrics to track your success. In our Growth Acceleration Workshop, we bring together your sales and marketing teams to discuss your goals and challenges, gain organizational consensus on your ideal customer profiles and develop a plan for generating demand and scaling your business. Learn more about how our Growth Acceleration Workshop can set you up for inbound marketing success.

Sales-Ready Website

To generate more qualified leads, your website needs to be more than a standard digital brochure — it needs to be fully optimized to drive conversions and generate leads. Our Sales-Ready Website redesign process helps you develop a persona-driven architecture that encourages web visitors through conversion paths and puts them in front of the content most relevant to them. Learn more about how our Sales-Ready Website can transform your website into a successful inbound machine.

Inbound Readiness

Successfully attracting visitors, engaging leads and delighting customers requires the operational infrastructure that can support your strategy. During the Inbound Readiness program, our team of experts will configure your marketing operations and platforms to ensure a successful execution of your sales and marketing strategy. Learn more about how our Inbound Readiness program can give you the backend operational functionality you need to successfully execute your inbound plan.

Develop a Strategic Inbound Plan with New Breed

Our premier services can help you create powerful and comprehensive inbound marketing initiatives that work well with your ongoing strategies and programs.

Inbound Premier Services

We pride ourselves on our expertise in inbound marketing. Our Inbound Strategists will work with you to define your goals and KPIs, grow your marketing efforts and create search engine optimized content that will drive results and help you hit your revenue goals. Using your buyer personas, the team emphasizes the continual process of speaking directly to your target in a way that moves your prospects through the funnel and grows your business. Learn more about how we can help you develop an inbound marketing plan that drives results for your business.

Content Premier Services

Content helps you attract high-quality traffic, engage leads and create long-term brand evangelists. Working closely with our Inbound and SEO Strategists, our Content Strategists will work with you to create a content plan that will speak to your personas, guide your prospects through conversion paths, encourage visitors to convert into leads and ultimately track to your pipeline contribution and revenue goals. By taking a journalistic approach to content creation, we combine your unique insight and industry knowledge with our content expertise to create fresh, never-before-seen content that builds trust with your prospects and customers. Learn more about how we can help you produce high-quality content that helps you drive revenue and grow your business.

SEO Premier Services

Connecting with your prospects begins with a Google search. Working closely with our Inbound and Content Strategists, our SEO Strategists will work with you to develop editorial topics that focus on keywords relevant to your personas, increase your search visibility and attract more of the right traffic to your website. With an effective and ongoing SEO strategy, you can optimize your content to attract high-quality visitors and drive conversions. Learn more about how we can help you develop an SEO strategy to attract and engage more leads.

Ready to transform your current marketing + sales teams?  Request a free assessment and get started today. Free Consultation