Inbound Marketing has been around for a while, it's just been called different things. Content marketing, SEO, email campaigns, and more are all part of the inbound marketing methodology and are commonly known in the web world.
(Photo courtesy of Hubspot)
The first step in the process is to attract your customers by creating great content that is shared and passed around through social media. We do this by creating blogs that are about topics that your customers are searching for online. For example if you are a plumber you might create blog topics about what to do if you have a leak in your pipes. These can be targeted to your buyer personas if you have developed those and keyword research is good for finding good topics that have associated traffic.
Once someone has been attracted to the website then we need to convert those visitors to leads. We do this by creating landing pages and forms on the website. We have a call to action on every page that links to something that has value to the visitor. We create offers that we give in exchange for some personal information like and email address. We can use this information to nurture the lead down the sales funnel.
The next step once you have a lead is to close as a customers. We do this by email marketing and social media nurturing. Listening to your leads on Twitter, Facebook, or other social media channels helps this process.
Your customers love you and you want to keep delighting them with continuous support and keep them updated with new opportunities. This also feeds back to the top of the sales funnel with referrals and recommendations.
Most websites today don't have all the necessary pieces put together correctly or if they do aren't optimized. This process is designed to nurture visitors along the sales funnel toward being a customer. Unless all the pieces are put together correctly the funnel will be broken and won't generate any leads.