If you would have asked me six months ago if there was a difference between inbound marketing and internet marketing I would have answered, “No, they are the same thing.” However, after preparing and taking the HubSpot Partner Certification exam and pouring over mountains of HubSpot web data I can emphatically say, “Yes, there’s a HUGE difference.” As businesses become more educated on these differences traditional web design and internet marketing agencies will be at a strategic disadvantage.  Before we look at their differences let’s look at their similarities.

Goals, Strategies & Tactics

Any good marketer knows that successful sustained campaigns start off with defined measurable goals.  Once the goal is decided on a strategy to accomplish this goal can be articulated.  Both internet marketing and inbound marketing are strategies.  These strategies include many of the same tactics as well – social media marketing, search engine optimization, user testing, content marketing, email marketing, search engine marketing, etc.  This is why even seasoned veterans in this business believe inbound marketing is the same as internet marketing.

Bridging the Gap Between Marketing and Sales

Where inbound marketing and internet marketing differ is their approach to lead nurturing, lead scoring, lead categorization, and information flow from marketing to sales and back again.  Internet marketing is merely some culmination of the aforementioned tactics minus the seamless flow of robust lead information between marketing and sales.  Moreover, internet marketers tend to manage multiple online sales funnels at the same time.  

A proper inbound marketing strategy has one sales funnel that exists both online and offline.  In order to accomplish this it is necessary to target your analytics to properly score, categorize and nurture leads.  Unfortunately for most internet marketers, Google Analytics is their statistics package of choice.  The downfall of Google Analytics when performing inbound marketing is that it doesn’t track IP addresses.  Tracking IP addresses are key when identifying and scoring leads.

  • Internet Marketing:  Lead capture, lead generation
  • Inbound Marketing:  Lead capture, lead generation, lead nurturing, lead tracking, lead scoring

Take a good hard look at your online marketing efforts and ask yourself if you are robustly tracking leads or merely aggressively pursuing them.  If lead information is not flowing freely between sales and marketing and you’re not scoring, tracking and categorizing these leads you have an internet marketing campaign and not an inbound marketing campaign.

For more on inbound marketing download this free Inbound Marketing Blue Print.

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