Inbound is slow, but steady

SEO, organic social or content marketing are inbound channels, where people come to you. Inbound traffic converts (much) better than outbound, because those leads know and trust you already. Inbound channels tend to compound slowly, but steadily. They are attractive if you can afford to be patient, and don't need to grow 30% MoM. Needless to say, inbound marketing helps you build a stronger brand over time (think: Hubspot, Intercom).


  • Examples of inbound marketing include search engine optimisation (SEO), content marketing, organic reach on platforms like Youtube or TikTok, organic social media, events, speaking engagements, etc. — anything where people find/discover you, rather than you approaching them.
  • Be picky in your channels. It is very hard to be extremely successful on multiple channels. Most marketers see more success when they focus most of their efforts on one or a few channels.
  • Content marketing in itself isn’t really a channel. You still need to get your writing in front of an audience. We break things down into three groups:
    — Content-SEO (content gets distributed via SEO)
    — Content-organic (content gets distributed via organic social sharing & virality)
    — Content-algorithmic (content distributed via platform algorithms, e.g. Youtube channels, Medium, Spotify podcasts, etc.)
  • Be realistic about the resources needed to make an inbound strategy succeed. In order for inbound marketing to start paying off, a (very) long runway is needed. You’ll need buy-in from top management in order to pursue a strategy that will cost money but might not drive meaningful revenue for 12-24 months.
  • What works best in inbound marketing is very prone to tactical changes. There can be significant payoffs to being early onto a new platform, when the platform eagerly needs fresh content.

In Practice

In 2022, Kim Kardashian announced that she would start a private equity firm. So do stars like Stephen Curry, Kayne, Selena Williams, and more. As it turns out, earning people’s trust and attention is the hard part — not building the product. Internet personality Mr Beast first built a massive audience of 100 million Youtube subscribers, and then launched the Mr Beast Burger chain, which sold more than a million burgers in the first 3 months.

Of course, inbound marketing has also performed well on the B2B SaaS front: companies like Hubspot, Buffer and Intercom pioneered much of the current inbound marketing playbook… and of course wrote about every step they took along the way.

Pair with

  • Animalz on “library, not publication”
  • Gary Vaynerchuck books?
The Holy Grail: product-driven growth