You are a young professional ready to make a name for yourself in the marketing industry? By now I am sure you have heard the term inbound marketing a million times. It’s one of those buzz words everyone uses to appear intelligent, until they completely botch up trying to explain it. But what exactly is inbound marketing? And more importantly, how can mastering it help advance my career?

1. People hate to be sold to, but love to buy.

In explaining inbound marketing, imagine you are in the market to buy a new car. How many of you LOVE being sold to by a used car salesman doing everything possible to convince you to leave the lot with a car you would never be seen driving? Chances are not many, I am sure this is the process you look forward to the least. So now let’s take another situation. Imagine a car you have been eyeing for a couple of years now. And imagine through all of your hard work, you are now finally in a financial position to buy this car. All you have to do is pick out the one you want and off you go! How excited are you when you think of this situation? When you look at basic consumer behavior people hate to be sold to but love to buy. This is the heart of inbound marketing.

Now you may be asking, but what is the difference if I buy or being sold to, the end result is a sale? Yes, the end result is a sale, but the process in which the sale occurred is much different. With inbound marketing, a business realizes that right now at this moment there are people actively seeking for the services and products you provide. They also know there are people who are not actively seeking, but if they push hard enough, they could convince them to buy. If you were a business owner, what group would you focus on? So instead of wasting efforts trying to convince people who may be interested in you, why not focus on those who are actively seeking? In your career, if you can learn how to position your product in a way in which helps consumers buy what they are already looking for, as opposed to a hard sell, you are already off to a good start! This video does a great job explaining this notion in more detail:

2. Inbound Marketing Gives People What They are Looking For.

So now we know we want to help consumers buy what they are looking already looking for, so how do we do this? Let’s think of the car example. If you need to buy a car, are you going to the first car lot on the street and immediately making a purchase? Of course not! You are most likely seeking reviews, consumer reports, photos, videos, prices, and specs of a car. So as a marketer, you want to discover what problems your potential client is experiencing, and what type of information they need to help them solve this problem. If you can discover what content your target market is seeking to help them in the decision-making process, all you need to do is provide them with this content in an intriguing format. This does two things: Provides the client with info they are seeking, and positions you as the expert in your industry as you were the one helping them out. This builds trust.

Sounds great, but how do you do this you may ask? Let’s say your target is mothers who need a fuel-efficient vehicle, that can fit the entire family, but is not keen on the idea of owning a minivan. If this is the case, you can write an enticing blog which answers her problems. What type of vehicles could a mother have that fits the entire family but is more stylish than a minivan? How is this vehicle fuel efficient? What are consumer reports saying about this type of vehicle? You can then optimize the blog with SEO, or promote it on social media.

Another thing you can do is create a social media campaign were current clients are posting images of different ways this vehicle helps solve their problems. The whole point is to create content that does not sell in a pushy fashion, but simply answers the questions potential customers are already seeking.

3. Inbound Marketing is the Future of the Business.

If you want to make a name in your career, you need to be aware of the trends. The marketing world and how we receive content is completely different than it was 10 years ago. If you have a career in the marketing industry, it is important to fully understand how an individual travels through the buying process. What motivates them from being a stranger to a visitor on your site, from a visitor to a lead, and from a lead to a paying customer? How does mobile and integrated marketing communications fit into this mix? In order to advance career-wise, marketers in today’s field must be able to master this progression.

4. Inbound Marketing Certification is easy to obtain.

You may often hear horror stories of people attempting to get their CPA, or pass the Bar Exam. Here is the good news…. an Inbound Marketing Certification is easy to get. One company that does a wonderful job with this is Hubspot. Hubspot offers professional certifications in inbound marketing, content creation, and SEO. The best part…. the certification is free. I personally went through the certification process and found it very informative. Not to mention, having a Hubspot certification on your resume helps you stand out from the crowd. If you are looking to get ahead in this industry, it would be beneficial to have your certification, it also helps in gaining more clients as it is a sign of accomplishment and professionalism.

There will always be forms of traditional media in the marketplace, however, in order to be able to advance in your career, it is important to fully understand how inbound marketing guides a prospect through the buying process, and what exact content to give to the prospect in each stage through the progression.