Join 40,000+ sales and marketing pros who receive our 4x a week insights, tips, and best practices.
Thank you! You have been subscribed.

Free Guide: The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022

Read the Guide Subscribe
Join 40,000+ sales and marketing pros who receive our 4x a week insights, tips, and best practices.
Thank you! You have been subscribed.
Learning Center
Learning Center


Access the Learning Center

Free resources to help you master inbound marketing and They Ask, You Answer

Access the Learning Center

Blog / Newest Insights

Jump straight to the latest inbound marketing and They Ask, You Answer insights

Access the Learning Center

Free and Pro Courses

Take your knowledge to the next level with free and Pro courses inside IMPACT+

Access the Learning Center

Recordings on Demand

On-demand recordings from past IMPACT events and livestreams

Access the Learning Center


Inbound Strategy Playbook 2022

Learn 7 foundational principles that have proven to set inbound marketing strategies up for success

Access the Learning Center

Free 5 Min. Inbound Marketing Assessment

Take this free assessment and learn what you can start doing today to boost traffic, leads, and sales

Access the Learning Center

Blueprint for a More Profitable Agency

See why coaching, not implementation, is the key to happier clients and better profit margins

Access the Learning Center

Case Studies

See examples of companies working with IMPACT and thriving with They Ask, You Answer

Access the Learning Center
IMPACT+ Membership
IMPACT+ Membership

They Ask, You Answer Coaching & Training

They Ask, You Answer Coaching & Training
They Ask, You Answer Workshop

They Ask, You Answer Workshop

They Ask, You Answer Workshop

Inbound Marketing Services

Inbound Marketing Services
Navigation_8_2021_website design - monitor

Website Design & Development

Website Design & Development
Navigation_8_2021_hubspot implementation

HubSpot Training & Implementation

HubSpot Training & Implementation
Navigation_8_2021_virtual selling

Virtual Sales

Virtual Sales <br>Training
Navigation_8_2021_swell - paid ads

Paid Search & Social Services

Paid Search & Social Services
Become a Certified Coach
Become a Certified Coach
The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022

Free Guide:

The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022
Read the Guide
The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022
Free Inbound Marketing Playbook
View The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022
The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022

Free Guide:

Take your inbound strategy to the next level

  • Master the 7 principles of highly effective inbound marketing
  • Dramatically improve your inbound sales
  • Get more buy-in at your company

What is the Inbound Marketing Funnel? (+ Examples)

Learn how you can use the inbound marketing funnel to attract, convert, and delight your customers.

By Avery Ashley

Avery Ashley also recommends this free guide: The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022.

What is the Inbound Marketing Funnel? (+ Examples) Blog Feature

Buyers today are more equipped than ever with information readily available at their fingertips. Technology provides us with an infinite amount of data. And since technology is constantly changing, buying behavior is too. That’s why inbound marketing continues to be the most effective way to reach your ideal buyer in the digital age.

Free Guide: The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022

As the name suggests, inbound is a digital marketing strategy in which a business organically earns ideal customers’ attention at different stages of their purchasing journey. Customers seek you out instead of the other way around (which is known as outbound marketing, of course).

This type of marketing focuses on delivering quality content to your audience when and where they need it. That means being at the right place at the right time throughout the different stages of the buyer’s journey — awareness, consideration, and decision. 

🔎 Related: What are the real benefits of inbound marketing?

If you’re already familiar with the They Ask You Answer approach to inbound marketing, you might already know this is done best by aligning content with your audience’s interests and pain points. By simply answering all your prospects’ questions in a straightforward and honest way, you can naturally attract inbound traffic to your website, improving the quality of your leads and increasing sales. 

Whether you’re searching for inbound marketing advice in general or piecing together your They Ask, You Answer approach, the inbound marketing funnel can help guide you along the four stages of the inbound marketing methodology: attract, convert, close, and delight. 

The inbound marketing funnel visually represents the active research process (or stages) someone goes through leading up to a purchase. The inbound methodology marketing team can use this strategy to help attract visitors to your website, convert them into qualified leads, close sales, and delight customers.

If you’re familiar with the generic marketing and sales funnel, the inbound marketing funnel follows a similar model. And more recently, Brian Halligan, the co-founder of HubSpot, created a different model: the inbound marketing flywheel. This approach works to align your entire business strategy around delivering an exceptional customer experience. 

[Source: HubSpot]

Inbound marketing funnel stages

In each stage, there are specific digital tactics used to guide people toward a purchase. The top of the funnel is where people are further away from making a purchasing decision, while people at the bottom of the funnel are closer to purchasing.

  • Attract: Similar to the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey, this stage focuses on attracting visitors to your website. 
  • Convert: Once you’ve attracted visitors to your website, the next step is to convert them to leads by obtaining contact information in exchange for valuable content.
  • Close: This is where you nurture leads through the sales pipeline providing them with specific content to address their pain points and help them make a purchase.
  • Delight: Here, you continue to engage and delight, hopefully turning happy customers into promoters of your brand. 


The first stage in the inbound marketing funnel is attracting visitors to your website. But you don’t want to attract all visitors. You want to attract the right visitors. The right visitors are your buyer personas or ideal customers. These are the people you need to be creating content for, and in this phase, buyers are generally looking to solve a problem, get an answer, or meet a need.

Some of the most effective components used to attract the right users to your website are:

  • content development
  • search engine optimization (SEO)
  • social media marketing

Here's what to know about each of these three parts of the process.

Content development

Creating and publishing content is now essential for any inbound marketing strategy. In fact, in 2020, 89% of content marketers used blog posts in their content creation strategy.

Producing high-quality content that centers around your buyer personas draws your target audience in and familiarizes them with your brand. This content should provide value to your audience by offering insights and solutions that align with their pain points and goals.

Some examples of this type of content include blog articles, video tutorials, guides, e-books, infographics, customer testimonials, and case studies. 

🔎 Related: The Big 5 best business blog topics to drive traffic, leads, and sales

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

To attract your target audience on a deeper level, optimize all of this content with an SEO strategy. Incorporating the appropriate keywords into your content will drive potential customers to your website. You do this by focusing on keywords built around your products or services, the challenges you are solving for visitors, how your products can help them, frequently asked questions, etc. This will help your content organically appear on the search engine results page (SERP), giving you a better chance of the right fit finding you.

A great example of the power of content development comes from none other than Marcus Sheridan, IMPACT partner and author of They Ask, You Answer. Some of you might be familiar with his story, but for those who aren’t, during the 2008 recession, he nearly lost his swimming pool company, River Pools and Spas, until he began publishing content on his website in the form of blog posts that detailed answers to common customer questions, problems, and concerns. The content quickly gained attention, increasing traffic to the website, boosting lead conversions and sales. 

🎓 IMPACT+ course: They Ask, You Answer fundamentals with Marcus Sheridan

Buyers at this stage are usually looking for content that’s educational, answers their questions, and helps them learn how your products or services might solve their issues. Blog articles on River Pools and Spas website — such as “How Much Do Inground Pools Cost” and “What is the Fiberglass Pool Installation Process?” — are great examples of how to do this effectively.

Social media

Social media marketing can help attract new followers to your brand. This gives you the insights you need to connect with those individuals on a medium where your customers already are and where they are most comfortable. 


Once visitors have found your website, you want to build a relationship with them and turn them into leads. To turn a visitor into a lead, you need to get contact information, which is incredibly valuable. But for visitors to give you their contact details, they need to get something in return. This is when you should offer additional high-quality content that is going to aid in their decision-making process.

Some of the most important things to consider when turning your visitors into leads include:

  • Landing pages: A webpage that persuades users to download or sign up for content offers such as e-books, newsletters, webinars, free trials, etc.
  • Forms: In exchange for content or something else of value, you want to obtain visitors’ contact data, such as their name, email address, and phone number. Forms are what your visitors will fill out to obtain that valuable content.
  • Calls-to-action (CTAs): Text and/or a button on your website that tells the visitor what you want them to do next, such as buy now or request a demo, encouraging them to take action or contact your business after viewing your content.

A great example of companies creating converting content right is Rover, a company that connects dog and cat parents with loving pet sitters and dog walkers in neighborhoods across multiple countries through its website and mobile app.

[View full landing page]

On their landing page where you can find the perfect pet sitter, there is a direct headline made up of short sentences making the offer very clear: “Loving pet care in your neighborhood. Book trusted sitters and dog walkers.” A simple CTA at the top of the page states “Sign up,” along with a form you can fill out to begin your search. As you scroll, there is a list of the services offered at Rover and how it works, followed by a CTA button with the words “Book a local sitter.”

Plus, to build more trust, the webpage includes real-life pictures of users and pets with positive testimonials.

They also feature the CTA, “Get cute puppies in your inbox,” in exchange for your email address. Who doesn’t want that?

🔍 Related: 5 Key Elements of a Winning Inbound Marketing Strategy


The “close” stage of the inbound marketing funnel is where you guide leads through the sales pipeline toward the final buying decision. Converting a lead into a customer can be a long process in many businesses. So, continue providing helpful and relevant content to aid prospects in their decision-making journey using the following components:

  • lead nurturing
  • marketing automation
  • customer relationship management (CRM) software

Here’s how:

Lead nurturing

Since leads are always at different stages of the buying process, you need to make sure you provide the right content at the right time to the right individuals. This is called lead nurturing. Through email, dynamic content, your website, and social media, you can nurture prospects through every step of their decision-making journey. Marketing can work in tandem with inbound sales to nurture leads through the buying process and optimize the conversion funnel.

🍿 IMPACT+ on-demand: The art of using content in your sales process

Marketing automation

With digital marketing technology and software to automate marketing tasks, you can make the process smoother and more effective. (According to HubSpot, 68% of businesses use automation in some way.) Consider using marketing automation tools HubSpot, Outgrow, or Percolate to automate tasks such as scheduling meetings, content delivery, contract generation, emails, text messages, and even reminders for your sales team to connect personally

Customer relationship management (CRM) software 

Using CRM software can help you better organize and access prospects and customer data. 

For instance, since using HubSpot for marketing and sales automation, our client, Aquila Commercial, has worked with IMPACT to achieve remarkable growth. Significant growth wouldn’t be possible without the help of a marketing automation solution. 


Even after you’ve made the sale, you need to continue to engage and delight to grow your customer base. 

The goal of delighting customers is to build relationships with them and turn happy customers into promoters of your business. Always think about the customers because they can be the biggest supporters or biggest critics of your brand.

Social media listening is a valuable customer relationship strategy because followers may use one of your profiles to share their experience, ask questions, or leave feedback about your products or services. Respond to these interactions with helpful and supportive information — this shows you care about them and aren’t only looking for business.

🎓 IMPACT+ course: Fundamentals of social media marketing for businesses

Hilton, a multinational hospitality company with a broad portfolio of hotels and resorts, does an excellent job of mastering the art of delighting its customers. They created a social media listening strategy that enables them to be alert and respond to interactions whenever and with whomever. This genuine customer connection adds value to audience members, builds brand authority, and directly impacts the business.

Companies also use chatbots, loyalty programs, and surveys to support, assist, and delight customers. Hilton, for example, offers a loyalty program for customers and offers incentives for guests to fill out a survey regarding their stay.


Boost business with the inbound marketing funnel 

Inbound marketing is all about providing outstanding and helpful content to your audience, whether they are visitors, leads, or existing customers. This can be done in the form of blog articles, newsletters, free trials, case studies, reviews — the list is endless. 

You achieve the best inbound marketing results through digital channels and tactics that allow you to deliver specific and rewarding content for your leads and customers at the right time based on where they are in the buyer’s journey.

If you’re looking for more information about how to how to establish your own inbound marketing funnel, you may find the following resources helpful:

The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022
The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022

Free Guide:

The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022

Take your inbound strategy to the next level

  • Master the 7 principles of highly effective inbound marketing
  • Dramatically improve your inbound sales
  • Get more buy-in at your company


Inbound Marketing
Content and Inbound Marketing 101
Published on July 26, 2021

Recent Articles

How Much Does Inbound Marketing Cost in 2022?
January 24, 2022 • 12 min read
Inbound Marketing for Insurance Companies, Agencies, and Agents
January 21, 2022 • 7 min read
4 Signs Your Revenue Team Is Slowly Failing
October 23, 2021 • 9 min read
17 Examples of Inbound Marketing That Drive Sales
October 11, 2021 • 13 min read
HubSpot and Data Privacy: How to Collect Contacts the Right Way
October 4, 2021 • 4 min read
5 Key Elements of a Winning Inbound Marketing Strategy
September 14, 2021 • 14 min read
The Fundamentals of Inbound Marketing
September 9, 2021 • 13 min read
Inbound Marketing Strategy: 7 Steps to Success
August 11, 2021 • 8 min read
How to Learn Inbound Marketing in 5 Easy Steps
August 4, 2021 • 7 min read
What is the Inbound Marketing Funnel? (+ Examples)
July 26, 2021 • 7 min read
How Can the StoryBrand Framework Be Used for Inbound Marketing?
July 21, 2021 • 6 min read
I’m a word-of-mouth business: How can inbound marketing help me grow?
July 20, 2021 • 5 min read
5 ways you can use the StoryBrand framework to make a better website
June 14, 2021 • 5 min read
9 ways to get the most out of IMPACT+ in 10 minutes a day
June 4, 2021 • 8 min read
Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing in 2021: Which is Better?
May 18, 2021 • 10 min read
Green energy marketing strategy: The DIY approach to getting more customers
May 17, 2021 • 9 min read
Who Should Use Inbound Marketing?
March 9, 2021 • 9 min read
What is the Inbound Marketing Methodology? (Updated for 2021)
March 3, 2021 • 17 min read
How to manage your online reputation and reviews in today's marketplace [Free IMPACT+ Course]
January 28, 2021 • 6 min read
Marcus Sheridan: 'Virtual Sales Can Work in Any Industry'
December 14, 2020 • 4 min read
New Pinterest weighted ads have better CX customization
December 8, 2020 • 3 min read
7 Inbound Marketing Strategy Mistakes that Will Cost You in 2021
December 3, 2020 • 8 min read
4 simple inbound marketing tips that will get you big results in 2021
December 2, 2020 • 6 min read
Why You Need a Content Manager On Your Digital Marketing Team [+ Video]
November 5, 2020 • 9 min read
Inbound Marketing vs. Content Marketing: What's the Difference? 
October 28, 2020 • 9 min read