Inbound Marketing

What is inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing, in simple terms, is the process of helping potential customers find your company. This frequently happens before the customer is even ready to make a purchase, but making contact early can turn into brand preference and, ultimately, leads and revenue. Inbound marketing is a strategy that utilizes many forms of pull marketing—content marketing, blogs, events, search engine optimization (SEO), social media, and more—to create brand awareness and attract new business. Whereas outbound marketing seeks out customers, inbound marketing focuses on visibility, so potential buyers come to you. Instead of “renting attention,” companies employing inbound marketing focus on new methods geared toward building awareness, developing relationships, and generating leads.

These methods make you attractive to customers because they don’t make people feel like they’re being sold to. The content provided by inbound marketing is educational, entertaining, and welcomed by consumers. When done correctly, inbound marketing can return dramatically better results than traditional marketing that disrupts prospects rather than giving them an open invitation to engage. When consumers find your company this way, it has a stronger influence on their future marketing decisions and their feelings toward your business in general. The best part? Inbound marketing consists of entirely organic leads, so it relies on brains rather than budget.

Inbound marketing has the powerful ability to put customers in the driver’s seat, connecting you with people who are genuinely interested in what you have to say. Aside from lead conversions and customer retention, inbound marketing can do wonders for social media shares, brand awareness, and search engine optimization efforts. A robust inbound marketing program allows customers to engage with your brand at any time. This allows you to generate qualified leads for much less money than traditional marketing. As the creation of data continues to increase—according to IBM, we create 2.6 quintillion bytes of data per day—information abundance and attention scarcity will only continue to climb. The empowered buyer has all the information they need to make a buying decision at their fingertips any time, any place. Detail specs, pricing, and product/service reviews are right in their pocket, not to mention social media’s impact on information sharing. To be successful in this evolving landscape, visibility through inbound marketing is key.

Inbound Marketing

Common problems that inbound marketing can solve

When it comes to implementing a long-term strategy, inbound marketing is an investment that will help you increase brand awareness, preference, and ultimately, revenue.

  • Problem: I need to increase my brand awareness. Up to 93% of buying cycles start with an online search. If your company appears at the top of search results or is active on a searcher’s social network, you can organically increase your brand awareness. To do that, you must make sure you have the right content and messaging in place to show up in these key inbound channels.
  • Problem: I want to improve my brand preference. By educating, entertaining, and interacting with potential customers before they are thinking about making a purchase, you build trust and increase the likelihood that they will choose you when they are ready to buy. Never underestimate the impact of becoming a familiar face.
  • Problem: I need to generate more leads but have less to invest. Inbound marketing is a long-term investment that builds on itself over time. Your results will multiply many times over as you become more adept at creating and curating content that naturally attracts organic leads.
  • Problem: I’m not sure I have the staff or budget to do inbound marketing. Like many things, the more you put into inbound efforts, the more you’ll get out of it.  But, if you have a good strategy in place that outlines key themes, content, and distribution, you can make sure to avoid wasted efforts.

ROI of a successful inbound marketing program

Inbound marketing is unique in that it generally has less of an up-front cost than other marketing efforts, and it can have a seriously impressive ROI when used correctly.

  • Inbound marketing brings leads to you. Inbound marketing generates three times more leads per dollar than traditional methods (Content Marketing Institute).
  • Inbound marketing is easy on your budget. Businesses that mainly rely on inbound marketing save more than $14 for every newly acquired customer (Hubspot).
  • Inbound marketing has a proven ROI. 44% of brands that use marketing automation software see ROI within six months, while 75% see ROI after one year

Planning, implementing and optimizing your inbound marketing program

When it comes to inbound marketing, the more you invest, the greater your return. Creating killer content is about brains and commitment rather than budget. You can’t throw money at content and make it effective, you have to put your head and heart into it. Here’s how to get started:

  • Step 1: Define your business goals and buyer personas. Identify your target audience and learn all you can about them. You can’t write content to inform your customers until you know your audience.
  • Step 2: Provide content at every stage. Preemptively answer the questions that your customers are likely to have at each stage of their buying journey. Determine your unique, compelling story. Why should your audience listen to you? The concept of what we call transformational inbound marketing goes beyond traditional inbound marketing techniques. Unlike traditional inbound, transformational inbound leverages valuable content to attract and retain customers throughout their entire lifecycle, not just before they are a customer but also after. Additionally, transformational inbound marketing puts a greater emphasis on personalization and relevance.
  • Step 3: Choose your delivery platforms. The more valuable the content you create for your audience, the more likely you will win them as customers. Determine the best way to reach them, whether it’s through Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, your blog, or elsewhere.
  • Step 4: Create and execute your content calendar. It is important to create a schedule that will consistently turn out fresh and relevant content to continue to engage your audience. By keeping a constant stream of content that addresses your customers’ questions, issues, and pain points, you’ll maintain relevance and build your brand as a trusted thought leader.
  • Step 5: Analyze results and optimize your inbound marketing program. There’s a variety of metrics to choose from when measuring the success of your inbound marketing efforts. Whether you decide to analyze SEO rankings, inbound links, or the number of articles published, these resources will provide valuable insight into how your campaigns are performing. Set aside time for analysis weekly. This step will aid you in understanding how effective your inbound marketing efforts have been and how they can improve.
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Another day, another Facebook leak. What are the odds? This time, it seems that personal information for just over half a billion users has leaked online. That’s more than the combined populations of the U.S., Australia, the UK, and Canada.Web Design Galway

Facebook harvests a lot of your data for internal use, but it’s also no stranger to data breaches that expose your information to the public. Many of us know it doesn’t have a stellar privacy record, but the actual scale of all its leaks is astonishing.

Let’s take a look at ten times Facebook has exposed user data.

533 million user profiles in 2021

In Facebook’s latest fiasco, revealed in April 2021, personal details were leaked to a publicly accessible hacking forum. Compromised data includes emails, Facebook IDs, phone numbers, birth dates, and location information.

It gets worse.

Facebook then announced that it wouldn’t disclose which users had been affected by the leak.

It gets worse.

They wouldn’t disclose which users were affected because they have no idea who they are.


To be fair, the information wasn’t obtained by hacking into Facebook servers, but rather through a process called scraping, which uses bots to extract data from websites. All data available in this leak was scraped from Facebook before September 2019. While affected profiles could currently be using updated personal data, cybercriminals could still use this information to impersonate other people.

419 million user phone numbers in 2019

Last year was not a good year for Facebook as hundreds of millions of user phone numbers were left exposed on a public server. The records included 133 million numbers on file of U.S.-based Facebook users, 18 million of those in the UK, and 50 million Vietnamese users.

Both the users’ unique Facebook ID and the phone number associated with the account were left on the server. Some also included the name, gender, and country. No one knows who owned the offending server or how the data had been scraped off of Facebook’s own records.

267 million records left exposed on the dark web in 2019

Facebook IDs, phone numbers, and names of over 267 million users, most of them in the U.S., were found on an unsecured database on the dark web. Security researcher Bob Diachenko, who discovered the breach, traced the database back to Vietnam and said that it could have been the work of automated bots programmed to scrape publicly available information from Facebook profiles.

It’s also possible that the data could have been stolen directly from Facebook’s developer API.

The offending records were available to anyone for up to two weeks before discovery. A hacker forum also posted a downloadable link to the data set.

6 million phone numbers and email addresses in 2013

In June 2013, Facebook disclosed that a technical glitch in its database had exposed the contact details of 6 million users, a problem that began in 2012. Facebook users who downloaded contact data of their friends were given additional information that shouldn’t have been made available.

Facebook said it fixed the bug on their website within 24 hours of its discovery and only announced it to the public after confirming that the bug was no longer operational.

14 million user profiles in 2018

A Facebook glitch caused 14 million users to have their new posts set to “public” rather than their preferred privacy setting.

This happened during the rollout of a new feature and was not addressed for four days. At the time, Facebook sent a notification to its users reminding them to check on the status of their privacy settings and revert back to their preferences.

If you would like to check who can see your Facebook posts, go to Settings > Privacy > Your Activity. There you can check who has access to future posts.

Up to 90 million user passwords in 2018

In one of its largest data breaches yet, Facebook confirmed that up to 90 million users could have had their accounts breached due to a bug in its “View As” feature.

The attackers exploited a vulnerability that allowed them to steal Facebook access tokens. Such tokens are digital keys, which store user login information and prevent them from having to re-enter their password everytime they use the Facebook app. As a result, the hackers could have taken over anyone’s account.

Facebook reset those access tokens, which required everyone affected to enter their login details again.

87 million records leaked to Cambridge Analytica in 2018

Personal data of over 87 million people was leaked to political research firm Cambridge Analytica after it exploited a vulnerability in its API. The leaks were linked to an online personality quiz titled “thisisyourdigitallife,” which more than 270,000 Facebook users were paid to fill out. Cambridge Analytica pulled information related to friends lists from users who took the quiz and used it to build psychological profiles and analyze personality traits.

600 million passwords accessible in 2019

Security researcher Brian Krebs revealed in March 2019 that Facebook had stored the passwords of hundreds of millions of users in plaintext, making them accessible to employees. In some cases, the passwords dated back to 2012.

Krebs, quoting an unnamed source, said 2,000 engineers inside Facebook had potentially accessed the passwords. In total, there were 9 million internal queries to look up data elements that also contained plaintext user passwords.

In a statement, however, Facebook said these passwords were never visible to anyone outside the company and that they “found no evidence to date that anyone internally abused or improperly accessed them.”

540 million user records visible in 2019

Another damning leak followed shortly after the Krebs revelations. In this case, Facebook third-party app developers left hundreds of millions of records on publicly visible cloud servers.

Security researchers found a 146 GB data set uploaded by Mexican company Cultura Colectiva. The set included information pertaining to Facebook user activity, account names, and IDs, with over 540 million records. There was no way of knowing if anyone had accessed the database or misappropriated the information. The data set was removed shortly after Facebook became aware of the issue.

1.5 million user email contact lists in 2019

In April 2019, Facebook admitted that it had “unintentionally” siphoned the email address books of over 1.5 million users without asking for permission explicitly. The breach took place after Facebook asked new users to enter the password for their email account. It proceeded to upload all the email contacts onto its own servers.

The breach dated back to 2016, which meant it went on for almost three years before Facebook put a stop to it. It added that it had bolstered internal processes to prevent this from happening again.