What are the 5 Inbound Marketing Principles (SCOPE)?

As marketing evolves, inbound marketing continues to grow in popularity. This type of marketing applies to attracting new customers through original content. Because they are a critical component of the inbound methodology, marketers must develop an understanding of the core inbound principles. 

Understanding these principles will make you an inbound expert. The most important part of any inbound marketing strategy is valuable content. Since the content acts as the marketing tool, customers must find it engaging enough to follow the call-to-action. 

When developing an inbound marketing strategy, use the acronym SCOPE to assist you. It stands for:

  • Standardize.
  • Contextualize.
  • Optimize.
  • Personalize.
  • Empathize.

The 5 Inbound Marketing Principles or SCOPEThe 5 Inbound Marketing Principles or SCOPE

Every principle of SCOPE is equally important. It’s likely that you’ll already be familiar with some. Others will require a thorough explanation before you’re able to put SCOPE into practice.


To keep your brand on track for recognizability, it’s crucial to standardize every piece of content. Returning customers or prospects need to have some sense of who you are as a business. Standardize your content by making clear the same principles and components on all created content. This helps separate and define your business for new and old customers alike.

Think of each piece of content as telling a story about your business. You want the story to stay the same no matter the format or type of content. Therefore, customers recognize and build a relationship with your brand. You can mold the standardization into any shape you need to fill. So long as your core story remains consistent, you can do almost anything. 

Standardizing your content also helps eliminate any discrepancies when it comes to expectations. When you have a standard message in your content, your audience will feel more confident about doing business with you. They will feel like they know what they are getting involved in. Ambiguity creates friction and raises doubts within the buyer’s journey. Standardization helps to clear that up. 


You should tailor your content based on the specific context in which your audience will view that content. Contextualizing your content keeps your audience in mind to a greater extent. Rather than sending customers to the same bland page, contextualization allows you to adapt it to better fit each stage of the selling process.

For example, when a customer first signs up for an email newsletter, you will send them a welcome email. This helps them feel connected to your brand and sets the foundation of your business. Sending this email to existing customers would confuse and probably annoy them since they’ve already gone through the beginner stage. They’ll get more value from something that feels personalized.

In addition, contextualize your content based on the specific product or service you have in mind. When a customer purchases a saw from a home improvement store, they should receive content based on lumber. Keeping these slight personalizations across multiple pieces of content makes your customers feel like people. Too many generic emails or messages leave customers feeling like they’re little more than a data point. 


In general, you should optimize your content as the very last stage. Optimization means that you spruce up your content to make it aesthetically pleasing, coherent and functional. You cannot really optimize until you get all of the pieces together. This way, you know that the piece of content functions as intended right before you launch it. And, the process continues well after launch.

Using a CRM system or other data collection software, analyze your customers’ habits to view interactions with content. This helps you understand which pages pieces of content lead to more sales and which products they sell. With this information in mind, adapt what works to your less successful content. Identify the content that underperforms, so you can avoid making those same mistakes in the future.

Take a scientific approach to optimization. Record any and all tweaks you make to see how they improve or impair your efforts. You should gradually implement optimizations to track their performance. Changing too much too quickly makes it difficult to trace the results to the cause.

Sometimes, optimization will not have any significant effect. At a certain point, your content becomes as good as it can get. From that point on, you should only optimize to fix links and keep it up-to-date. Make changes whenever you have a breakthrough, but as a rule, it’s best to follow the old adage, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.”


Each and every customer you send an email to has an inbox filled to the brim with marketing materials. To beat the competition and cut through the noise in a saturated environment, make content that stands out. Personalizing your content helps customers feel unique and like your business cares about them specifically. 

Use your data capturing method to scour as much information about your customers as possible. Small details like gender and age can help you send the right email to the right person. For instance, gear an advertising campaign towards women with female models. Sending these emails to women instead of men helps you connect with that demographic a little more completely. It sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s a key detail that’s not to be overlooked. 

Consider narrowing your approach to sending even more specific messages. That classic “we miss you” email to an old customer might draw them back after a long leave of absence. You can also offer deals specifically focused on a customer’s previous purchases. When they feel that your message applies to them specifically, customers tend to make more purchases. 

Using personalization and context together helps create the one-two punch. It gives customers the right piece of content to make the deal seem irresistible. When they feel like the universe speaks to them through your content, they will probably make a purchase. 


Nothing gains a customer’s trust more than a genuine desire to help them. To earn this high degree of trust, you must first demonstrate a true willingness to understand your customers’ issues. When customers feel that you want to understand their problems, the experience becomes more than transactional. 

Empathizing means creating a personal connection and adds the human element to the marketing equation. When you identify the problem your product or service solves, they feel that it can fit into their lives. From there, you should make it clear exactly how your business goes about solving that problem. This problem-solving approach allows your product or service to be seen through a lens of usefulness. 

As your business grows, it gets difficult to keep each interaction on a human scale. Therefore, your content has to do a lot of the heavy lifting to make customers feel cared for. Delivering the right content to the right customers makes them feel delighted at the prospect of making a purchase. When you put empathy into all of your content, your customers feel better about making a purchase.

SCOPE Application in Everyday ContentSCOPE Application in Everyday Content

Try using SCOPE in all pieces of content you create, every single day. To see the principles of SCOPE in action, check out this email sent by Mention to a new customer. Mention helps their users keep track of how often they get mentioned across the web:  

[subject]  Need help refining your results? 

Hello Ashley,

I was doing my daily check of yesterday’s new accounts, and I had a look at yours. It seems you have had 1849 mentions in one day, which is way, way above what our usual customers get.

That may be what you are looking for (in that case, way to go!), but just in case you need some help to refine your setup, I wanted to let you know that I can help.

Optimize your alert [button]

Happy monitoring!

Full name, Business Developer @ Mention

Standardized Messaging

Right from the start, Mention set a standard in their subject line. They tell a story with just one short sentence by demonstrating their business’s function. This way, the customer knows exactly what service they get from using Mention. In the body text, the customer is reminded that Mention helps track online mentions of them. Knowing full well what the service does, the customer will continue using Mention if they continue requiring that service. 

Contextual Copy

This email combines standardization and context to deliver an email with a message. While explaining the total number of mentions the customer got, the copy creates a context for why they got the email. Now, Ashley, the customer, has a clear understanding of why she received the email. She isn’t left wondering what the purpose of the email was. The signature line gives context about who to reach out to if Ashley has any questions or for additional information. All of these factors give the customer greater clarity and a reason to continue down the funnel.

Optimized Call to Action

Instead of a generic, “click on our website,” the call to action has a specific outcome in mind. Referring back to our example, Ashley now knows that Mention can help her refine her reach so that her marketing efforts do not go to waste. 

This call to action also raises questions about how refining her mentions will benefit her. Even if Ashley does not want to refine her results, she may reach out for additional details. From there, the business developer from Mention can point her in the right direction for the service she desires.

Personalized Note

This entire email contains loads of personalization. From the greeting, which uses the customer’s name, to most of the content, this email is almost entirely personalized. It features a call to action and body specifically focused on Ashley. Additionally, it points towards a representative who can match Ashley’s clear needs. By giving a clear figure on Ashley’s mentions, Ashley knows that no one else received this exact email. 

Empathetic Reaction

Mention follows up their first paragraph by congratulating Ashley on her number of mentions. This kind of positive reaction will help Ashely feel more connected to the Mention team. It reminds her that Mention is in her corner. Additionally, the strategic placing of the word “may” in that same paragraph reminds Ashley that she has control. Mention does not push her into any situation. Instead, it reminds her that Mention is on the lookout for any way to help her overcome any potential problems.

As you can see, many of these principles work in conjunction with one another. The personalization, context and standard messaging apply to many of the same aspects of this email. So, no matter the length of your content, you can incorporate all five principles.  

Of course, longer content, such as blogs, helps you give more focus to each principle. With emails, however, you want to keep it shorter to hold customers’ attention. When customers see a huge wall of text in their inbox, your email typically up in their trash folder. The more principles you can combine, the richer and shorter your content will be. 

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