Outbound marketing is taking your company to the customers, actively finding them. Inbound marketing is the opposite. It is placing your business in a position to be found by customers. The most common ways of doing this are by using social networking tools like Facebook, Twitter, and blogging as well as submitting information to sites that are specific to your business niche. To many this may feel too hands-off but in today's wired and internet centered society it is an amazing for of marketing.
Some examples of outbound versus inbound marketing include things like videos. A TV ad would be considered outbound marketing because you are seeking the customer out. A Youtube video about your product or service on the other hand would be inbound marketing because they will stumble upon the video on their own and it could drive them towards your website for more information. Another would be cold calling versus search engine optimization. Sure you could call to offer, for instance, your new website development service, or rather than calling potential clients you could optimize your website and blog to show up higher on Google when someone is searching for "custom wordpress websites". Often your cold calling will fall onto deaf ears as many people you call will not be looking for the service while almost anyone searching Google for the service will be looking to make a purchase.
The three main advantages of using inbound marketing services are the way the customer will see your company, your ability to build positive relationships with your customers, and the cost effectiveness. When a customer comes across your website though inbound marketing they see the company in a different light. They weren't brought there by an advertisement, they were brought there because somewhere they found some useful information you have provided. This puts you in a position of authority and trust which leads to more conversions. You will also be able to more easily build positive relationships with many more customers by replying to blog comments and reading customer tweets. By communicating with prospective customers in these ways it further reinforces the feeling of trust and authority in your field. In many cases it will even save you money since providing a Youtube video could cost you much less than running a television ad. It will take a little more investment in time since it will take some work to get the video viral, but with most people visiting Youtube daily it is more likely to be seen by a larger volume of people as well.
In today's society connecting via social networks and other inbound marketing techniques is an amazing way to gain long time customers. Being able to create and maintain relationships with your clients and giving them a way to feel more involved in their purchase by having found your company instead of being presented with it can result in a much larger customer base with a much lower cost than many traditional methods.