Most of you may not know the difference between Outbound Marketing and Inbound Marketing. It’s not any more complicated than it sounds. Outbound Marketing consists of what I used to call Conventional Marketing Techniques: trade shows, seminar series, email blasts to purchased lists, internal cold calling, outsourced telemarketing, and tv/radio/print advertising. We have begun to refer to them as “Push” marketing techniques. It casts an extremely wide net, hoping to catch enough fish to justify the massive expenses needed to support it.

Inbound Marketing is a concept forwarded by the two creators of the enormously valuable Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah.

It is the process of setting yourself and your business up to “get found” by people who are already shopping in the industry for services offered by professionals just like you. It’s much easier to grab the attention of (and secure new business with) a potential new client (who is already looking for you) with a targeted and specific message and specific CTA (Call-To-Action) than to hope to hit the bull’s eye of an indifferent and moving target with a generalized and diluted message.

Obvious, right? Then why does it seem like such an original and forward-thinking philosophy? That one is easy. Because of the internet, businesses are now able to gain access to potential new clients around-the-clock and around-the-world immediately and, in most cases, at a very low comparative cost to conventional marketing. With the effective use of search engines, social media sites, and a presence on (or at least an awareness of) industry specific blogs, you can set your website up to be a “hub” for your industry, and promote yourself as the expert that you truly are.

Instead of wasting time and money trying to reach and sell to the people who are already trying to screen your calls, block your “junk” mail and filter your spam, why not spend some time on your website, its content an how effectively you can use it to communicate with interested potential clients? Instead of interrupting your prospects’ lives with ineffective and way-too-general message, just be standing there, bright and bold, offering quality information and content, a path that is clear and focused, and open arms and a smile, instead of sneaking up behind then and tossing a net over their heads.

I quote Brian Halligan:

“The best analogy I can come up with is that traditional marketers looking to garner interest from new potential customers are like lions hunting in the jungle for elephants. The elephants used to be in the jungle in the ’80s and ’90s when they learned their trade, but they don’t seem to be there anymore. They have all migrated to the watering holes on the savannah (the internet). So, rather than continuing to hunt in the jungle, I recommend setting up shop at the watering hole or turning your website into its own watering hole.”

More great information from the two chaps mentioned above can be found in their book “Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media and Blogs.”