You might have heard of inbound marketing, but whether you know what it is could be a very different matter. Nonetheless, Small Business Trends sums up the concept as using “blogs, video, podcasts, guides, e-books and other types of content to attract new customers.”

This compares with traditional marketing, or what could be dubbed “outbound marketing”, which involves investing in such forms of offline marketing as TV and radio advertising and direct mail campaigns. However, inbound marketing can prove appreciably more cost-effective than the outbound strategies just mentioned.

How do inbound and outbound marketing fundamentally differ?

For you to grasp the core differences between these two approaches to marketing, it might be useful for you to see outbound marketing as essentially reaching out to customers where they are. For example, it involves buying billboard space and screening TV ads where your target customers could see them.

However, one big problem with this approach is its riskiness in our modern, notoriously hectic world. Many of us simply don’t have time to really notice marketing messages even when they are placed literally right in front of us; there are just too many other things, such as ads from competing firms, vying for our attention.

Inbound marketing, in contrast, is about providing content and experiences that attract target customers to you, lessening your need to approach them first. Often, these people will come across this content when they have a problem and so are looking for solutions – and where better for them to look first than Google?

Why is inbound marketing often the more cost-effective option?

With outbound marketing, you could too easily find yourself spending big on ads that barely get noticed – at least by your target customers. It’s very much a scattergun approach to getting the word out.

However, inbound marketing is a more targeted strategy, as many of the people likely to see your inbound marketing messages in the first place will be people inclined to listen to them – rather than regard them as simply “spam”. When you can more easily grab attention, you can more easily maintain it, too.

How should you start going about inbound marketing?

As a LinkedIn article points out, with inbound marketing, you can “quickly produce content on various platforms such as blogs and social media, which is entirely free and budget-friendly.” All of this can translate into a higher return on investment (ROI) for your marketing efforts.

On the subject of ROI, inbound marketing allows you to more easily measure that – for example, by referring to data tracking analytics covering your website where you post the content. If you regularly post new content, you can also foster a strong customer relationship – something that can’t simply be bought.

You can augment your content by including calls to action, such as calls to… well, call your company. With a cloud contact centre like Horizon Contact, you can record inbound calls to help yourself to see what kind of additional content your customers still need – and you could create for them.