I first came across the term inbound marketing from our friends over at HubSpot. Inbound marketing is essentially the process of getting found by people that are searching for your services. This is in contrast to outbound marketing which is blasting your message out to the masses in hopes of capturing someone who might have interest (ie: television, radio, email blasts to purchased lists, etc)
In a thoughtful post Hubspot wrote on the subject of inbound vs outbound marketing, they tell us that:
Rather than do outbound marketing to the masses of people who are trying to block you out, I advocate doing “inbound marketing” where you help yourself “get found” by people already learning about and shopping in your industry. In order to do this, you need to set your website up like a “hub” for your industry that attracts visitors naturally through the search engines, through the blogosphere, and through the social media sites. I believe most marketers today spend 90% of their efforts on outbound marketing and 10% on inbound marketing and I advocate that those ratios flip.