Outbound marketing is the practice of using traditional marketing such as television ads, direct mail, billboards and other similar techniques, and many savvy marketers say that this approach is growing less and less effective. The problem is that outbound marketing blasts out a message in the hope it will be heard by someone who will respond to it. Inbound marketing, which includes online marketing, is a newer form of advertising that is more effective because of the way it targets and engages specific audiences. CEOs would do well to adopt online marketing as a cornerstone of their marketing strategy.

The term "online marketing" covers many different approaches including pay-per-click, blogs and other forms of social media, marketing by email, banner ads and more, and these approaches will differ based on whether the aim is to retain and build loyalty among an existing customer base or to draw in new customers. Building customer loyalty will generate word-of-mouth leads and new customers, of course, but there are other and more direct methods CEOs can use to find new business using online marketing.

SEO is an important part of making sure that potential customers can find a business';s website. SEO, or search engine optimization, is simply a matter of thinking of some of the key phrases that a customer might use when searching for one';s business and making sure they appear a few times on the home page. Google has a free keyword tool that can be used to determine the common search terms that customers use in order to find similar businesses. The keyword tool will also provide invaluable information about search volume, trends and what advertiser competition looks like.

An e-newsletter is another excellent way to build new business. Once potential customers have arrived at the site, the opportunity to sign up for the e-newsletter should be prominently displayed. An e-newsletter can offer the customer promotions, industry information and other exclusive benefits.

Social media marketing is another way to attract new customers. A Twitter account can follow people who have interests related to the business, and a lively and informative Twitter feed will encourage them to follow back. Blogs are another form of social media marketing, and a blog that is regularly updated and informative can draw new customers. SEO phrases can also be used in blogs.

Sites should load quickly and be easy to navigate. More and more people are using the Internet on the go these days, and optimizing a website for mobile use will encourage more visitors as well. 

Ads can be targeted to specific audiences based on user data and user input at places like Facebook and Google. Ad space can also be purchased on blogs and sites that are related to the business. 

These online marketing approaches are effective whether the business is a small local operation with the CEO as the sole employee or a large global company. CEOs at smaller companies may want to consider contracting with a person or agency to launch an online marketing program. CEOs at larger companies should avoid the temptation to simply tack online marketing onto one person';s job duties and should instead develop a team that will sustain a long-range online marketing strategy. With these strategies in place, CEOs can look forward to a large new customer base.