If you are a marketer or a business owner, you may have probably come across two popular terms – outbound marketing and inbound marketing. Some people think that these are just buzzwords that modern marketers have made up to look cool. This isn’t true.
Outbound marketing and inbound marketing are not jargon. These are important terms that employ a cultural shift in how the concept of marketing works.
In this post, we are going to discuss how inbound marketing and outbound marketing are different from one another and show you which one might be better for your business.
Inbound marketing refers to marketing techniques used to pull in potential clients or customers using interesting content. This type of marketing is thus also referred to as content marketing. Inbound marketing involves publishing blogs, creating social media posts, white papers, infographics, email newsletters, eBooks, and other content that would interest the readers.
Paid ads, paid search, and search engine optimization help people find the content of marketers on the internet. If they find it engaging, they will interact with it and may share it with others. Engaging content will create a positive impression of the brand and influence the purchasing decisions of customers.
Inbound marketing is indirect and hands-off – the sales pitch is mostly hidden from the readers. This type of marketing nudges potential customers down the sales funnel through engaging and interesting content.
Outbound marketing was once just called ‘marketing’. It is interruptive and, unlike inbound marketing, pushes the message of the brand at the audience whether they want it or not. Banners, billboards, magazine/newspaper ads, pop-ups, contextual ads, radio, and TV ads are popular examples of this type of marketing. This gives scope for creativity in terms of color scheme, physicality and expression. Making it memorable is key.
In the past decade, outbound marketing has been overtaken in popularity by the relatively new concept of inbound marketing. People started ignoring display ads due to oversaturation, especially on the web. The situation has gotten worse since the ad blocker was introduced. Now the click-through rates for display advertisement are at 0.05 percent. However, this doesn’t mean that outbound marketing isn’t effective. If done right, outbound marketing techniques can still prove to be viable for your business.
Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing: Choosing Between Outbound and Inbound Marketing
What Makes Inbound Marketing Good?
The main focus of inbound marketing is to provide value to prospects. It is often non-promotional and educational. Since this type of marketing aligns with the customer’s journey, it builds a strong relationship between your brand and your prospects. This allows you to attract prospects at the right time; instead of interrupting them when they aren’t interested in what you have to offer.
This is one of the reasons inbound marketing is usually preferred over outbound marketing. Another major strength of this type of marketing is the return of investment over the long-term.
You must put a large amount of money upfront to get started with inbound marketing. Moreover, in the first few months, you will notice slower results. This is because, during the initial stages, you are building your marketing assets, your online presence and trying to get ranked better in search engine results.
Over time, the assets you have created will increase in value and start attracting more prospects to your business. Digital assets such as blog posts can continue generating leads years after you created them without costing you a lot of money.
What Makes Outbound Marketing Good?
Outbound marketing allows you to get your marketing message in front of people quickly to build awareness about your brand. If you do it correctly, your outbound marketing messages will be seen by millions of people and you can have more customers within weeks. However, the results are dependent on the amount of money you invest. It goes without saying that the more you invest into this project the more results you will see.
Usually, you must continue spending money if you want to keep seeing the results. Unlike inbound marketing, you don’t get long-term, tangible assets that can continue generating leads for you.
Using Both Inbound Marketing and Outbound Marketing
We believe that combining inbound marketing with outbound marketing can get you the best results. For example, if you’re selling laptops, you can run a PPC advertising campaign that promotes a blog post featuring the best laptops in the market, instead of directly promoting your products.
This is more likely to work because you are educating potential customers about the best laptops in the market instead of telling them to buy laptops from you.
Combining inbound marketing with outbound marketing isn’t easy and requires a large amount of investment. Therefore, this strategy is best for large, established businesses.
Is Inbound Marketing Better or Outbound Marketing?
People are favoring inbound marketing over outbound marketing. However, we can’t say that inbound marketing is better than outbound marketing or vice versa. The two approaches are effective in their own way and each one has its own unique benefits.
Outbound marketing works best in the short-term and requires long-term costs while inbound marketing requires large investment upfront and yields better results in the long-term.
As you can see, neither inbound marketing nor outbound marketing takes the lead over the other. If you want to get the maximum benefits from the two marketing approaches, use them in tandem.
However, if you don’t have enough funds to pull off both inbound marketing and outbound marketing, decide which of the two approaches will give you the best results. To do this, consider who your ideal customers are and how they shop for the products you offer. What channels do they use to learn about the type of products you are offering? You could also look at your competitors and see the marketing tactics they are using to determine whether inbound marketing would work best for you or outbound marketing.