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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.