Inbound marketing vs. outbound marketing. Which should you focus on? This question remains a heated debate in the marketing sphere. One method is invasive and disruptive, while the other focuses on attracting qualified leads primarily via helpful content. In this post, we look to demystify these methods and help you decide the best option for your business. Let us dive in.
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What is Inbound Marketing?
Also known as pull marketing, inbound marketing is the umbrella term for the tools and processes focused on attracting target customers to your business.
In this non-intrusive marketing strategy, you first draw people using valuable content that positions you as a trusted thought leader and authority in your industry. You then engage your prospects by presenting insights and solutions aligned with their goals and pain points to increase the likelihood of them doing business with you. Finally, you delight your customers by empowering them to find success with their purchases.
Examples of inbound marketing include blogging, social media campaigns, webinars, viral videos, and search engine optimization.
What is Outbound Marketing?
Also referred to as push or traditional marketing, outbound marketing uses techniques to push marketing messages out to many people (both interested and non-interested) to spark a response or cultivate a lead or new business.
Emailing, sponsoring a booth at a trade show, running print ads, buying radio and TV ads, buying email lists, and direct mails are examples of outbound marketing.
The Differences between Inbound Marketing and Outbound Marketing
1. Permission-Based Vs. Interruption-Based
In inbound marketing, you first communicate via channels where your target audiences have permitted you to engage with them and then answer their questions. The leads decide when and in what way they will initiate a conversation with your brand.
In outbound marketing, you identify a medium with a large following and periodically disrupt them with ads hoping that they will resonate with a small percentage of the audience. You decide when and via what channel you reach prospects.
2. Educational Messaging Vs. Complicated Messaging
With inbound marketing, the message is engaging, specific, and valuable. You focus the message on answering your audience’s questions. Rather than forcing it upon them, you serve it on a shiny silver platter, ready for the prospects to consume whenever convenient.
In contrast, outbound messaging is often complicated. There is little space to work with, be it a few seconds on the radio/TV or newspaper ad, while trying to reach everyone with the same message. As such, exuberant voice-overs, bright colors, and moving graphics are highly synonymous with outbound ads, increasing the likelihood of people tuning them out.
3. Lead’s Awareness of the Brand
Inbound leads are familiar with your brand by the time they are contacting you. They know how your solutions can help them and are ready to make a purchase.
On the other hand, outbound leads have little knowledge about your brand, products, services, and industry, meaning they are far from converting. You are therefore required to educate the leads from the very beginning once they contact you.
4. Quantifiable Vs. Immeasurable
Everything is quantifiable with the inbound process, from the ROI of different techniques to how the CTA button’s shape, color, or size influences your conversions. Complex algorithms help you determine your marketing strategies’ effectiveness, leaving little to no room for assumptions.
Outbound marketing success is hard to measure. You can ask how prospects found your business, but the answers do not tell the whole story. Assumptions are inherent within this marketing model, leading to underperformance.
5. Result Generation Speed
With inbound marketing, prospects take time to land your marketing materials and probably engage with several before initiating contact with your business. You, therefore, need to wait for some time for leads to come to you.
With traditional marketing, business owners and marketers enjoy a faster return on investment because they initiate the conversation. But you will likely need to target a broader audience to generate a satisfactory number of leads.
6. Investment Required
Inbound marketing is extremely affordable, and any business can implement the techniques, regardless of its budget size. In fact, lead generation with inbound process costs 62% less than outbound process. Outbound marketing is costly because you will need to purchase TV, radio, newspaper space for your ads or prepare and distribute materials.
Which Marketing Strategy is Best for Your Business?
The ultimate choice between inbound and outbound marketing will depend on your business goals and needs. If the outbound methodology is working for you, do not eliminate it from your marketing. But you will want to augment your outbound processes with some inbound strategies to elevate lead generation and conversions.
With a thought-out combination, it becomes easier to draw high-intent leads without being invasive. For example, you can use highly targeted and personalized emails to increase brand awareness and draw prospects potentially interested in your offerings. Upon nurturing these prospects through the sale funnel until they reach the sales-ready stage, your sales representatives can follow up with cold calls to offer more information or schedule consultation.
Regardless of the approach you choose, it is important to track results to understand what works for your goals and needs and how you can further optimize your marketing strategies.
The Bottom Line
While inbound marketing vs. outbound marketing can be effective on their own, they are unlikely to prosper alone. Use them in a complementary manner, taking care to create a marketing combination that allows you to adapt to the industry and marketing trends.
With over ten years of digital marketing experience, GoMarketing can create a marketing strategy customized to your needs, goals, and budget, track results, and make data-backed adjustments to increase your leads and revenues. Talk to us today to get started or Call us now at 805-413-7893 to learn more about our digital marketing services.