Inbound vs Outbound Marketing

There are only really two distinct strategies marketers use to reach potential customers: inbound marketing and outbound marketing. Below I outline the benefits and drawbacks to each.

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing centres on creating and distributing content that pulls people into your website. If your content is useful and relevant to the user it will help you bring customers in and keep them coming back for more.

There are many ways you can do this. Blogs, video content, guidebooks, etc are good ways to start and also serve as a way to differentiate your product or service from the competition.

The main way to connect with these customers is on search. Consumers are searching for products, services, or content to fulfil a need or solve a problem. This means your content should explain how your products or services will resolve their issues, answer key questions, or satisfy their needs.

Customers appreciate inbound more because they get the information they want, when they want it and in the format that is most useful for them. Companies like it because it generates quality leads and long-lasting relationships with their customers.

What are the benefits of inbound marketing?

  • Non-invasive - potential customers can read your blog posts or watch your videos on their own time.
  • Often educational inbound content should be specifically designed for each stage of the sales funnel.
  • Quantifiable - You can attribute each part of your strategy to a metric which you can use to analyse performance.
  • Up-to-Date - Your website and content should continuously be updated and therefore continues drawing in visitors over time.

What are the drawbacks of inbound marketing?

  • Requires continuous maintenance to ensure that content is up-to-date and always speaks to consumers’ changing wants and needs.
  • Resource heavy - Inbound marketing requires a lot of content which takes a great deal of time and effort to develop and test.

Inbound Marketing examples

  • Blogs posts
  • Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc)
  • Ebooks
  • Search Engine Optimised (SEO) website text
  • Video content
  • Webinars

What is Outbound Marketing?

Outbound marketing involves pushing ads to potential customers to get them interested in a product or service that they may or may not be aware of or want. It focuses on sending a message out to a large quantity of individuals in the hopes for a sale.

Outbound marketing includes things like direct mail, cold calling, TV and newspapers. However, pay-per-click(PPC) advertising and email marketing also fall under the category.

Frequently, consumers are not even aware of or looking for the product that’s being advertised and it’s up to marketers to develop in-depth personas of their target audience so they can understand what platforms and products users are interested in.

The average person sees 2,000 outbound marketing interruptions per day and has led to people creating more and more creative ways to block them out things like ad blocker, caller ID, email spam filters and many more.

What are the benefits of outbound marketing?

  • Promotes brand awareness and helps you reach people who haven’t heard of your product or services before.
  • Yields immediate results 一 people interested in your products and services are likely to take action on your ads and make a purchase.

What are the drawbacks of outbound marketing?

  • It’s hard to make outbound marketing relevant to your entire audience, so outbound marketing is more generalised.
  • It’s easy for consumers to tune out and ignore outbound marketing.
  • Hard to attribute conversions - Older marketing strategies like TV and billboard it’s hard to attribute conversions and it’s increasingly more difficult to attribute digital actions with things like the IOS 14.5 update.
  • Outbound marketing is costly - Buying ad space can be incredibly expensive especially in some niches.

Outbound Marketing examples

  • Cold-calling
  • Cold-emailing
  • Direct mail
  • Billboards
  • Event sponsorships
  • Trade Show presentations
  • TV ads
  • Radio
  • Print
  • Online or in-person contact

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