Inbound and outbound marketing are both incredibly important for companies in the modern age, but they are very different beasts. Today, we’re going to dig down into everything you need to know about the differences between inbound & outbound marketing, when to use which one, how they work, and much more.
So, whether you’re a marketing in-house or agency professional, a business owner, or just somebody who wants to know more about how marketing works, this post is for you. Let’s get started!
What is Outbound Marketing?
This is the traditional form of marketing in which companies reach out to customers through channels like TV ads, print ads, cold calling, and email blasts. It’s called outbound because the company is reaching out to customers who may or may not be interested in hearing from them. It can be a bit of a numbers game – the more people you reach out to, the more likely you are to find somebody who is interested in what you’re selling.
Traditionally, outbound marketing is also seen as more interruptive because it’s often in the form of cold calls or ads that show up in your mailbox unannounced. It can be a bit of an annoyance. This could explain why inbound marketing has become so popular in recent years instead.
Examples of Outbound Marketing
Examples of outbound marketing would be more traditional ads like TV commercials, radio ads, print ads in magazines or newspapers, and even cold-calling. These are all examples of marketing messages that are pushed out to a wide audience in the hopes of finding people who might be interested in what you have to say.
What is Inbound Marketing?
In contrast, inbound marketing is all about earning the attention of customers and drawing them in with relevant and helpful content. Inbound marketing’s focus is on creating valuable content that pulls people in rather than pushing messages out.
It’s called inbound because the customer is coming into your site or blog of their own accord, usually after doing a search on Google or seeing one of your ads. And because they’re already interested in what you have to say, they’re much more likely to buy from you than someone who is just seeing your ad on TV or in a magazine.
Examples of Inbound Marketing
In real life, some examples of inbound marketing could include SEO-optimized blog posts, ebooks or whitepapers, infographics, webinars, and even just helpful how-to videos. Any content that’s created to draw people in and help them solve a problem is inbound marketing.
How Do Inbound and Outbound Marketing Work?
Outbound marketing is all about interrupting people’s day with your message in the hope that they’ll be interested in what you’re saying. It’s a bit like going up to someone in the street and trying to sell them something – you might get lucky and find somebody who’s interested. But more often than not, people are just going to be annoyed that you interrupted their day.
Inbound marketing, alternatively, is all about creating content that people will actually want to consume. If you’re producing helpful blog posts, infographics, ebooks, and other resources that people are actually searching for, they’re much more likely to be interested in what you have to say. And because they’re already interested, they’re much more likely to buy from you when they’re ready to make a purchase.
Inbound marketing is also much more effective at building long-term relationships with customers than outbound marketing. Because inbound marketing involves creating valuable content, it’s a great way to build trust and credibility with your audience. And when people trust you, they’re much more likely to buy from you in the future. Inbound marketing can be the marketing gift that keeps on giving! When it’s done right, that is.
So, Which One Should You Use?
The answer, of course, is both. Outbound marketing is still a great way to reach a wide audience, and inbound marketing is an essential part of the sales process. But if you’re just starting out, or if you’re looking to focus your marketing efforts, inbound marketing is the way to go.
Inbound marketing is more effective, sustainable, and efficient in the long run than outbound marketing. It’s also less annoying, which is always a bonus.
So if you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck, inbound marketing is your best bet.
Primary Differences Between Inbound and Outbound Marketing
We’ve already talked a bit about what makes each of these types of marketing work, but let’s get into what makes them different from one another: What are the five main differences between inbound and outbound marketing?
- Businesses create content to attract customers, while in outbound marketing, businesses interrupt potential customers with their content.
- The focus is on creating helpful and relevant content that will draw people in, while in outbound marketing, the focus is on creating ads and other content that will capture attention as people go throughout their day in the hopes that they’ll be interested in what you have to say.
- Businesses build trust and credibility with their audience by creating helpful content, while in outbound marketing, businesses try to build trust and credibility by interrupting people’s day with their message.
- There is a focus on creating content that will be found by people who are already interested in what you have to say, while in outbound marketing, businesses focus on creating ads that will be seen by as many people as possible, regardless of whether they’re truly interested in what you have to say.
- Finally, inbound marketing is more sustainable in the long run than outbound marketing, because it’s focused on creating relationships with customers rather than interrupting their day. Outbound marketing can be effective in the short term, but inbound marketing is more effective in the long term, and it’s also more efficient and less annoying.
So there you have it! Those are the main differences between inbound and outbound marketing.
Now, let’s get into doing both of them right!
Strategies for Successful Inbound Marketing
If you’re looking to begin with inbound marketing? Or if you’re looking to improve your inbound marketing efforts? Then there are a few key strategies you’ll need to keep in mind.
First and foremost, you need to create awesome content. If you’re not creating content that’s helpful and relevant to your audience, they’re not going to want to read it, and they’re certainly not going to want to buy from you.
Develop a detailed content strategy. It should include:
- How often you’ll publish
- What kinds of content you’ll create
- Who will be responsible for creating it
Then make sure you stick to your plan!
For your content to be found by people who are interested in what you have to say, you need to make sure it’s optimized for search engines. This means doing things like:
- Including relevant keywords
- Using proper tag structure
- Make sure your site is easy to navigate
Further, you need to make sure your site is mobile-friendly, as more and more people are using their phones and tablets to search the web.
If you’re not sure how to do this, there are plenty of resources out there to help you get started. Or you can always hire an SEO expert.
(Learn more about optimizing your content for search engines here)
Search engine optimization (or SEO) is a complex topic. But here are a few more basics you can do to make sure your site is easily findable:
- Use keyword-rich titles and descriptions
- Prioritizing on-page and off-page SEO
- Include links to your content in your social media profiles
(We have plenty of other SEO resources on our blog to help!)
Promote your content
Third, you need to promote your content. You’ve created killer content—but that doesn’t mean an audience is going to see it. You need to make sure you’re promoting your content in all the right places: social media, your website, email, etc. Always be on the lookout for new avenues for sharing and growing your audience.
Measure your results
And of course, you need to measure your results. Inbound marketing is all about attracting leads and converting them into customers. So, you need to make sure you’re tracking:
- How many leads you’re getting
- Where they’re coming from
- How many of them are converting into customers
These analytics help you to see what’s working, what’s not, and where you need to make changes in your strategy. They also give you the ability to show your boss or your clients just how inbound marketing is helping your business grow!
There are several analytics tools that come in handy for this goal, including Google Analytics, HubSpot’s free CRM, and more. Be sure you’re clear on exactly how to read what the analytics are telling you. When you can interpret them correctly, you can make sound decisions about where to take your inbound marketing strategy next.
Finally, you need to be patient. Inbound marketing is a long-term game. It can take months or even years to see the full benefits of your inbound marketing efforts.
But if you’re willing to put in the work and be patient? Then inbound marketing can be an impressively effective way to grow your business.
There you have it! Those are the key strategies for successful inbound marketing.
But inbound marketing is just half the story we’re telling today.
Just because outbound marketing is on the decline doesn’t mean it’s not effective in certain situations. Thinking about using outbound marketing to grow your business? Then here are a few strategies you should keep in mind:
Strategies for Successful Outbound Marketing
Outbound marketing can be a great way to reach new people, but it’s important to do it the right way. Here are a few key marketing strategies to remember:
Create targeted lists
When you’re creating your list of potential customers, make sure you’re being as specific as possible. The more targeted your list is, the more likely you’ll reach people who are actually interested in what you have to say.
For example, if you sell software that helps businesses manage their inventory? Then you might want to create a list of businesses in that industry with under 50 employees.
To do this, you’ll need powerful data on your side. There’s no point in sending your message out into the world if it’s not going to be seen by people who are genuinely interested in what you have to say.
Start by figuring out who your ideal customer is. Then, use data (like demographic information, psychographic information, past purchase history, etc.) to create a list of people who fit that description.
Use personalized messages
When you’re reaching out to potential customers, make sure you’re using personalized messages. People are more likely to respond to a message that’s addressed directly to them, rather than a generic message that could have been sent to any old contact.
Don’t be afraid to follow up
Now, what if someone doesn’t respond to your initial outreach? Then don’t be afraid to follow up! You might want to wait a week or two before following up. But in general, it’s commonly acceptable (and even encouraged) to reach out more than once.
Outbound marketing can be a great way to reach new customers and grow your business. Just remember to use targeted lists, and personalized messages, and don’t be afraid of following up!
By following these simple tips, you can make sure your outbound marketing efforts are successful.
If your marketing efforts could use some work or you’re not sure where to start, we’re here to help! BWM has a team of inbound and outbound marketing experts who can help you create a comprehensive marketing strategy that will help you blast past your goals.
Contact us today to learn more!