A Topline View of Outbound vs. Inbound Marketing
You've probably been using outbound marketing strategies for as long as you can remember to attract customers to your business. Actively reaching out to your target market is perhaps what you've been used to. While outbound marketing is still a great way to reach your customer base, it isn't the be-all-end-all. Inbound marketing is gaining traction in the marketing landscape and businesses are learning to get people to come to them when they’re looking for products and services. In this post, we'll explore inbound and outbound marketing, their key differences, and how they work together.
What is Outbound Marketing?
We're all familiar with outbound marketing. It's the type of marketing that initiates the conversation and sends a message out to an audience. Some examples include advertising, direct mail campaigns, email campaigns, banner ads, list purchasing, etc. But there are some challenges that come with outbound marketing. For one, it can sometimes be difficult to track return on investment. Also, people have learned how to block outbound marketing attempts by using "do not call" lists, spam filters, etc. Not to mention, outbound marketing can be very expensive.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is a newer type of marketing that has grown in popularity over the last few years in direct response to evolving buying behaviors. Think of inbound marketing as "pull" marketing. With various techniques such as content marketing, blogs, events, SEO, and social media, you can attract an audience without needing to initiate the first point of contact.
In today's digital world, everyone uses the internet to research products and services, as well as searching for companies that have a record and positive reputation that can help them solve their problems. This is why so many B2B brands are now investing in improving their websites and establishing SEO to gain online visibility and credibility, creating a social media presence to build brand awareness, and perhaps most importantly, crafting valuable content focused on helping customers to buy. This combination is what helps attract the right customers who are the right fit for your business.
What's the difference?
Unlike outbound marketing where marketers search for customers, inbound marketing gains the attention of customers and makes it easier for them to find your company. According to HubSpot's 2018 ROI Report, 70% of its customers experienced an increase in their lead conversion rate using inbound strategies. Inbound marketing focuses more on building a relationship with customers over time by being an authoritative resource.
With inbound marketing, you can create downloadable content in the form of whitepapers, guides, and more to educate your audience and provide them with value. You can also develop this content and tailor it to specific points in the buyer's journey.
This can work well for your business because you're personalizing the customer experience by letting the customer control the content they consume, as well as the timing of their interactions with you.
How do they work together?
In truth, inbound and outbound work extremely well together. Inbound marketing can attract customers, while outbound nurtures those relationships through the use of email marketing, retargeting campaigns and PPC advertising.
Inbound and outbound can also cross-promote each other, working together to produce the desired end result. For example, if a member of your sales team recommends some of your content to a prospect, that's outbound marketing promoting inbound marketing. You're initiating a conversation with them (outbound) while promoting your content (inbound).
A balanced approach to using both can be an especially effective strategy for B2B products and services, as each brings its own benefits that also complement the other. The end result is an even greater ROI.
If you're ready to expand your marketing beyond the traditional outbound approach, a great start is to set up a free marketing consultation. We’re here to help.
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