Wondering what is better, inbound vs outbound marketing?
You are looking to compare inbound marketing and outbound marketing to better understand the two.
Perhaps you are looking to see which is best.
No matter the reason, we’ve got what you need!
In this article, we will look at what is inbound marketing, what is outbound marketing, we will look at examples of inbound marketing and outbound marketing, we’ll look at their advantages and even inbound vs outbound marketing for B2B campaigns.
We have divided this article into the following sections for ease of navigation:
- What is inbound marketing?
- What is outbound marketing?
- Examples of inbound marketing
- Examples of outbound marketing
- What are the advantages of inbound marketing
- What are the advantages of outbound marketing
- Inbound vs outbound marketing B2B, which is better?
- What is the inbound marketing funnel?
- Outbound marketing process
What is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing consists of providing valuable content and solutions to people in such a way that you can attract them as prospects and ultimately convert them into paying customers.
Inbound marketing is one component of a larger marketing strategy you may have in your business.
Inbound marketing is a holistic approach to converting a website visitor into a paying customer.
With inbound marketing, you’ll use different types of digital marketing strategies to achieve your goal.
You can coordinate and design a step-by-step path to lead traffic into your marketing funnel and converting them.
For instance, you can use your blog to write targeted content specifically to attract a certain audience.
When someone from your targeted audience visits your website, you provide them with a lead magnet to get their email address.
Then you launch an email marketing campaign targeting your subscriber’s interests and needs.
If that subscriber performs the call-to-action in your email, you’ll direct them to a landing page specifically designed around their needs and interest.
You will then provide all the necessary information and material they need to convert that customer by either calling you, purchasing online or taking a positive action you consider as a conversion.
What is outbound marketing?
Outbound marketing is any kind of marketing strategy where you attempt to initiate a conversation with your audience.
Broadly speaking, outbound marketing can be done online or offline such as radio ads, TV commercials, tradeshows, email blasts and more.
While inbound marketing is how you deal with a prospect who has reached out to you, with outbound marketing, you are taking the first step to reach out to your audience.
From the audiences’ point of view, it’s an unsolicited message or advertisement.
Since outbound marketing is an unsolicited marketing message, the efforts required to convert a customer will be much greater than with inbound marketing.
Outbound marketing exists for ages and will continue to exist.
The biggest difference between inbound vs outbound marketing is that the prospect is actively searching or looking for something in the first instance and the prospect is not actively searching for something in the second instance.
Examples of inbound marketing
What are some examples of inbound marketing you say?
There are different types of inbound marketing techniques you can use are:
- Case studies
- Video series
Inbound marketing can be the combination of any of these techniques as well.
The common thread in each of these inbound marketing techniques is that you are enticing someone to visit your website, read your blog, consult your whitepaper, watch your video and so forth.
You are attracting the visitor because you are giving them someone valuable content to start with.
Perhaps you are giving them information on a product or a service.
Perhaps you are giving them a guide or tips on how to do something.
Perhaps you are giving advice on potential pitfalls and things to avoid.
The user is coming to you to read more and better understand what you are offering them.
As you do that, you are engaging with your audience.
The more they engage with you, the more they can build trust.
Over time, that user can become a customer of yours.
Examples of outbound marketing
Now that we’ve covered inbound marketing, what are some examples of outbound marketing?
Outbound marketing is a type of marketing strategy where you are reaching out to your audience.
Outbound marketing techniques can include things like:
- PPC advertising
- Content syndication
- Direct mail
- Event marketing
- Inside sales
- Email marketing
- Lead nurturing
As you can see from the above list, the common thread linking all these strategies is that you are reaching out to your audience.
Digital outbound marketing can be more effective than traditional outbound marketing strategies.
Nonetheless, you will need to allocate a good amount of time, resources and budget to succeed at outbound marketing.
With outbound marketing, you are hoping to create awareness in the market in such a way that your audience is not going to get harassed or annoyed.
The idea is to present your target audience with information and marketing material in such a way that if they want to buy something or do business with someone, they’ll think of you.
With outbound marketing, the chances of falling on a prospect who receives your marketing material and is ready to make a purchase at that specific moment is lower.
Nonetheless, you may have a small percentage of your targeted audience that will reach out to you directly resulting from your outbound marketing efforts.
You’ll need to consider different outbound marketing efforts and see which ones produce the best results and return on investment.
What are the advantages of inbound marketing
Inbound marketing is quite an effective marketing strategy.
What are the advantages of inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing helps you increase your brand awareness.
Producing content that your prospects specifically need, want and enjoy is a great way to connect with them.
Using inbound marketing strategies digitally, companies of any size are able to compete with one another.
Inbound marketing will also help increase your audiences’ trust in your company.
With inbound marketing, you are catering to your customers’ needs and giving them something before they buy from you.
They are in the driver’s seat.
If they find you through their own research and they find your content useful directly solving a problem they have or giving them a solution they need, you can most certainly convert them into customers.
Inbound marketing also provides you with high-quality traffic and leads.
The person visiting your website has found you because you have something they are looking for.
They want to read your content, they want to better understand your services, they want to evaluate your product.
You have something of value that they are looking for.
That’s a high-quality prospect that you can work on to convert.
What are the advantages of outbound marketing
There is no doubt that outbound marketing is more difficult than inbound marketing to convert customers.
It does not mean that it does not offer any advantages.
If you use outbound marketing strategically, you can see a positive return on your investment.
That can make it a worthy marketing tool in your toolbox.
What are the advantages of outbound marketing?
One advantage of outbound marketing is that you can get immediate results.
While you design inbound marketing to bring someone to your website and nurture them to ultimately convert them, with outbound marketing, you target your audience and a certain percentage of those you target will get converted into customers.
With outbound marketing, you’re typically paying to advertise and you are giving a really enticing offer to your targeted audience.
If you pay to advertise, you’ll end up getting preferred marketing slots, you’ll be able to target your audience well and reach out to the masses.
With outbound marketing, you can also target your messages strategically.
You can target your advertisement campaign to those you really want to target.
You’ll have a much more laser-focused targeting capabilities with outbound marketing than inbound marketing.
Outbound marketing is not mutually exclusive of inbound marketing.
You should use both strategies hand-in-hand if you have the right budget and time.
Inbound vs outbound marketing B2B, which is better?
Being in the B2B marketing space, you have a budget to consider, goals to achieve and a return on investment to show.
So which is better, inbound vs outbound marketing B2B?
The answer to this will depend on what you are selling and how well you understand the B2B customers’ buying patterns.
B2B buyers are more sophisticated, they’ll need to find information to satisfy not only their own information needs but that of other business stakeholders and their decisions change all the time.
B2B buyers will still show some patterns of consumer behavior.
For instance, 54% of B2B buyers will look at social media to learn about a vendor, a product or a service.
42% of B2B buyers will read about the topic on blogs.
52% of B2B buyers will look things up on LinkedIn.
As you can see, there some patterns that you can detect in B2B decision-making.
Once you understand how B2B decision-makers make a purchasing decision, you’ll be able to define and craft the right inbound marketing strategies along with the right outbound marketing strategies to achieve your goal.
Depending on your company size, the size of your addressable market, the marketing maturity in which you are dealing and your goals, one marketing strategy may produce better results than the other.
It’s difficult to draw the line and say that inbound marketing is king and outbound marketing is outdated and useless.
The marketing efforts that may work well may ultimately be a balance between the two.
Inbound marketing and outbound marketing target customers differently, on potentially different platforms and with different content.
Inbound marketing is about producing the right content and environment to build trust and convert over time while outbound marketing is to target the masses and get conversions.
While inbound marketing can produce qualified leads and result in a higher ROI for your business, it may be worth considering a few outbound marketing strategies and test if it can work for your business.
What is the inbound marketing funnel?
The inbound marketing funnel is the different stages a prospect will to through to become a customer of yours.
The typical inbound marketing funnel consists of:
- Attract stage
- Convert stage
- Close stage
- Delight stage
In the attract stage, you are looking to attract new leads.
You’ll be writing blogs, targeting specific keywords and publishing content on social media to attract new users to your website and digital marketing material.
Once you’ve attached someone, your next objective is to convert them.
The conversion can positive step a site visitor can take showing signs purchase intent or there is some initial level of interest.
Conversion can be the completion of a form on your website, clicking a call-to-action button or ending up on your landing page.
At this stage, you are qualifying the lead.
The next stage is to close the deal.
This is where you want to convert the qualified lead into a customer.
You are going to give the qualified lead all the information and material they need to make them purchase what you are selling.
You’ll track your lead’s journey, you’ll send email campaigns and set up workflows in targeting them with the intention of closing the deal.
After you’ve closed the deal, you want to have a happy and satisfied customer.
You want to delight them with your product or service.
This is where you will send your customers things like surveys or track your customer’s journey through reports and social monitoring.
Outbound marketing process
The outbound marketing process is the process of initiating the conversation with a prospect by sending out marketing material or a message to the audience.
The outbound marketing process starts with developing a sales plan, define your audience, the channels you will use to target your audience and what type of message you are you going to deliver to them.
To succeed in your outbound marketing process, you’ll need to:
- Define your customer persona
- Create a really attractive offer for your ideal customer
- Find out where they are located and understand your audiences’ demographics
- Use a marketing platform to reach out to your audience in a targeted way
- Monitor your results
- Repeat the cycle
With outbound marketing, you are playing a numbers game.
For instance, if you sent out 10,000 emails with a message to your targeted audience, you are expecting that 5% contact you and out of that you are expecting to convert 10%.
If you do your outbound marketing right, you’ll be effectively achieving the right amount of conversion allowing you to fully pay for your marketing efforts and giving you a nice return on investment.
The outbound marketing process is an iterative process, so you’ll need to continually work on improving your outbound marketing strategy.
There you have it, inbound vs outbound marketing!
In this article, we looked at understanding inbound marketing and outbound marketing so we can better understand how to use them and what works best.
Although inbound marketing can provide you with more qualified leads and result in higher ROI, you must not discount the benefits of outbound marketing if it is suitable for your business.
With inbound marketing, you are creating something to give your audience.
You are attracting them to you, building trust over time and eventually converting them.
With outbound marketing, you study the market, your industry, identify who is your target audience and what they need, you create an outbound marketing strategy to target them and convert them as soon as possible.
Inbound marketing and outbound marketing can work hand in hand.
They are not mutually exclusive.
However, outbound marketing will require a lot more effort and costs for it to be successful while inbound marketing can be done by anyone including a startup with limited funds.
On related topics, be sure to check out our article on the difference between digital marketing and inbound marketing for law firms.
We hope you enjoyed this article.
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