Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing

It wasn’t too long ago where marketing was focused strictly on tv advertisements, radio commercials, cold calls, and paper ads. So what happened?

Well, with the new generation rising, the use of the internet has been increasing very quickly. As a result, marketing professionals have been expanding their methods to reach out to these tech-savvy individuals through the internet and social media platforms.

When you are considering which marketing techniques to use for your company’s product, be sure to consider all of the pros and cons of inbound and outbound marketing. People want to shop at their convenience, and they want to do whatever is the easiest and fastest way of doing it.

To start, let’s talk about inbound and outbound marketing in more detail. I like to refer to inbound marketing as the new marketing method as opposed to outbound which is starting to be outdated.

Inbound Marketing

Have you ever searched for a product or service online? My guess is that your answer to this question is yes. When we want to satisfy a need or solve a problem, we tend to do so by typing it into a search engine. By doing this, we are taking part of inbound marketing.

Inbound marketing is a way of getting potential customers to come to you,
instead of pushing your company’s product or service onto them.

The ultimate goal of inbound marketing is to create content that will attractpotential customers to your site. A good way to do this is through content writing and social media.

Most people don’t want to waste their time by reading things that they aren’t interested in. With that being said, be sure to create content for your company that people will actually want to read about, especially your target market.

For example, blogs can help lure people onto your website. Not only can it increase traffic to your site, but if a person really likes your blog they may share it to their social media accounts for all of their followers to see.

Companies love when people retweet, repost, or share their posts. There are a lot of reasons why this is so beneficial. To start, it’s free advertisement. When people share your company’s posts with their followers or friends they are essentially recommending others to purchase your product or service. Also, it attracts more potential customers to your site.word-of-mouth-300x270

This can also be done through word of mouth advertising. Companies use this type of advertising to plant a seed in order to start a reaction from their customers on social media. When people enjoy a product they often tell their friends and post about it on their social media accounts.

When I see one of my friends post about their new purchases, I often tend to click on that company’s website or social media outlets to see what products they have to offer. Same goes for when they specifically recommend a product to me. For example, last week my friend told me about her most recent clothing purchase, and she suggested that I check out the website where she purchased it from. Shortly after, I decided to look at that boutique’s website and considered purchasing something from them. If it wasn’t for her recommending this store to me, they would have never gained me as a potential customer.

Not only is inbound marketing cheaper, but it can also be more efficient. Those who stumble onto your site were brought there because they saw something that captured their attention. Thus the importance of content, keywords, and strong SEO.

For instance, let’s say that someone wants to look online for a new pair of tennis shoes. More than likely, the first thing that they will do is use an internet search engine to find the kind of shoes they want. If your site pops up with the same keywords and appealing content, they will most likely click on your site. Your odds are pretty high at gaining them as a customer since they were already searching for your product or service.

Here are a few examples of inbound marketing that will help you draw customers in:

  • blog posts
  • videos
  • surveys
  • social media campaigns

Having a strong SEO strategy is key to success because it will drive traffic to your website and potentially will increase sales. If you include keywords and alt text, blogs can be a great way of attracting potential customers to your site.

According to a blog post by Jeffrey L. Cohen, statistics show that companies who post blogs gain 67% more traffic every month, and 75% of people purchase products through some sort of social media. Let alone, these statistics should show you how effective inbound marketing is.

Outbound Marketing

I like to think of outbound marketing as more of the traditional, old school marketing method. Although outbound marketing can be successful, often times it tends to not be the most effective or best way to reach potential customers because of the new advances of technology in today’s age.

This method involves marketerspushing their products onto consumers, even those outside of the target market. For instance, the door-to-door salesman who went to every house in the neighborhood regardless if that person wanted what he was selling or not.

Here are some outbound marketing examples:

  • newspaper/magazine ads
  • radio ads
  • billboards
  • tv commercials
  • cold calls

Consider the role of a car salesman. The person in this position is attempting to influence anyone to purchase a car, whether they are looking for one or not. This is the complete opposite of what we discussed earlier.

To show how different these two methods are, an inbound marketing example would be when a person uses a search engine to find a specific type of car. The potential customer will type in keywords to find the exact car that fits their needs.

Using these two comparison examples. Which do you think has better odds of gaining a potential sale? The inbound method, with the customer who is specifically looking for your product? Or, the outbound method where the salesman is reaching out to everyone? My guess would be the inbound method with the customer who was searching for someone who was selling a car.

Things to Consider When Choosing Inbound or Outbound Marketing

  • Price
  • Time
  • Efficiency
  • Impact
  • Target Customer

So, which one should you use?

It depends on who your target market is. Once you do your research and determine who they are, their purchasing patterns, and how you can reach them, then you can determine which marketing method would be the best to use.

However, the best part is, if your budget allows and makes sense for who you are trying to reach, you can do both. You don’t actually have to pick one way of marketing. A lot of marketers are using a combination of the two to reach more people. For example, digital billboard advertising with live tweets. This is a great example of combining inbound and outbound marketing. The tweets sent in by customers represent the inbound side and the billboard itself represents the outbound marketing method.

Just remember, be creative and do whatever works best for reaching your customers!

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