Inbound and Outbound Marketing — What’s the Difference?
Are you designing or updating your marketing strategy? If so, you need a way to keep up with the constantly changing marketing landscape and one of the best ways to do that is by adjusting your strategy regularly.
If most of your efforts are focused on traditional marketing mechanisms such as billboards, direct mail and other types of outbound marketing, we’d like to show you the benefits of inbound marketing and why a blend of the two may be your best bet.
Outbound marketing is what you tend to think of when you hear the word “marketing.” It’s what we’ve seen clogging our TVs, phones, billboards, and direct mail for years now. In a nutshell, it’s non-digital content designed to capture consumer’s attention and written to sell products.
While it’s considered to be a passive way to market, it’s done with the expectation that a decent percentage of people seeing the ad will convert. For that to happen though, it must find a way to stand out from the crowd by interrupting a person’s attention. This is quite the feat considering the number of ads we’re bombarded with every day.
Benefits of Outbound Marketing
One of the main benefits of Outbound Marketing is that it promotes brand awareness and helps you reach people who haven’t heard of your products or services before. Because of this, it’s easier to see immediate results and increase in interest for your product or service. Plus, consumers are used to this kind of promotion and expect to see it in their newspapers, phones, billboards, and so on.
Challenges of Outbound Marketing
Outbound marketing is a one-way street with limited lanes. Once those lanes start getting crowded, it affects the effectiveness of the marketing because people will start ignoring all advertisements.
Another challenge is that since outbound marketing is so widespread, it’s hard to target everyone with your ads. Since it’s an expensive endeavor, it can be hard to invest in knowing many people may ignore it altogether. However, it does have a high likelihood of conversion, so you must decide if it’s worth the high acquisition cost.
Now let’s examine what’s known as Inbound marketing which covers marketing strategies intended to draw a customer in. These strategies include content such as blogs, vlogs, and downloadable content.
When using an inbound approach, a business typically uses this content to coincide with specific points in the buyer’s journey:
- Beginning: when buyers are first recognizing they need a solution to their “problem”
- Middle: the buyer is doing research to compare their options
- End: when the buyer is overcoming obstacles in their mind in order to click “buy”
By using multiple forms of inbound marketing at each stage of this process, a business can satisfy the customer’s needs at all points in the customer buying journey.
Another way of looking at it is that all inbound marketing should be subtly telling a buyer how your product or service will solve their problem. And this should be done in such a way that the consumer doesn’t feel like they’re being “sold” to in an aggressive manner.
The Benefits of Inbound Marketing
Like we said, this kind of marketing should be subtle so customers feel that they can take it in on their own time — blog posts can be read on their free time, webinars can be streamed riding down the road, no need to be pushy or aggressive. And since any good strategy should be measurable, this marketing is easy to monitor since it’s typically tied to a stage in the sales funnel.
The Challenges of Inbound Marketing
While Inbound Marketing is highly effective, there are some drawbacks to it since it requires constant maintenance to make sure it’s still speaking to the buyer’s always-changing wants and needs. To use these strategies effectively, you’ll have to invest time and effort into developing and testing the content to make sure it’s still converting but this maintenance will pay off in the long run.
The Choice is Yours
Both Inbound and Outbound Marketing deserve a place in your marketing strategy, the question is how much will you invest in each? We recommend coming up with strategies for both and then monitoring for return on investment and conversions. The best marketing strategy is one that’s constantly evolving and working for you.