With 1 in 3 Americans claiming to be online almost all the time which clearly showcase that digital marketing is more applicable than ever before. However, how you get your message across is a matter of debate. 

In this article, we’ll look at inbound vs. outbound marketing. I’ll examine the differences and the advantages and disadvantages associated with both techniques. 

What is Inbound and Outbound Marketing- the Differences

The chart below illustrates the top small business marketing tactics in the United States in 2019. 

business marketing tactics in united statesSource: Statista

Most of the items listed, except for content marketing and search engine optimization, are considered outbound tactics. With these tools, the marketer reaches out to the client to sell them something. On the other hand, inbound marketing provides information the client looks for rather than selling them something. 

What Is Outbound Marketing? 

Outbound marketing is any advertising or marketing where your business starts a conversation to sell your product or services.

It can be in the form of: 

  • Print ads
  • Social media marketing
  • Cold calling
  • Email marketing
  • Billboards

Outbound marketing follows the traditional approach of getting your marketing message across to clients wherever they are. If you’re not careful, this may be seen as intrusive, especially if the product isn’t relevant to them. 

This form of marketing also includes pushy salespeople that won’t take no for an answer, spam emails, and intrusive pop-up adverts. 

Is Advertising Inbound or Outbound? 

Advertising is usually outbound as the company initiates the conversation with the client. The exception is PPC advertising centered on specific keywords. In such cases, the customer starts the conversation by searching for your products. 

What are the Advantages of Outbound Tactics?

You’re likely to see more immediate results. Indeed. marketing will get eyes on your product faster than building organic traffic does. 

What are the Disadvantages of Outbound Tactics? 

Outbound marketing is expensive and continues to show a diminishing return. Between 2013 and 2019, the number of people using ad blockers rose by over 358% to 763.51 million. 

Email marketing doesn’t fare much better with 59% of people getting irrelevant emails and an average open rate of about 18.39%.

Many consumers complain of advertisements and being irrelevant or annoyingly intrusive. While not all marketers use underhanded tactics to spam clients, there are enough to taint the industry as a whole. 

It’s also difficult to establish the return on investment of outbound programs. The ad may trigger someone to conduct more research into the product without them checking on it. 

The high cost and low yield of outbound tactics have led more companies to explore inbound marketing.

What is Inbound Marketing? 

Inbound marketing relies on your clients looking for you when they need your services. In other words, you don’t use advertising blasts to attract their attention. This may be through highly targeted PPC advertising, SEO, or content marketing. 

How do the Clients find You? 

The tricky part is that there are millions of businesses and content creators vying for attention. Standing out from the crowd requires a fair deal of effort. 

Quality content creation is one of the best ways for clients to find you. Blogs are among the top three media used by content marketers today because they’re so effective. 

Aside from that, SEO tactics help attract the attention of search engines. 

What are the Benefits of Inbound Marketing? 

Content marketing, in particular, helps to: 

  • Establish you as a subject matter expert
  • Position you as a valuable resource for potential clients
  • Explain more about the concepts behind your business or service
  • Increase the chance of posts going viral
  • Subtly lead clients to the conclusion that your solution is best
  • Create organic traffic with long-lasting results—blog posts might garner traffic for years, and the effect compounds as great content ages

With all types of inbound marketing, the client will surely consider your content because it’s more relevant to them. You’re not interrupting their day, but you’re helpful instead. For the modern consumer, it’s a far more effective form of marketing than pushy sales tactics.  

Best yet, unlike a print media campaign, a blog post is a once-off investment. You pay the writer for the content and can leave it on your blog for as long as you like. 

What are the Disadvantages of Inbound Tactics? 

Inbound tactics are subtle. You don’t directly say, “Buy XYZ product.” Clients must make the inference themselves from the information that you provide. If your competitor’s branding is stronger, it may work against you. 

There’s also a lot of competition out there. Ranking in searches for keywords means putting out the best content possible and promoting it. You must actively build an audience to obtain the best results. 

Another issue is that it takes time to see results. Changes you make today may not bear fruit until three to six months down the line. This makes it difficult to pinpoint what changes are the most effective for your audience. The effort is, however, worth it. If you provide your target customers with timely information that they can trust, they will warm up to your company. 

Should you switch from Outbound to Inbound Marketing? 

The best strategy depends on your audience’s behavior. Where will you be best able to get their attention? Even if most of your clients spend much of their time online, they might read the local paper or trade magazines. 

You need to find out from new clients how they found out about you. It might be helpful to include a small discount with various adverts you place online and in print media. Use a slightly different code for each discount so that you can see where your client sourced the information. 

Once you have a better and unique idea of the efficiency of the different methods for your audience, you can tailor your approach. In general, however, most companies will do well to focus more on SEO inbound marketing strategy going forward. 

Moving your Focus from Outbound to Inbound Marketing

Changing from the system that you’re accustomed to can be a little daunting at first. Managing PPC adverts, SEO, and content creation may seem like mammoth tasks to the beginner. They needn’t be, however. 

Partnering with a professional web designer to optimize and grow your website can give you a head start. Specialists who work with SEO daily can incorporate the best practices into your site from day one, giving it an immediate boost. 

We can agree that all the information is available online. Technically, you can learn all you need to know about SEO by researching the topic if you have the time to read page upon page of information and then work out what is outdated and what isn’t.

You can learn by trial and error, but that can take months or sometimes years of frustrating effort. Why not focus the time and effort on something at which you excel—your core business? Draw on your expertise and outsource content creation to an expert writer. Their objective approach may highlight factors that you never even thought of. 

Final Notes

Inbound vs. outbound marketing: which is victorious? At present, the two are still fighting it out. In the future, however, it’s clear that inbound marketing will win the title fight.

Hopefully, you clearly understands, what is difference between inbound and outbound marketing and which to choose. It’s time to start considering and implementing your inbound strategy today. 

Contact us to discuss more about Inbound and Outbound Marketing tactics to scale up your business.

Frequently Asked Questions

Inbound marketing is generally seen as more effective than outbound marketing. It's like a magnet that attracts customers to your business. It costs less per lead and brings in three times as many leads compared to outbound methods. For instance, in SaaS sales, inbound marketing has proven to be beneficial in closing deals. Instead of pushing your message out, inbound marketing pulls potential customers in by creating valuable content and engaging with them when they show interest. This approach tends to build stronger connections and generate better results, making it a preferred choice for many businesses.

In simple terms, inbound sales, where customers come to you, usually has a higher success rate than outbound sales, where you reach out to customers. HubSpot, a marketing platform, found that inbound leads from things like search engines have a 14.6% success rate, while outbound leads only have a 1.7% success rate. This means people are more likely to buy when they come to you on their own. Inbound sales matches how people nowadays like to shop – they do their own research and decide what they want.

Inbound marketing brings many benefits. It's budget-friendly, meaning it's cost-effective for businesses. It also brings higher conversion rates, turning more visitors into customers. This approach focuses on delivering a fantastic experience to customers, making them feel valued. Additionally, it boosts brand recognition, making your business more well-known. Inbound marketing is like a friendly invitation that draws people in, creating a positive and long-lasting relationship between businesses and customers.

Lead prospecting involves finding potential customers for a business. While many focus on inbound marketing (like content and SEO), outbound marketing, where businesses actively reach out to potential leads, can be effective too. It's often forgotten, but it can speed up lead generation. Outbound tactics, like emails or cold calls, don't always require huge budgets and can complement inbound strategies. So, don't overlook outbound efforts; they can still be valuable for growing your customer base.