Marketing Tips / Strategy

Outbound vs Inbound Marketing


Broadly speaking, all your marketing activities, including email marketing, account based marketing, social media activities, even brand awareness – will fall into the categories of either inbound or outbound marketing.

Knowing the difference between these two terms, as well as when, where, why and how to use them, is key to running a successful campaign and generating qualified leads.

With that in mind, what are inbound and outbound marketing, what’s the difference between the two and how can you use them both to your advantage?

What is outbound marketing?

Outbound marketing is essentially a more specific term for ‘traditional’ marketing.

The phrase came into use when it became helpful to be able to differentiate it from inbound marketing. This method’s goal is to craft a message that makes your good or service seem attractive, and in doing so, grab consumer’s attention.

This more in-your-face style of marketing is less personalised and less targeted, which means it’s often more expensive. It’s less a two-way conversation, and more a big ‘look at me’ signpost. Outbound marketing methods include:

  • Print marketing
  • TV and radio ads
  • Telemarketing
  • Billboards
  • Digital banner ads
  • Tradeshows and conferences
  • Buying email lists and cold email marketing

These methods can be effective, and deserve their place in your marketing strategy. However, since they are usually less targeted, you’re likely to end up with fewer qualified leads, and have a smaller ROI.

What is inbound marketing?

Inbound is the new school of marketing. The term describes a less intrusive, more personalised form of marketing that aims to spark a mutual dialogue and build a relationship with prospects in order to sell.

It’s about giving customers what they need to purchase, rather than pushing them to buy.

Inbound methods include:

  • SEO tactics
  • Content marketing
  • Social media
  • Carefully crafted and personalised email marketing

This new approach has evolved due to a shift. Consumers became more knowledgeable, and with the rise of the internet can access almost limitless options. The result of this is that consumers don’t rely on salespeople to educate them. They do their own research, mostly online, and make decisions accordingly.

What’s more, TV is often prerecorded and the ads are skipped, ad blockers are installed on browsers, and email clients relegate promotional content to separate spam or promo folders.

To cut through the noise, you need to personalise.

Why use inbound marketing?

The goal for your marketing should be to maximise your return on investment – that means getting the most leads and sales for the least ad spend.

If it’s well executed, inbound marketing is usually comes with a superior ROI. In fact, The Whole Brain Group’s data shows that 14.6 per cent of SEO leads result in a close, compared to only 1.7 per cent of outbound leads.

Done By Friday showed similar results. They found inbound marketing could get the same results as outbound – for 64% less spend.

While you can’t know exactly how many people saw your billboard on their commute home, inbound techniques are measurable down to the last click. This allows you to refine your marketing through A/B testing, and work towards a truly impressive ROI.

Inbound techniques are also generally more agile, which is important with the speed at which culture and news moves today.

For example, if your social campaign isn’t generating results, you can instantly edit the copy, refocus the targeting, and adjust the imagery to improve it. On the other hand, as soon as you plan and shoot a TV ad buy a slot, your money’s gone regardless of its performance.

The same goes for billboards and print.

How to use inbound marketing effectively

Buyers are bombarded with intrusive advertisements all day. To get seen, heard, and to optimise return on your marketing spend, you need to try to start a conversation and educate prospects who may already be interested in your offering, rather than shouting into the void.

With that said, there is still a place for outbound marketing but it needs to be as targeted and personalised as possible, and used to compliment a well-thought-out inbound campaign.

Are you ready to start exploring the endless possibilities of inbound marketing? Get in touch with the team at Pounce Marketing to organise a free consultation.

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