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What’s best: inbound or outbound marketing?

Marketing techniques have changed a lot in recent years. The birth of the internet, the move to email communication, the power of social networks, and the rise of influencers. These things have seen the decline of traditional outbound marketing and the rise of inbound marketing. But what’s the difference between them and what type of marketing should your business be doing? Here our marketing consultant Mark Roberts takes a look at the differences between inbound and outbound marketing.


Outbound Marketing

The more traditional form of marketing is the method of pushing your message to potential customers. In its most basic form, this could be advertising using press, radio and TV or on-demand services. It’s now easier to target your desired audiences, but in some cases, you are simply trying to display your message to as many people as possible – regardless of if they are in the market for your product or service.

Outbound marketing also includes trade shows, direct mail marketing (via post or the cheaper email version), telemarketing, and cold calling. These methods reach out to as many potential customers as possible in the hope that the message lands with enough people. Think needle in the haystack. This interruption marketing hopes to capture the attention of those who might be interested in your product or service to generate leads and sales.


Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is a customer-centric approach that focuses on attracting potential customers to engage with your brand. Creating a connection with your target audience and building on this connection by giving them useful information. In the hope that you can build trust and brand loyalty over time. So that when your engaged audiences are looking for your type of product or service, for them there is no question of where they will go to make their purchase.

It focuses more on building relationships and trust with readers by providing them with valuable content and online experiences. Your business must create high-quality content that your audience is engaged with, and this should drive traffic to your site. There are a number of ways you can achieve this, such as content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, and email marketing. Building trust to establish your business as a thought leader and expert in your industry. Ultimately driving customers to engage with your brand.


Pros and Cons of outbound marketing

Some of the benefits of outbound marketing:

  • Quick Results: Outbound marketing can often generate quick results. As your message is pushed out to a large audience in a short amount of time.
  • Targeted Advertising: With technology-enabled outbound marketing, you can target specific demographics and audiences through various channels, such as social media ads and email marketing. To better direct your message to the right people.
  • High conversion rates: With good targeting, you can attempt to reach people who are already interested in your product or service, which can result in higher conversion rates.
  • Brand Awareness: Outbound marketing can help increase brand awareness and visibility, as your message is seen by a larger audience.


However outbound marketing methods are becoming less effective – despite the fact that we can target audiences with more accurate segmentation. It’s estimated that we see more than 4000 marketing interruptions a day, but there are more and more ways for us to block these out. For example ad-blocking software for your internet browser, email spam filters and caller ID. You may (if you’re as old as me!) remember having to watch adverts on TV. But with on-demand, recording and premium streaming services, we can now watch what we want without having to endure the advert interruptions. And for researching and learning about products or services, it’s much cheaper to use search engines, blogs, videos and social media rather than attending seminars and trade shows.

Outbound marketing, especially when not segmented and properly targeted can be costly and deliver a much lower ROI. You can also annoy your potential customers if your messaging is too scattered or too frequent or irrelevant for them.


Pros and Cons of inbound marketing

Some of the benefits of inbound marketing:

  • Cost-effective: Inbound marketing can be much cheaper than traditional outbound marketing tactics. For example, creating blog posts, videos, and social media content are typically low-cost or even free.
  • Builds trust and brand authority: Creating inclusive and valuable content establishes your business as a thought leader and expert in your industry. This can help build trust with potential customers and make them more likely to choose your business before your competitors.
  • Long-term results: Inbound marketing is focused on building lasting relationships with your audience. Over time, this can lead to consistent traffic and leads for your business.
  • Long lasting: Good and high-ranking web and social content can continue to drive traffic to your website for years to come. Imagine the cost of an “always on display” paid-for advert, you can get this effect for little to no cost with great content.


Inbound marketing is more of a “long game” approach. Becoming a trusted source from a customer’s and more importantly, Google’s perspective takes time. And with regular changes to the algorithms of Google search results and social media, you need to stay up to date. To ensure your content stays at the top of the ranking and ensures it’s seen on social media channels. Inbound marketing is more cost-effective and can be more targeted. But creating engaging content that your target audience loves can require a lot of time, effort and lots of creativity.


Which is best?

In today’s competitive landscape, it’s important to have a clear marketing strategy that will set you apart from your competitors. But how do you decide which type of marketing approach is right for your business? Both inbound and outbound marketing have their place, but how do you know which one to choose? The answer depends on a variety of factors, including your industry, your target audience, marketing goals, and budget.

So, how about both! In many cases, the most effective approach will be a combination of inbound and outbound marketing. For example, using inbound marketing to build brand awareness and gain trust. Then supplementing that with outbound marketing tactics to drive quick results and target specific demographics.

Outbound marketing is a great way to reach out to your prospects that you have identified as potential buyers by your inbound marketing. Think about creating newsletter signups to build a database of credible leads that you can use to send new product details or special offers. Using just one method is unlikely to be successful whatever your industry. But knowing how much time and money to spend on it can be difficult if inbound marketing is new to you and your business. Especially if you are working with a limited budget, it’s important to get the right balance of marketing spend between both types of marketing activity.


Getting outside help with digital marketing

As a marketing agency, we are experts at creating and implementing the right marketing strategies for all types of businesses. The world of marketing is changing, and going inbound may be the way to go. But your business may not have the skills or experience to use these newer approaches. Using an outsourced marketing agency can help you incorporate more inbound marketing into your existing approach.

If you want to attract more website traffic and generate leads for your business, then you need to decide what kind of marketing works best for your company. We can provide expertise and resources that you may not have in-house. And we can help you create and execute effective campaigns that will help you reach your target audiences. We can help you better understand the differences between inbound and outbound marketing specific to your industry. As well as recommend the best approach for your business. Get in touch today.

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