What's the difference between inbound and outbound marketing?

So you've heard of inbound marketing and outbound marketing. But you're wondering what the hell they are.

Well, I'm here to explain it to you.

Inbound and outbound marketing are two different strategies that businesses can use to generate leads and sales.

But what is the difference between them? And which one is right for your small business?

Let's start by defining both inbound and outbound marketing, then move on to the benefits of each.

Then, I'll summarise the differences between inbound and outbound marketing and help you decide which method is best for your small business. 

Inbound marketing

the difference between inbound and outbound marketing

Inbound marketing is a strategy that businesses use to attract clients through content.

This content can be in the form of blog posts, ebooks, infographics, or even just helpful tips and tricks.

The idea is that by providing your ideal clients with useful information, you will increase that wonderful know, like, and trust factor I talk about all the time. And we know that means they will be more likely to do business with you.

Inbound marketing is all about pulling people in, rather than pushing your product or service onto them. 

Outbound marketing

Outbound marketing is the complete opposite of inbound marketing.

Instead of attracting clients through helpful content, outbound marketers use techniques like cold-calling and email blasts to reach their target audience.

Outbound marketing is all about pushing your product or service onto potential clients, regardless of whether they want it or not.

So now that we know the difference between inbound and outbound marketing, let's take a look at the benefits of each. 

Benefits of inbound marketing

The main benefit of inbound marketing is that it's more effective than outbound marketing.

According to The Content Marketing Institute, Inbound marketing costs 62% less per lead than outbound marketing, and generates three times as many leads as outbound marketing.

In addition, inbound marketing techniques are more likely to result in a sale than outbound techniques.

Another benefit of inbound marketing is that it helps you establish trust and credibility by providing your ideal clients with helpful content.

This is important because it means that when they are ready to buy, they are more likely to buy from you.

That old “know, like, and trust” factor.

We marketers bang on about it because it's so important. You can read more about the Know, Like, and Trust Factor here.

Benefits of outbound marketing

The main benefit of outbound marketing is that it's more immediate than inbound marketing.

With inbound marketing, you are attracting your ideal clients through helpful content. But with outbound marketing, you are reaching out to them directly and trying to sell them your product or service.

This can be effective if you have a product or service that people need right away.

For example, if you sell emergency plumbing services, then outbound marketing is probably a good idea. People who need your services are not going to wait around for you to attract them with helpful blog posts. They are going to pick up the phone and call you directly.

Another benefit of outbound marketing is that it allows you to reach a wider audience than inbound marketing.

Inbound marketing is all about attracting your ideal cleitns – people who are interested in what you have to offer.

But with outbound marketing, you can reach people who may not even know that they need your product or service.

For example, if you sell a new type of toothbrush that is much better than the ones currently on the market, then you may need to use outbound marketing to reach people and tell them about your product. 

Inbound Marketing or Outbound Marketing? That is the question.

So, which one should you use for your small business? Inbound or outbound marketing?

The answer, as with most things in marketing, is that it depends.

It depends on your product, your ideal clients, and your budget.

If you have a decent budget and you are selling a product or service that people need right away, then outbound marketing may be a good option for you.

Outbound marketing is a great way to reach a large number of people quickly and efficiently.

It can also be very effective in generating leads and sales.

For example, that plumbing company I mentioned before – well you could use outbound marketing to generate leads. You could buy a list of homeowners in your area and send them postcards or give them a call. Or you could run a radio advertising campaign with a memorable and catchy jingle to significantly raise the awareness of your plumbing services.

With outbound marketing, you are proactively reaching out to potential people instead of waiting for them to come to you.

The downside of outbound marketing is that it can be very costly.

 

It can also be difficult to track your results. With the above examples, I'd suggest having an exclusive code for each that includes a special offer for first-time customers, so you are able to measure the results.

Inbound marketing, on the other hand, is a good option if you have a lot of time but not a lot of money.

Remember, inbound marketing is not going to work if nobody knows that your product exists. So if you need to grow your ideal clients (target market) but don't have the budget for outbound marketing, then inbound marketing may be for you.

Inbound marketing is a great way to build relationships with your ideal clients and get them interested in what you have to offer. It's also a lot cheaper than traditional marketing methods like advertising, and it can be more effective in the long run.

With inbound marketing, you are creating content that will attract your ideal clients to your website or social media presence. You can use SEO to make sure that your content is being found by people who are searching for what you have to offer.

A good example of inbound marketing would be a company creating a blog and sharing it on social media. The blog post might be about something related to your company's product, but it doesn't necessarily have to be a sales pitch. It could be something funny or interesting that will get people to read it and then visit your website.

You can use free or low-cost tools to create and publish your content, and you can do much of the work yourself.

Of course, you will need to invest some time in learning how to do inbound marketing effectively, but it is a great way to get started without spending a lot of money.

So if you're on a budget, inbound marketing is definitely worth considering. Just be prepared to put in the work!

So there you have it! The difference between inbound and outbound marketing, and the benefits of each.

I hope this has been helpful. If you need help with your marketing, book in a coffee catchup. I'd love to see how I can help you. 

Happy marketing!

starfish

starfish

Hi, I'm Mell - a wine lover, shoe fanatic, cheese fiend, and wishful traveller. I also dance in supermarket aisles. And, I live, breathe, and love all things marketing! I founded Starfish Marketing in 2015 and have been helping business owners make your marketing and social media happen ever since. If you're overwhelmed by marketing I'd love to see how I can help.

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