There's a good deal of confusion around the terms "outbound" and "Inbound" marketing. While the words themselves may seem relatively self-explanatory, when the word marketing comes into play on the backend, things can get confusing. Don’t worry though, because we're here to explain exactly what outbound marketing is, inbound marketing is, and why choosing one over the other often makes the most sense. So, let's get to it.
In outbound marketing, which is known as "the traditional form of marketing," a company initiates the conversation by sending out messages, in whatever form, to potential clients. Outbound marketing strategies include, but are not limited to: cold calls, email blasts, print and television advertisements, seminars, and purchased lists. In essence, outbound marketing seeks to attract customers by using the "needle in a haystack" method. Outbound marketers put out as much information as possible about their services, what they can offer you, and how they could help you. Hoping that those who are curious about their services reciprocate interest by reaching out. Outbound marketing, while once considered the only true form of marketing, depends so heavily on the customers to take the returned initiative.
More than that, there’s great difficulty tracking ROI (return on investment). Firewalls and other blocking techniques make spam and junk mail easy to avoid, rendering cold calls and email blasts useless. So, outbound marketing: is it traditional? Sure. But is it effective? The jury isn’t out on that one quite yet. So now let’s discuss Inbound marketing—what it is, and how it’s changing the way we do what we do.
Inbound marketing refers to a type of marketing that brings potential clients and visitors in, rather than casting a wide net and hoping to catch something, as is the case in outbound techniques. Inbound marketing earns the attention of its customers by producing attention-grabbing content. Some techniques include: white and technical papers, social media marketing on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+, webinars, SEO (search engine optimization), and blogs. The common analogy used with outbound vs. Inbound marketing is this: the former uses a megaphone, while the latter uses a magnet.
With Inbound marketing, you have the ability to personalize content for specific clientele, which makes it easier to attract (or magnetize customers to your offerings), close deals, and ultimately, delight your customer. There's also a methodology to Inbound, one that you may not be familiar with. While with outbound, there's more of a "yell into the megaphone" approach, the Inbound methodology is as follows: attract visitors with blogs, keywords, and social publishing, convert those visitors into leads using forms, calls-to-action, and landing pages, close those leads and make them into customers with emails and workflows, and finally, delight those same customers with smart surveys, interesting content, and social monitoring, therefore making them into promoters.
And there you have it—the Inbound methodology broken down into its few easy steps. With Inbound, you have the capacity to make strangers into customers, and eventually, even into promoters. While it may seem like a lot of work (well, it kind of is), it's worth it in the end. Using Inbound, you end up with the right kind of customer, as opposed to just anyone who thinks that you might be a good fit for them, as is often the case with outbound marketing. Instead of begging your way into clients' hearts, or worse, buying their attention, inbound allows you to attract prospects' attention with content that is likely to appeal to them. It’s pretty clear that outbound marketing, while traditional, is simply less effective than it used to be. So maybe it’s time to take the untraditional route and try Inbound. We’ll bet that it changes the way you do business for the better.
Can-Do Ideas is a digital marketing agency specializing in Inbound marketing and Inbound sales. We are located in NYC, New York and Avon, Connecticut.