Dec 8, 2022

Inbound vs Outbound Marketing: What’s the Difference?

 How Inbound Marketing Can Boost Your Business

Both inbound and outbound marketing strategies can serve as key pieces of any marketing strategy, and it's important to understand the difference between the two in order to develop a marketing strategy that makes sense for your organization.

Here, we'll dig into exactly what you need to know about inbound marketing, how it can benefit your company, and how it's different from traditional outbound marketing.

What is Inbound Marketing?

You know your company is ready for something different–your marketing campaigns feel stale.

Inbound marketing lets you create the connections you need–with the market that matters most.

With inbound marketing, your team will work to create content that will draw your target market into what you have to offer. Often, inbound marketing uses content, SEO and social media to get in touch with ideal prospects, allowing them to take the next step to continue interacting with the company.

There are several ways to approach inbound marketing, and one of the key steps in developing a successful inbound marketing plan is to figure out exactly what market you're working to target, then finding out where they tend to hang out online and what type of content, they're most likely to consume.

Understanding this information allows your marketing team to begin developing a plan for creating content that will make your target market more likely to interact with your company–even if they're not ready to purchase the products or services that you offer.

Simply put inbound marketing gets customers interested… before they know what they’re interested in.

Curious about what inbound marketing looks like when it's done right? We get it–it can be hard to picture, especially if your company currently uses strict outbound marketing tactics.

Check out this campaign for Azamara Cruises. Previous cruisers were targeted with information about how the upcoming destination list for the cruise line could mesh with their needs. This intensely targeted campaign resulted in a 128% increase in web traffic.

Inbound marketing builds brand recognition, trust, and helps customers become familiar with a company's tone and values. In a world where consumers are increasingly consumed with company ethics, it's key to allow your target prospects to get to know what your brand stands for before they even begin to think about making a purchase.

What is Outbound Marketing?

It's likely that you're far more familiar with outbound marketing. Billboards, print ads, radio ads, and internet pop-ups all work to put information out to a large audience, hoping to grab the attention of people who may be interested in the products or services offered by the company sponsoring the ad.

Outbound marketing can be effective as it strives to cast a wide net and boost brand awareness to potential new customers. Take a look at this Indonesian toothpaste ad. It's incredibly eye-catching, gets the company's message across, and no doubt builds brand familiarity as people drive by the billboard.

Outbound marketing can help people who have never heard of your brand–or who don't know they need the product your company sells–get to know what you have to offer. Little target market research is needed when placing an outbound marketing ad, as the goal is to create something that will be seen by the masses.

Inbound vs Outbound Marketing: Which is More Effective?

Let's take a look at some of the factors that you'll want to consider when deciding whether an inbound or outbound marketing strategy is a better fit for your brand.

  • Audience engagement: Since inbound marketing strategies are tailored to your niche market, this approach is likely to pull your audience in and keep them wanting to learn more about your brand.
  • Brand positioning: Both inbound and outbound marketing are capable of achieving a lasting place in the mind of your target consumer. An extremely eye-catching ad in an outbound marketing campaign may earn a place in the memory of the viewer. Inbound marketing articles and social media posts are more likely to help cement your place in the mind of a potential customer, as the content is tailored to their needs and interests.
  • Marketing strategy: Inbound marketing is regarded as a more effective marketing strategy than outbound marketing, especially as consumers continue to experience a barrage of unwanted outbound marketing ads every day.
  • Messaging: Inbound marketing campaigns are created to deliver a distinct message to a specific group of people. This makes it easier to create messaging that creates a lasting impression.
  • Distribution: Figuring out who to target with an inbound marketing ad takes more research than the wide net that's cast with an outbound marketing campaign. That being said, your messaging will likely be better received when you're targeting your niche market with an inbound campaign.
  • Attribution/data: It's easier to see whether an inbound marketing campaign is effective than an outbound campaign. Since much of inbound marketing is done online, it's easier to track click-throughs than it is to figure out who was drawn to your business as a result of an outbound marketing campaign.

The Difference Between Inbound and Outbound Marketing

Let's take a look at what you need to know about the differences between these two types of marketing campaigns.

  • Timeframe: An inbound marketing campaign is playing the long game, while an outbound marketing campaign may have a shorter time frame.
  • Scaling: By definition, outbound marketing campaigns are large-scale, while inbound marketing campaigns target a niche market.
  • Outreach: Inbound marketing works to invite the customer to learn more about the brand by asking for more information or signing up for additional communication tailored to their needs and interests, while an outbound marketing campaign often does not offer a way for customers to continue engaging with the brand.
  • Return on Investment (ROI): While inbound marketing often requires more of an up-front investment to learn more about the needs and interests of your target market, the return on investment is greater than that of an outbound marketing campaign.
  • Pull vs. Push: With inbound marketing, you're working to pull your market in, as opposed to pushing information out to them via traditional outbound marketing methods.
  • Generic vs. Specific: When casting a wide net with traditional outbound marketing, it's important that you create generic information that can be useful to a wide variety of people. This is different from inbound marketing, which works to create specific information that's helpful to a targeted, niche group of potential customers.

 

While inbound marketing requires a greater investment upfront, making the shift to an inbound campaign has the potential to provide three times greater ROI than a traditional outbound marketing campaign. There’s no way around it: to get the most bang for your marketing buck, you need an inbound marketing plan.

Getting Started with an Inbound Marketing Strategy

If you're not utilizing inbound marketing strategies, it's time to start. At Diaz-Cooper Advertising, we're here to help you take your inbound marketing results to the next level, no matter where you're starting. Check out our Inbound Marketing Campaign Guide and reach out to us today to learn more about how we can support the growth of your business.

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