Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing: Do You Know the Difference
Posted by Lacey Wilcox | June 18, 2020
Owning and operating a business means you regularly have to think about income and expenses. Business owners are constantly evaluating the different aspects of their budgets and trying to decide what works, what can be cut, and what has proven to have the greatest impact on growth and profitability.
For many businesses, marketing takes up a significant portion of their budget. While it can be a place where you can make decent cuts that help you move toward profitability, it’s also a place where you have the greatest potential to increase revenue. This means your strategy and any expenses involved in your marketing need to be weighed heavily. Today, we’ll share a few of the ins and the outs of both inbound and outbound marketing to help you decide the best way to spend your hard-earned dollars.
Often referred to as digital marketing, inbound marketing is as much a mindset as it is a methodology. The entire goal of this strategy is to attract visitors to your website and your business. The direction here is inbound (hence the name) or inward. In this strategy, the buyer’s journey is depicted more like a flywheel, with the customer at the center providing both energy and momentum.
This strategy relies heavily on a plan for creating and distributing content. Prospective customers are already trying to find a solution to their problems that your company could provide. The goal is to help those prospects find your business by creating content that provides extreme value: answers to common questions, helpful tips or insights, demonstrations, and more. When a visitor comes to your website, your team tries to build a relationship with that prospect by gathering contact information and using it to share more of this content. As your connection with the prospect deepens, that person is better able to make a decision about your company.
Outbound marketing, on the other hand, is a strategy with a different tactic in the opposite direction. While inbound focuses on attracting customers and drawing them in toward your company, outbound focuses on getting your company’s name out to as many people as possible. Outbound marketing, sometimes known as “interruption marketing,” can take many forms: a video ad on Google or a social platform, a billboard, a sponsored story on a platform like Instagram or Facebook, a direct mailout, and more.
While different aspects of outbound marketing are often beautifully designed, they can be difficult to track and are not necessarily in tune to people’s habits. Most of us just feel annoyance when we encounter something that disrupts what we were doing, and often we’ve become programmed to just ignore these so-called interruptions. Because so many of us are likely to disregard these efforts, this strategy can require a ton more volume to see traction. (This is why commercial slots during the Super Bowl are so coveted and so expensive.)
As digital marketers, it’s obvious we do have a bias toward inbound marketing, but it also just makes so much more sense for your prospects and your team. Because every aspect of digital marketing is “trackable,” your team has access to analytics that help you see what’s working and what needs to change. Rather than having a one and done linear process for your prospects’ buyer journey, your team adopts more of a flywheel mentality where customers are fueling your work: they’re more likely to serve as ambassadors for your brand and share about your business with their network. These customers can also provide helpful feedback, critiques, and encouragement that help you improve your products and services.
Are you interested in learning more about creating a marketing strategy that attracts visitors and empowers them to make decisions about your company? That’s exactly what we’re here for — we’d love to hear about your company and your problems, and offer a solution that makes sense for you!