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Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing

Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing

Many people think of marketing as a way to create brand awareness. After all, the more people that know about your brand, the better, right? Making people aware of your brand is super important and definitely a great idea, but sometimes quality is better than quantity! Our goal in marketing should be to create meaningful, long-term relationships with as many people as we can.

Bridging the divide of quality vs. quantity just requires a few changes in your marketing strategy! You're probably well aware of marketing outside your business. This is the standard for most marketing strategies. But did you know you can market inside your business too? These strategies are referred to as inbound and outbound marketing.

What's the difference?

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is focused on attracting customers to your product or service. This type of marketing is usually done through content creation or different social media tactics with the intention of spreading brand awareness. It is a newer marketing technique, compared to outbound marketing, but it leverages a lot of different types of content to get your customers interested and engaged. Inbound marketing tends to stay online and focuses on spreading information across many channels, but still targets specific audiences to provide a solution to a specific problem.

Outbound Marketing

Outbound marketing is typically a more aggressive approach. It focuses on reaching a large number of people with the intention of making a sale. You'll often find examples of outbound marketing in places such as billboards, direct mail, cold-calling, newspapers, and more. In short, it is non-digital content. With outbound marketing, the focus tends to be on one-way communication in which the business would be the primary contributor. Therefore, it's often referred to as “interruption” or “push” marketing.

One of the biggest differences between inbound and outbound marketing is their targets. Inbound marketing focuses on a specific audience that is interested in their product or service while outbound marketing focuses on simply sending the message. Outbound marketing aims to get information to the consumer regardless of whether they are interested in the product or not. Despite these differences, both strategies have their own pros and cons!

Pros and Cons

Inbound Marketing

Pros

  • Your consumers view you as someone who can solve their problem
  • It's easy to get feedback and track engagement
  • Forces you to be more realistic about where you stand in your market
  • Cost-effective
  • Builds long-term relationships with your customers

Cons

  • Can be time consuming
  • Is extremely competitive in certain industries
  • Inbound marketing is a long game
  • Cannot be mechanized. Inbound marketing requires a lot of methodical thought
  • It can be difficult to track the return on investment

Outbound Marketing

Pros

  • Reaches a much wider audience at once
  • Helps you market to people who may not know about your product
  • Timely return on investment

Cons

  • Lack of organic connection
  • High cost, low yield
  • Invasive and often disliked by customers
  • The product or service may not always be relevant to the customer
  • May run into ad blocks or spam filters

While there are definitely pros and cons to each strategy, they both have their own benefits. Statistically, inbound marketing is more sustainable for future growth, but outbound marketing is fantastic for creating brand awareness and tracking return on investment. Ideally, you'll want to adopt practices from both strategies in a way that works for you. No strategy is entirely perfect—taking the best of both worlds is the most effective way to yield good results. By intertwining these strategies, you can gather a large number of leads that are good quality and will benefit your business down the line.

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