Have you ever been tasked with producing or updating your company’s marketing strategy? Whether you should use an inbound or outbound marketing strategy may be a familiar argument you hear when discussing upcoming project strategies.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with information and advice. Should you focus on making splashy signage, talking to potential leads at an industry event, or developing an exclusively digital strategy?
Fortunately, these two universal marketing concepts can help you limit your scope. Both have distinct applications, benefits and challenges, which we’ll explore in this article, along with an overview of them and examples of how to apply each method.
What this inbound vs outbound marketing guide will cover:
- The difference between inbound and outbound marketing
- What is inbound marketing?
- What is outbound marketing?
- What you should be doing in 2022?
How do inbound and outbound marketing differ?
Both inbound and outbound marketing have their advantages and disadvantages. Using outbound marketing, businesses actively seek out potential customers in an effort to spark an interest in their products. In contrast, the goal of inbound marketing is to get visitors to your site by having them read and share your content.
The goal of outbound marketing is to reach as many potential customers as possible with the hope that a certain percentage of them will become paying customers. When done well, inbound marketing can subtly persuade a targeted demographic to make a purchase over time.
What is inbound marketing?
The goal of inbound marketing is to get people interested in what you’re selling in the first place. In 2022, most buyers start their purchasing journey by searching the internet for information about a product or service.
To start, they look for anything to read or buy to satisfy a want or address a problem. You should explain how your products and services will address their problems, respond to their pressing queries, and fulfill their specific requirements.
Among the many possible approaches are:
– Creating Compelling Content: This involves crafting blog posts, articles, infographics, and other types of content that is interesting and useful to your target audience.
– Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Once you have great content, you need to make sure it’s easy for people to find by optimizing it for search engines. This includes using the right keywords, structuring your website in a user-friendly way, and building links back to your site.
– Social Media Marketing: Platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook are powerful tools for promoting your content and engaging with potential customers.
What are the benefits of Inbound Marketing?
The benefits of inbound marketing include:
– Cost-effective: In general, inbound marketing is less expensive than outbound marketing.
– Increased ROI: Inbound marketing also has a higher ROI than outbound marketing, since you are targeting people who are already interested in what you have to offer.
– Greater brand awareness and reach: By producing high-quality content, you can attract attention from people who wouldn’t have otherwise heard of your company.
What are the challenges of Inbound Marketing?
The main challenge of inbound marketing is that it takes time to produce results. It can take months or even years to build up enough momentum to bring in a steady stream of leads through inbound marketing alone.
Outbound marketing, on the other hand, can produce results much more quickly. However, it is important to note that outbound marketing is not a replacement for inbound marketing. In order to be successful in the long term, you need to use both inbound and outbound marketing strategies.
What is Outbound Marketing?
Outbound marketing is the opposite of inbound marketing. While inbound marketing attracts customers to your products or services, outbound marketing involves actively reaching out to potential customers. The goal of outbound marketing is to generate leads and sales by promoting your products or services directly to people who are likely to be interested in them.
Some common methods of outbound marketing include:
– Cold email outreach: This involves sending emails to potential customers who have not expressed any interest in your product or service. Your job here is to identify the right target audience, collect their contact information, craft targeted messaging to start a conversation with them and to find the people out of a wider audience that are interested in what you have to offer.
– Cold calling: This involves making phone calls to potential customers in an attempt to sell them your product or service. This is very invasive and should only be done in conjunction with a solid cold email strategy in the effort to increase touchpoints with your targeted customer.
– Advertising: This includes paid ads on TV, radio, print, and online.
What are the benefits of Outbound Marketing?
Outbound marketing can be an effective way to generate leads and sales, especially if you are targeting a specific audience. It can also be a good complement to inbound marketing, since it can help you reach people who might not be reached through inbound marketing alone.
The main benefit of outbound marketing is that it can produce results more quickly than inbound marketing. If you’re looking for immediate leads and sales, outbound marketing is a good option.
Another benefit of outbound marketing is that it allows you to reach a wider audience than inbound marketing. With outbound marketing, you’re not limited to people who are already interested in your product or service. You can reach anyone, anywhere, with your message.
What are the challenges of Outbound Marketing?
The main challenge of outbound marketing is that it can be expensive. Paid advertising, for example, can be very costly. In addition, outbound marketing requires a lot of time and effort to generate results.
Another challenge of outbound marketing is that it can be intrusive. Since you’re reaching out to people who haven’t expressed any interest in your product or service, there’s a risk of coming across as pushy or sales-y. This can turn potential customers off and damage your brand reputation. This is where the art comes in, it takes a lot of learning training and experience to successfully get positive returns on an outbound marketing strategy.
What should you focus on in 2022?
So, which should you focus on in 2022: inbound or outbound marketing. The simple answer is both, but it really comes down to your needs as a business.
If you want to generate a reliable and predictable pipeline of leads flowing to your business every month in the shortest possible time, the outbound is for you. If you are happy to wait for leads to come to you after they have expressed interest in your product then inbound marketing is for you.
I would caution though that in 2022, buyers are becoming increasingly more savvy about the tactics applied in inbound marketing and therefore, things like gated eBooks and other content aren’t going to get you anywhere.
Build your strategy around your email outreach and produce content that enhances your messaging to prospective customers that is open and easy for them to access. This way you will reach the people that are in the market to purchase now, and build brand affinity for those that will purchase later down the buyer’s journey.