Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing: What’s the Difference?
















Most marketers today are unclear about the difference between inbound and outbound marketing.

Ultimately, however, the difference is simple: outbound marketing is quite a lot like throwing handfuls of business cards into the street while inbound marketing is similar to giving a small number of business cards to several already-interested parties.

When you think of it that way, it’s clear that inbound marketing is more efficient, less stressful, more focused and in many ways, more effective.

While both inbound marketing and outbound marketing have their respective strengths, they also have many definitive differences.

Outbound Marketing

Outbound marketing is the practice of building awareness about a product, good or service by spreading the word through a variety of traditional marketing avenues.

These are the basic traits of outbound marketing:

  • Customers are located through print, television, radio and web-based ads and through forms of cold calling and email blasting.
  • The marketer initiates communication.
  • Marketer’s main goal is promotion and making a sale.

Companies that utilize outbound marketing often use marketing tactics such as cold calling, using purchased email lists for email blasting, traditional advertising, trade shows, seminars and outsourced telemarketing. These tactics, while broad, are often not very effective.

The idea behind outbound marketing is that more is better: more contacts reached, more possibility of conversions. While these strategies do occasionally work, they often come at a great expense for the company in question. In fact, the cost-per-lead of outbound marketing is a massive 62% higher than it is for inbound marketing, which means that companies that use outbound marketing for lead generation are likely to see a poor ROI.

Additionally, today’s average U.S. adult is confronted with more than 2000 outbound marketing attempts on a daily basis. These attempts include television commercials, web-based advertisements and pop-ups, cold calls, etc. As a result of this massive influx of unwanted contact, companies that serve the consumer are getting incredibly proficient at blocking outbound marketing tactics.

Services like email spam filters and TiVo have been designed expressly for this purpose. This is one of the main reasons outbound marketing is so difficult and ineffective: trying to market to people who are only trying to block you out is bound to be an uphill battle. While outbound marketing may be a useful tactic for communicating with customers once leads have already been garnered, it’s ultimately a poor way to go about establishing leads in the first place.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is much different than outbound marketing from the get-go. To begin with, inbound marketing relies on potential customers to initiate contact. Additionally, inbound marketing tactics aim to produce high-quality, niche-related content that entertains and informs. Some of the most popular inbound marketing tactics include the following:

  • Engaging in social media platforms: i.e.- Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Quora, LinkedIn and others.
  • Content marketing
  • Producing niche-related podcasts
  • Developing original infographics
  • PPC advertising
  • SEO writing/content creation
  • Publishing niche-relevant eBooks

The main difference between inbound and outbound marketing essentially boils down to communication: while outbound marketing goes out to find customers, inbound marketing uses the tenants of content marketing to get customers to come to you. Because of this, inbound marketing is much more effective at lead generation due to the fact that customers who visit a given site are already looking for a product, good or service and have found their way to the page via word-of-mouth or search engine results. This creates more qualified leads and drastically reduces cost for the marketer.

In addition to being more effective, inbound marketing has another huge benefit over outbound marketing: it is far, far less obnoxious and alienating. When you take into consideration that 84% of 25-to-34 year olds have left a website on account of an obnoxious or intrusive ad, it becomes very clear that people don’t want aggressive advertising; they want to come to your site on their own and find useful, high-quality, targeted content that helps them answer questions and solve problems.

This, of course, is the foundation that inbound marketing is built on. Unlike outbound marketing, inbound marketing offers two-way communication and provides value for customers. Because of this, inbound marketing is on the rise and many marketing professionals are calling it “the marketing tactic of the future.” And rightfully so: inbound marketing produces 54% more leads than outbound marketing at a fraction of the cost.

As the marketing environment of today continues to change, one thing is clear: inbound marketing is here to stay. In addition to being drastically less expensive, inbound marketing is more effective, less alienating to customers easier for marketers. That being said, any company that is seeking to establish a web presence, make an impression and be found would benefit from focusing resources on developing an inbound marketing strategy instead of putting time and money into an outbound marketing strategy. Rather than throwing those business cards all over the street, save them for the people who are actually interested in what you have to say.

To learn more about how you can improve your marketing strategy, give Bigfoot Media a call today. (864) 214-5504

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