Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing
By Nancy Habeeb Bou Saleh
Marketing is crucial to the success of each and every company. However, the marketing landscape is rapidly evolving with the advancement of new technologies. Thus it is pivotal that your business evolves with it.
Which type of marketing strategy should you use for your business in order to share your products and services? Inbound or Outbound? Let’s find out below stating the advantages and disadvantages of each strategy.
Pros and cons of inbound and outbound marketing
Inbound marketing focuses on “pulling” or attracting a specific target audience towards your company, products and services, by using tactics like content marketing, social media marketing, blogging, email marketing, content creation, search engine optimization (SEO) and VIDEOS for social media, website, blogs…
On the other hand, outbound marketing or traditional marketing, focuses on “pushing” your message out towards a larger volume of less targeted people, and trying to bring their attention to your company and convince them that they need your products and services. Outbound marketing uses traditional marketing tactics like cold calls, direct mail, telemarketing, TV and radio commercials, print advertisements (magazine ads, newspaper ads, flyers, brochures…), outdoor billboards, mass email marketing, event sponsorships and VIDEOS for ads and emails...
Now let’s have a brief of pros and cons of each strategy so that you will be able to choose the best approach for your business.
Pros of Inbound marketing
- Personal relationship building: The inbound marketer educates, entertains and interacts with the consumer. This marketing approach relies on connecting with the right people at the right time on a more personal level and thus building relationships with your audience.
- 2 way communication: One of the major advantages of Inbound Marketing is that it offers a two way communication, giving you the chance to directly communicate with your customers, while allowing them in turn to openly voice their opinions and engage well with your business, through comments on blogs and conversations on social media…
- Inbound marketing establishes trust in your brand: It communicates the value of your product while nurturing leads for you rather then annoying them.
- Ongoing success and results: Inbound marketing efforts last indefinitely. For example, a quality blog will only continue to gain links and traffic as time goes on…
- Inbound marketing is less intrusive: It tends to be more audience-friendly since it lets your audience seek you out when they need you instead of the other way around.
- Results are measurable: Inbound marketing is easy to track, as you are able to track where people have come from when they find out about your company, and also tell which channels are working best for you.
Cons of Inbound Marketing
- Inbound marketing campaigns take time to produce substantial results: So with inbound marketing, you need to be patient and you shouldn’t expect an overnight success. For example, if you are creating a lot of good content, it takes time for Google to index your pages and move you to the top of the rankings.
- Hard to rise above the noise: With so many businesses using inbound marketing strategy, most marketers find it very competitive to break through major markets.
Pros of Outbound marketing
- Quick results: With outbound marketing, your results are almost immediate and much faster than inbound marketing. For example, with the right message, ad or offer, leads should begin as soon as your prospects receive your message and respond.
Cons of outbound marketing
- One and done: Reliance on outbound marketing means that once the advertising stops, or once the cold call ends, so does the attention and sales it generates. So results may stop as soon as you stop marketing and will no longer benefit your business in any way.
- Outbound marketing is referred to as “interruption marketing” whereby a marketer seeks out the attention of potential customers by interrupting them with billboard ads, TV commercials, cold calls… And as we know today, people are unresponsive to these disruptive tactics, so they tend to skip through commercials, never open direct mail and maybe block telemarketers…
- Outbound marketing campaigns target large masses of people. Not everyone who engages with those campaigns will be ready to buy, so the quality and number of leads generated can be lower than expected.
- Outbound marketing is harder to track and less profitable than inbound marketing.
Cost of inbound marketing vs. cost of outbound marketing
Simply put, outbound marketing generally costs more than inbound marketing. Consider the elements involved in outbound marketing like printing, mailing material, media advertising costs, banners… and the list goes on.
On the other hand, inbound marketing is less expensive once you have the right people with the right skills handling the activities. So rather than wasting thousands of dollars on direct mail that never gets opened, a TV commercial that never gets seen, and cold calls that never get answered, you could be investing a portion of that budget into inbound campaigns that naturally attract leads. Most platforms for sharing content are free like social media and blogging websites.
While many businesses consider inbound marketing the newest and shiniest tool, outbound marketing is still alive and used by many businesses. Given the low cost and higher return of inbound marketing, businesses are definitely going for it, but we also cannot ignore the power of some outbound methods.
So choosing a marketing strategy that will work for your business depends on the size of your business, goals, budget and the resources. Thus you may end up doing just one type of marketing at a time. However, in some cases it is often the combination of both inbound and outbound strategies that might produce the best results.
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Nancy Habeeb Bou Saleh