If you’re looking at the best strategies to market your business then you’re likely to have come across the terms inbound marketing and outbound marketing. Whilst they may just sound like two more marketing buzzwords (we do love a buzzword in the marketing industry!) they actually relate to two rather different styles of marketing.
Inbound marketing aims to draw in potential customers who may be searching for information around your product/ service through valuable content and interactions.
Outbound marketing uses more disruptive, sales style techniques to get the marketing message in front of customers.
They are often described as having pull and push style. For example, with inbound marketing, a cosmetics company may create a blog post on their website about finding the perfect shade of lipstick to pull in potential customers searching for that information. With outbound marketing, they may run a television ad promoting their new line of lipsticks which is pushed to anyone watching the channel at that time.
Both channels offer unique benefits of their own, so to help you work out how they can support your business we’ve put together a short, unbiased guide.
Inbound marketing strategies
Inbound strategies tend to cover marketing created to draw potential customers in. This includes things like:
- Blog posts and articles
- Social media
Benefits and considerations of inbound marketing
Long term strategy
Strategies like building up traffic through articles, or building an audience for your podcast generally take time. If you’re looking for a quicker fix, then inbound may not be the best option. However, if you want to build up an audience of potential customers who are already showing interest in your business or sector, inbound could work wonders.
Helps build relationships
Inbound marketing can capture potential customers who are at the earlier stages of the buying process. For example, they may be looking for information about a product or service and comparing the options they have available. By putting out informative and helpful content, you can capture the attention of these individuals and nurture your relationship with them.
In a world of ad-blockers and streaming services, inbound marketing can help to capture customers who simply don’t want to have their lives interrupted by more traditional advertising.
Inbound marketing requires you to create useful content, some of which can remain ‘evergreen’, bringing in potential customers for years to come. Whilst creating well optimised and researched content takes time, the initial investment can continue to pay off, whereas a quicker fix outbound solution may deliver a flurry of leads before drying up completely.
Outbound marketing strategies
Outbound marketing covers methods where a business reaches out to people to see if they’re interested in a product or service. This could include things like:
- Direct mail
- Radio advertising
- Television advertising
- Newspaper advertising
- Trade shows
Benefits and considerations of outbound marketing
Outbound marketing lets you get in front of a large audience quickly. Whilst crafting an eye-catching direct mail campaign or perfectly scripted radio ad takes time initially, you can then instantly pay to have it sent out to a large audience within a matter of days or even hours!
This speed and volume does come with a cost. Getting your message across through the press, radio, television adverts and other forms of media can be extremely expensive. You really need to weigh up how much a customer is worth for your business and if these channels can offer you a cost-effective channel to reach them.
The other key consideration should be who your message will reach. If you’re marketing a very niche product to a smaller audience base, then a national TV ad will not be the best way to spend your marketing budget. On the other hand, if your service applies to most people in an area (for example a plumber) then local outbound marketing such as a radio ad on your local station could definitely pay off.
Which is more effective?
This completely depends on your products or service, your customer, and your market. Both inbound and outbound marketing offer benefits and downsides, so you need to carefully consider which methods will be right for reaching your customer. This may mean creating a marketing mix that relies solely on inbound or outbound techniques, or one that includes both to support different audiences
Creating customer personas will give you insight into the best channels to reach potential customers and how they may react to certain types of marketing. For example, if you sell technical machinery B2B, it may well be the case that trade shows are far more effective than a bustling social media presence. On the other hand, blogging and social media may be the perfect marketing strategies for a hairdresser.
Creating the right marketing strategy for your business
At the Ideal Marketing Company we carefully consider which marketing channels will have the biggest impact for your business and craft a marketing plan based on this. Talk to us about how inbound and/or outbound marketing can benefit you, or get your free marketing consultation here.
Rebecca has worked in digital marketing since she studied advertising and marketing at university. Getting a taste for SEO early on in her career, she has specialised in search marketing across a range of industries, both in-house and agency-side. Always happy to get stuck into data, Rebecca analyses websites to get the best on-site and search result performance for clients.