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Imagine you have a shop where you sell a particular product. People visit your shop and buy the product from it. Simply put, your customers come to you instead of you going to them. This can be termed as inbound marketing, where your business and its marketing are centered around you and require your customers to come to you. On the other hand, imagine you have a product; instead of the customers coming to you, you go to them. You go door to door, informing potential clients about your product and trying to convince them to purchase it. This can be termed as outbound marketing, where you go to the clients. The business does not have a central marketing point, and the focus is towards the customers.

While the explanation above is in layman’s terms, it can help you better understand the difference between inbound vs. outbound marketing.

Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing: Definitions

In more technical terms, inbound marketing can be defined as the marketing process that involves attracting potential customers to the business subtly and often educatively. Most of these marketing tactics are digital and centered around content creation. The aim is to build your trust score so your audience views you as a thought leader. It is often easier to sell a product to someone if they trust you and feel you understand the niche better. They will often feel that your aim is not to sell them something but to help them by selling them the product. Inbound marketing includes:

  • Blogs
  • Vlogs
  • Ebooks
  • Guidebooks

On the other hand, outbound marketing is a more traditional approach that is more intrusive and aimed at pushing information to potential customers. It aims to keep the company or the product top of mind while convincing the customer they need the product. It aims to proactively reach out to customers to get them to gain interest. These marketing tactics include:

  • Billboards
  • newspaper/magazine ads
  • Flyers

However, outbound marketing is also evolving, and many digital marketing tactics can be termed outbound marketing. Social media ads and emails are modern and cheap outbound marketing tactics that are still very effective and affordable.

All You Need To Know About Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is often more effective because it is easier to target a specific audience, narrowing it down to people who are interested in your offering. SEO is one of the best inbound marketing tactics since you can carry out a keyword analysis of search queries around your product.

Once you identify what people interested in your product are searching for, you can create content around this, answering questions and solving problems to assist your potential customer. It may seem that you are not really selling your product since you are not really pushing for a sale. However, the trust the process builds can help you make more sales and get more repeat customers.

Inbound marketing involves a more rounded strategy that intertwines all your channels, tying them down into one. Inbound marketing relies on concise steps such as attracting customers, engaging with them, and delighting them. With a well-formulated rounding marketing approach, you are able to create solid KPIs and measure them to ensure you have your desired RIO. As a result, Inbound marketing is more scalable and easier to quantify.

One of these metrics or KPIs is the number of calls you get. With inbound marketing, you may notice an increase in the number of calls you receive or calls directed to your call center.   Assess your inbound contact center metrics to better understand your potential client base and better improve your sales process.

Advantages of Inbound Marketing:

  • Educates your audience
  • Non-invasive
  • Quantifiable and scalable
  • Personalized and empathetic
  • Easier and cheaper to maintain long term
  • The potential of more return customers
  • Higher trust score

Disadvantages of inbound marketing:

  • Requires constant and continuous maintenance in the beginning
  • Time-consuming
  • Heavily reliant on strategy

All You Need To Know About Outbound Marketing

As mentioned earlier, outbound marketing is a more traditional marketing approach. Even though it can be more expensive, outbound marketing can be highly effective. Case and point, it is still popular today.

Most marketing experts suggest using inbound and outbound marketing simultaneously. Outbound marketing is often more effective in branding and creating brand awareness. Outbound marketing can also offer quick results and is cheaper.

Outbound marketing relies on message pushing and following up. As a result, it can be intrusive and annoying to some, especially if they do not know the product or are not interested in it. However, traditional marketing experts often insist that customers don’t know what they want, and it is up to you to show them. This statement is true to a large extent seeing how effective outbound marketing can sometimes be.

Paid-per-click ads, emails, and social media ads are a modern and cheaper form of outbound marketing that has helped many small businesses compete with larger corporations.

Advantages of outbound marketing

  • Helps with brand awareness
  • Quicker results
  • Customers are already used to this type of marketing

Disadvantages of outbound marketing

  • More generalized approach
  • Customers can tune off
  • Less effective in the long run
  • Expensive in the long run
  • Cant target your audience effectively

As mentioned, it is pretty common today to find companies using both inbound and outbound marketing for different purposes and objectives. The key to finding the best marketing approach is to do proper research. Understanding your business and product can help you better know how to approach your audience and their pain points.