It’s the age-old question that small business owners continuously struggle with – which marketing strategy should I use to reach my customers?
Outbound vs inbound marketing, we hear these buzzwords thrown around with no real explanation of what they each entail.
What the heck is the difference, anyway… Well, buckle up!
I’ll explore outbound versus inbound marketing and arm you with the knowledge necessary to make an educated decision when it comes to your own marketing approaches. Throughout this blog post, I’m going to do the compare and contrast ideas.
In marketing days past, you did it like this and in days future, you would do it like that.
- When I speak of the past and the old school ways of doing things, I am talking about outbound marketing.
- When I am speaking about the new school ways of thinking that are effective now, I am talking about inbound marketing.
What is Outbound Marketing?
Those names are a little bit confusing because in the old way, when you are doing outbound marketing, it means that you are basically standing on a soapbox or you are shouting into the market place and you are talking to the market place in almost like a shotgun method. In this way, what are you doing…?
- You are doing billboards
- You are doing TV ads
- You are doing broadcast
- You are printing articles
These are the platforms where you are only in a couple of places. You are really shouting into the market place hoping that someone will hear you and that’s what I mean by outbound.
What is Inbound Marketing?
The new school way or the way that’s becoming much more effective is the inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is really about considering yourself to be a publisher, considering all of the things that you publish including:
- Blog post
- A video
- A webinar series
- Training materials
- A book
All of those things and text messages in fact are methods of publishing content into the market place. That is really about solving problems for your customers and solving the needs that they are looking to have answered by effective use of content.
When you put that into the market place, what happens is:
- Someone finds that content
- Someone is attracted to it
- And starts reading it
Then if it’s for instance a blog post, they will click through and actually come out and check maybe your website or check out some more of your services. By publishing content and valuable information, you get leads and people to come inbound to you.
That’s the difference you know.
Outbound vs Inbound Marketing
The difference between outbound vs inbound marketing is really the direction. You, as the company are going out with your message. In outbound messaging, you are hoping that you reach them out there and then on inbound marketing your prospects are really coming to you.
In the old school way, it was really expensive. Doing outbound marketing is expensive because of just the way the tactics and tools and the way that you put things together.
A lot of times, it is about volume and it is about how much you need to put into seven to ten different impressions as they used to say, to get someone to even notice your message on a billboard. Those things are expensive and it costs a lot of resources to do that.
Doing inbound marketing is pretty easy
Well, for the new school way, the inbound marketing way, I mean you can build a blog post, for instance what I’m doing right now. I am driving home from work and I am recording some blog content that I will put up on my website.
It takes me ten to fifteen minutes to talk through this blog post, but I will use it for a blog post. I will put in a power point presentation, I may turn this into a video, alternate it with all kinds of things.
It’s not very expensive to be consistent with you inbound marketing content publishing.
The old school way of outbound marketing was really interruption-based. You are interrupting the market place with your message and hoping they pay attention. With inbound marketing, it is all about permission.
You are asking their permission to give them valuable content and then they come towards you. It is a bit of a different approach and it is really more effective to ask permission and have your prospects come into you than it is for you to interrupt them and you to go out to them. That’s a big part of this.
Tracking Is a Big Chunk of Either Marketing
Then the last thing that is the real difference between outbound vs inbound marketing is just the whole idea of tracking. Without marketing tracking, it is very difficult or it has been very difficult because technology has evolved over the last few years.
Tracking with Outbound Marketing
Outbound marketing is generally things that may be or may not be, so connected digitally and are not integrated with website, social media and different things like that.
- It is hard to track sales from a billboard.
- It is hard to track sales from a listing in the phonebook or potentially even a radio spot.
- It is hard to track that kind of information effectively back to an ROI or effectively back to where you spent your marketing dollars.
Tracking was very difficult with outbound marketing.
Tracking with inbound marketing
While with inbound marketing, in the new school way of doing things, we call that closed loop marketing. It means there is a closed loop all the way from:
- Social media mentions
- Twitter & Facebook
- Print publications
- A blog post
- Website content
- Sales funnels
- Email marketing
All of those now have tools and techniques where you can put tracking in place and use marketing platforms. Hubspot is a marketing platform which is really a great tool for doing complete closed loop marketing.
You can tie all those bits and pieces together and really understand where exactly are those leads being generated and what the data to support marketing better is and more effective decisions in the long run.
Turning Your Marketing Into A Profit Center
What this all boils down to is the old school way of doing marketing which is outbound marketing, was really full of holes. It is like Swiss cheese, one might say. Well, now with inbound marketing, you can plug all those holes and you can bring together a whole system of different ways to publish content.
In essence, what I have been saying in some of my other materials in the book I have written you can actually turn marketing into a profit center. Profit center marketing is taking the idea that marketing now – because you are publisher and you are producing great content – can actually be things you can charge for.
- You can charge a little bit of money for an e-book
- You can charge a little money for a training course
- You can charge a little money for a seminar or group training
Along the way you are making a little bit of profit from each of those things that in the long run aggregates together and actually makes you more money than you are spending on marketing.
Wrapping Up the Differences
In conclusion, it comes down to deciding which type of marketing plan is best for your business.
Outbound marketing relies on casting a wide net that can potentially reach the largest possible audience, while inbound marketing taps into today’s digital-driven world and encourages customers to initiate contact with you.
It’s important to weigh all options available and assess which strategy will likely yield the most customer engagement. You need to develop a comprehensive approach that incorporates both outbound and inbound tactics if you want your business to be successful.
Regardless of the strategy you choose, remember the ultimate goal is to acquire new customers and retain current ones!
So, put your plan into motion and Schedule a Discovery call so we can get started!