Both outbound marketing and inbound marketing are key marketing activities. Together, they are the foundational elements of every great digital marketing strategy. The names might sound similar, but there are a number of key differences that you need to understand. Let’s take a look at outbound marketing vs. inbound marketing.
Understanding the Definition of Outbound Marketing
Outbound marketing is about spreading your business’s message out far and wide in the hopes that it resonates with someone in the vast audience that it reaches. Examples of outbound marketing activities include TV, radio, and print ads, billboards, outbound sales calls, pop-up ads, social media advertising, banner and display ads, paid app reviews, and video ads. Outbound marketing strategies tend to rely on interrupting a consumer’s flow of activity in order to gain his or her attention.
Understanding the Definition of Inbound Marketing
While outbound marketing tends to be about buying a potential customer’s attention, inbound marketing is all about earning that attention with quality, compelling content that is targeted to the wants, needs, and preferences of a specific audience. Inbound marketing activities typically include social media, blogging, podcasts, and whitepapers. Quality content that your target audience will perceive as valuable and informative is the driving force behind any inbound marketing strategy. This content helps create a more positive and organic connection with potential customers and subsequently boosts the chance that they will engage with your brand and your product. Examples of inbound marketing include SEO and PPC, influencer outreach, blogging, earned social media, content marketing, opt-in email lists, and public speaking.
Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing: What You Should Know
Now that we’ve reviewed the difference between outbound marketing and inbound marketing, you might be wondering which strategy is more effective. As previously mentioned, both inbound and outbound marketing are important elements of every great digital marketing strategy. But the truth is that more and more businesses are transitioning toward inbound marketing strategies, funneling more time, resources, and advertising dollars into things like content creation, social media, and blogging.
Why the shift? Well, it is becoming increasingly difficult for marketers to attract customers’ attention via traditional outbound activities, like email marketing and cold marketing. HubSpot estimates that the average person is inundated with some 2,000 outbound marketing interruptions on a daily basis. Because of the sheer volume of these interruptions, consumers are becoming increasingly adept at blocking them out, relying on everything from caller ID to spam filtering. That means that it is getting harder to attract consumers’ attention with traditional outbound marketing techniques. For example, 44 percent of direct mail is never opened and 84 percent of consumers between 25 and 34 years of age have left a website because of intrusive advertising. Consumers have less and less patience for marketing strategies that seem invasive.
With inbound marketing efforts, it becomes much easier for a brand to set itself apart, as inbound marketing strategies are much more tightly targeted. While outbound marketing strategies drive less than 10 percent of all clicks on the web, inbound marketing strategies drive over 90 percent. Furthermore, because inbound marketing activities cost less but are more effective at generating high-quality leads, their ROI is much higher.
The bottom line? If you’re not already investing in inbound marketing, now is the time to start. Both inbound and outbound are important, but as consumers become better and better at tuning out all of the noise they encounter online, inbound marketing efforts will only become more and more effective.