When you think of marketing, there are likely several marketing tactics that come to mind for you — social media marketing, blogging, email marketing, podcasting, paid ads, and webinars, just to name a few. However, did you know that marketing itself is actually broken down into two types, inbound and outbound? Inbound marketing serves a different purpose than outbound marketing, but it’s important to incorporate both into your strategy.
As you plan on your marketing approach for your organization, learn the breakdown between inbound and outbound marketing.
Inbound vs Outbound Marketing
What Is Inbound Marketing?
As Salesforce explains, “Inbound marketing is a strategic approach to creating valuable content that aligns with the needs of your target audiences and inspires long-term customer relationships.” With inbound marketing, you’re providing solutions to the problems your ideal clients or customers face through the content you develop. This content is often viewed as educational and shows up in a variety of forms across the customer journey.
The biggest difference between inbound and outbound marketing is inbound marketing isn’t obtrusive. Instead of putting your brand in front of your ideal clients or customers’ faces, you’re building a consistent, value-driven resource so that when these folks are ready to buy, you’re already there waiting for them. Rather than focusing on getting sales, inbound marketing prioritizes helping people.
Examples of inbound marketing include:
- Blog Posts
- Social Media Posts
- White Papers
- Search Engine Optimization
And more. Using a mix of these methods allows you to create a variety of content to meet your ideal clients or customers where they are and provide them with what they need to resolve the challenges they’re facing.
What Is Outbound Marketing?
According to Mailchimp, “Outbound marketing is when a business proactively reaches out to potential customers to get them interested in a product or service they’re selling.” Unlike inbound marketing, which seeks to provide solutions to problems consumers have, outbound marketing is more about pushing sales onto your target audience, focusing on identifying trends that may be popping up and building products or services that align with those trends.
Outbound marketing is known to be obtrusive, as you’re reaching out to your ideal clients or customers directly and likely sending them some type of pitch, rather than sitting back and waiting for them to come to you first. With inbound marketing, consumers can receive these brand messages when they’re ready, while outbound marketing interrupts someone’s day to share content.
Examples of outbound marketing include:
- Cold Calling
- Cold Emailing
- Paid Ads
- Press Releases
- Direct Mail
And more. Although outbound marketing can boost brand awareness, provide immediate results, and be easy to implement, it can also be expensive, difficult to track the return on investment (ROI), and full of roadblocks. However, if you’re looking to be more direct with your organization’s marketing efforts, outbound marketing is one way to achieve that.
Using Both Inbound and Outbound Marketing
Why Use Both?
Although you might be convinced to favor one type of marketing over the other, it’s important to incorporate both into your strategy for the sole reason that they accomplish different goals. Inbound marketing establishes you as a thought leader and credible resource that people can come to when they need support while outbound marketing allows you to get seen in front of your ideal clients or customers immediately to alert them of the products or services you offer.
Additionally, inbound and outbound marketing can complement each other. You might use outbound marketing to send a cold email to a potential client. After that individual reads the email and becomes interested in what you have to offer, they might head to your social media profiles to learn more about you and your expertise. The social media posts you publish are a form of inbound marketing, drawing those folks in from the value you provide, all because of your initial outreach.
All this to say, the more marketing you do, the better! Although you only want to stick to the methods where your ideal audience members are likely to exist, it’s best to diversify your efforts and show up in a handful of places.
Testing Marketing Tactics within Inbound and Outbound Marketing
Remember, just because one form of marketing works for one organization doesn’t mean it will work for yours. Be sure to test these various forms of marketing to understand what resonates with your audience the best, and what doesn’t, so you can tweak and customize your plan moving forward.
Rather than throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping that it sticks, be intentional with your approach to engaging your audience so you can be just the right resource they need, exactly when they need it.
Working with a Marketing Agency
Delegating Your Inbound and Outbound Marketing to a Trusted Partner
You might not have the time, resources, energy, or desire to keep your marketing in-house, and that’s okay! Working with an external partner to support your internal efforts can make a big impact on your marketing, sales, development, and growth.