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Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing: What to Choose

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Advertisements have become an integral part of our lives so much so that we can’t imagine our TV, newspapers, or Internet without them. In fact, Forbes claims that the average person is exposed to around 4,000 to 10,000 ads per day. That’s right, per day. We have to be honest with you though. At first, this number seemed far-fetched to us, but then we realized it’s anything but.

Just hear us out. Most of us wake up listening to a radio where our local station airs God knows how many ads, then we tune in to the morning show where we’re also exposed to a vast number of TV commercials. And later we commute to work only to be surrounded with many billboards. So, yes, 4,000 ads per day do seem plausible.

In this environment, companies need to come up with marketing techniques that won’t put their target audience off their brand. So, if you’re a business looking to promote your products or services, you have to consider your marketing tactics first. Do you want to adopt a push (outbound) or pull (inbound) strategy?

Well, if you’re unsure, stick around and we’ll tell you all about two distinct paths you can take to reach your target audience. Thus, it’s inbound marketing versus outbound marketing in this one and, by the end of the article, you’ll surely have your favorite!

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Let’s start with traditional outbound marketing strategy first!

What Is Outbound Marketing?

Look at outbound marketing as another form of traditional marketing. It relies on tactics that are interruptive to most people because it pushes the message at an audience regardless of whether they want it or not. So, it’s the company that initiates the conversation and spreads its message to the very passive consumers. Now that we’ve explained this, you probably know what type of ads are outbound, but let’s mention them just in case:

  • TV and radio ads
  • Newspaper ads
  • Email blasts
  • Billboards
  • Cold calling
  • Display ads
  • Pop-ups

It’s easy to see why we used ‘interruptive’ above. After all, how many of us have picked up the phone only to hear from a salesperson who’s trying to convince us to buy a product or service? And most of us were probably annoyed at their sales pitch and we hoped they would finish the conversation quickly.

This tactic used to be so convincing that it would eventually attract potential customers, but things have changed what with the development in technology. Now, these ads and methods are so saturated that people ignore them for the most part.

The Downsides of Outbound Marketing

One of the biggest issues that brands have with this traditional marketing method is that they need to create a general message in order for it to be appropriate for the larger masses. In other words, with outbound marketing, you cannot meet different needs and challenges. You have to be as clinical as possible and put aside the desire to come up with personalized content.

Of course, there are a number of other reasons why outbound marketing isn’t as effective today. Let’s take a look:

  • 91% of customers have unsubscribed from an email they previously opted into. Why? Probably because the content they were receiving wasn’t relevant to them.
  • 70% of millennials skip TV ads. With an increasing number of streaming services and DVR capabilities, anyone can fast-forward TV ads nowadays.
  • 84% of people aged 25-34 have abandoned their favorite website because advertisements were too intrusive or annoying.

Pushing messages at your audience won’t get you anywhere today. To reiterate, for most part this is because outbound marketing is interruptive. It prevents us from watching our favorite show in peace. And it certainly interrupts what we’re doing when door-to-door- salesperson comes knocking.

This push advertising reached its peak during the popularity of mass media. However, it has been replaced with more modern and personalized tactics. So if you’re a brand choosing between inbound and outbound, we’d allocate our marketing budget to the former if we were you.

And let’s see why.

What Is Inbound Marketing?

Unlike outbound marketing that uses those tactics which quite literally chase new customers, inbound marketing is far less in-your-face. To be specific, this marketing type pulls consumers in, thus increasing brand exposure and building brand authority. And how does it succeed at doing this? Well, it emphasizes the need for valuable content that is successful at attracting people to your brand.

Therefore, at the heart of it is content marketing and this includes:

  • Website content
  • Subscription-based email marketing
  • Blog posts
  • Downloadable content 

The beauty of inbound marketing is that it’s indirect, i.e. there’s no noticeable sales pitch that will make your customers run for the hill. Quite the contrary — by engaging with your brand, your consumers will go down the sales funnel without having any second thoughts. In fact, inbound marketing is 10 times more effective at generating leads than its outbound counterpart!

Let’s look at some of the marketing techniques you can use in your campaign.

Inbound Marketing Techniques

Generally speaking, these strategies are less expensive, bring a vast range of benefits, and will produce a higher return on investment than outbound ones. If all of this sounds amazing to you, then consider some of the following inbound marketing strategies:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO): SEO is an integral part of this marketing type because you want your website to be seen. With proper SEO, your site will become more attractive to search engines. It will improve your chances of having your brand appear in relevant local searches.
  • Content creation: You should endeavor to create content that will be relevant to your target audience. Write about things you’re good at and provide valuable advice to your readers. In this way, you’ll be regarded as a trusted expert and consumers will rush to read your take on different topics. For instance, you can publish white papers or webinars to offer extensive information to your audience.
  • Social media: We can’t stress enough how important it is to be present on social media. With 3.5 billion users worldwide, these platforms are the place to be if you want to reach a wider audience. So, engage social media users with fun content, behind-the-scenes photos and videos, or polls.

Of course, the above-mentioned elements are just the tip of the iceberg, but they can serve as a good starting point for your inbound marketing strategy.

What Is More Effective?

Honestly, it’s a no-brainer; inbound marketing takes first place in the battle against its outbound counterpart. In fact, 76% of marketers use the former as their primary strategy. This number suggests that, even if you aren’t, three of your competitors are likely relying on inbound marketing.

Additionally, inbound marketing is more cost-effective than outbound. In point of fact, inbound leads are 61% less expensive than outbound leads.

On the other hand, experts say that it’s difficult to measure inbound’s effectiveness. Because this strategy relies on increasing brand awareness and providing direct value, it’s hard to quantify exactly how well you’re doing.

Nevertheless, it is a far better choice than traditional outbound marketing. This strategy is criticized for being expensive, unresponsive, and not targeted. Namely, you spend a lot of money on a TV ad to promote your products and services, release it, and now what? Well, you can only sit tight and hope for the best.

It’s up to You

In the end, the best marketing strategy for your brand will be the one that yields the best results. So, don’t be afraid to try new things while also continuing to rely on the old tactics. Analyze your data as much as you can and always be at the top of your game.

Remember, the audience’s taste changes as well. What they liked last year might not be their favorite thing this year. In fact, people get bored when they see the same thing all the time. Who knows, maybe you’ll find the right combination of inbound and outbound marketing and make a splash in the marketing industry!

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