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Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing for Businesses

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012 by Erin Peters

Blog inbound outboundInbound vs. Outbound Marketing for Businesses

There’s no question that marketing campaigns are crucial for businesses to generate leads and increase sales. Although there are many types of marketing campaigns and strategies, most marketing efforts fall under two categories: inbound marketing and outbound marketing.

Of course, not all marketing strategies are created equal. So, how do you know if your company needs to focus on inbound or outbound marketing?

First, let’s take a look at the differences between inbound and outbound marketing for businesses.

Outbound Marketing: Your Business Looks for Customers

For decades, outbound marketing was the status quo when it came to marketing a business, product or service. With outbound marketing, companies put themselves in front of a large audience that may or may not be interested in their products or services.

A few examples of outbound marketing channels include:

•    Television Ads
•    Radio Ads
•    Billboards
•    Print Ads
•    Direct Mail

With these marketing campaigns, companies push their message out to a very broad audience, hoping their campaign gets someone’s attention and brings in new customers. Here at Graphtek, we call this the “spray and pay” model.

Outbound marketing might be the traditional form of marketing but its not necessarily the most effective. For example, a women’s clothing company that advertises in a local newspaper, on primetime television or on a billboard is spending marketing dollars to advertise to a very large audience that includes both men and women. Only half of that audience is the clothing company’s potential audience—not exactly the most effective marketing strategy.

This is because outbound marketing marketing focuses on gaining a large quantity of leads but not necessarily high-quality leads.

Inbound Marketing: Customers Look For Your Business

Since its inception, the Internet has completely disrupted the marketing game. Rather than putting advertisements in front of as many people as possible, companies use their online presence to educate and engage their audience, which draws customers in.

Since inbound marketing provides value to the customer, customers are looking for businesses rather than vice versa.

This inbound marketing model has redefined how companies reach out to their potential customers. Quality content is a crucial component that helps companies engage potential customers and set the foundation for a conversation. It is the first step in filling the sales funnel with inbound marketing.

The more interesting, educational and valuable a company’s content is to their target audience, the more successful their inbound marketing campaign will be. A few examples of content for inbound marketing include:

•    Blogs
•    Articles
•    Podcasts
•    Ebooks
•    White Papers
•    Infographics

Another essential part of inbound marketing is social media. A strong social media presence allows your content to spread and increase your company’s visibility. Through social media accounts, companies can have real conversations with their audience, promote their business and be found.

A few social media accounts that are helpful for inbound marketing include:

•    Google+
•    Facebook
•    Twitter
•    Foursquare
•    Yelp
•    Pinterest

As social media sites, blogs and other websites link to your content, your search engine rankings will climb higher and higher. These high organic search results mean your customers are finding your company, not the other way around.

Inbound marketing focuses on filling the sales funnel with high-quality leads, not a large quantity of poorly targeted leads.

Outbound vs. Inbound Marketing for Businesses

With inbound marketing, companies earn a customer’s attention by providing something of value. With outbound marketing, companies fail to provide value and have to beg for a customer’s attention.

And with the seemingly relentless bombardment of advertisements we face everyday, fewer customers are allowing outbound marketers to force their way in with pushy sales tactics.

According to this “Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing” infographic published on Mashable, potential customers are dodging most outbound marketing efforts, including cold calling, TV advertisements and direct mail. Here are a few statistics illustrating how widely outbound marketing is ignored:

•    86% of people skip TV advertisements.
•    200 million Americans have registered their phone numbers on the FTC’s “Do Not Call” list.
•    44% of direct mail is never opened.
•    84% of 25-to-34-year-olds have left their favorite websites because of intrusive or irrelevant advertising.

With more and more people refusing to listen to outbound marketing efforts, why would a business spend money to be ignored?

The answer? Smart businesses don’t.

Savvy business owners who want results from their marketing efforts are focusing on inbound marketing strategies, where they can target potential customers who actually want to listen. They realize that education and other helpful information are the new sales pitch, and they’re using content, social media and search engine marketing to draw strong leads into their sales funnel and generate more business.

If your company wants strong leads and increased profits, it’s time to invest in an inbound marketing campaign.

This cost-effective approach to generating new business won’t break the bank, either. Not only do inbound marketing strategies fit the budgets of small to medium-sized businesses, but they also produce an ROI unparalleled by traditional outbound marketing tactics. According to the same Mashable infographic, inbound marketing costs 62% less per lead than traditional outbound marketing.

And is it any wonder? An inbound marketing campaign is generally more affordable than a direct mail campaign or series of TV advertisements, and inbound marketing fills your sales funnel with stronger leads compared to outbound marketing campaigns. After all, inbound marketing targets customers who are actually looking for you, whereas TV ads are skipped and direct mail campaigns go unopened.

Business owners, stop wasting your marketing dollars with a “spray and pay” strategy. Contact Graphtek today to learn how a custom inbound marketing strategy will maximize your marketing dollars and bring your business the highest ROI.


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