With a shift in marketing strategies towards inbound marketing, and many small businesses employing only inbound marketing tactics and relinquishing any ties to the more traditional, outbound marketing strategies, small businesses should know the differences between inbound marketing versus outbound marketing, the benefits of inbound marketing, and what it means for their business.
Outbound Marketing is the more traditional form of marketing where marketers go directly to consumers with widely broadcast messages using tools like print ads, direct mail (post), telemarketing, sales calls, cold calls, and other forms of personal selling. Advertisements on television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and even Internet ads are considered outbound marketing tools.
This approach has been called interruptive and old-fashioned, and is less widely used due to the evolution and continual growth of the digital frontier. Inbound marketing strategies have proven to be more effective within a digital context.
Inbound Marketing, on the other hand, is when customers set out with intention and seek out the product that they are interested in by searching for it online, mainly through search engines. Inbound marketing involved Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Pay-Per-Click-Ads (PPC), blogs, digital public relations, and social media.
It is much less expensive to implement inbound marketing vs outbound marketing strategies, and, though most inbound marketing is free, it costs much less to post a PPC ad than a TV ad that will garner less traffic and, therefore, less interested potential customers. Marketers are seeing a steady rise in profits when using inbound vs outbound marketing techniques, and are more likely to utilise inbound strategies to help generate revenue, drive traffic, generate leads, and close deals.
Inbound Versus Outbound
Though the largest obvious difference between inbound and outbound marketing is that inbound marketing costs significantly less than outbound methods, there are several other differences that outline the benefits of inbound marketing and the steady decline of outbound marketing, including:
With inbound marketing, you can create content on your website, blog, or social media sites and keep it updated so that it is relevant, current, and consistent with the interests of your target market. You can ensure that your content will be seen by your target audience, and not just everyone like with outbound marketing channels, through SEO and encouraging sharing of your content. This generates traffic to your website and blog, creating opportunities for sales leads. The best part about all of this? It’s all essentially free, provided you are taking on SEO by yourself, whereas with outbound marketing, you would be paying to update your content on print ads and other promotional channels like TV or radio.
With information available to your audience at the drop of a hat, or the click of a button, customers want to feel that they will be supported and heard when they come to you, and want to be able to trust that you will maintain a clear level of communication with them throughout their relationship with your business. This is made simple using your social media presence, where you can engage directly with your customers online via messages, posts on your social media feed, or through other means of communication. You customers can also use social media to promote your business through sharing, liking, and commenting on your content where their followers can see their activity and drive traffic to your social networking page and, ultimately, your website.
Give More to Get More
Though the digital age is booming, customers are more wary about giving out their personal information, even though gathering that information is crucial for your business to generate leads. You have to be able to provide something to them in return for their providing you with their contact information; some websites will offer a free whitepaper, eBook, or guide relative to the business in exchange for the lead. Though some visitors may sign up just because they are interested in your business and want to receive your newsletter, many potential customers will be more apt to providing the information that you need to close the lead when they are offered an incentive.
As a small business owner, the choice of inbound vs outbound should be easy; you likely do not have the resources, time, and energy to devote your company’s marketing to outbound methods. Choosing inbound marketing will help to save you that time, energy, and money that you would have spent, and lost, with outbound marketing.
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