The worldwide marketing industry is worth an astonishing $1.7 trillion. That’s some serious cash floating around, and far too many businesses shell out that cash without a well-researched plan for how to spend it.
Before you can plan the best marketing tactics for your business, though, you have to know your options. Let’s start with the difference between inbound and outbound marketing: two key categories every marketing strategy needs.
What Is Outbound Marketing?
Most of the traditional advertising methods you know and love fall under the category of outbound marketing. In outbound marketing, you’re pushing out a message to a large group of people in hopes of inspiring people to become customers.
Think of outbound marketing as a one-way conversation. You’re broadcasting a message into the universe, but for customers to respond, they need to take the extra step of reaching out to you on their own.
Top Examples of Outbound Marketing Strategies
Not sure how much of your budget is spent on outbound marketing? Track down how much you spend on these popular outbound methods.
Any time you have an ad on television or in a print medium like a magazine or newspaper, it’s a form of outbound marketing. You’re sending out a one-way message to tell people about your business, in the hopes that they’ll become customers later.
Social Media Advertising
This one surprises most people because social media advertising is such a two-way medium. However, when you publish ads and posts on social media, you’re sending out a widespread message. This makes social media outbound marketing, whether your posts are paid or organic.
It’s also important to recognize that targeting your ads doesn’t stop them from being outbound marketing. Outbound marketing is defined by the fact that it’s a one-way message, not by how general or how targeted it is.
While it has become less common than it used to be, many companies do use direct mail and it’s a prime example of outbound marketing. You design a message meant to reach a large number of people and deliver that message to their mailboxes.
Large-Scale Email Marketing
Email marketing is a staple of many companies’ marketing strategies, and it falls under the category of outbound marketing. You’re sending out a message to a large group of people, so it’s an outbound marketing tactic. This is true whether you have a mailing list people have signed up for or you buy a mailing list.
What Is Inbound Marketing?
With outbound marketing covering most types of traditional advertising, what is inbound marketing? How is it different?
Inbound marketing techniques involve attracting people who are already looking for information about your service or industry. Almost all inbound marketing strategies are digital, so it’s a newer concept than outbound marketing.
One way to think about the difference between inbound and outbound marketing is how your customers receive it.
With outbound marketing, people are just going about their daily lives when they see your message. With inbound marketing, people are actively looking for related information when they see your message.
Top Examples of Inbound Marketing Strategies
The idea of inbound marketing can be difficult to grasp, so let’s look at the most common examples of inbound marketing techniques businesses use today.
The only way for people to find you online is for you to have content for them to find. As a result, producing digital content is paramount for inbound marketing.
Blogs, static content on your website and guest blogs on other sites all give you opportunities to write content that customers can find. Don’t forget about non-written content like videos too.
Search Engine Optimization
Producing content alone may not be enough to attract customers. You also need to make that content easier to find by using search engine optimization, or SEO.
In addition to keyword usage, metadata, and other SEO techniques, you need to use local SEO to make your content especially magnetic for people in your area. These are the people who are most likely to become customers, after all.
Understanding the Difference Between Inbound and Outbound Marketing and Why You Need Both
Outbound marketing and inbound marketing have their pros and cons. That’s why they work best when they work together.
Outbound marketing reaches a large number of people all at once. Inbound marketing may reach fewer people, but those people are more likely to become customers.
In addition, these strategies target two different stages in a customer’s buying cycle. Outbound marketing builds your brand and introduces customers to your business. It spreads awareness.
Then, when customers are looking for information about your industry, they’ll go online and start searching. That’s where they’ll find your inbound marketing now that they’re qualified, engaged leads.
Making the Most of Inbound and Outbound Marketing
As with any marketing you do, putting your outbound and inbound marketing to good use is all about having a well-planned strategy. You need to know who you’re targeting with each technique and how to best reach them.
Now that you understand the difference between inbound and outbound marketing and how they work together, you can jump in to research the best techniques within each category to start pulling in customers left and right.
Of course, these marketing strategies aren’t all you need to build a successful business. For more tips for running and growing your startup, check out more articles on our blog for entrepreneurs.