Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing
In recent years, an intense debate erupted over which is better for small and medium businesses: outbound marketing or inbound marketing? But what is outbound marketing? And what is inbound marketing? And is it true that the new hype: inbound marketing is pulling the rug from under traditional outbound marketing feet? And if so, why?
Let’s take a close look on what both terms stand for and the major differences between these two strategies to be able to judge for ourselves which is better for small and medium businesses? And why?
What is Outbound Marketing?
Outbound marketing strategy is traditional. It focuses on pushing your message in front of your ideal customer.
Outbound marketing is often associated with terms like: “interrupt marketing”: “push”: “the hammer”
It uses any or all of the following to reach out to customers.
- Trade show
- Direct Mail
- E-mail spam
- TV/Radio Advertisements
Advantages of Outbound Marketing
- Outbound marketing equips the marketer with full controls over the message communicated: what is communicated, how it is communicated, and when it is heard, seen or read.
- Outbound marketing approach is focused on selling.
- The traditional consumers are familiar with outbound marketing. By traditional consumers we mean those who struggle with modern technologies and find them hard to understand or trust: consumers who are accustomed to television and radio ads.
Disadvantages of Outbound Marketing
- It is called interruption marketing for a reason! The strategy is rather an imposition on the receiver whether he or she wishes to receive the message or not, they are getting it anyways regardless of their desire to receive it in the 1st place.
- There is a flip side to that coin. That same sense of familiarity that makes traditional consumers trust in the traditional strategies of outbound marketing makes it easy for consumers to tune out and lose interest for having to read, hear or see the same message repeated over and over again.
- Since outbound marketing aims at reaching out to a wide range of audience by means of reiteration it is very expensive.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is based on the concept of earning the attention of prospects, making yourself easy to be found and drawing customers to your website by producing content customers value according to HubSpot.
Inbound marketing is often associated with terms like: “permission marketing” as opposed to “interrupt marketing”: “pull” as opposed to “push”: “the magnet” as opposed to “the hammer”.
Inbound marketing uses any or all of the following to reach out to customers.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Social Media Marketing
- eBooks, Slideshare Presentations, Infographics
- Whitepapers, Newsletters
Advantages of Inbound Marketing
- Inbound marketing draws and pulls consumers to your message by means of enabling your business to be easily found via internet search engines, social networking, and blogging.
- Inbound marketing aims to pose you as a go-to resource that provides the information your audience need and at getting prospects to reach out to ask about what you can offer.
- Inbound marketing is not expensive.
Disadvantages of Inbound Marketing
- Inbound marketing relies on producing good content, making sure it is visible, and having effective presence on the internet so that it is found by prospects which is not an easy task.
In a Nutshell
While outbound marketing is an interruption-based marketing that hammers the consumer constantly to push the message, inbound marketing is a permission-based marketing that magnetizes the internet to pull consumers in.
Which is better for small and medium businesses? And why?
There is a growing trend among marketing experts to shift the attention from outbound marketing to inbound marketing for the following reasons:
- The hammering / interruptive methods of outbound marketing have taught the customers to filter out the advertisements i.e. switch channels during the TV commercials break, delete spam email or discard direct mail without opening it.
- Inbound marketing interrupts no one! Your business, products and services come up in the search engine results i.e. Google, Yahoo, Bing, or are posted by a friend on a social networking site i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, via a blogging site i.e. WordPress, Blogger as a result of a natural experience that the internet consumers are directing with their free will as opposed to outbound marketing which shouts for attention.
- Inbound marketing is less intrusive and is more liked by the customers since it requires gaining their permission advancing to the next step in the purchasing process i.e. a permission to send them email newsletters or a catalog.
- Outbound marketing pursues a large number of cold leads, inbound marketing makes warm/hot leads who have a higher probability of completing the sale come to you.
- According to statistics, inbound marketing maintains a low-cost advantage when compared to outbound marketing, providing efficient and affordable ways for small and medium business’ to acquire new leads.
- Inbound marketing is a two way interactive communication process that when executed successfully lead to an interesting experience that people share with their friends over social networking sites i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ while outbound marketing is mostly in one way.