Have you ever wondered how companies update their marketing strategies? Or come up with the right content for a specific target audience? It can be pretty overwhelming when you need to decide on the perfect content for your audience. Should you go with a more traditional approach by using signages, billboards, banner or even magazine ads, a more personalized approach through direct conversations with leads, or more digitized content over social media? Well, it depends on who your audience is.
Whatever you decide to choose will impact your client’s company or even your own. The good thing is that two universal marketing concepts will help you narrow down your scope – known as inbound marketing and outbound marketing. These two distinct concepts are most common among marketers, each with applications, advantages, and even challenges. In this article, we will dive into their differences, give you their several benefits, and some examples which may be helpful for you and your content creation.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing focuses on creating content targeting a specific audience group to attract them to your product. It is probably no secret that you can find your best prospects online, where 63% of shoppers start their buying journey online in this digital world. In 2021, Oberlo suggested that 2.14 billion worldwide are expected to buy more products online. In other words, your content is seen by more than one out of every four people all over the world. Therefore, it pays to deviate from the traditional marketing strategies you are using to keep your sales funnel up and moving.
Usually, leads for inbound marketing look for products or services that address a certain problem. In essence, what you produce as a marketer should explain how certain products or services can resolve their issues, provide answers to niche-focused questions, and eventually be able to satisfy their needs. In this way, you keep on attracting customers to not only view your product or service but make their purchases.
Inbound marketers, to become effective, need to create attractive and engaging content for their potential customers. Essentially, their content should be needs-based and relevant to consumers’ needs. With this approach, you are more likely to guide customers from their point of discovery of your brand to developing brand loyalty. However, one can consider inbound marketing efforts as a passive form of marketing as the first point of contact only happens when the consumer works their way toward your product.
There are many ways marketing professionals make use of inbound marketing today. One of which is the use of keywords and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that prospective customers can use to discover whatever they need. By using inbound marketing content such as blog content, podcasts, videos, social media content, and other digital content, your customers will be drawn to you without the need to communicate with them directly.
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What is Outbound Marketing?
Outbound marketing, on the other hand, is often associated with the traditional approach in marketing, where messages are sent to a massive amount of people to make a sale. Also known as ‘interruption’ or ‘push’ marketing, this form of marketing makes use of different strategies that require effort to convince customers to buy your product or service.
With outbound marketing, consumers may not know what they need as they come across your content. Thus, content in this approach may use strategies that involve one-way conversation to persuade consumers of your product’s benefits and why it is a reasonable investment for them.
Unlike inbound marketing, outbound marketing takes more of an active approach toward attracting a potential customer, where a salesperson establishes rapport, builds contacts, and channels messages with leads that fit their customer profile. In a nutshell, lead generation involves more aggressive outbound marketing efforts.
Most of the content used for outbound marketing may be cold calling, email blasts, paid ads, tv commercials, and others. It is vital to note that for your strategy to be effective, your content should be well-researched and personalized.
Inbound and Outbound Marketing: What makes them different?
These two concepts are different in several ways. Inbound marketing is more of a passive approach toward content and strategy where your content draws people to your website or product. On the other hand, outbound marketing requires a proactive approach to reaching out to potential leads and clients to make them interested in your presented product or services.
With outbound marketing, you are more likely to become more aggressive in convincing people to buy your product. In contrast, inbound marketing may start with working on a specific group of people, making them interested in making a purchase.
In terms of lead generation, inbound vs outbound strategies may also vary. For inbound marketing, the approach takes a more organic and passive type of gaining potential customers. On the other hand, outbound marketing takes the more persevering route trying to engage with different forms of sales outbound methods. In this case, traditional advertising is more prominently used to generate qualified leads.
However, marketing experts believe that outbound strategies have grown weaker due to the internet. Since websites can be manipulated and keywords are widely used, companies have switched from traditional forms of marketing to using data-driven and modern techniques.
Because of this, outbound techniques have also learned to evolve with technology. Therefore, it is only fair to say that both these concepts have adapted to technology and are driven by consumers’ purchasing behaviors and how to attract them.
Now that we have established the differences between inbound and outbound marketing – let us see them in action. Here are some of the real-life applications of inbound and outbound marketing strategies.
Examples of Inbound Marketing Strategy at Work
Blog posts are some of the mainstay content in inbound marketing. It is a must for marketers to publish high-quality content to attract leads and customers. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or a solid SEO strategy can also be helpful for your content to be easily found online.
Blogs may be written for B2B or B2C sectors. Usually, users tend to search for information before purchasing products. Thus, providing blog posts that include news, case studies, and lists can help build users’ trust in your brand.
According to recent statistics, 96% of users watch explanation videos to learn more about products and services. Videos that provide information can engage and increase user visibility and interaction. This form of inbound marketing is most likely beneficial for younger audiences such as millennials and Gen Z.
Ebooks and Whitepapers
Ebooks and whitepapers are downloadable contents that are available on the internet. These forms of content allow you to get more valuable information about your products or services.
But what makes them different? Ebooks or electronic books are mainly used for significant topics. At the same time, whitepapers consist of reports, in-depth solutions, and opinions about specific subjects. While both are informative, white papers are more inclined to make readers comprehend complicated issues or inform difficult decisions.
As consumers decide to purchase your product or services, they would need in-depth content. In return, they may leave their contact information as they wish. You may also find this method an effective way to nurture your leads and prospects.
As great as your blogs can go, some users may find reading long-form content boring. With the use of infographic content, it gives users the leisure of reading informative content presented in a creative or aesthetic format.
Plus, the insightful data that this form of content can help in a client’s purchasing behavior which is why it is important to remember that content for this strategy should be data-driven and relevant to your own product or service.
For inbound strategies to become successful, it is vital to have a working and reliable website. A company’s website is one of the most basic forms of digital marketing solutions today. Therefore, your website content should contain all the needed information through your landing pages.
Using Search Engine Optimization or SEO strategies for your website is also great practice with the goal of boosting your website’s search results. Webpage content will remain a vital form of inbound marketing as it has the ability to convert users to become your clients.
For some people, written content may be ineffective. True enough, exceptionally written content can contribute to the conversion of users. However, when it comes to complex content such as ebooks and whitepaper may not make the cut. For these users, they would feel more engaged when a person talks and not just someone on the screen. But someone, let us say… more human.
This is where conducting webinars comes in.
Webinars, or web seminars, is a form of digital marketing content that involves a person conducting lectures on specific topics toward a set live audience. Through this format, you have the opportunity to provide more information that is timely and relevant to your client’s queries.
Examples of Outbound Marketing Strategy at Work
Some people may think that email marketing is an outdated outbound marketing strategy. But it is not. You see, emails can be great for directly communicating with possible leads. What is good about it is that the users would provide you with their email addresses themselves.
How? Well, marketers usually obtain email addresses through forms that people fill out when visiting your website. In return, they can download some of your content which they may find useful for their purchasing decisions. Find the perfect email marketing metrics and make your campaign more effective.
Despite the risk of being marked as spam or put into junk mail, cold emails will always be a reliable online marketing strategy as long as your emails contain relevant content. And, email marketing applications that have saved templates, graphics, and other marketing tools are just around the corner!
Just like other outbound marketing examples, snail mail may come off as traditional marketing for some, but direct mail sent to your mailbox may still be effective for some older audiences who may still be interested in your product or service.
In fact, brand recall is 70% higher for those who are exposed to receiving direct mail than online ads. It may not have some fancy graphics or funny gifs, but it is sure that it can still help your brand traction with tangible readings that your readers can keep.
Social Media Ads
One vital aspect of outbound marketing is aggressive advertising. Today, the use of social media platforms has become more effective for small and big businesses alike. On average, billions of social media users spend two hours and twenty-five minutes daily.
Along with the rampant increase of internet users, it is quite an excellent investment for many business owners and marketers to run targeted ads on social media. It is not only cost-effective, but it can also boost the reach of your product and services without breaking your marketing budget.
Just like direct mail and emails, billboards may also seem an outdated form of outbound marketing approach. However, do not expect this strategy to leave the world of marketing as it remains effective for many companies.
The challenge now for marketers and strategists is to come up with more creative content to capture people’s attention while on the go.
To overcome this challenge, billboards have to be easily legible, attention-grabbing, and memorable, especially to fast drivers.
When you think about commercials, you may think it is not cost-efficient. Ideally, TV ads should not only carry the brand, but it has to be memorable enough to generate sales for companies. Check out the guide related to email signature marketing.
However, companies today find it more reasonable to reach leads online. But then again, you cannot just simply remove television ads as they still get to dictate purchasing behaviors once done right!
Cold calls or offers done through phone calls may be intimidating to some consumers. But demandDrive suggests that cold outreach should be fun for consumers.
For some marketing strategists, nothing beats human-to-human interaction when it comes to sales. Cold marketing techniques still work when prospects feel that they are respected, listened to, and treated well. Check out the difference here, inside sales vs outside sales.
The Most Effective Marketing Strategy? You Decide.
If you are going to wonder what you should use between inbound vs outbound marketing or what particular strategy would work for your product or clients? Well, the basic principle of marketing would remain – Know your audience.
For marketing strategies to become more effective, you have to open up possibilities to use multiple channels for your product or service. The world of marketing remains to be a very competitive field not just for strategists but for businesses alike.
To have an effective campaign strategy and valuable content, you cannot just wait for people while you wait, sitting down. Instead, you have to put your name out there, get that exposure, and provide your customers with that remarkable experience. You have to know and understand your target audience, particularly their pain points. Knowing what your customers need can help you create relevant content that will always hit the mark and take your content up a notch.
Your marketing strategies can be a powerhouse when done right. You may say that it is not inbound vs outbound marketing strategies but the combination of both.
For many, jiving different strategies will most likely work as both can be proactively done and get their brand’s message across. Not only that, you get to create content that will generate leads, strengthen your brand, and drive up your sales cycle. So the next time you create your content, let these various forms of inbound and outbound marketing examples set your best foot forward. Find how to calculate marketing metrics.