Only a few years ago, "inbound marketing" wasn't even a phrase—let alone an industry. Inbound marketing is one of the most effective ways to market your business and create a solid customer base. But what exactly is it? What does inbound marketing mean? And how does it differ from outbound marketing? This blog post will take you through all the basics: from what makes inbound different to best practices for using it effectively.
Inbound marketing is a way to attract customers by creating relevant and valuable content. Outbound marketing pushes your product or services to people without first finding out what they want. Whereas inbound marketing requires you to research your audience, create relevant content for them and then distribute it in places they'll see.
Inbound and outbound marketing goals are the same: get people's attention so you can ask them for their business. But where outbound methods require more effort up front—there are no guarantees that anyone will read your message or respond favourably. Inbound techniques allow you to leverage social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter and search engines like Google with minimal effort. The right strategy can drive traffic directly back into your company website (or blog), making it easier for prospects who might not have heard about you but are interested enough to find out if they want what you're selling.
What is outbound marketing?
Outbound marketing campaigns are not targeted to specific audience segments. You're trying to convince someone who's never heard of your brand or product, so you interrupt them wherever they are.
If a person is searching for a topic that interests them, they're more likely to click on related content rather than something random in their feed. This is because they're already interested in the subject matter and are actively looking for information.
Inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your company and product, where they naturally want to be.
Inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your company and product, where they naturally want to be. It's the opposite of outbound marketing, where you interrupt people with annoying advertisements or messages. Inbound marketing aims to attract customers through content they find interesting, not offend them and try to sell something that they don't need or want.
Inbound marketing uses social media to attract customers by sharing informative posts and blog articles on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. This way, you can share what's new about your business without being pushy about sales. You can also use SEO tactics to optimize organic search results. Hence, potential customers see your website when looking for products or services similar to yours online.
Outbound marketing involves overt selling tactics like cold-calling, advertising, and direct mail campaigns.
Outbound marketing is a one-way communication where you try to sell your products or services via advertising and other external methods. It can include cold calling, direct mail campaigns, and advertising through social media.
Outbound marketing involves a lot of time and money spent on the campaign's initial setup. Consumers often ignore it because they don't feel they're contacted in a relevant way to them or their needs/wants. Finally, outbound marketing isn't as effective as inbound marketing because it's not personalised like inbound messages are. Outbound marketing doesn't speak directly to each person who receives a message but instead sends out generic messages that may or may not resonate with anyone.
Budget or brains?
The internet is a great leveller for companies, both large and small. Large companies have the advantage of having more money to spend on marketing and advertising. On the other hand, because small companies can market themselves on the internet for little or no cost, they can compete with larger businesses regarding price points and product quality.
You don't need a big budget to do inbound marketing successfully. Using free tools and resources, you can start small and grow as you can. Inbound marketing can also help generate leads, sales, or brand awareness, depending on your goals.
Inbound marketing is more straightforward to measure than outbound marketing. It's easy to see how many leads your inbound efforts generated, how many sales are made from those leads, and how many people came to your website through inbound marketing versus outbound marketing. Outbound marketers won't be able to tell you that information as quickly because it's harder for them to track their results.
Blocking the outbound message
Traditional interruption-based advertising is declining as more people switch off their TV, use Netflix, or skip through commercials using a digital video recorder (DVR). To get your message across to customers in this environment, you must stop interrupting them and engage them.
The good news is that you can use data and analytics. You can learn about your customers' preferences and interests and send them targeted content based on their behaviour or location. Inbound marketing uses this approach to build trust between you and your target audience so they will engage with what you offer, which can lead directly to sales.
Market along the whole buying journey
Inbound marketing works better than outbound marketing because it helps you connect with potential buyers at every point in the buying process, not just when they're ready to buy.
Inbound marketing is more effective than outbound marketing. It makes sense that inbound leads are 3x more likely to purchase from your business than an outbound prospect and 4x more likely if they're an existing customer (according to Hubspot). In other words: inbound prospects are ready right now! They've already researched your company and know what you do. They might even have a problem or pain point that aligns perfectly with your product or service offering! So instead of spending precious time cold-calling companies that aren't interested yet, focus your efforts on attracting those who already have shown interest by searching for solutions like yours online. And convert them into customers with minimal effort.
Suppose you want to align your business with the way buyers buy today. In that case, switching from an outbound marketing mentality to an inbound one is essential. To recap: outbound marketing is marketing that pushes your message onto prospects and customers. In contrast, inbound marketing attracts people to you by creating valuable content that appeals to your audience's needs.
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An experienced HubSpot specialist with many HubSpot certifications under his belt. Born in the Netherlands and moved to Sweden in 2019. Inofficially solves the most sudoku's, and officially the newest Swede in Zooma. Started in 2021.