As a lead generation executive, your responsibility is to generate high quality and sales-ready leads helping clients to make solid ROI for their marketing campaigns.
If you talk to an average marketer about how they generate leads for their business, the most probably the answer would be an outbound marketing.
Though this marketing methodology is used for the last many years, it’s getting less and less effective nowadays. The response rate and ROI both are very less for outbound marketing.
That’s why inbound has evolved as a mainstream marketing technique in the last few years. The rise in internet users has added benefit to inbound approach making it more efficient and user-friendly.
You can use different ways for your marketing program whether it’s B2B or B2C campaign. A healthy combination of inbound and outbound marketing works great for most of the businesses.
Developing a strategy to produce a positive return on investment requires understanding the difference between inbound and outbound marketing techniques. Because maximizing the effectiveness of your marketing program is essential.
So, here I’m going to tell you the difference between inbound and outbound marketing.
What Is Outbound Marketing?
Before going into details, quickly answer a question what outbound marketing is.
Here’s the answer.
Outbound marketing means pushing out your marketing message to a broad group of people hoping that it’ll resonate with the potential customer’s mind and you get the lead.
It starts with some basic knowledge of your audience that you want to target. Either you have an email list or cell numbers, you may not be aware what people want.
Though it can be done in a meaningful way, outbound marketing is rarely targeted reaching everyone with the same goal of selling products or service even he/she is not interested.
You might experience that when you get calls for bank loans, credit cards, web hosting, and much more even you haven’t requested one. The most likely you might have ignored such calls, am I right?
Why does it happen?
The outbound marketing has zero to a little relationship with their potential customers and on another hand people most likely to buy from the trusted sources where they are already connected.
Typically, outbound includes cold calling/outsourced telemarketing, email blast, T.V. and radio advertisements, print ads, trade show, events and seminar series.
Generally, it’s one-way process and marketer has to push his/her message out hoping the customer will get it and make a purchase so that it’s called as outbound marketing.
Outbound marketing techniques are interruptive. A normal person experiences thousands of outbound ads every single day, and if you fail to balance your marketing campaign, this person can ignore you even you have a great product at the very reasonable price.
And, the budget required for outbound is much higher compared to the inbound making it less cost-effective at least for small to medium scale businesses.
What Is Inbound Marketing?
In traditional marketing, you need to focus on finding leads by using outbound techniques. The CTR and CVR are both terrible because the audience is poorly targeted and you use an interruptive form of marketing.
You may also get some leads; however, it becomes more expensive. Due to interruptive form, people are finding ways to block these ads like call block, spam filters, etc. making it again less effective.
Don’t worry; you can improve your overall lead generation performance by implementing inbound to your marketing program.
In simple words,
Inbound is getting visible to people who are searching for the products and services you have or the related ones.
Instead of interrupting people with your ads, inbound attracts and make them buy from you.
Isn’t it interesting?
But, how can it be possible?
How Does Inbound Marketing Work?
It’s an advanced marketing technique mainly leverages digital media as a primary source of communication.
Instead of interrupting people with T.V. ads, create the videos people want to see. Similarly, different types of contents instead of display ads, cold calling and junk emails can turn people into customers.
So, inbound marketing works like a magnet attracting leads rather hammering people continuously with marketing messages and sales pitches.
Now, you have understood that inbound is a technique to attract people to buy your stuff finally turning them into happy customers.
Let’s break it into four steps.
It’s the first phase of inbound marketing. Here, you can attract strangers to visit and surf on your site. SEO, social posting, and blogs are the useful tools for gaining visitors on your site.
Once you have visitors on your website, try to convert them. You can use option forms, landing pages, and CTA to get those people to your list.
The main advantage of subscribing people to your list is building a customer base you can connect anytime. You can send newsletters or special deals, pitch for product sales or just to say ‘Hello!’
The next step of inbound marketing methodology is closing leads into customers. Unless you sell something, there’s no point in developing a mega marketing campaign.
You can use CRM, email drips, etc. for effective closing and turn leads into customers.
Inbound marketing does not complete with sales unless customer gets happy with his purchase. Delighted customers often voluntarily promote your brand helping you in the marketing program.
You can check this by the surveys, social monitoring and know how much popular your brand is.
Apart from that, some of the best inbound practices can make a difference in your marketing campaign.
- Understanding buyer’s persona
- Understanding buyer’s journey
- SWOT analysis of your business
- Creating great contents
- Promoting contents as much as possible
- Analysis of your marketing campaign
Key Components of Inbound Marketing
As I said earlier, inbound marketing primarily focuses on digital. Instead of using traditional marketing strategies and harassing people (yes, I mean it), you can concentrate on four key components of inbound.
Content is the base of inbound marketing. Unless you have great content which people feel valuable to them, you will not get any lead through inbound.
The content attracts people and engages on your site when it worth so. Nowadays, almost every company is focusing on content as people are most likely to love that and make a purchase after researching.
You can use any form of content to drive traffic and leads including articles, videos, images or podcasts, etc.
SEO is an abbreviation for search engine optimization. Basically, it’s a technique of getting your site rank higher in SERP organically by optimizing the web page.
SEO can get you in search results, and when people search for the particular keyword you are focusing, you can get targeted traffic that may be interested in your products and services.
And, the best part about SEO is you can be visible there until other people replace you with better SEO score.
It may seem complicated, and yes it is. Actually, SEO is complex but divided into two parts.
It mainly focuses on optimizing the page content, URL, title & heading tags, images, meta and much more technical things like site speed and security. Even you can optimize your website by putting little efforts.
Off-page SEO is all about how much popular your site is. You can use legit link building, social bookmarking, directory submission, etc. to boost your off-page SEO score.
The most important part of SEO is it may take the time to drive traffic and generate leads. But, it totally depends on how much efforts you are putting and what advance SEO tactics you are using.
Using social media for getting new as well as the returning audience to your website is a no-brainer. At least in initial days of inbound, social traffic helps a lot in sharing contents, driving traffic to your page and building relationships.
According to the type of your business, whether it’s B2B or B2C, you can focus on social platforms where you major potential customers are hanging in.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest are the major social platforms you must focus on. If you are consistently posting valuable yet viral content, the chances of growth are unlimited on social media.
Many people compare it with the traditional ads and say it’s an outbound marketing technique. They are wrong if you’re doing it properly.
Still, it’s a topic for debate but let’s see why it’s inbound.
PPC (Pay Per Click) ads are mostly targeted on shown to the people who are searching for the related queries. It means people may be interested in your products and take buying decision if you are offering a great product.
As you are promoting your sales to the people searching for similar products or services as yours, properly optimized and targeted PPC ads are definitely inbound, at least I think so.
Google AdWords, Bing Ads or Yahoo ads are some of the examples of PPC ads. You can run PPC campaigns on social media like Facebook adverts or Twitter cards, etc.
Why Does Inbound Marketing Make Sense?
You might have observed that this article is inclined towards the inbound but why I’m doing so?
The traditional outbound is becoming less effective, and you must focus on inbound as primary marketing methodology.
That’s why the big sports brand ADIDAS has stepped out the traditional T.V. ads focusing more on digital marketing.
Here are the differences between inbound and outbound marketing.
|The traditional form of marketing where marketer reaches to the audience.||Advanced & trending form of marketing where audience approaches the business via different channels.|
|An interruptive form of marketing hence most likely gets ignored by people giving very less ROI.||Permission based marketing and people are interested in what you are offering them.|
|Marketer provides zero to little value to the potential customer often marketer-centric.||Marketer provides value on every step of sales funnel which is customer-centric.|
|One way communication||Two-way communication|
|Short term, higher cost marketing methodology that’s generally expensive.||Long-term, lower cost marketing technique that’s cost effective.|
|Uses print ads, T.V. or radio ads, cold calls, and email blast, etc.||Uses SEO, social media, valuable contents and targeted PPC ads.|
|Fewer chances of targeting and marketers need to push message to the broad audience.||Options for running highly targeted campaigns ensuring greater ROI.|
Which Is the Best: Inbound or Outbound Marketing?
From the above table, it’s obvious to choose inbound which is better than outbound marketing. But, you might see the line between these both techniques is blurred.
If you are using inbound for yours or client’s business, then combining it with outbound in a strategic way would be better.
You can use inbound to capture the long-term data and regular business and give a try to outbound for nurturing other leads to buying decision that you may seem useless.
Together, you can create a great marketing campaign with the ultimate goal of making a profit.
It’s the exact differences between inbound and outbound marketing I have shared with you. Now, you can select the better marketing strategy to grow your business.
If you think this article has helped you clearing the doubt about inbound vs. outbound marketing, don’t hesitate to share with your friends.
And, if you are using any of these marketing techniques, let me know how it’s working through the comment section below.