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Inbound vs outbound marketing

Inbound vs outbound marketing
Lauren A Lauren Photo

Lauren Swarbrick


Inbound V Outbound Marketing

Inbound marketing has a lot of benefits to offer compared to traditional outbound marketing, especially for modern businesses who are constantly striving to get more bang for their marketing buck.

Traditionally, outbound marketing was the most common strategy adopted by businesses to promote and sell their product or service. Also known as interruption marketing, outbound marketing is any tactic which interrupts a person’s flow of activity in order to gain their attention. Outbound marketing techniques such as billboards, TV and radio adverts, event sponsorship, cold-calling, eshots to non opt-in bought lists and direct mail push the message out into the mass market with little or no consideration to targeting or whether the audience is interested in the offering.

Interruption marketing is increasingly becoming less and less effective as customers find more ways of filtering them out; ad blockers, spam filters and on demand TV to name just a few. In addition, consumers are becoming more adept at switching themselves off to the constant bombardment of messages (80% of people have become highly effective at totally ignoring paid ads on search engines and websites) and more savvy about seeking out the information they want, when they want it.

In the age of technology, marketing and brand communications have evolved on a fundamental level; consumers have got smarter and more proactive and are looking for a two-way dialogue, not a one-way stream.

It’s not to say that traditional marketing is redundant, just less important when it comes to the digital realm. With access to endless information online, consumers have more control over the content they interact with. They can seek out the products and services they require, make informed decisions based on articles, reviews, and peer influences and make a decision to buy before even stepping out of the door.

Savvy companies are recognising this trend and are adjusting their resources and budget toward new ways of reaching potential customers. This is where inbound marketing steps in.

Inbound marketing efforts are designed to earn (not buy) attention organically by being found by people already learning about or seeking information about a product or service. Using the research phase of the buyer’s journey to it’s advantage, inbound marketing puts your brand in front of a potential customer at the right time. This is done via high quality content generation combined with a strong presence on social media. When this content is interesting, relevant and informative it is shared through networks, news aggregators and book marketing sites and spreads virally, leading to a substantial increase in visibility and authority.

It adds value, creating a positive perception of your business in the eyes of the consumer, making them more likely to engage with your brand. As well as improving your visibility, good quality inbound marketing creates a consistent source of referral traffic, generates leads and improves sales.

In essence inbound marketing aims to:

  1. Reach the right prospects at the right time in a targeted and relevant manner.
  2. Share information via mediums in which the audience has given you permission to communicate through.
  3. Answer the questions people are asking and make that knowledge readily available through a variety of channels.

Inbound Marketing Techniques

  • Landing page strategy
  • Blogging
  • Whitehat SEO
  • White papers
  • Podcasts
  • Instructional videos
  • Infographics
  • Free e-Books
  • Webinars
  • Opt-in newsletters
  • PPC
  • Social media
Inbound vs outbound marketing

Advantages of Inbound Marketing

Cost Per Lead

As outbound marketing relies on multiple messages delivered through various channels to the widest possible audience, in the hope that the right message makes it to the right person at the right time, it is an extremely expensive marketing model and the cost per lead is high. Inbound marketing costs a huge 62% less per lead than traditional outbound marketing and delivers a much much higher ROI.

Quality of Leads

B2B marketers who create high quality content generate 67% more leads per month than those who do not and because the customer has sought out the information and made the approach themselves they tend to be better quality, pre-qualified, sales-ready leads.

No Hard Sell

To market traditionally through direct mail or cold calling there is an element of hard sell. Inbound marketing succeeds because it is permission based; you provide valuable content that engages and attracts your target market and ensures you are in front of these potential customers through the entire sales funnel. The customer is drawn to you without the need for an aggressive or pushy sales strategy.

Two Way Dialogue

Inbound marketing by its very nature is two way; the customer engages with and interacts with the business in a dialog. They are not passive bystanders, instead active participants who are in control of the information they want. This makes them more receptive to your message and more trusting in your brand.

Targeted Messaging

Due to the scattergun nature of outbound marketing and the ever increasing cost of media buying, outbound advertising messages have had to become more and more simplified to appeal to the mass market in order to maximise conversions. With inbound marketing the message can be tailored exactly to each audience at each stage of the sales process making it much more targeted, meaningful and valuable.

Search Engines

Assuming your website is built to modern standards, a comprehensive, consistent and considered inbound marketing strategy is among the most effective ways to improve online visibility. Creating high quality content and sharing it across social media networks will drive visitors to your site and generate inbound links (B2B companies that blog have 97% more inlinks than those that do not) which boosts the sites position in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

Brand Authority

Most people research products and services online before they buy. If your website provides content that resonates with potential customers and adds value, it will increase the perception of your brand and present you as an authority in your industry and build credibility. With an enhanced brand and pre-existing connection to the customer, the sales funnel flows easily (61% of people are more likely to buy from a brand that delivers valuable content to them).

Customer Relations

Central to inbound marketing is its customer-focused strategy; the aim is to build connections with potential customers and support them through the entire sales funnel. It is not a one off connection but an ongoing relationship that will continue to last and improve as you gain more of your customers trust. Combined with exceptional service this improved customer relationship results in brand loyalty leading to increased recurring sales and brand advocating – win, win.


Once your content is online it stays online, ready to be found by the right people at the right time, at no additional cost to the business, delivering a constant stream of sales leads and an ongoing return on investment.

For more information or to talk to us about creating an inbound marketing strategy that will drive revenue for your business please get in touch!

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