Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing

When it comes to marketing your business, there are countless techniques you may choose in order to attract and convert the highest number of customers. Your options range from traditional techniques such as newspaper or magazine ads to online marketing options such as email newsletters.

All of these channels either fall into the category of inbound or outbound marketing, and though the two have their similarities, they take very different approaches to reaching customers.

Outbound Marketing

Outbound marketing refers to marketing techniques that reach out to their audiences in the form of advertisements.

This form of marketing is also known as “interruptive marketing,” because its techniques interrupt the daily lives of your audience.

Outbound marketing techniques include radio ads, television ads, and direct mail, just to name a few. They are the kind of ads you can’t really escape from, even if you don’t need or want the product.

disruptive ads

How it’s done

Outbound marketing essentially involves throwing a huge net into an ocean of potential customers and seeing which ones are interested enough to learn more about your company. Outbound techniques include television and print advertising, cold calling, and direct mail.

There’s also little opportunity for targeting with outbound marketing. For example, you can select which section of the paper you want your ad to appear in, which gives you the chance to reach the audience that reads a certain section of the newspaper.

Even then, there’s no guarantee that any one set of target customers will even be interested in your company or your services.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is involves providing information that your customers want and making your company easy to find for people who are searching for your products and services. These strategies yield much better results than outbound advertising.

It involves catering to your target audience with your marketing materials, and allowing them to find your company on their own time.

inbound marketing

Some inbound marketing techniques include search engine optimization, content marketing, and social media marketing.

How it’s done

You can use inbound marketing in a number of ways.

SEO and interesting, quality content are two of the biggest factors in successful inbound marketing. If your website isn’t one of the first few results in a search engine query, it is less likely that users will click it.

Content goes hand-in-hand because if it’s not interesting and unique, why would customers continue to come back?

Inbound marketing strategies also allow you to form relationships with your potential customers and can add a more personal feeling to your marketing messages.

Relationships are not often formed with outbound marketing techniques because most many consumers find advertisements annoying – but when they find your content as the result of a search or in their social media feeds, they’ll be more likely to read and connect with it.

The cost of outbound marketing

The cost of outbound marketing is most definitely higher than that of inbound marketing. The reason being is that your company is essentially paying to market to everyone that might be a potential conversion rather than marketing to just those people that are most likely to convert.

For a local television commercial, for example, you will pay anywhere from $200 to $1,500, and that’s just for 30 seconds. There will also be a bill for producing your commercial, which could be another $200 to $1,500.

Newspaper ads are far cheaper than television commercials, but you also have to consider how many people will see a newspaper ad as opposed to how many would see your television ad.

newspaper ads

Newspaper ads typically cost around $200, but it solely depends on the type of publication, size of the ad and how long the ad will be running.

For small businesses, the idea of newspaper and television advertising may seem like a great idea, but there are other more cost-effective ways to make the most of your budget.

The cost of inbound marketing

Though there are many free opportunities for inbound marketing, many of the most effective techniques will involve some cost.

SEO is one of the most effective inbound marketing strategies, because it helps your website appear higher up in results pages in search engines, which makes it easier for users searching for your services to find you. Unless you have an in-house SEO expert, you’ll want to work with an agency.

SEO typically sets you back about $600 per month, but can go up to around $2,000.

Creating unique content for your website is also part of a great inbound marketing campaign. It will entice your potential customers to read and learn about your services and industry on your website.

But unless your marketing team includes several writers, they likely won’t have the time to write great content. Outsourcing content creation may be your best option, which usually starts around $250.

However, as a whole, inbound marketing has far more cost-effective opportunities for reaching customers than outbound marketing, and there are many techniques that don’t cost a cent.

Some of these techniques include:

  • Company-written blogs
  • Email marketing
  • Self-made infographics
  • Social media marketing
  • Podcasting
  • Online video

These techniques all help you reach new customers when they’re actively looking for information online.

How can you decide which marketing channels are best for your company?

The marketing channels you use depend on your company, your goals, and your budget. If you are looking to target a large, general audience and have the money to do so, outbound marketing might be for you.

If you are looking to reach a smaller audience that’s already shown interest in your industry, on the other hand, inbound marketing strategies are likely the better choice.

Still not sure?

If you’re still not sure which marketing style is right for you, we can help. We know marketing and we can help you decide on the perfect style and technique for your unique business.

Contact us today for more information!

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