Marketing is arguably the most important part of being in business. Without good marketing, no one will know who you are or what you have to offer. Marketing broadens your reach, raises your professional profile and ultimately, increases sales.
Within marketing, the two mainstays include inbound and outbound marketing. In this article, we’ll explain the difference between inbound marketing and outbound marketing and help you decide which is best for your business to grow in 2022.
Inbound marketing is the strategy of drawing people to your content, your store, either in real life or online.
Up to 63% of customers begin their shopping experience online with a transactional search intent. They’re looking for something and have an idea about what it is they want to buy.
Your inbound marketing strategy is to serve up content that answers their search intent before they’ve even asked it. You need to answer the questions they’re asking. Your products and services need to solve the problems they have. This can be done by producing things like some helpful blog posts or video content that show them how to use your product or service and how it could fix the issues in their lives.
When a potential customer has researched enough, they then can go looking for the best value. Reviews and price comparisons are what you need to deliver next in your marketing strategy.
Thanks to all the information and help you’ve provided, you are now seen as an expert, and the customer may convert to a paid customer.
The benefits of inbound marketing
It’s not pushy - Users can consume your content at their own pace. When they’re ready to buy, they’ll think of you and come knocking.
It's measurable - Using tools such as Google Analytics, you can tell where users have come from on their conversion journey. You can measure it for Return-On-Investment (ROI).
Inbound marketing is educational - and helpful. Inbound marketing is about educating and empowering your potential clients to make a choice themselves.
The cons of inbound marketing
There is a lot of work involved - you have to test content and channels, tweak and adjust, and perform A/B Split testing, to see which works the best.
It requires constant updates and maintenance - You can’t set and forget with this kind of marketing strategy. You need to update content, and you need to monitor the inflow of traffic. If it drops, you need to find out why and adjust.
You will need tools to help - Again, you can’t set and forget. You need tools such as Google Analytics to check channels, check competitors’ traffic, and such.
What is outbound marketing?
Outbound marketing is the opposite — where you go outwards, sending messages to potential customers hoping for a response, with that response being a sale. The theory goes - the larger the group you send your message to, the larger the number of people will respond positively. So you need a large group.
Outbound marketing can include things like e-newsletters or traditional newsletters put into people’s letterboxes. Mail drops such as catalogs are outbound marketing as well. Text messages or social media advertising are examples of outbound marketing. So too, is cold calling prospects.
Good outbound marketing works when you have a list of qualified people to market to. A subscription list, or collecting data from people when they are in-store, join a membership, or enter a competition, is a great way to build that audience up. By giving you their email address or phone number, they are permitting you to send them communication.
Also, if you have subscribers to your business, they are already warm leads and receptive to good outbound marketing.
The benefits of outbound marketing
Can build brand loyalty - If you’re marketing to people who have signed up, they can feel special and become very loyal to your brand. Members Only specials, or give them 24 hours to get the deal before everyone else. Plus, if you let non-members know the benefits, you can build your list quickly.
You can get quick results - If you send a marketing message with a time limit, fear of scarcity, or FOMO, it could prompt a quick response.
Easy to measure - You send the same message to a thousand people on your list. 600 people click through, 200 spend money. Very easy to calculate your ROI.
The cons of outbound marketing
Difficult to personalise - Since you’re sending the marketing to so many people, it can be tricky to personalise and build loyal customers.
Easy to ignore - Since the users are not seeking answers, it can be easy for them to delete the email, ignore the text, and tune out of the commercial. It’s only when someone is in the mood to buy that they show an interest.
Some forms of outbound marketing can be expensive - Trade shows and ads on TV and radio can cost a lot of money.
Inbound vs outbound — What's better for you?
What do you think is better for you and your business? The answer to this question can be complex. It can depend on your budget or your target audience. You may like inbound marketing more as you’re a service that provides solutions, and you want to help people. You may have the time and resources to study and dissect your marketing channels to make inbound marketing effective for you.
Perhaps you like building a list and talking to people, so you're naturally attracted to outbound marketing. You enjoy getting up in front of people and speaking and spruiking.
The Entourage uses a mix of both. This article is an example of inbound marketing. You’ll read this and feel we know what we’re talking about, that we’re experts in our field and so would possibly want some marketing training given by us. This would be inbound.
You’ll also sign up for our newsletter below, and we will email you our events and special offers. We run workshops and events, giving you value and a look at how we do what we do and how well we do it. This is our outbound marketing.
What do you feel more comfortable doing? Do you enjoy writing content? Or do you enjoy getting out there and talking to people? There are benefits to both kinds of marketing and some costs. Work out which works for you and your business.
We also have free resources available to business owners anywhere looking to put more strategic thinking behind their marketing function. Download your copy of our free Marketing Plan Template right now to start planning ahead for your business's 2022 growth.
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