Everyone is talking about inbound marketing. Companies are doubling down their investment in inbound but is it really that much better than outbound marketing?
To better understand the pros and cons of both we have created a comparison of inbound vs outbound marketing across 6 important aspects of any marketing strategy.
Before we get started let’s make sure we are clear on what exactly is the difference between inbound and outbound marketing.
Inbound: A new approach to marketing where a company attracts customers with engaging content and community participation.
Outbound: A traditional approach to marketing where a company initiates a conversation and contacts potential customers.
Inbound marketing can exponentially grow your website traffic but it can take time. After developing a collection of useful content you will receive ongoing traffic from search engines. This will provide a constant stream of web traffic that generates new business for your company. Moreover, you can boost that with the help of Real Video Views & Story views.
For instant web traffic, outbound marketing can win if you have a big enough advertising budget. If you need immediate traffic then outbound marketing might be your winner. However, when looking at long term traffic potential outbound doesn’t deliver unless your spending money on ads.
Inbound marketing efforts will provide a much higher conversion rate. This is due to the fact that people find your business while they are proactively searching for information. Most are further down the sales funnel and are actually interested in the products or services you offer.
The conversion rate for outbound marketing tends to be much lower than inbound marketing. People who you reach out to about your products or services may or may not be interested. With the amount of marketing material that people are bombarded with every day, it can be challenging to even get in front of potential customers.
With some forms of outbound marketing such as advertising, it is possible to develop a profitable ad campaign that can be scaled to generate a lot of leads in a much shorter time period than may be possible with inbound marketing.
In general, outbound marketing takes less effort and time than inbound. All you need is to find that email pitch or advertising campaign that provides a positive ROI and scale. Since tools exist to help with automating email marketing and lots of ad inventory most of your time while be spent tweaking and improving campaigns.
With tons of useful, high-quality content being produced by companies these days as part of their inbound marketing efforts you need to make really great content. Building a large collection of content that provides valuable information takes time and a lot more energy than say scaling an advertising campaign.
Inbound marketing is more cost-effective in the long run. There is only a one time cost for each piece of content that is developed as part of your inbound marketing campaign. Over the next months and years, that content will continue to deliver visitors to your website and generate new business. In essence, once you invest in great content it should keep paying for itself again and again.
Outbound marketing almost always requires that spend money to keep making money. This constant investment and the fact that it is not a one time cost for a continuous supply of customers makes outbound marketing less cost-effective.
With outbound marketing results can be near-instantaneous. All it takes is the creation of an effective advertising campaign that has an ROI. Once you have solved that puzzle then it is just a matter of investing more money into advertising to generate a larger volume of sales.
Inbound marketing can deliver fast results but it requires a lot of skill. For most companies, inbound is a long term investment that will pay off in the months to come. Building great content, search engine ranking, and a community of readers takes time.
If you need to scale your marketing efforts to drive a large volume of new customers in a short period of time outbound marketing is probably your best choice. Most inbound marketing activities like PPC or display ads can be scaled quickly with relative ease. A lot of opportunities to buy ads on websites popular with your target market are out there just waiting for your advertising dollars.
Quickly scaling inbound marketing can be very challenging. Each writer on your team can only produce a specific amount of quality content each week. Unlike outbound marketing, you will need additional domain experts to contribute valuable content if you want to quickly scale your inbound marketing efforts. Even if you invest in a team of writers it’s going to take time to build your website search ranking, grow an audience, and discover what content really resonates with your target demographic.
Choosing between inbound vs outbound marketing is not really the right way to think about your marketing strategy. Ultimately, you want to have an integrated approach that combines inbound and outbound marketing to leverage the strengths and address the weakness of each marketing approach. However, if you have limited resources take the time to pick the approach that is best equipped to deliver results for your situation.