In the olden days, outbound marketing was called “marketing.” Remember KFC’s “Finger lickin’ good” and Rice Krispies’ “Snap, crackle, pop”? The emergence of the Information Age has created a whole new class of marketing called inbound marketing. 

Naturally, this has caused a heated debate in the marketing world – outbound vs. inbound marketing: which is better?

Rather than adopting an either/or approach, it’s time to flip the script on how we approach the answer to this question. You don’t necessarily have to choose between outbound or inbound marketing to hit your KPIs (key performance indicators). 

Instead, consider the advantages and disadvantages of both then measure against your marketing goals to uncover the strategy that best suits your needs. There are ways you can effectively blend inbound and outbound marketing to reap the benefits of each.

But before we jump into the pros and cons, let’s start by getting clear on the definition of each marketing strategy.

What Is Outbound Marketing?

Outbound marketing delivers a message to your customer rather than your customer seeking out your message. Outbound marketing aims to reach a larger volume of less-targeted people

Marketing messages are delivered across multiple channels in hopes that the right message reaches the right person. This has given outbound marketing a bad reputation as a ‘spray-and-pray’ approach. But before the internet, outbound was the best (and only) way to ensure that customers found your brand instead of your competitor's.

Seth Godin refers to outbound marketing as “interruption marketing” in his book, Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers, because it involves getting your marketing message to the most people possible using aggressive techniques that interrupt their daily lives. 

Everyone has been exposed to TV commercial jingles you can’t get out of your head, flyers stuffed in your mailbox and unsolicited phone calls during dinner.

Common outbound marketing examples include:

The traditional outbound strategy can even be found in modern-day digital forms such as email blasts, banner and display ads, PPC (Pay Per Click), and SPAM (we’re not condoning the use of this one!). Each of these pushes a message “outward” to people rather than attracting them “inward” to it. 

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing doesn’t feel like marketing because it’s not pushing a “hard sell.” With inbound marketing, you provide valuable content like white papers, infographics and blog posts, all of which are designed to educate and attract your ideal customer

Inbound marketing also requires you to know your customers at a deep enough level to create content that will engage them--even when they are just beginning to understand their problems and needs. 

Seth Godin refers to inbound marketing as “permission marketing” because it’s intended to reach customers who actually want to hear from you rather than sending your marketing messages to people who didn’t ask to hear from you. 

Common inbound marketing examples include:

Inbound marketing is an approach adapted to the modern consumer who does 70% of their own research on a product before reaching out to the company to make a purchase.

Now that we’ve clarified the definitions of inbound and outbound marketing, let’s dive into the pros and cons of each. 

The Pros & Cons of Outbound Marketing

As we mentioned earlier, outbound marketing has a bit of a spray and pray approach.

Pro: You have an opportunity to put your brand in front of a large audience. 

Pro: With some cold hard cash you can be seen by millions, which could bring in new customers quickly.

Con: Outbound marketing can be expensive. 

Con: Smaller businesses with tighter budgets may find it difficult to gain traction with outbound marketing. 

If you have the budget, there are several pros to outbound marketing: 

Outbound also offers some great opportunities if you’re into multi-channel marketingOutbound marketing can be integrated with your inbound campaign to provide your customers a seamless and consistent brand experience across all platforms whether IRL or online.

For example, the event marketing industry has combined in-person sponsored events, like conferences, with social media marketing to give attendees a 360 degree brand experience

Check-in and networking apps, and social media photo booths are some ways they’re integrating the offline with the online

Forrester study found that 75% of consumers expect consistent experiences across mobile, social and in-person.

While analytics can teach you about your audience, some believe nothing replaces personal interaction and communication. 

Cons: the darker side of outbound marketing:

Today’s consumers are more digitally empowered than ever before. They prefer to seek out information about products and services they’re interested in, rather than having the information pushed upon them.

For many marketers, this means the solution is simple: stop showing customers messages they don’t ask to see. Embrace inbound marketing.

The Pros and Cons of Inbound Marketing

One of the biggest strengths of inbound marketing is that it focuses on providing value to your prospects. Unlike outbound marketing, inbound marketing is not “selling” in the traditional sense. 

By providing valuable and educational content like white papers, infographics and blog posts you attract your ideal customer to you. No pushy salespeople or irrelevant ads required.

The main pros of inbound marketing are:

Despite all the pros, there are some inbound marketing cons:

Remember, if your content isn’t nurturing buyers at all stages of the buy flow, you could be driving them away. 

Our best advice? Experiment, measure, pivot.

Both outbound and inbound marketing have their pros and cons. But rather than having to choose between them, you might find you’re better off striking a balance between the two.

How Inbound Marketing Complements Outbound Marketing

In general, inbound marketing is far more cost-effective and delivers a superior ROI compared to outbound marketing. But ultimately, we’ve found that the best marketing strategy for your business will be the one that works. 

A blend of inbound and outbound tends to deliver the best results. Hybrid tactics are becoming the cornerstone of marketing. But don’t panic. We’re not suggesting you have to completely rethink your entire marketing strategy. 

At ACT360, we use outbound marketing strategies to boost inbound marketing efforts for our clients. 

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you combine inbound and outbound marketing, or if you’re just curious to hear a second opinion, give us a buzz to claim your free consultation.

Talk to Us

When it comes to surviving a pandemic, your business will need to rely more heavily on digital marketing strategies. The sudden disappearance of live events and conferences, and storefront closures is pushing businesses toward online communications now more than ever.

You’re not alone, businesses in major industries are feeling the affects of Coronavirus. These are just a handful of the many industries showing traffic declines:

On the flip side, several industries are actually seeing significant increases in traffic:

No matter which side of the fence you’re on, keeping in touch with your customers is critical during these uncertain times.

So today we want to give you a ton of resources you can use to not only survive, but thrive over the next 3, 6, 12 months and beyond.

Bookmark this post so you can come back to it anytime you need a new digital marketing idea. Now, let’s get started …

First up, we’ll take a look at how you can be there for your customers when you’re being forced to remain socially distant.

Digital Communication Tools

Video Conferencing

Social Media

Instant Chat

Do you spend far too much time agonizing over how your chat messages might sound to the person on the receiving end? Here are some instant chatting tips for using Slack, Skype, WhatsApp, or any other type of instant chat software.

Security Warning: Instant communication platforms are prime targets for cybercriminals during Covid-19 pandemic. Get the full story here.

Next, we’ll talk about how to deliver the best possible experience to prospects and customers alike …

How To Improve User Experience & Increase Conversions

People around the world are turning to their mobile devices more than ever before. They’re shopping online, they’re talking online, they’re watching TV and listening to music online. They’re asking questions, ordering take out and searching for business solutions online.

Everything is happening online.

Is your business delivering the best possible user experience to your customers? Let’s take a deeper dive into some of the things you can do to improve online user experience.

10 Ways to Improve eCom Conversions

  1. Upload great product photos and videos
  2. Write detailed product descriptions
  3. Offer free shipping and returns
  4. Give discount codes
  5. Let shoppers review products
  6. Streamline the checkout process
  7. Personalize the shopping experience
  8. Add a live chat option
  9. Send abandoned cart emails
  10. Leverage retargeting ads

6 Strategies for Ecommerce Retailers to Maximize Success Amid the Covid-19 Pandemic

  1. Adjust Branding & Creative Messaging
  2. Find Hidden Opportunities
  3. Highlight What Matters Most
  4. Stay Engaged with High-value Customers
  5. Capture & Nurture the Top of Funnel
  6. Leverage Your Data for Granular Insights

4 Checkout Conversion Killers That Drive Your Buyers Away

  1. Low-key Shopping Cart Button
  2. Slow / Non-dynamic Shopping Cart
  3. Disruptive Registration
  4. Shipping Costs

It’s YOUR Time to Shine

Experts have said that the economy is already in a recession. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to be grateful for … especially for SMBs.

“Be fearful when others are greed and be greedy when others are fearful.”

~ Warren Buffet

Now is the time for small-business owners to capitalize. To rise above the noise and gain the attention that was once held exclusively for the corporate giants.

Now is the time to focus your attention on marketing not for today, but for tomorrow, and for the long haul.

Take advantage of this down time to focus on improving your business:

Ready to position yourself for growth once we return to some sense of normalcy? Start now. Call us at 705-739-2281 for your free consult today.

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