Difference between Inbound and Outbound Marketing
In their most basic forms, outbound marketing uses push tactics while inbound marketing uses pull tactics.
A big part of inbound marketing relies on creating valuable content and attracting visitors with it. It relies on the development of modern communications technology like the Internet, mobile phones and social media to attract consumers. Instead of pushing a message out onto a large population, inbound marketing attracts specific audiences that are out there looking for information.
The goal is to pull interested people toward the marketing materials and attract them to the business with valuable information. This is done by setting up a wide variety of online marketing assets are ready and waiting for interested consumers to find.
These assets include blog posts, websites and paid advertising optimized for specific Internet searches, a dynamic social media presence, mobile apps and much more. When people are attracted to your marketing content, they readily give their permission to receive more information and promotional material from you.
Communication Is a Two-Way Street
The key difference between inbound and outbound marketing is communication. Outbound marketing relies on mass media where communication is only one-way. The business shouts out a message about its brand, and that’s it. People can’t interact with the message or the brand even if they want to. They might even find ways to avoid it.
With inbound marketing, people can talk back and engage with the brand. They can send an email, leave a comment on a blog, post on social media, leave a review on a third-party site and engage your business in many ways. The Internet has returned power to the consumer. If your business’ advertising does not square with the actual services that you provide, people are going to find out and post about it online. Your business cannot hide behind a mass media campaign. If you don’t deliver on your promises, people are going to know.
The key to success in inbound marketing is transparency, honesty and engagement. You must be transparent and honest about your products and services. And you have to engage with people who are talking about your brand even when the comments are negative.
This two-way communication might seem scary to businesses with heavy investments in traditional marketing, but it is really a boon. Direct connections with consumers not only create brand loyalty but they let you know what problems exists so you can solve them. In addition, your customers are empowered to become ambassadors for your business. They can write reviews, promote your content on social media and make referrals.
Inbound Marketing Activities
Online marketing revolves around a set of key activities. Here are a few elements that you will need to master if you are going to promote your business with inbound marketing.
Search engine optimization: We can’t stress enough how important SEO is to inbound marketing. SEO is a set of tactics that makes your website attractive to search engines. It takes advantage of what we know about how search engines rank sites to boost the chances that your content will rank for specific keyword searches.
Content creation: Content can come in many forms, but the basic forms are website pages and blog posts. Search engines like sites with a lot of current content. But the main target of content is human visitors who want valuable information about a problem they are experiencing. The key is to position your business as a trusted expert through this content. Content also includes images and videos. Ebooks, white paper, webinars and other similar content offer more extensive information that is used to collect contact information from visitors.
Calls-to-action: Content is not complete without inviting the reader to act in some way. The action could be downloading an ebook in exchange for an email address. But it could also be to make a purchase now based on a discount offer. A call-to-action requires a landing page to further entice visitors to respond to an offer.
Social media: These platforms are ways to promote content. They make it possible for your content to go viral and reach a lot of people.
Emails: Emails are still a very effective tool to nurture an ongoing relationship with people who have expressed an interest in your products and services. You can send out an email newsletter with industry tips and best practices as well as great offers on your products.
Benefits of Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing works, here are some of the stats that demonstrate how well inbound marketing works.
According to Hubspot’s report in 2013:
- 79% of companies that have a blog reported a positive ROI.
- 57% of marketers who blog monthly acquired a customer directly from their blog.
- 77% of businesses that market directly to consumers have acquired a customer with Facebook.
Inbound marketing is a proven way to generate leads, drive sales and grow your business.
The best news is that inbound marketing is less expensive than traditional marketing. Outbound marketing is expensive because they are usually broadcast to a mass audience even if they aren’t in your target demographics. You have to buy expensive media exposure and keep repeating your message for it to work.
The cost per lead drops significantly for inbound marketing because online resource are significantly less expensive than mass media. You focus on a target audience that is already interested in your products. Inbound marketing results in a significant decrease in cost associated with lead generation.
A marketing strategy that works and is less expensive than the alternative: it seems like a no-brainer. Just look at the numbers below, according to a survey, 41% expressed that inbound marketing demonstrated positive ROI for their company.
Developing a Marketing Strategy
If you are just getting started developing a marketing strategy for your business, then the path forward is clear. Inbound marketing is your best bet. It is more effective and will ultimately cost less. You might also invest in more targeted traditional marketing if there is real evidence that you can reach your audience, but there is no reason to invest in large mass media advertising campaigns. Any traditional marketing that you do should drive people to your online resources.
If you are heavily invested in traditional marketing, you are probably seeing a drop in the effectiveness of your efforts. It may be time to start investing some of your marketing budget into inbound marketing. You can then align your traditional marketing campaigns with your online resources over time. As you move forward, you can shift more and more of your budget to inbound marketing.
The way people communicate is changing rapidly. Inbound marketing leverages these changes to more effectively promote your business. If you want to expand your audience, find new customers and grow, inbound marketing strategies are the way to go.
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