Outbound vs. Inbound Marketing

Knowing the difference between outbound and inbound marketing is very important for small business owners, and the success of their overall marketing efforts. Read on to learn more about both types, what they mean for your audience, and what they mean for your business.

Outbound Marketing:

What is it? A strategy where your products or services are presented to consumers, even if they have not expressed interest. It has often been labeled “interruptive marketing.”

Examples: Printed ads, direct mailers, radio & tv, and anywhere else where your marketing message is “pushed” out. This may even include attending networking organizations in person to speak face-to-face with the other people in attendance.

How is it received by your audience? Since the audience has not previously expressed interest in your product or service, they are typically not receptive and find little value in your marketing message. If the message is repeated to the same audience, however, you may see interest levels increase for a small percentage of people.

What to expect? Return on investment (ROI) for this type of marketing is typically low, and seeing results often takes a lot of time. Larger companies who can afford this, may see an increase in overall brand awareness and find value there. Small companies that do a lot of outbound marketing via networking organizations must spend a large amount of time building relationships, and ROI is often delayed.

Inbound Marketing:

What is it? A strategy where you provide valuable content to consumers who are actively searching for the products and services your business offers. Your are earning their interest.

Examples: Blogs, social media, pay-per-click ads, referrals, organic search engine traffic, or anywhere else where your business is discovered by an audience that has expressed interest in what you have to offer.

How is it received by your audience? Since  your audience in this type of marketing is in control of the messages they receive, you have a win-win situation when they find valuable content, products or services from your business. They’re happy they found you, and you’re happy you’ve been found!

What to expect? ROI is typically much higher and results are quicker. Interest levels for this audience are greater as well, since communication tends to be two-way. Inbound marketing customers are usually better educated about your business and further along in the buying process – some of them being ready to purchase right away without needing much more convincing.

Which is better?

By now you probably see what we’re getting at – inbound marketing rocks! Research consistently shows that inbound marketing actually costs less, and the people you connect with are much more interested. As you plan for 2015, look at each of your current marketing channels and evaluate what you’re getting out of each one. If your marketing consists of very little inbound efforts, it’s time to change that and we can help.

(Check out the awesome infographic from Mashable – click here to view the full infographic and article on their site)

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