The definition of inbound marketing is a marketing strategy that encourages potential customers to make the first move. Instead of cold-calling or cold-emailing, you start by offering unmissable content that attract leads’ attention. Usually, inbound marketing content involves things like blogs, white papers, email, social media and SEO.
So the difference between inbound and outbound marketing is the focus on the person. Instead of making marketing all about you, it’s about what interests prospective customers. What do they need from you? How can you support them, build a relationship and eventually convert them into advocates for your brand?
In order to generate new business, a company must:
- Create brand awareness
- Drive conversions
- Close sales
- Retain existing customers
In traditional outbound marketing, marketers have sought consumer attention by “disrupting”. The brand forcefully places itself in front of a potential customer and hopes that they’ll be interested in buying. Some examples of outbound marketing include TV advertisements, billboards, telemarketing, radio ads and direct mail.
But is this disruptive form of marketing really the most effective way of creating loyal customers? According to HubSpot’s State of Inbound Report, twice as many marketers (45%) cited inbound marketing as their primary source of lead generation versus outbound (22%). And that’s not all; HubSpot also reported that 46% of marketers said inbound marketing gave a higher ROI, while only 12% reported outbound did.
These numbers indicate a growing trend in consumer behavior. The traditional outbound tactics simply don’t generate the revenue they once did. Instead, consumers are more attracted to brands that offer relevant, interesting content. They’re also more critical, holding brands to higher standards of social responsibility, customer service and purpose.
Consider this: 90% of consumers find custom content useful and 78% believe that organizations providing custom content are interested in building good relationships with them. Conversely, 84% of 25-to-34-year-olds have left a favorite website because of intrusive or irrelevant advertising.
This demonstrates that modern consumers prefer the inbound approach. The hard sell doesn’t work anymore. But if a brand can build a meaningful relationship through relevant content, then consumers will be interested in what they have to say… and sell.