When it comes to high-level categories in marketing, there are two types to be aware of – inbound marketing and outbound marketing. Both serve the overarching purpose of advertising your brand to an audience, but there are key differences that can determine whether an inbound or outbound marketing strategy is best for your specific business needs.

In this article, we will compare inbound marketing vs. outbound marketing and discuss how each could potentially be utilized in your next digital advertising campaign.

What Is Outbound Marketing?

The last time your day was interrupted by an ad, whether this particular ad was on television, on a billboard, or on the radio, you encountered outbound marketing. With digital advertising, you see outbound marketing in the form of pop-ups and cold email messages.

These days, most methods of outbound marketing are considered by many to be annoying. Just think about how many times this week you’ve deleted a spam email, closed a pop-up ad window or clicked “Skip Ad” on a YouTube video.

Outbound marketing not only can feel intrusive, it also often fails to reach the intended target audience:

  • Approximately 91% of email users have unsubscribed from an emailing list due to irrelevant content.
  • About 84% of young adults between the ages of 25 and 34 have exited a website due to pop-ups or flashy banner ads.
  • On average, the response to banner ads is around 0.10%.

With this information in mind, it’s safe to assume that while outbound marketing tactics have their place, they are often viewed as a nuisance. There is simply little point in sending out content to people who aren’t interested in what your company has to offer or the message you’re sending.

What Is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is a more non-invasive advertising technique that allows customers to come to you. Content marketing ties in closely to inbound marketing where you generate branded content your target audience is actively seeking out.

Inbound marketing can come in the form of blogs, white papers, guides and other non-invasive advertising tactics. Typically, this type of marketing aligns with where the customer is currently in your sales funnel. Take a glance at some inbound marketing statistics:

  • Compared to traditional marketing techniques, inbound marketing generates about 3x as many hot leads.
  • Approximately 70% of consumers prefer to learn about a brand through dynamic content as opposed to ads.
  • About 57% of online shoppers take the time to read inbound marketing content at least once a month.

With this information at hand, companies may find that traditional outbound marketing tactics can’t stand up against inbound marketing.

Developing an Inbound Marketing Strategy

If you are looking to develop an inbound marketing strategy that works, start with your brand’s website. Creating a blog, for instance, will open many doors and attract potential customers to your site. If your blog is good, it will help you retain customers as well.

So, what makes a blog good enough to keep your audience intrigued? You need to be creating content for your blog that is valuable to your target audience. For example, if you sell cosmetics, it’s a good idea to provide content that focuses on makeup products, tools, application techniques, etc. If your company sells food products, then a recipe blog may be just what your audience wants to see.

Before you begin posting your content, have a brainstorming session with your marketing team to come up with enough valuable content for consistent posting. Consistency is key to keeping your target audience engaged. Humans are creatures of habit. By providing your audience with insightful content on a regular basis, they will begin to expect and look forward to receiving the notification. The best way to ensure that you have enough dynamic content scheduled is to build a content calendar and keep an eye on each post’s performance. A content calendar can help you keep track of what you post, note how well it’s performing, and help you determine when you should post again.

Once you’ve created your content calendar and are posting your first blog, ensure that your call to action encourages your visitors to sign up for your email list. This is an important step in inbound marketing. Only people who want to see your content regularly will sign up to receive emails. A dedicated email list allows you to focus your blog marketing efforts on this very particular group of people.

Next, you need to promote your amazing content on social media. Different social media channels will allow you to reach a larger audience and can help you drive more traffic to your website. If your followers on social media are enjoying your content, they will like, comment and even share with their friends and family.

Finally, your email campaigns are the last step in inbound marketing. You can create email campaigns that kick off with specific triggers. For example, when someone signs up for your newsletter or email list, send them a welcome email. This can be the first in a series of targeted email messages that can improve your sales and keep your audience engaged with your brand.

Wrapping Up Inbound Marketing  vs. Outbound Marketing

Now that you understand the differences between inbound and outbound marketing, it’s up to you to decide how you want to use them in your digital marketing strategy.

If you would like to learn about how marketing automation can help with your inbound marketing strategy, sign up for a demo today.

Kim Jamerson
Kim Jamerson
As Vice President of Marketing at SharpSpring, Kim heads up lead generation efforts through a variety of channels and processes. She has an extensive background in marketing and communications, ranging from TV news to enterprise software and healthcare.