When considering your marketing needs this year, how do you determine which one is more important and effective? Can you do both? All marketing is either outbound or inbound, but many think that outbound marketing is no long happening in today’s business world. While you may think inbound marketing is the only way to go, it turns out that both can be really useful. There is no way that is better than the other, but take a look at the differences so that you can decide which makes the most sense for your small business.
What is the difference between the two?
Typical inbound marketing is simply any form of passive marketing that attracts prospects to you. Outbound marketing is more of an active approach to marketing that has you reaching out to prospects. Inbound marketing is about being available when someone reaches out for a solution while outbound marketing is letting people know you have the answer when they need it. The two can sometimes overlap but overall, the two are pretty different from one another.
How to outbound market
You can outbound market by mailing, calling, emailing, and other forms of advertisement. You are letting the world know what you can do for them, why you’re the best, and how to find you. Some people choose to mail their campaign to get attention, be informative, and to increase brand awareness.
Cold calling is another way to reach people and it’s developed over the years to be received well. Making a few calls a day for a month could increase a ton of your business if it’s well-planned and not an inconvenience. Some will go as far as going door to door where you can leave flyers on cars, a business card at doors, or leaving your information at the pizza joint in the neighborhood hoping someone will see it.
A less physical approach would be to simply use emails and banner ads. Online, you can purchase banner ads and you can find success as long as you use them correctly. Make them clear, concise and compelling. Plus, you can start using email as a way to “cold call” by emailing your target audience with exciting efforts. Make sure your headline has an exciting subject line, make the email have a personal feel, offer a hard-to-pass-up deal, and show social proof. Of course you could always spend more and put up a billboard or purchase a commercial.
What about inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing is a much more cost-effective approach that arguably requires more strategy to reach the right audience and will take longer to get the results you need. It can also be very competitive but it’s definitely less intrusive and the results will continue for a long time.
Inbound marketing can include everything from your email newsletters to your blog, your social media efforts to your SEO strategy. You could publish an ebook, sponsor a blog post, do a public speaking event, or do a PR campaign such as that viral “Ice Bucket Challenge” from a couple of years ago.
You’ll quickly find that outbound marketing is more expensive than inbound marketing between buying a commercial or paying for flyers while inbound marketing can be done for free on a blog. If you stop your marketing efforts in outbound marketing, your results will stop at the same time unlike inbound marketing. A poorly done ad can draw negative attention to your brand sometimes too. On the other hand, a great ad will be easier to target your ideal audience and your results will be much quicker than inbound marketing.
Depending on how soon you need results, what your budget looks like, and what your competitors are doing, you’ll be able to determine which makes more sense for your business. Consider doing both or focus on one if it’s better for your brand.
That’s a look at inbound vs. outbound marketing for small businesses.