Outbound and inbound marketing have different strategic approaches that are important to understand so your business has the right balance to achieve your business goals. In the following article I will explain the difference between the two strategies, but more importantly, how those strategies impact lead generation for the short and long term. One thing to note is before you start pursuing an investment in advertising and marketing, in this age almost all your potential customers will visit your website so it’s important to ensure your website is ready to receive them.
Outbound marketing is when your business is pushing a message out to build awareness of your business. Examples of outbound marketing would be billboards, TV, radio, trade shows, mailers/flyers, cold-calling, paid advertisement both print or digital, and many others. Outbound marketing can be like throwing a lot of mud at the wall and seeing what sticks. This is because outbound marketing may only reach a very small number of people who even need your service and even a smaller number of people that need your service right now.
Outbound marketing can be effective but one of the drawbacks is once that billboard gets taken down, the TV or radio stops playing, you stop paying telemarketers, the trade show is over, or when that flyer is thrown away your message is gone. And the only way to bring it back is to keep paying for it.
Don’t get me wrong, some outbound marketing can be very effective which is why many bigger companies still do it. One outbound marketing tactic that small businesses can be effective at is networking. Getting in contact with other people to let them know about your business is very valuable and getting a referral from someone who has done business with you or knows you personally is effective.
The question for your local business is if this model is sustainable in the long run. It is best to answer that question once we understand more about inbound marketing.
As you may have guessed the opposite of outbound marketing is inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is when you implement a strategy to build awareness of your business by customers looking for your services at the time when they need the service. Now if you think about that concept, it is huge because the money you are investing through inbound marketing will have a higher conversion rate, meaning more leads because people are becoming aware of your business when they need your services.
This is why digital marketing, which is a part of inbound marketing, is so valuable. Inbound marketing is also more financially viable because with outbound marketing or inbound marketing you will need to invest money, but with inbound marketing the assets create stay available to consumers. For example, a high quality website is part of inbound marketing and it stays available unlike a flyer that gets thrown away. Another part of inbound marketing is creating lots of quality content that answers people’s questions, and again, that content stays available instead of outbound where it can go away.
Let’s say you have two businesses and company A spends $15,000 on outbound marketing during the year. At the end of the year, he pushed his business information out to a lot of people, but now that he has stopped paying for it, the message is gone. Sure some people may remember them but the way people research nowadays is if they need service they look online for someone who provides that service. They don’t think back to a flyer or billboard they sway months back. Now company B spends $15,000 on inbound marketing or digital marketing including a website with SEO, local SEO, and quality blog posts. Now it is the end of the year and going into the next year they still have all of that marketing material available for people to find. Then they can keep going and spend another $15,000 the next year and create even more content that will live for a very long time.
This is a very powerful marketing strategy and over time you can establish yourself as an authority in your local area which is what Google is looking for when ranking people at the top. Google wants to showcase businesses that are an authority on a topic because they know the users of Google want an authority to answer their questions.
There is a perception that digital marketing or SEO can get your business ranked quickly but now that many people are in the game that is not true. Inbound marketing is still a long term investment that targets people when they need your service. As you can see over time investing in inbound marketing has longer shelf life and will lead to more business awareness and leads for your business.
Now that you have a better understanding of inbound and outbound marketing learn more about what marketing channels within digital marketing are worth investing in to best help your business grow.