There are two main types of marketing, inbound and outbound marketing. Inbound marketing is a strategy in which you position yourself to be found by your target audience. This provides them with the content they need to inform themselves and to move through the first stages of the sales funnel on their own (SEO and content marketing are both examples of inbound). Outbound marketing is more traditional. It refers to the strategy in which you advertise directly to a broad audience instead of waiting to be found by them (TV commercials, radio ads, and magazine ads are all examples of outbound marketing).
Many businesses tend to prefer one over the other. But, the most effective way to market to your target audience is to use a combination of both. To understand why using both is a valuable investment to your business, you’ll need to understand both types.
The Benefits of Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing is a non-invasive form of advertising. With outbound marketing, you’re interrupting whatever your audience is doing (reading a magazine, listening to the radio, watching TV, etc.). With inbound marketing, you don’t risk annoying people by disrupting their experience. Additionally, you’re allowing and encouraging potential customers to go through the sales funnel at their own pace with no pressure. By providing content that they can read at their own time, you can slowly build brand loyalty and trust. It’s worth mentioning that whereas outbound marketing is short-term, inbound is long-term. The website you build and the content you post will continue drawing new leads over time.
The Benefits of Outbound Marketing
The biggest benefit to using outbound marketing is that you have the potential to reach a larger audience. This could be an audience who may not be familiar with your brand or the services you have to offer. They may not know that they have a need for your products or services until they see your ad and wouldn’t have known to search for your brand beforehand. It’s also a great way to reach audiences who do know about your brand but who may not have known about new products and services that you’re offering.
Using Inbound and Outbound Marketing Together
Not only does using both forms of marketing allow you to obtain both short-term and long-term results, but they can actually compliment one another. The following are a few examples of how you can effectively use inbound and outbound marketing together:
- Generate traffic via outbound – Consumers tend to have smartphones or tablets on them at all times — even when watching TV. This means that when running a commercial on TV (outbound effort), you encourage viewers to go to your social media page or website (an inbound effort). This can be done on almost all forms of outbound marketing. Like putting your site on a billboard ad or magazine ad, encouraging consumers to follow you on social media in your store, etc.
- Nurture leads before promoting live events – While nurturing your leads using inbound marketing, you can inform audiences about your brand and let them familiarize themselves with you before you promote a live event in-store or at a tradeshow, where they can pick up pamphlets or speak with sales reps in person, which are outbound efforts.
There’s no reason to limit yourself to either inbound or outbound marketing. Learning use both effectively can be a valuable skill for your business.