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The terms ‘outbound marketing’ and ‘inbound marketing’ are used to describe two different types of marketing strategy. This post explains the difference between the two and how to use each strategy.

Outbound marketing

Outbound marketing is the most traditional style of marketing. It involves sending your message out to customers, instead of letting customers come to you naturally.

A few examples of outbound marketing include:

The purpose of outbound marketing is to spread your message far and wide. The hope is that you can convert customers who may not even be looking for your product. You have less time to get your message across and so it has to be more heavily promotional and in-your-face (unless you’re simply looking to build brand awareness – which outbound marketing can also be effective at doing).

You may be able to do your own outbound marketing or you could try hiring a company such as a top advertising company to create and distribute adverts. Successful outbound marketing involves grabbing people’s attention by being bold and unique – but without being annoying (this will only serve to drive your customers away!). Use eye-catching visuals and focus on your unique selling points.

Inbound marketing

Inbound marketing involves letting customers come to you and then easing them into a sale from here. It is a gentler form of marketing that does not involve interrupting consumers or using any hard sales tactics.

A few examples of inbound marketing include:

  • Informational blog posts
  • Informational videos
  • Infographics
  • Organic social media marketing
  • Seminars
  • E-books
  • SEO

Inbound marketing is all about making your business as attractive as possible for those who may already be looking for your service. It relies largely on informing the customer and building trust rather than promoting to the customer. It is a much slower-paced form of marketing.

You can do your own inbound marketing by creating your own blog posts or hosting your own seminars. Alternatively, you may be able to hire copywriters or a video production team to help you. Inbound marketing can rely more on authenticity so bear this in mind – you’ll sway more customers by hosting a seminar yourself than hiring a spokesperson.

Which one should I use?

In recent years, companies have been pouring less energy into outbound marketing and more energy into inbound marketing. The reason for this is because outbound marketing can be invasive – there’s a greater risk of annoying people with your adverts. A lot of people have also learnt to tune out outbound marketing tactics such as billboards and radio ads, making them potentially ineffective on certain consumers.

That said, few companies can rely solely on inbound marketing. Outbound marketing can help you to build brand exposure and may be useful at converting more impulsive customers.

So which style of marketing should you use? Ideally, both. This can allow you to appeal to all types of customers – those that are looking for your service/product and those that may not realise that they want your service/product.