Imaginasium | Inbound/Outbound Marketing  |  5 minute read

Which is Superior? Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing

Inbound marketing strategies, like writing blogs, sending emails, or posting on social media, pull prospective customers to your business. These strategies attract prospective customers to your website and social platforms by enticing them with content they can use, whether they are looking to make a purchase or educate themselves.

Outbound practices, like traditional or search engine advertising or tradeshow marketing displays, push your marketing to customers. Your customers may not be looking for you or your information at the time they hear or see an ad or walk by your exhibit. So, you need to reach out and draw them in. Outbound tactics also are often thought about in the context of outbound sales—think cold calling.
Both strategies can get people to your digital or actual door. It’s the difference between whether they found you (inbound) or you found them (outbound), and the best overall marketing strategy consists of tactics in both categories.

The Rise of Inbound Marketing

The concept of inbound marketing was born in the mid-2000s. And the role it plays in attracting prospects to a business, as well as generating sales leads, has been a game changer ever since. Why? Because inbound marketing tactics focus on engaging customers with the information they need.

Plus, the rise of developing search engine optimized web content, as well as the growth of social media and the exploding popularity of video has ushered in a whole new way to attract leads. As marketers began to crack the code, so to speak, of how to get a website to rank higher in search, how to attract viewers to company videos, and how to entice customers through email marketing, inbound marketing became a go-to among the checklist of marketing strategies.

That isn’t to say outbound tactics like direct mail, billboard advertising, or print and broadcast advertising, have gone by the wayside. We shouldn’t think of inbound vs. outbound marketing as one instead of the other. It’s more about using both effectively because now there are even more ways to target your buyer personas, no matter which generation they belong to or where they get information.

After all, almost half of the companies that implement inbound marketing strategies see 25% greater ROI than companies that do not. That’s because prospective customers are searching for information and answers more than ever.

Inbound Marketing: Not Just for B2C

Did your family buy groceries online in 2020, although you never had before that? Did you feel like a package delivery service was at your door almost every day?

Yes, e-commerce skyrocketed during the pandemic. And it’s still a growing industry. Because of that, we tend to think digital marketing strategies are just for B2C businesses.

In reality, manufacturers’ digital platforms saw an increase in visitors too. Visits to manufacturers’ websites have spiked 12% since the start of the pandemic. The spike is easy to explainmanufacturing customers were part of the same pandemic trend. With the lack of vendor in-person meetings, cold calling, networking events, and tradeshows, customers turned to digital information sources.

And what’s mind-blowing about the rise in e-commerce? Inbound marketing is the reason behind 90% of the clicks on a website. What are all the ways you can embark on inbound marketing success and what makes the strategy so popular? Let’s take a look.

The Many Roles of Inbound Marketing

1. Search engine optimization (SEO) makes the search easier

While there are other ways to get customers to your website, SEO is one of the few ways to find prospects you may not know exist. Good SEO—a combination of a well-structured website and keyword-rich content—helps improve your search ranking.

Remember, only 10 web pages make the first page of Google. This is competitive business. And it’s not easy. But when you succeed, oh how sweet it is. More than half of B2B marketers say SEO is the best source of sales leads.

2. Content is educational

Your salesperson may be ready to talk with a potential buyer. But that buyer is asking you to hold a minute. They’d like to check out your website first—at least that’s what 77% of B2B buyers do. So, you’ll need to sell yourself digitally, which of course, is a boon for SEO.

3. Email marketing opens doors

Most of the billions of email users around the world are checking their inboxes regularly, accessing them on laptops, phones, and tablets. That includes your customers, of course, from CEOs to engineers and operations managers. With so many users and the ability to capture them at relatively little cost, email marketing is a go-to strategy.

And it’s not just about sheer numbers. Email works, especially in B2B. Consider these email marketing stats:

● B2B emails have a 23% higher click-through rate than B2C emails.
● Email marketing is considered the most effective way to nurture leads.
● 73% of marketers rate email ROI as “good” or “excellent”. 

4. Social media leads to new networks

Like email marketing, social media is a low-cost way to reach customers where they are. It’s a place where you can educate followers, build your brand, and get customer feedback. From LinkedIn to Instagram to yes, even TikTok, manufacturers have found a home on social media where they can introduce new products, share behind-the-scenes of their company, show off their company culture (think recruitment marketing), or answer customer questions. Most importantly, social media platforms are the perfect place to share content marketing pieces, like blogs and case studies, for even more website visits. In fact, social media is the No. 1 technology manufacturers use to assist in building their content marketing. These and other types of content that draw potential customers to you have a positive effect on your marketing dollar. Consider these statistics from SerpWatc:

● Inbound marketing can reduce cost-per-lead by 80% in just five months.
● Three times fewer leads per dollar come from outbound marketing vs. inbound marketing.
● Inbound marketing is 10 times more effective than outbound marketing in improving lead per conversation rate. When your inbound marketing strategy starts kicking in—your website ranks higher, you get more orders from email marketing you increase engagement on social media—that is when you will see a difference in ROI between inbound vs. outbound marketing.

That’s not to say you should stop outbound marketing. It has its place, especially when you are trying to build awareness—of your company or a new product or service. Inbound marketing also complements outbound sales strategies, especially when customers aren’t ready to buy. Here are some ideas:

● Send an email that links to relevant web content before cold calling a prospect.
● Do the same with old leads who never responded to your calls.
● Use educational content to keep the line of communication open with those who say they are not ready to buy.

At Imaginasium, we advocate that a higher percentage of your marketing strategy focus on inbound tactics that encompass SEO, content creation, email marketing social media, and more, with a lower percentage on outbound tactics. We’ve found it’s a proven lead generation formula.

Are you ready to rise to the top with inbound marketing? We’d love to talk!

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