Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing – Benefits and challenges of each, and 5 important steps to get started with Inbound Marketing

Have you ever thought about enhancing your company’s marketing strategy? If you don’t have a ton of experience, you may get overwhelmed by the amount of advice and information – what you should focus on and what tactics you should explore.

Fortunately for you, there are two marketing concepts that can help limit your options: inbound and outbound marketing. These are the two most used marketing plans, and each one of them has its own benefits and challenges.

In this blog post, we will look at each of them and discuss how they can be applied, their pros and cons, and some examples of each strategy.

Let’s get started.

What is Inbound Marketing?

The main focus of inbound marketing is to attract your customers to new products and services. Statistics show that 63% of consumers start their shopping journey online, so that’s the place where they have to find your company.

Most people start searching for products or services when they have to fulfill a need or when looking for a solution to a particular problem. That’s why your content should be aimed at explaining how what your company does (product or service) can help resolve their issues, answer important questions, or satisfy their needs.

Of course, there are a ton of ways to do this: create videos, write blogs and guidebooks, and more. Each of these pieces of content can help you differentiate your company from your competitors on the market. Along with that, your marketing strategy has to consist of social media posts, testimonials from satisfied clients, and product comparisons. Don’t forget to keep a consistent message across the various points of the buyers’ journey so that your prospective customers don’t get mixed feelings about your company.

Here’s an example of inbound marketing. Let’s say someone is looking for a new photo editing software. First, they’re likely to type “best photo editing software in 2021” into a search engine to see what is going to come up. Likely, they will first see an article that outlines the top 10 photo editing applications. If the blog post was good enough, they might be interested in learning more about photography. At that point, in the footnotes of the post, they might see a link encouraging them to sign up for a webinar so they can learn more about taking great photos and editing them. When they click on the link, they will have to provide their name and email address to access the content. The website will then store this data, regardless of whether or not the person attends the webinar or not.

From there, the vendor may send a follow-up email that contains case studies that show how competitors are using this photo editing software and how it helped them achieve a huge ROI. This can encourage them to request a sales call with a representative of the company. That way, they go into this call already aware of what the software does, which makes it easier to sell.

Common Issues that Inbound Marketing Can Solve

Choose to implement inbound marketing in your long-term marketing strategy. It will be an investment that will help your company increase brand awareness, revenue, and the number of clients. Now, let’s check out each invidious problem that inbound marketing can help you resolve.

Improve Brand Preference

If you educate, entertain, and interact with your potential clients before they’re even considering making a purchase, this will help build trust between your customers and your company, which will increase the chances of them choosing your business when they’re ready to make a purchase.

Generate More Leads Without Making an Investment

You have to remember that inbound marketing is a long-term investment. You will not see results immediately. Instead, results will likely multiply many times over as you become better and better at making content that naturally attracts an audience that gets you organic leads.

Increase Brand Awareness

Most buying cycles begin with an online search. Suppose your company manages to appear near the top of the search results or is active on a potential customer’s social network. These things will organically increase your brand awareness. To achieve these things, you have to make sure you’re creating content and finding the right place to show it.

How to Plan, Implement and Optimize Your Inbound Marketing Program

There’s one thing you have to remember about inbound marketing: the more significant the investment, the higher the return. Making exciting content is more about creativity and commitment than it is about having money. Even if you opt to hire inbound marketing consultants, you will still have to have a vision of your brand identity so that you create posts that the audience responds to.

Let’s see how you can get started.

1.Define Your Goals and Buyer Personas

Think about your target audience and try to learn all that you can about it. That will allow you to create content that’s exciting to your audience and sparks their interest in your business.

2.Make Content for Every Stage of the Buyer’s Journey

Consider all the questions your potential customers may have at each stage of their journey and give them the answers. Write your own unique, compelling story. Give the audience a reason to listen to it. Make them believe you.

The main difference between inbound marketing and traditional marketing techniques is that it leverages valuable content and information in order to attract and retain clients throughout the whole lifecycle (not just before but after they become customers too).

3.Choose the Right Platforms

Find the best way to reach your potential customer. Think of what social media platforms they’re likely to be active on and then create valuable content that will be interesting to them. No matter if you choose to use Facebook, TikTok, or Instagram, the important thing is to make engaging posts that popularize your brand.

4.Follow a Content Calendar

Creating a schedule that you can follow will help you have available content to post at all times. It will allow you to consistently give your audience engaging and relevant content, which will help you maintain and build your brand in the long run.

5.Constantly Analyze and Optimize Your Inbound Marketing Program

There are tons of metrics you can use to measure the performance of your inbound marketing efforts. It doesn’t matter what you plan to analyze, whether that’s SEO rankings or inbound links, as long as you do it consistently. Set some time to do analysis every week, as it will give you valuable insight into how your marketing efforts are doing. That way, you’ll know what you need to work on to improve your results from week to week.

4 Benefits of Inbound Marketing

Now that you know what inbound marketing is and how you can implement it for your business, let’s talk about why you may want to do so. Here are four benefits you may expect from implementing an inbound marketing strategy in the long haul:

  • It’s non-invasive: you’re not forcing your content or your brand to the audience. Instead, you’re giving them the chance to watch your videos or read your blogs on their own time, whenever they feel like it. This ensures people won’t view you as pushy or too advertisement-focused.
  • It can be educational. If you design each content piece to fit each stage of the sales funnel, the information will be valuable to your target audience.
  • It’s easy to measure. You can tie each part of the inbound marketing strategy to a specific metric that you can monitor over time.
  • Inbound marketing will continue to draw in leads over time, especially if you continue to work on your content and your website and they get consistently updated.

3 Challenges of Inbound Marketing

Even though there are plenty of benefits of using this marketing strategy, there are also some cons that you have to consider before diving deep into digital content. Let’s see what they are:

  • Inbound marketing requires vigorous maintenance to ensure that your content always speaks to your customers and their ever-evolving wants and needs.
  • Inbound marketers have to spend a ton of effort testing and developing different content ideas that will make your customers interested in your brand and willing to purchase from it.
  • In order to do inbound marketing, you’ll need to invest money into tools that will allow you to implement cross-channel campaigns that increase leads.

Based on these challenges, you can decide not to use inbound marketing as a way to popularize your brand. If that happens, you have to know you have another option in the face of outbound marketing.

What is Outbound Marketing?

Outbound marketing is a more traditional method of marketing products or services to potential clients. It includes tons of activities such as organizing seminars, cold calling, and trade shows. It’s a pretty expensive method, and a lot of the time, the return on investment is lower than the cost for marketing.

Over time it has become a less effective way to create brand awareness for many reasons. For one, people are more suspicious about receiving calls and emails from strangers, and another thing is that the cost of going to seminars or flying to trade shows is a lot higher than what it costs to look up something online.

Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing

If you’re wondering which one to choose for your business, it’s good to look at what each offers and then decide which one to go with based on your circumstances.

There are quite a few differences between these two strategies. For starters, inbound marketing is centered around creating content that draws the audience to your website. In contrast, outbound marketing reaches out to customers in order to get them interested in your product or service. Furthermore, you can be more subtle with the inbound method and only target a particular audience with your content. At the same time, outbound marketing is a lot more aggressive and expects people to convert at one point or another.

Let’s take a look at a few other differences.

Inbound MarketingOutbound Marketing
Uses engaging, informative content that’s aimed at a particular audience with the goal of helping them solve their problems.Non-digital content is displayed in magazine ads, in mailboxes, and on TV.
Digital content is created in various formats: social media posts, blogs, vlogs, and webinars. Content is designed to get the attention of all possible customers.
Success can be measured thanks to digital marketing software.It’s difficult to measure its effectiveness due to the physical nature of the campaigns.
Messaging is specific to a target audience. Strong messaging is needed so that the company can stand out in ads. 

Nowadays, inbound marketing is the way to go for most companies. However, that doesn’t mean that the outbound method is totally dead yet. If you own a specific kind of business, it could turn out to be very effective. In the end, it’s all about knowing your audience and what type of approach they will best respond to.

Conclusion

No matter which type of marketing strategy you choose, it’s important to remember that the landscape is constantly changing and so you need to be able to evolve with it too.

Choosing between inbound and outbound marketing isn’t a choice you make for life. It’s merely picking between one of two options so that you know how to market your company for the next couple of months or year. Over time, new methodologies may start getting traction, and soon enough, it’s likely that you will have to update your marketing strategy. It’s vital that you continue learning new tactics and implementing them.

That’s why the most important thing to know when deciding on a marketing plan is your company and your customers. If you know them well enough, you will always find a way to advertise your products or services in a way that speaks to them and gives an answer to their issues. It’s crucial always to follow the news around the marketing world and try out new tactics whenever you think it might work for your business.

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