Everyday online you see self-proclaimed gurus tell you "you need a marketing strategy" and everything you need to create one is always magically behind a paywall.
They won't even give you basics to get started, making it so frustrating that you just want to block all of them and mute marketing online altogether. But today, I want to change that and help you get started because marketing shouldn't be this hard - it's not rocket science.
With so many different options available, it can be difficult to decide which methods are best for driving sales and promoting your brand. The good news is, there are two major types of marketing – inbound and outbound – that can be used together to maximize results.
In this article, we'll take a look at the differences between inbound and outbound marketing, as well as how they can be used to help you reach your goals, I’ll provide examples of each and more.
Continue reading to learn:
- The difference between inbound and outbound marketing
- What is inbound marketing?
- Benefits of inbound marketing.
- Challenges of inbound marketing.
- Examples of inbound marketing.
- Inbound marketing strategies.
- What is outbound marketing?
- Benefits of outbound marketing.
Examples of outbound marketing.
Outbound marketing strategies.
Challenges of outbound marketing.
- How to use inbound and outbound marketing together.
The difference between inbound and outbound marketing
There are several main differences between inbound and outbound marketing. Outbound marketing involves proactively reaching out to consumers to get them interested in a product. By contrast, inbound marketing centers on creating and distributing content that draws people into your website.
Outbound marketing typically has a more aggressive, wide-sweeping approach, with the expectation that at least some people will convert. Inbound marketing is usually more subtle and focuses on convincing a particular group of individuals to make a purchase over time.
Here are a few other differences at a glance:
- Informative digital content, targeted at specific audiences and written to help solve consumers' problems.
- Content comes in interactive forms, such as social media posts, blogs, reports, webinars, etc.
- Messaging is tailored to specific consumers.
- Measurable through digital marketing software.
- Non-digital content, designed to capture consumers' attention and written to sell products.
- Content is displayed in direct mail, magazine ads, billboards, on TV, etc. and is meant to be passive.
- Messaging must stand out among millions of other ads consumers see each day.
- Difficult to measure attribution from physical advertising.
Now that you understand the difference between each, it's easier to digest how they can complement each other to drive sales when used together. But before we get into using them together, let's go over each method in detail.
Inbound marketing is an approach to marketing that focuses on attracting potential customers to a business through the creation and distribution of valuable content and resources. This content is designed to address the needs and interests of the target audience, with the goal of building trust and establishing the business as a helpful and authoritative source of information.
The core principle of inbound marketing is to provide value to potential customers at every stage of the buyer's journey, from awareness to consideration to decision-making. This can be achieved through a variety of channels, including blog posts, social media, email marketing, webinars, videos, and more.
Unlike outbound marketing, which is often interruptive and intrusive, inbound marketing is intended to be non-disruptive and helpful, and is focused on building relationships with potential customers over time. By creating valuable content and resources, businesses can attract potential customers to their website, capture their contact information, and nurture those leads with additional content and personalized communication.
Overall, inbound marketing is considered to be a more effective and cost-efficient approach to marketing, as it is more targeted, measurable, and adaptable based on results. And while these benefits do make it appealing, there are some limitations to this form of marketing which is why it cannot be your only source of lead generation and sales.
For example, you cannot control social media algorithms or trends that occur, you can only follow along with the trends and grow with the algorithms. This may prove to be difficult, time consuming and isn’t a guaranteed method of driving sales or interest in your brand. This is a method that requires a slow grind because you won’t “blow up” with your first social media post, email or blog post. You need to be okay with this taking 6 months - 2 years to produce optimal results and even then, it isn’t guaranteed for every brand.
With that being said, inbound marketing can be fruitful so let’s go over a few ways you can actually use inbound marketing to drum up interest in your brand.
Here are some ways to use inbound marketing to drive sales:
- Create Valuable Content: Create blog posts, videos, and social media posts that provide value to your audience. This will attract potential customers to your business and establish you as a thought leader in your industry.
- 2. Optimize Your Website: Make sure your website is optimized for search engines and provides a user-friendly experience. This will increase your visibility and make it easier for potential customers to find you. You also need to ensure that your website is mobile optimized, which you can do using tools like BrowserStack to do responsive testing.
- Use Email Marketing: Build an email list and send newsletters and promotional emails to your subscribers. This will keep them engaged with your brand and increase the chances of them making a purchase. E-mail is also an effective tool to use for leads who are generated from leads who do not find you via social media that want to learn more about your brand. An easy way to get started with E-mail Marketing is to download our Master E-mail Marketing Tool Kit.
Now that you’re familiar with inbound marketing, I’d like to share 19 examples you can use to start using this strategy today.
18 examples of inbound marketing your small business can use:
- Blogging: Creating a company blog is a great way to provide valuable content to potential customers, while also improving search engine optimization (SEO) and driving traffic to your website. By writing blog posts on topics that are relevant to your target audience, you can establish yourself as an authoritative source of information and build trust with potential customers.Creating high-quality blog content is a popular inbound marketing strategy. By writing blog posts that provide value to your target audience, you can attract potential customers to your website and build trust and credibility with them over time.
- Social media: Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn provide a great way to engage with potential customers and share valuable content. By posting updates, sharing industry news, and responding to customer questions and comments, you can build a following and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
- Email marketing: Email marketing is a powerful tool for nurturing leads and building relationships with potential customers. By sending targeted, personalized emails that provide value and address the needs and interests of your audience, you can keep your brand top-of-mind and encourage customers to take action.Email marketing involves sending targeted emails to your subscribers with the goal of building relationships and driving sales. By segmenting your email list and sending personalized emails that provide value to your subscribers, you can increase engagement and drive more sales.
- Search engine optimization (SEO): Optimizing your website for search engines is a critical component of inbound marketing. By using relevant keywords, creating quality content, and building backlinks, you can improve your website's visibility and attract more organic traffic.
- Webinars: Hosting webinars is a great way to provide valuable content and engage with potential customers in a more interactive format. By offering free educational webinars on topics that are relevant to your audience, you can build credibility and trust while generating leads for your business.
- Content marketing: Content marketing involves creating and sharing valuable content, such as ebooks, whitepapers, and infographics, with your target audience. By providing valuable information that helps your audience solve a problem or meet a need, you can attract potential customers and build trust and credibility with them over time.
- Video marketing: Video is a highly engaging content format that can be used to attract potential customers and build relationships with them over time. By creating high-quality video content that provides value to your target audience, you can increase engagement and drive more traffic to your website.
- Podcasting: Podcasting is a popular form of content marketing that involves creating audio content on a specific topic. By creating a podcast that provides value to your target audience, you can attract potential customers and build relationships with them over time.
- Influencer marketing: Influencer marketing involves partnering with influential people in your industry to promote your products or services. By working with influencers who have a large following and a strong reputation, you can increase brand awareness and drive more sales.
- Public relations (PR): PR involves using media coverage and other public-facing activities to build brand awareness and credibility. By working with journalists and other influencers in your industry, you can increase your visibility and attract more potential customers to your website.
- Referral marketing: Referral marketing involves incentivizing your existing customers to refer their friends and family to your business. By offering rewards or discounts to customers who refer new business, you can increase customer loyalty and drive more sales.
- Event marketing: Event marketing involves hosting or sponsoring events, such as conferences or workshops, to attract potential customers and build relationships with them over time. By providing valuable information and networking opportunities to your target audience, you can increase brand awareness and drive more sales.
- Free trials and demos: Offering free trials or demos of your products or services can be an effective way to attract potential customers and build trust with them. By giving them the opportunity to try your product or service before committing to a purchase, you can increase the likelihood of converting them into paying customers.
- Content upgrades: Content upgrades are bonus pieces of content that are offered to readers in exchange for their email address. By providing valuable content upgrades that are relevant to your blog post or other content, you can attract potential customers and build your email list.
- Customer reviews and testimonials (social proof): Customer reviews and testimonials can be a powerful form of social proof that can help attract potential customers to your business. By showcasing positive reviews and testimonials on your website and social media channels, you can increase trust and credibility with potential customers.
- Personalization: Personalization involves tailoring your marketing messages and content to the specific needs and interests of your target audience. By using data and analytics to understand your audience better, you can create more targeted and relevant marketing campaigns that are more likely to resonate with potential customers.
- Chatbots: Chatbots are automated tools that can be used to provide customer support and engage with website visitors. By using chatbots to answer common questions and provide helpful information, you can improve the customer experience and increase engagement on your website.
- Interactive content: Interactive content, such as quizzes, assessments, and calculators, can be a fun and engaging way to attract potential customers and provide value to them. By creating interactive content that helps your target audience solve a problem or meet a need, you can increase engagement and build relationships with them over time.
These are just a few more examples of inbound marketing strategies that you can use to attract potential customers and build relationships with them over time. The key is to provide value and build trust with your target audience through relevant and helpful marketing campaigns and content.
If you try to do all of these at the same time, it will be overwhelming. You’re only one person and you can only do so much. Instead. Pick 2-3 methods to try, document your experience after 90 days and make your next decision accordingly.
While these methods do and can work every single day, they work better when you use them with outbound marketing, so let’s go over what this is and how it works.
Outbound marketing, also known as traditional or interruptive marketing, refers to any marketing efforts that involve reaching out to potential customers with a message about a product or service. This type of marketing is typically done through mass media advertising, telemarketing, direct mail, or cold email blast.
The goal of outbound marketing is to get a message in front of as many people as possible, in the hopes of attracting the attention of a small percentage of those individuals who may be interested in the product or service being promoted. Outbound marketing is often used to create brand awareness and generate leads, but it can be expensive and its effectiveness can be difficult to measure.
In contrast to outbound marketing, inbound marketing focuses on attracting potential customers to a business by providing valuable content and resources that address their needs and interests.
Here are 3 simple ways most businesses use outbound marketing:
- Use Paid Advertising: Run targeted ads on platforms like Google and social media to reach potential customers who are interested in your products or services.
- Attend Events: Attend trade shows and other industry events to network with potential customers and promote your business.
- Direct Mail: Send promotional flyers or brochures to potential customers through direct mail. This can be a highly effective way to reach a targeted audience.
Outbound marketing goes so much further than these 3 methods, so here’s 23 additional outbound marketing strategies you can try:
- Television and radio ads: Television and radio ads are a classic example of outbound marketing. They interrupt the viewer or listener with a message about a product or service, regardless of whether or not they are interested.
- Telemarketing: Telemarketing involves calling potential customers on the phone and trying to persuade them to purchase a product or service. This technique is often considered intrusive and can be met with resistance by those who receive the calls.
- Print ads: Print ads in newspapers and magazines are another example of outbound marketing. They interrupt the reader with a message about a product or service, regardless of whether or not they are interested.
- Cold emailing: Cold emailing involves sending unsolicited emails to potential customers in the hopes of generating interest in a product or service. This technique can be met with resistance and can often result in the emails being marked as spam.
- Billboards: Billboards are a traditional form of advertising that interrupts people's daily routines with a message about a product or service. They are often placed along busy highways or in high-traffic areas to maximize exposure.
- Trade shows and events: Trade shows and events are often used by businesses as a way to promote their products or services to a large audience. These events can be expensive to participate in, but they provide an opportunity to network with potential customers and generate leads.
- Paid search advertising: Paid search advertising, also known as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, involves placing ads on search engine results pages (SERPs) and paying for each click that the ad receives. This type of advertising can be effective in driving traffic to a website, but it can also be expensive and requires ongoing management and optimization.
- Sponsorships: Sponsorships involve paying to have your brand associated with an event or organization. This can provide exposure to a large audience, but it can also be expensive and may not be targeted to your specific audience.
- Cold calling: Cold calling involves calling potential customers on the phone and trying to persuade them to purchase a product or service. This technique is often met with resistance and can be time-consuming and expensive.
- Display advertising: Display advertising involves placing banner ads on websites or social media platforms to promote a product or service. While this type of advertising can be effective in generating brand awareness, it can also be perceived as intrusive and may not be well-targeted to the specific audience.
- Radio spots: Similar to television ads, radio spots interrupt the listener with a message about a product or service. While this type of advertising can be effective in reaching a local audience, it may not be well-targeted to the specific audience and can be costly.
- Pop-up ads: Pop-up ads are small windows that appear on a website and interrupt the user with a message about a product or service. This type of advertising is often perceived as intrusive and annoying, and can result in a negative user experience.
- Door-to-door sales: Door-to-door sales involve knocking on potential customers' doors and trying to persuade them to purchase a product or service. This type of sales technique can be effective in generating immediate sales, but it can also be perceived as intrusive and can result in a negative customer experience.
- Print directories: Print directories, such as phone books and Yellow Pages, list businesses and their contact information in a printed book. While this type of advertising can be effective in reaching a local audience, it has become less popular with the rise of digital marketing and online directories.
- Trade publications: Trade publications are industry-specific magazines or newsletters that provide news and information to businesses in a particular industry. Advertising in these publications can be effective in reaching a targeted audience, but it can also be expensive and may not be well-targeted to the specific audience.
- Pop-under ads: Pop-under ads are similar to pop-up ads, but they appear behind the current browser window, rather than in front of it. While this type of advertising can be less intrusive than pop-up ads, it can still be perceived as annoying by users.
- Flyers and leaflets: Flyers and leaflets are printed materials that are handed out or posted in public places to promote a product or service. While this type of advertising can be cost-effective, it may not be well-targeted to the specific audience and can result in littering and environmental concerns.
- Product demonstrations: Product demonstrations involve showcasing a product or service in a public place, such as a mall or trade show, in order to generate interest and sales. While this type of marketing can be effective in generating immediate sales, it may not be well-targeted to the specific audience and can be costly to execute.
- Infomercials: Infomercials are long-form television commercials that provide in-depth information about a product or service. While this type of marketing can be effective in generating sales, it can also be expensive to produce and may not be well-targeted to the specific audience.
- Telemarketing: Telemarketing involves calling potential customers on the phone and trying to persuade them to purchase a product or service. While this technique can be effective in generating immediate sales, it can also be perceived as intrusive and annoying by potential customers.
- Outdoor advertising: Outdoor advertising involves placing ads on billboards, buses, or other outdoor spaces to reach a wide audience. While this type of advertising can be effective in generating brand awareness, it may not be well-targeted to the specific audience and can be costly.
- Cold emailing: Cold emailing involves sending unsolicited emails to potential customers in order to promote a product or service. While this technique can be cost-effective, it can also be perceived as spam and may result in a negative customer experience.
- Broadcast advertising: Broadcast advertising involves placing ads on television or radio to reach a wide audience. While this type of advertising can be effective in generating brand awareness, it can also be expensive and may not be well-targeted to the specific audience.
Overall, there are many different outbound marketing techniques that businesses can use to reach potential customers. However, it's important to keep in mind that these techniques can be less targeted and may be perceived as intrusive or annoying by potential customers. Inbound marketing techniques, on the other hand, focus on providing value to potential customers and building relationships over time, which can result in more engaged and loyal customers in the long run.
Ultimately, it depends on your budget and goals for which methods you do use, however you should use a few methods from each list provided to have a well rounded marketing strategy. Let’s go over how these methods work together and how you can combine them to ensure a flawless lead generation process and sales funnel.
Combining Inbound and Outbound Marketing
To get the best results from your marketing efforts, it’s imperative to combine inbound and outbound marketing methods. The main reason why is because leads who are generated via outbound marketing aren’t receiving the same value as leads generated through inbound marketing. And while these leads may be interested, they’re often not fully bought into your brand yet.
As for your inbound leads, you don’t want them to only consume valuable content from you via your own socials or website, but never see you being marketed or advertised anywhere else they browse, shop or look for their problems to be resolved. By using each method together, you ensure all of your leads are equally familiar with your brand and have a well rounded understanding of your company’s mission - making it easier to sell to them as your relationship grows.
Here are Three simple ways to do this:
- Use Retargeting: Use retargeting ads to reach potential customers who have visited your website but haven’t made a purchase. This is a great way to bring them back to your site and convert them into customers.
- Inbound: Driving leads from social media or email marketing.
- Outbound: Segmenting the leads who do not purchase and then retargeting these leads via their email addresses on Facebook or Pinterest.
- Benefits: Your ads are being shown to people who’ve already expressed an interest in your brand. On average, potential customers need to come across your brand 7 times before they make a purchase, this gives you one of those 7 chances with ease.
- Use Social Media: Use social media to promote your business and drive traffic to your website. Then use an email popup to capture leads and begin email marketing. Take those leads and segment the gmail accounts, then retarget them through gmail ads.
- Inbound: Marketing via social media by sharing valuable content. Capturing the leads and segmenting them based on their email service provider and behaviors.
- Outbound: Uploading your gmail segments to google ads and running google display ads that push your sales emails to the top of their inbox.
- Benefits: Google gmail display ads are relatively affordable compared to other types of ads and Google provides data for you to see if your campaigns convert customers or not. This also ensures they actually see your emails, you aren’t going to spam and your emails are more likely to be opened if they stay at the top of their inbox for an extended time.
- Offer Freebies: Offer freebies like ebooks, webinars, and other valuable content to attract potential customers and build your email list.
- Inbound: Use social media to drive leads to the free resources or events you’re offering and collect their emails and phone numbers to enter them into your email and SMS flows.
- Outbound: Use social media and CPC search ads to drive traffic to your freebies and collect contact into to enter leads into email and sms flows. Segment leads who came from social media vs those who came from ads.
- Benefits: Your email list is growing from multiple avenues, ensuring you’re collecting a diverse set of leads. You can also measure which marketing method is producing the highest quality leads based on conversions and customer lifetime value once they begin purchasing from you or booking with you.
You can take multiple of the examples provided in previous sections to combine together and produce your ideal outcomes. Get creative, set a monthly budget of 10% - 20% of your monthly sales and get to work on your new marketing strategy.
By combining inbound and outbound marketing methods, you can attract potential customers, build relationships, and drive sales for your business. Use the tips and strategies outlined in this article to get started and drop a comment if you have any questions.
To learn more about how to drive sales using inbound marketing methods, download our Content Marketing Tool Kit. You can also check out our FREEBIE LIBRARY to take advantage of dozens of free tools that walk beginners through how to do digital marketing.