The difference between Inbound marketing and Outbound marketing is similar to the difference between someone who waits for people to approach them at a party and someone who goes over to every person and introduces themselves.
Traditionally, marketing is outbound in nature (talking to everyone). Marketers aim to disperse their messages as much as possible through of a variety of media channels in the hope that the message sticks. Although certain audiences can be targeted, there is a scattershot element to this approach in the sense that you don’t always know if your target audience is paying attention. However, Inbound marketing is essentially the opposite. Inbound marketing uses a brand’s value to drive customers to seek out the brand themselves (normally via search engines and social media pages.) They are the popular person at the party who has people seek them out.
A key difference between the two marketing styles is that Inbound marketing aims to entertain and connect with its customers on a level beyond just superficial relationships. One Inbound marketing tactic that is used to achieve this is the utilisation of content marketing. Content marketing is a technique where brands create consistently interesting or relevant content to draw an audience regularly. This involves things such as creating blogs, podcasts or being an outlet for engaging information.
Once the brand has formed a connection with their audience, they become more than just a faceless entity that distributes goods and services. The brand is now something to be desired by consumers on a personal level. Like a popular person at a party, they will be sought out by people who are looking to be engaged and have a good time.
Why Use Inbound Marketing?
There are a variety of advantages to using Inbound marketing.
- If the content is interesting or relevant, it will be shared through social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter. This can lead to viral content, which increases brand awareness.
- More content means more opportunities for SEO optimisation. As more content is created, it also creates more touch points for search engine searches. This means that a brand’s website has a greater chance of being on the front page of a search from a consumer.
- It is cheaper than outbound marketing. The majority Inbound marketing tactics utilise media channels that are free or very cost-effective to use. Blog sites, Twitter and podcasts are free to use and the cost of creating the content used for these mediums pales in comparison to creating the content required for Outbound marketing.
This is not to say that Outbound marketing is to be avoided or completely ignored. Mediums such as TV, Radio and Outdoor etc. are still very relevant and important marketing channels and should be used in conjunction with Inbound marketing tactics.
So the best way to explain it is that Outbound marketing is a good place to ‘get on the map’ in a media-saturated world and Inbound marketing is a good way to keep your customers coming back and spreading the good word.