With the actuation of technological progress, the buying decisions and buying journey are now greatly led by the online route. Given the present-time, consumers have become far more independent, translating to the ineffectiveness of a lot of old marketing tactics. If you know marketing, you know that there are two kinds - inbound and outbound, yes? So, if both are used to bring in customers and leverage sales, how are they different from each other? Let’s explore what differentiates inbound marketing from outbound.
Outbound lead generation comprises of the traditional methods mainly including cold calls and putting up sales shows, billboards, advertisements, etc. It follows a generalised approach that represents a broad form of opinion. Very unacceptable to consumers all over the world today. it focuses on pushing them in their buying journey in order to close sales.
Independent buying decisions is where the inbound methodology comes into play. Inbound lead generation is done with the help of a “pull” approach. This refers to answering your prospect’s questions, providing them with effective solutions, and crafting personalised content to entice them to come back to you whenever the need arises.
Like we discussed, outbound leads are generated by creating awareness through different forms of advertising. However, through the inbound method, the marketer primarily takes to market research and creates content in accordance with the preferences and likes of the prospects.
A study by Hubspot states that only 18% of marketers say outbound practices provide the highest quality leads for sales. This indicates how flipping the classic marketing funnel has proved conducive to generating greater amount of leads. Now what does it mean, you ask? Flipping the funnel simply means dedicating fewer resources on gaining new customers but more on acknowledging and retaining the existing ones. It makes a huge difference if the brand takes initiatives to engage with the customer and comes up with relevant and helpful solutions that the prospect or customer is looking for.
One of the many differentiating strands of leads between outbound and inbound is the level of investment. According to Hubspot’s state of marketing report, inbound marketing dominated organisations experience a 61% lower cost per lead than organisations that predominantly leverage outbound marketing.
It is staggering to see the amount of outlay inbound leads save for a brand in comparison to outbound. The study further showed that the average cost per outbound lead was 346 dollars while the cost per inbound lead was 135 dollars.
One of the most prominent distinguishing factors between inbound and outbound leads is content. Creating relevant content that’s useful to a prospect looking for answers or doing his research regarding a particular problem he is trying to solve is at the centre of inbound marketing. With the ease of availability of information, what really sets a brand apart from the rest is offering more than what the prospect can independently look for.
So, with the inbound approach, unlike outbound, the key is to keep listening and creating content in accordance with what, when, and where the prospect would find it relevant and consume.
Have you ever seen an advertisement that starts with your name? No, right? Because it's simply not possible with outbound methods. Personalisation has sought popularity in recent years with the prevalence of competition, the rise of power in the hands of the buyers, and the advent of social media. Unless you are answering your prospect’s query or providing them with a solution they are looking for, all the other information for them would be more like an interruption than an influence.
This is why the inbound approach takes to creating bespoke content for the prospects. On the other hand, outbound marketers, in order to generate leads assume an extensive approach based on common opinion, which has its own conventions.
Be it closing sales or engaging with a prospect, for it to go forward, trust is a very crucial component. The outbound approach is profusely emphatic when it comes to solely closing sales. However, with the inbound approach, the prominence is placed on influencing, engaging, delighting and building a long-term relationship with a customer right from the very beginning.
Investing in building and nurturing a long term relationship can really help as it takes 7 times as much money to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. So, whether you are sending out your first email to a customer or trying to engage a prospect through a social media campaign, if your efforts are oozing trust, then you are highly likely to reach your goals.
In the current scenario, when it comes to taking the first step and going on the journey of building meaningful relationships with customers, the conversations, in order to be effective need to be from both sides. The traditional outbound methodology suggests the salesperson do all the talking until he succeeds in closing the sale. Or running an advertisement over and over again till the prospect snaps that magazine cover or stops looking at the billboard.
On the contrary, inbound leads are a result of constant engagement, solving queries, and relevant conversations that contribute to building long term relationships. The key here is to keep listening and using every opportunity of initiating conversations with your prospects followed by the right intent.
The Social Chatter
Almost every consumer is going social digitally. With 2.38 billion active users on Facebook, 1 billion on Instagram, and 500 million users on LinkedIn, a sea of opportunities open up for brands to increase the customer base. One of the many tools of inbound marketing is social media, used to generate potential leads.
By tapping on to the right audience, at the right time, with the right content on social channels, marketers can qualify a great number of leads. Whereas in outbound marketing, the only way to socially interact with your prospects or leads is by hoping that they will pick up that section of the newspaper, watch that ad on TV, or see the big billboard right in front of them and take fruitful actions.
The Power Of SEO
Along with social media, SEO is one of the most effective tools that offer great efficacy with regards to inbound marketing efforts. Most of the consumers are driven by online results to direct their buying decisions.
Inbound marketers leverage this opportunity by creating relevant and search engine optimised blogs, website content, etc to increase organic traffic. When a consumer repetitively sees your brand name at the top of search results, he is bound to come back to you the next time he comes looking for answers. This is one major aspect where outbound marketers lack in order to generate better leads.
Comprehensively, although inbound methods prove to be effective monetarily and bring greater return on investment, outbound methods aren’t to be completely forsaken. It is all about striking the right balance depending upon the marketing and sales goals, budgets, and trends of the market and business. Which inbound and outbound methods do you regularly use? Share with us in the comments below.