Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing

The term “inbound marketing” was thought to be a trendy buzzword soon to go away. But many years later, it has become the strategy for online marketing efforts of small businesses.

Guy Kawasaki famously said, “If you have more money than brains, you should focus on outbound marketing. If you have more brains than money, you should focus on inbound marketing.” It would seem that the skeptics are wrong and inbound marketing is here to stay, because it’s hard to deny its effectiveness.

That is not to say outbound marketing, or traditional marketing has no place. But it pays to take a good look at what advantages inbound has over traditional tactics.

1. Cost-Effective

Traditional marketing includes advertising on TV, radio, print, outdoor, tradeshoes, etc. These channels are not cheap and oftern can run in tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.

With inbound, you may spend a portion of your marketing budget on strategy, content creation and SEO, but the costs associated are no where near that of traditional marketing.

2. Customized

Custom content is more relevant than ever. Inbound focuses on building relationships with customers through customized content. It feels more personal and relevant than traditional advertising, which is primarily used for awareness building and branding.

3. Permission-Based

When was the last time you were excited to receive junk mail or a call from a telemarketer? Probably never. On the contrary, inbound is based on your customer giving permission, or “opting-in.”

Inbound is not intrusive because you can decide you want to visit a certain website. Social media sites like Facebook display only relevant ads related to something you searched for recently. And even if those ads don’t speak to you, they’re not “in your face” like a TV or a radio ad.

4. Sustainable

Traditional marketing through expos or trade shows can only be done once at a certain time. Then the vendors have to return again the following year. For the most part, print ads are only relevant within a day or two of their run date.

Inbound marketing through blog posts, white papers, ebooks and social media, on the other hand, can sustain itself. It only has to be written once and put up once, and people can download it over and over. The content created for inbound marketing campaigns is a durable digital asses that generate leads for years.

5. Time-Efficient

Again with the trade show example, traditional advertising takes longer to plan and execute. Trade shows are typically a week long and take time to transport, set up, and tear down. This requires manual labor.

While some parts of inbound like content generation can’t be automated, many parts can be automated to save time.

It’s important for businesses to know which marketing efforts give them the best ROI. Many times, inbound is the answer.

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