You’ve probably heard about inbound marketing. It’s a strategy for drawing in buyers with your content instead of going out and directly marketing to them (that’s called ‘outbound marketing’). Most marketers already practice inbound marketing – things like posting your content on social media sites like Twitter and LinkedIn, or creating thought leadership content are inbound marketing practices. But inbound isn’t the only strategy you need, particularly when it comes to closing the deal. In fact, for those of you who are die hard fans of outbound marketing, there’s a way that you can do both.
The Difference Between Inbound and Outbound Marketing
Inbound Marketing’s strength is drawing prospects in, getting their attention in non-invasive ways, and encouraging them to think about your brand and your business. One of the issues you might encounter with inbound marketing is that you can’t necessarily target a specific audience with your marketing efforts. Inbound marketing by nature has a wide appeal, and can draw in a high volume of traffic to your content and your website, but you won’t only get the traffic you want. That’s where having an outbound marketing strategy can help.
Outbound marketing can help you attract your ideal buyer when used in conjunction with inbound by helping you eliminate traffic that isn’t likely to yield leads. Outbound marketing works through the more traditional methods of marketing, including banner advertisements and sales calls. These methods contact prospects directly to draw them into the sales funnel, but they also clearly position your products and services and enable you to choose your target audience.
So how do you combine the two to maximize your reach and attract the highest volume of prospects?
Using Inbound and Outbound Marketing Together
Inbound and outbound work together well and present prospects with a more well-rounded view of your business. You can attract prospects with banner advertisements or with an introductions from a sales rep, and then follow up with an eBook or infographic on an industry-applicable topic. With both working in tandem, you can build trust and establish a two-way conversation with prospects and clients.
Using inbound and outbound marketing together also enables you to identify which prospects are more sales-ready. Prospects ready for sales are more likely to engage with outbound marketing techniques such as picking up information at a tradeshow booth, or clicking on a paid advertisement. It’s an easy way to tell which leads may be warmer than relying solely on inbound marketing which tends to be much more widely-applicable and high-level.
Outbound marketing alone can be bad for attracting buyers to the top of the sales funnel because it can be alienating and intrusive for buyers who are used to dictating the speed at which they educate themselves. Because outbound techniques are focused on the immediate: the call from a sales rep, the conference currently taking place, the banner ad that has appeared on the page a prospect has landed on, you can lessen the abruptness by combining it with inbound marketing techniques.
Inbound and Outbound marketing are really two sides of the same coin: inbound brings prospects to you, while outbound brings you to prospects. They should and do work well together, and are equally not as good by themselves. Ideally, a solid marketing strategy will encompass both, so that no matter how your prospects and clients choose consume your content, you’re able to provide what they need at each stage of the buying cycle.