The Difference Between Inbound and Outbound


  • Pulls IN interested prospects.
  • Solves their needs
  • Interactive with prospects – engaging content, consistently – LinkedIn – email
  • As helpful content is consumed, audience members become leads

Where you see it: websites, blogs, eBooks, opt-in emails, SERP, (Search Engine Results Pages. These are the pages displayed by search engines in response to a query by a user. The main component of the SERP is the listing of results that are returned by the SEO in response to a keyword query.) social media.

OUTBOUND MARKETING Pushes OUT messaging at everyone

  • Is written to sell products
  • Is one-way communication
  • Disrupts whatever content is being consumed

Where you see it: TV ads, billboards, pop-up internet ads, telemarketing, magazines

Outbound marketing also referred to as “interruption” or “push” marketing, uses tactics that get a message to a large number of people in an attempt to make a sale.  It’s a one-way conversation that typically focuses on the product and reasons why the audience should buy it. Print/TV/radio advertising, cold calling, direct mail, mass emails, and trade shows.

Pushing messages out isn’t effective anymore because your audience has options and ways to avoid them. Marketers who are still using outbound tactics, exclusively, are asking themselves: 1) “How do we reach buyers who are looking for our solutions?” and 2) “What will it take to turn those prospects into customers?” Hint: Google processes over 3.5 billion searches per day.

What is Inbound Marketing?

While outbound marketing pushes messages to a wide audience, inbound marketing is a “magnetic.” Rather than sending out general messages to uninterested audiences, inbound marketing allows you to attract your best prospects — and those who are actively looking online for solutions. When they get to your website, your goal is to give those prospects help, guidance, and education directly related to the searching they’re doing online.

At the heart of inbound marketing is content: blog or newsletter content, video content, and downloadable (or “advanced”) content offered on a company’s website, such as white papers, product guides, eBooks, tip sheets, and others. When using an inbound approach, you must develop this content to align with specific points of the buyer’s journey:

  • At the beginning of their journey, a buyer is getting familiar with their problem and potential solutions.
  • In the middle, they’re comparing a small set of potential solutions.
  • At the end of their buying journey, they’re doing the required due diligence needed to make a final decision.
  • And then there’s the actual customer experience, where delighted customers can turn into promoters.

There are types of content that align nicely with each of these stages. By creating and offering them via your website, a newsletter, and advanced content, you can supply satisfying educational information needs that prospects have at all points in their journey. And, since a journey is largely conducted online (62% of B2B buyers say they can make a purchase decision based solely on digital content), they’ll find relevant content when doing searches.

Where to begin?  ACP has found the use of robust CRM software makes inbound marketing easy and productive.  HubSpot has helped us define our customer “persona” and allows us to reach prospective customers with higher response rates.  It can do the same for you.

How are you marketing?  Inbound or Outbound?  Would you like to know more about how to start inbound marketing? 

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