Inbound versus outbound marketing


You are likely to be familiar with the terms inbound and outbound marketing but may be unsure which is the best for your business and how to allocate your budget and resources proportionately. 


Both forms of marketing are used to drive customers to your door, but they do it in very different ways. 


Let’s start by looking at what each method means… 


Outbound marketing 

This is the traditional form of marketing where you would promote your product or service to your desired target market. The aim is to educate your prospects as to why they need to choose what you have to offer and to get your foot in the door for a meeting to gain their custom. 


Outbound comes in many forms including TV/radio advertising, direct marketing, cold calling and attending trade shows. It’s an invasive way of marketing as you’re uninvited and are actively chasing potential customers. 


With developments in modern technology, it has become increasingly difficult to reach people as their tolerance for being interrupted has lessened and their ability to block these interruptions out in more efficient ways has increased. 


Sales and marketing teams would normally work separately with marketing claiming not to have enough budget and sales complaining they didn’t have enough leads. This was how the world worked for decades. 


Inbound marketing 

People don’t want to be interrupted anymore! So inbound advocates a different style of communicating with prospects. You create your own traffic by attracting, connecting, engaging, nurturing and ultimately delighting your audience. 


Inbound focuses on engaging people by writing (or sometimes filming) pieces of content that helps readers to grow or solve a problem they have, building a relationship. Your content is cleverly deployed on social media using relevant longtail keywords and linking to dedicated pages on your website. This demonstrates that you understand and can fix people’s challenges as you have for others. 


Your prospects should find your content relevant and interesting enough that they want to see more and more of it and will continue to visit and engage with your brand. Once you know who they are, you can start treating them in a personalised manner and be proactive as opposed to reactive to their needs. 


There is software available such as market automation and sales automation systems that can aid in the process of attracting and engaging. They also complete the feedback loop to tell you if you have the right type of materials/content/assets to bridge gaps in communication. Such a system helps to align sales and marketing, as winning over these prospects is a joint effort and the inbound methodology very much promotes the two teams working in harmony. 


Inbound can work more effectively on a smaller budget than traditional outbound marketing but it takes time, patience and good editing skills to get right as the content must be compelling. 


Our approach 

At Secret Source our experience tells us that sometimes you still have to interrupt people in order to be heard as there is so much noise out in the marketplace. 


It can be difficult to build trust solely with the web as sometimes nothing beats meeting people, shaking hands and having a chat in person. You can also use inbound marketing to get to this point too, building up a rapport and encouraging your prospects to find your business appealing enough that they want to meet with you and give up their time to do so. 


Working with our clients, we look at their specific challenges and objectives, mixing inbound with the strongest and most relevant elements of outbound marketing. This ensures our clients, whether large or small get the best return from their investment. 


To find out more about how Secret Source could help build the right strategy for your business, contact us by e-mailing, phone us on 01522 700266 or leave your details below and we’ll be in touch. 


Written by Nick Carlson