Inbound Vs. Outbound Web Marketing

How do you generate web leads for your business? It’s a simple question, but if you ask 10 different businesses you’ll get 10 different answers. The way you generate leads will determine your overall sales, to a large degree.

There are, essentially, two broad categories of lead generation: outbound and inbound. Each has its merits, and each has its challenges.

Outbound marketing

Outbound marketing utilizes a number of potential tools to generate leads, such as:

  • Trade show presence
  • Email marketing to a purchased list
  • Telemarketing, either internal or outsourced
  • Advertising

These techniques have proven effective over the years. They involve putting out your message in as wide a burst as possible.

However, there is evidence to suggest that these methods may be losing some effectiveness. Today’s consumer is bombarded with an average of 2,000 of these outbound marketing messages each day, making it that much harder for yours to stand out from the crowd.

Add in the creative ways consumers are filtering these messages – including things like spam filters, DVR, or even caller ID, and you begin to see the problem.

Inbound marketing

In contrast, inbound marketing uses methods to draw customers in. It targets those people who are already interested in your niche. They might be consumers doing some product research, or they might simply be interested in the industry.

Inbound marketing relies on the Internet to pull in visitors in an organic fashion. It uses tools such as search engines, blogs, social media, and more to drive customers to their website. More than simply a website about your company or an online story, your site becomes something of an information hub in your niche.

Inbound marketing can be tremendously effective because it brings in customers who are already interested in buying in your niche. It’s more focused than outbound marketing. It looks not only at your target audience, but the particular subset of your target audience that is ready to make a purchase.

Which is better?

To be truly effective, you need a mix of inbound and outbound marketing.

That said, inbound marketing proves most effective, especially as consumers become more and more adept at filtering outbound messages.

Your relative degree of success will depend on the ratio between the two. If you pour the vast majority of your efforts into inbound marketing, you’re going to achieve higher results.