Inbound marketing vs Outbound Marketing

Brad Harris | 2 June 2016

struto-pioneering-inbound-the-answer-to-increasing-roi.jpgVenturing into new terrains is what we were made for. It's why you began a business or became a marketer - to pioneer... and that's just what inbound marketing gives you. The chance to pioneer and venture forward. The question is, "Is it worth it?".

Since inbound marketing first came onto the scene, marketers and business owners have been deliberating which direction to walk: inbound or outbound. It’s a question of pioneering into new and exciting territory or trying to remain warm in the comfort your home, which you know so well. I'm sure that Sir Ranulph Fiennes himself likes the comfort of his couch at home... until he's promised the idea of a great new land to discover where things are bigger and warmer.

That's why it's important to ask these questions: “What do inbound marketers do differently?” and “How can inbound increase ROI?”. As with any expedition into the unknown, you’ve got to start by doing your research.

Will You Pioneer, or No?

What is Inbound and What is Outbound?

Inbound marketing is a stark contrast to traditional outbound marketing. That's because outbound marketing pushes messages out to consumers, throwing ideas at them in brochures, cold calls and advertisements, just to see what might stick. But this approach slowly has eroded and lost traction. That's why inbound marketing has risen up, because as business owners and marketers, we couldn't sit back and wait for our marketing to be effective. No, we needed to pioneer a new way of marketing, and what came about was the idea to instead pull leads and customers into your business by channels like blogging, SEO, GDD website builds, and strong analytics.

I know what you're thinking... sometimes you wonder about those adventurous souls climbing Everest and think, "But was it necessary?". I can't speak for them, but here's some reasons why the marketing world needs some pioneering:

  • 71% of adults buy a product online.* 
  • 91% of adults use a search engine to find information.*
  • 78% of adults look for information online about a product or a service they're thinking of buying.*
  • 66% of adults use a social networking site like Facebook, LinkedIn or Google Plus.*
* Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project Tracking surveys (March 2000–February 2012). (Please note that the wording for some items has been abbreviated)

The above is based on a US population, yet it translates well over the rest of the developed world. Looking at facts like these, it's obvious that outbound marketing has been outgrown by the new digitally-reliant consumer. Outbound marketing has become less effective as buyers have evolved, because traditional interruptive campaigns are being tuned out and consumers are doing the research themselves - buying things they really care about and understand. 

The only way to have any idea of your marketing course is to pack a backpack full of these hard facts (and maybe some good shoes). The Internet has changed how people discover the world, share the news they find, and shop. Inbound marketing is the reaction to this - instead of throwing out information and waiting for consumers to react to it, we engage with issues and solutions that consumers are already discussing and experiencing. Fitting right into their digital experience, because they are now more likely to seek you out than pay attention to a flyer through the post box.

But, like Fiennes probably asked before he climbed Everest, what any business owner really wants to know is: "What does it cost?", "What will it get me?" and "How will I measure my success?". Well, let's look into those questions.

Inbound vs Outbound Marketing: What's the Difference?

1. Cost

The average inbound lead costs 61% less than outbound leads. In fact, 3 out 4 inbound marketing channels cost less than any outbound channel. 

Inbound leads cost about one third of the cost of outbound leads, and in fact almost all inbound marketing strategies are cheaper than outbound strategies. The main reason for this is that inbound marketing is heavily built and reliant on data to drive its strategy. This means that you're less likely to go climb a mountain for naught, and most endeavours will yield the result you hope for. 

2. Leads and Conversions

Inbound marketing strategies are 10x more effective than outbound strategies for lead generation, and they double the average site conversion rate.

On average, inbound doubles the site average site conversion rate from 6% to 12%, and most inbound strategies produce 54% more leads than any outbound strategy. Inbound produces far higher leads and conversion rates than outbound practices. HubSpot's State of Inbound Report 2014 reported 45% of participants claim inbound as their primary lead source (only 22% claimed this for outbound, which is a sharp drop from 34% in the previous year).

3. Measurable ROI

An astounding 79% of companies that blog can boast positive ROI for inbound marketing.

Okay, so inbound is cheaper and produces better results. But, can you track your success and measure your return on investment? Of course you can, and when you do you'll find that you're increasing ROI. Because inbound relies so heavily on data and analysis to function, identifying the correct data and metrics to measure your marketing performance is simple. In fact, inbound makes it necessary, because in order for inbound to work properly, you should always be collecting your marketing data, analysing it, and adjusting your approach accordingly. 

It's quite revolutionary, really. Inbound marketing allows you to see exactly which marketing efforts are producing paid customers, and tracks ROI right down to the keyword on each marketing campaign.

Why Inbound? 

It's all about approaching your target buyer personas they way they want to be approached, meeting their needs, addressing their pain points and doing it all in the smartest way possible. Maybe you've even considered trying inbound marketing out, but found yourself wondering exactly how this approach was going to see your ROI taking a turn for the better.  

5 Ways Inbound Marketing Uplifts Your ROI 

1. It's a Lead Generation Machine

Inbound marketing finds it's primary focus in one area; generating more leads. It focuses its attention on using content creation to reach out to target audiences with greater efficacy. Consider this statistic by Exact Target, which states that 80% of business decision makers prefer to get information in a series of articles versus an advertisement. And that 61% of consumers say they feel better about a company that delivers custom content and are also more likely to buy from that company. These are just a few of the statistics that prove the value of inbound marketing. Whether it's blogging, eBooks, emails, landing pages or custom Calls-to-Action, inbound marketing activities hold the key to generating better leads. 

2. It's Data-Focused, so You Gain Greater Insight 

While traditional marketing activities are often determined by the marketers' personal preferences and judgement calls, inbound marketing is measurable provided you implement the right tools for the job. Using marketing automation and CRM management software like HubSpot helps you generate a ton of data, and sort through it, so that you can get insight into the areas of your marketing that are working, and those that aren't. This data is also useful for convincing management of your need for an increase in your marketing budget, and to prove the worth of your marketing team. It also means you're able to see precisely how your marketing budget is being spent, and how much those efforts are effecting your profits. 

3. It Drives You to Better Your Marketing Efforts 

Because inbound marketing generates plenty of quantifiable data, it makes it possible to highlight areas where your marketing has room for improvement. When you've got clearly defined areas to work on, it motivates you to improve your efforts, a process further encouraged by the data to show how your efforts to improve are paying off. Improved marketing efforts ultimately means better qualified leads, and a greater chance of converting those leads to customers. 

4. It Costs Less 

Inbound marketing is significantly cheaper then its traditional counterpart, and when compared with the results it offers adopters, it's ROI is far greater. It can be daunting trying something new, but inbound marketing is a proven marketing approach guaranteed to provide better and more qualified lead generation. 

5. It Builds Better Customer Relationships 

Because inbound marketing focusses on your target buyer personas so extensively, you are able to build long-lasting relationships with customers based one multiple prior interactions. You gain better insight into their pain points and needs, and are able to touch base with them more often, all of which works to secure better relationships between you and your clients. 

So if you haven't considered inbound marketing, maybe it's time you gave it a try. Get in touch with us if you'd like to chat about it, we'd love to hear from you! 


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