When it comes to marketing, you’ve basically got two different types to work with: inbound marketing and outbound marketing. Outbound marketing encompasses things like website pop-ups, direct mail, cold-calling, spam emails, TV and radio commercials, sales fliers, and other traditional forms of advertising. In essence, with outbound marketing, you are trying to attract customers by getting in front of as many people as possible and advertising your stuff, often by interrupting whatever they were doing in the first place and regardless of whether they are interested in hearing about it or not.
So What’s Inbound Marketing?
Glad you asked! Inbound marketing is a different animal entirely. With inbound marketing, you are trying to attract customers by actively going where your target audience is and telling them about what you’ve got. Inbound marketing methods include things like blogs, podcasts, newsletters, or social media platforms like Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook. It’s less invasive and doesn’t usually involve interrupting (and consequently annoying) anyone.
While there is no one size fits all answer to which is really more effective, many businesses – particularly small businesses without large marketing budgets – will find that inbound marketing produces better results, because it allows you to focus your attention and your marketing dollars on the people that are the most likely to be interested in what you’ve got to sell. Instead of paying for an expensive radio ad that a bunch of people will hear, but the vast majority of listeners won’t be interested in at that moment, for example, you can focus your efforts on writing excellent blog posts about what you’ve got, so the people that are actively looking for that can easily find it instead.
By using inbound marketing efforts, you are able to reach out to the people that are already looking for your products, and then all you have to do is show them why they should buy yours over someone else’s – you’re basically starting out with your foot already in the door, and that’s exactly where you want to be.