HubSpot Platinum Partner helping brands grow faster with predictable and repeatable streams of new leads and customers.
Technology is continuously pushing the marketing industry to new extremes. The old-school marketers watched it happen decades ago with the invention of the telephone, followed by the rise of television and then the complete takeover of the internet. Some would say the last couple of decades have held some of the most memorable advancements in the digital space throughout all of human history.
As the internet evolved to become so deeply integrated into our day-to-day lives, outbound marketers had a field day. They discovered a multitude of new ways to advertise. Those big ideas led to even bigger ideas. Outbound marketing, which was once confined to billboards, TV/radio ads and direct mail, could now be placed directly into the hands of potential customers via their personal devices.
The traditional methods of outbound marketing that once worked so well to capture the attention of audiences and drive traffic to a product or service have lost their effectiveness in recent times. They are now considered too disruptive, invasive or downright annoying. Plus, consumers are finding more ways to easily avoid or block them.
My agency is a HubSpot Platinum Partner that specializes in inbound sales and marketing. I’ve seen firsthand the impact inbound marketing can have on an organization’s marketing initiatives in 2020.
What Is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing, introduced to the industry back in 2005 by HubSpot co-founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, is a collection of digital strategies that focus on bringing the customer to you, instead of you going out to find them. Outbound marketing concentrates all of your efforts on pushing out ads, cold calling and reaching out to inactive customers to see if they’re interested in what you have to offer. Inbound marketing, on the other hand, develops a buzz around your brand so that the customers looking for what you have to offer can easily find it and trust in it enough to make a purchase.
The driving force behind inbound marketing is creating compelling content and positioning that content so that it reaches your target audience and offers value. By developing content that speaks to the interests of your ideal customers, you can organically attract a steady flow of quality leads and nurture them with the proper amount of engagement to convert them into delighted customers.
While outbound marketing tactics attempt to find customers by pushing your message out, inbound marketing strategies home in on messaging that actually brings ideal customers in.
The Advantages of Inbound Marketing Versus Outbound Marketing
Inbound marketing strategies work smarter to align with how customers want to be treated. They conform to the different stages of the buyer’s journey so that you can better understand how to engage with each lead and build stronger, lasting relationships with them. This is only one of the advantages that inbound marketing offers that outbound strategies do not. What else differentiates the two methodologies?
1. The Flywheel Versus The Marketing Funnel
The flywheel paradigm puts customers at the center of your efforts and focuses on improving the customer experience to accelerate the growth of your business.
The marketing funnel is a structure for generating leads and moving them through the sales cycle. It has been used alongside outbound marketing strategies for many years. However, its linear archetype does not take into consideration the way in which consumers shop today.
HubSpot’s flywheel was designed based on the realization that consumers can do their own research before ever even speaking with a representative and, therefore, can enter the sales process at any stage of their buyer’s journey. It also takes into account the modern-day customer’s ability to share their buying experience instantaneously. When you put emphasis on delighting the customer throughout their journey, you help them to become active promoters of your brand and generate more customers.
Inbound marketing goes hand in hand with the flywheel, while outbound strategies fall more in line with the marketing funnel — that is, driving as many leads as possible (no matter the quality) to the top of your funnel, hoping to end up with sales.
2. Permission Versus Interruption
As I mentioned above, outbound marketing can be perceived as disruptive and somewhat annoying. That’s because it is designed to “interrupt” the content that potential customers are viewing in order to gain their attention and speak to their interests. Outbound strategies involve procuring placements for ads on certain mediums and publications that have substantial followings. The hope is that with some strategic planning, some of the viewers will convert into customers.
On the contrary, inbound marketing tactics are permission-based, meaning consumers are already seeking your content or have opted in to receive information from the channels on which your content is published. Strategic content will work to anticipate and answer the questions your potential customers are searching for about your solutions or industry. Keyword targeting leads them straight to your product or service as the best solution.
Permission-based marketing allows you to build trust and offer value to potential customers. Interruption-based marketing is less likely to be effective and has a tendency to work against your efforts by turning the consumer off.
3. Measurable Results
The ability to track and measure your results is a critical aspect of any marketing strategy. Outbound marketing may bring you some quick wins, but those wins are difficult to measure and trace back to a specific tactic or effort. Because of the broad and linear nature of an outbound campaign, there is too much room for error.
Inbound marketing is all digital, which means you can track and measure your efforts to evaluate their effectiveness. Detailed reporting and analysis allow you to assess whether your content is converting leads into customers so that you can continuously optimize and achieve better results.
Outbound marketing is outdated and ineffective. Inbound marketing allows you to generate higher-quality leads, establish longer-lasting relationships with your customers and transform all of your marketing initiatives into momentum-building, customer-converting machines.