Those that do not work in the marketing community may not be aware of the debate that has been going on for some time now about the relative merits of outbound and inbound marketing. Large Companies, those that operate on statewide, nationwide or even international levels, tend to ignore the debate and use both techniques, but small businesses do not have that luxury. Small businesses must understand both strategies and which is most likely to produce results for them.
What Is Outbound Marketing?
Outbound Marketing is the traditional marketing method where the goal essentially is to divert your attention from the tasks and concerns of your daily life to a product or service. Methods for this include commercials on radio or television, brochures or letters in the mail or telemarketers. These methods do have the advantage of reaching a large amount of people, but they can often be annoying or inconvenient. As a result, technology has been emerging specifically targeting these marketing methods. For example, many consumers now have some form of a digital video recorder, or DVR, and employ a setting to skip commercials or manually fast forward through them. Cost for these methods is also prohibitive for a small business, even if the potential reach of these traditional methods is appealing.
What Is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound Marketing is a mostly digital method that focuses on drawing the attention of consumers through well-crafted, quality content in a variety of forms, such as blogs, podcasts, ebooks, social media posts, and videos. It is seen as generally friendlier than outbound methods because inbound strategy must earn the attention of the right consumer. That is no easy prospect, and inbound marketing demands a large investment of time and effort to be successful, unlike something like an ad on the radio that just needs to be recorded once. Inbound marketing companies must update content constantly in order to retain user interest and high placement on search engines, a technique called search engine optimization, or SEO. However, the return on investment, or roi, makes the effort and any initial cost well worth it to many. First off, the initial financial investment starts out lower, with inbound leads costing an average of 60% less than outbound ones. Inbound marketing roi can be seen by examining the results of SEO. Leads from SEO have a 14.6% close rate, compared to the 1.7% of outbound methods. Furthermore, in the case of local searches, 80% lead to purchase, and, of those purchases, 73% are in the actual brick-and-mortar store.
The Conclusion for Small Businesses
Without the massive marketing budgets of larger companies, outbound marketing is either out of reach to many small businesses or, if they can afford some investment in this method, would produce more results by putting that money into the hiring of one of the inbound marketing companies. Although there certainly are business owners that conduct their own inbound marketing campaign, inbound marketing companies have the experience, manpower and tools to create a far more successful campaign than a small business owner attempting this for the first time. For those that need such services, an online search will produce ample results, but, as with all products ad services, do not settle for the first you find. Compare price and included services of at least three inbound marketing companies and find the right choice.