Inbound and outbound marketing are both complementary strategies to win new customers. Let’s understand the stakes and see together the strategies to implement for 2022.
Inbound marketing: definition and mechanism
Inbound marketing is defined as a very effective marketing strategy to attract new customers. It is no longer you as a professional who go looking for customers, they come to you. What is inbound marketing and how to implement it in your company?
Definition of inbound marketing
Inbound marketing is different from outbound marketing. Here, it is not a question of going out and looking for a prospect but rather of letting them come to us. How does it work? By implementing a content strategy specifically designed for your targets. You’ll generate interest based on their needs and the evolution of the buying journey. Once the attention is captured, it’s a matter of converting these prospects into leads and turning them into customers. This strategy is not only for B2C customers.
In the B2B sector, many professionals are looking for service providers on the web. Inbound marketing makes sense and allows you to develop your leads and sales by reducing your paid acquisition costs (Facebook Ads, Adwords…).
Mechanism of inbound marketing
There are 4 key steps in the inbound marketing strategy:
- Attracting visitors: start by defining your buyers personas and target your potential visitors with content that directly concerns them. Consider a keyword strategy to improve your SEO. This will allow you to generate quality traffic with visitors who have a definite interest in your business.
- Convert visitors into leads: offer premium and quality content to your visitors (white paper, free audit, webinair…) in order to get contact information such as an email address. Put in place on your website and your platforms many CTA (Call To Action) inviting them to take action. They can be present on landing pages, contact forms, a pop-up..
- Turn leads into customers: it is now time to pamper your new leads to turn them into customers. To do this, you will distribute personalized content highlighting your expertise, while guiding them through their buying journey. Inbound marketing relies on marketing automation, lead scoring and lead nurturing.
- Retain new customers: acquiring new customers takes time and has a certain cost, which is why it is important to turn your satisfied customers into ambassadors of your brand. Their opinions and recommendations will convince prospects to use your services.
Outbound marketing: definition and mechanism
Outbound marketing is one of the traditional forms of marketing. It is you who goes directly to the customer unlike inbound marketing.
Definition of outbound marketing
It is a strategy that pushes the consumer to buy your products or services. Outbound marketing is part of the traditional marketing methods. You solicit visitors through traditional media such as canvassing, mailing, press, SMS or billboard advertising.
Outbound marketing is completely different from inbound marketing which requires you to create content to attract prospects.
Mechanism of outbound marketing
Outbound marketing is a very effective tool, here are its main mechanisms:
- Sales prospecting: this first phase is designed to attract new visitors and guide them through a buying journey. Social networks are an excellent entry point to contact your prospects.
- Paid advertisements : tools like Facebook Ads or Google Ads allow you to broadcast ads on different locations.
- E-mailing or prospecting on LinkedIn: in B2B marketing, using direct mail to contact your prospects within an organization is a great way to stand out. Use personalized messages to capture the attention of recipients.
- Trade events: Attending trade shows or conferences is a great way to find qualified prospects. Prepare the necessary tools that will set you apart from your competitors.
What are the inbound and outbound marketing levers?
Inbound and outbound marketing are complementary and can be very effective when used in synergy.
The levers of inbound marketing
- Blog posts: they give you the opportunity to communicate about your products, your brand, your offers by highlighting your expertise.
- Emailing: once you have your prospect’s email address, send personalized emails in line with your customers’ expectations.
- Social networks: regularly publish relevant content to engage your community and attract new customers.
- Content: your content must be of high quality and informative to attract the attention of your prospects and establish your expertise. This can be white papers, infographics, podcasts..
The levers of outbound marketing
- Sponsored content: this includes all advertisements on advertising spaces such as display or social networks.
- Advertising inserts: these are used in both print and digital media. They appear on websites or social networks.
- Retargeting: this technique allows you to send advertising content to prospects who have visited your website.
- cold email: this involves sending emails to highly identified targets to encourage prospects to contact you to talk about how your product/service can meet their needs.
- Google Ads campaigns: by buying specific keywords related to your activity, you can appear at the top of the list of Google ads.
Advantages / Disadvantages of inbound vs outbound marketing
These two strategies have both advantages and disadvantages, let’s see them together.
Advantages and disadvantages of inbound marketing
- Advantages: you provide your visitors with useful and quality content that highlights your expertise. You gain notoriety and build trust with your customers by answering their questions. SEO optimized content brings traffic to your website and social networks. You create a brand by showing your identity and expertise.
- Disadvantages: an inbound content strategy requires a large investment in time and money to be of high quality. The benefits of this strategy can only be seen after several months. It is also necessary to involve various professions to optimize your overall strategy: website designer, editor, SEO expert, community manager, copywriter, graphic designer..
Advantages and disadvantages of outbound marketing
- Advantages: it allows you to increase your notoriety and to have a much larger target to gain new customers. You target visitors who do not know your company and who are likely to be interested in your products and services. It is rather simple to set up and the results are relatively fast to allow you to bounce back.
- Disadvantages: the return on investment is generally good and fast. For display ads, adblockers make it difficult to contact customers. It is necessary to know your typical customer if you want to have a good return on investment.
Inbound allows you to work on the long term, your brand, your product and to enlarge your addressable universe. On the other hand, outbound allows you to move forward quickly. The results of one and the other are multiplied tenfold when you work on both at the same time. Indeed, the more you are known, the more your target will respond to your emails (inbound to outbound). On the other hand, having quality content allows you to break the ice more easily in outbound by sharing this content.
Some examples of inbound marketing strategies
Inbound marketing is used in many companies to optimize their presence on the web. Let’s take a look at Hubpost and Saleforce.
The Hubspot strategy
Hubspot is a company that develops inbound solutions for marketing, sales and customer support teams. The company uses a professional blog to distribute informative content to their visitors. It also offers ebooks, free training, methodologies and support services.
Hubspot’s strategy is based on good customer knowledge and a clear content funnel:
- Attract: highlighting products and services, and working on brand awareness. Hubspot identifies the problems of its readers and proposes content that answers their questions.
- Convert : implementation of various levers to convert prospects (content, social media, emailing, landing pages, seo, sea, …) with the presence of CTA and call to action.
- Close: email marketing communication with product and service promotion. These offers encourage prospects to take the plunge.
- Delight : development of loyalty through a presence on social media and regular content publications on the blog. Live chat to answer live questions
Saleforce is a software company based in San Francisco, California. They distribute software and application hosting solutions for businesses. To attract new customers, Saleforce offers innovative and search engine optimized content, but also social media and blogging. Their strategy is to offer content that is 90% customer-focused and only 10% product-focused. The company has seen an increase in traffic and leads.
Salesforce bases its strategy on the customer experience:
- Attract: with a strong knowledge of its customers, Salesforce anticipates the needs of businesses by offering various products adapted to different strategies Create targeted content for prospects
- Convert : Implement various conversion levers with free virtual events, blog posts, demo videos, online courses, and more
- Close : 30-day free trial offer for potential customers and email communication.
- Delight: development of solutions for businesses to maximize their sales. Fast communication via online chat.
Some examples of outbound marketing strategies
The outbound prospecting strategy becomes the sinews of war during the sales cycle to grow your list of leads. It is used to contact “cold” prospects or those who need to be warmed up. However, it requires sales resources to be effective. Know that prospecting is one of the channels that can be partly optimized and automated through cold emailing or automated prospecting on LinkedIn.
Create a customer file with derrick to contact growing companies.
The Derrick application offers you the possibility to create a customer file to contact specific companies related to your business sector. There are several methods to retrieve reliable and quality data from LinkedIn:
- Scraping: it allows you to retrieve data to build a prospecting file. By entering a first and last name, the tool is able to find information about the person you are looking for.
- Data enrichment it is possible to update a prospect file in order to optimize your processes within the marketing and sales departments. This allows you to carry out effective prospecting campaigns afterwards.
- Account based marketing b2B strategy: the above methods are used to implement this form of B2B strategy by creating personalized digital campaigns on high value-added prospects.
Inbound vs outbound for whom?
Everything opposes them, yet by learning how to use them effectively, inbound and outbound marketing are an ultimate weapon for your business. What is the best strategy for B2B and B2C customers?
- B2B customers: for this type of profile, the two strategies are complementary. First, your sales teams contact prospects by implementing outbound marketing through direct contact by email, phone or by prospecting on linkedin. This technique is much faster and less expensive to start with. Once the outbound strategy is in place you can start developing your inbound strategy by positioning yourself as an expert in your field. Create exclusive, quality and attractive content, while using SEO techniques to appear in the top SERP results.
- B2C customers: subject to aggressive advertising on a daily basis, this type of customer does not appreciate outbound marketing. It is therefore more interesting to implement an inbound strategy that will bring the customer directly to you. The process is longer to set up but it is very effective in the long term. Nevertheless, it is possible to recontact your users via transactional marketing emails, nurturing to spread your brand or allow them to take advantage of special offers, events,..
By implementing a global strategy, you can mix these two types of strategy to maximize your distribution. Outbound marketing offers quick results and inbound marketing makes your results last. Do not hesitate to test and optimize if necessary to find the right balance.