Overview of Inbound and Outbound Marketing

Digital marketers have a number of marketing instruments at hand to increase traffic of potential customers at their website or store, so that they turn them into buying customers. We classify them broadly into inbound marketing and outbound marketing:

  • Inbound marketing - A business method that attracts customers by creating valuable content and experiences that are specifically tailored to them.

  • Outbound marketing - A business method that uses various strategies to reach out to a large number of people.

Inbound marketing aims at attracting customers who have an inherent interest in the brand to visit the firm’s website in a more passive manner – it is pull marketing. Inbound marketing techniques include Search Engine Optimization where you optimize your website so that customers looking for the products you sell can find you easily at search engines. The blogs and podcasts made by the firms and picked up interested buyers can attract them to visit the website. Similarly, content marketing helps to create and distribute valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract the audience of interest to visit the firm’s website. Having mobile apps helps potential customers to connect with the firm when they need to. Social media marketing and viral marketing leading to strong word of mouth attracts potential customers to visit the firm’s website.

Outbound marketing is pushing the firm’s message to the customers, intercepting them wherever they are and whatever they are doing. These include the familiar TV, radio and print; direct mailers, outbound call centers, online display ads, paid search ads, and affiliate marketing (which is someone or some firm promoting your product or sending a referral to your website for a commission).

There are a few marketing instruments which fall in between – like e-mail (could be blasted out or could be sent permission-based to a loyal customer), paid search where customers may come of their own volition, native display ads (we will see what it is later) and social media, where a message could be blasted out but also could become viral and attract customers.

Source: MaryLand Smith University

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