Out with outbound and in with inbound: That’s the mantra you may have adopted for your marketing lately. While it’s true outbound techniques are less and less effective, you may find yourself floundering as you make the switch to inbound marketing. More importantly, you may not want to let go of all your outbound efforts just yet.
Whether you’re in the middle of migrating from outbound to inbound marketing, or you’re simply trying a mix of the two, you need to bridge the gap between them. Good news: It’s easier than you think.
What’s the Difference?
Outbound marketing is the more “traditional” sort of marketing people have grown used to seeing: ads in magazines, on billboards, and on TV and before films. When people say “marketing,” they’re often thinking of these tactics. Outbound marketing can also cross over into sales; think about telemarketers calling you up to tell you about a great offer or a new product.
Inbound marketing is about pulling people to your website; they click a link through an email, a Facebook ad, or their own Google searches. In most cases, these people end up on your site because they’re already interested in your product, service, or brand.
Why Can’t They Play Nice?
Some people will have you believe outbound and inbound marketing are mortal enemies who must fight to the death. It’s simply not true! While outbound techniques have become less and less effective over time, they can still support your inbound marketing.
Facebook ads were already mentioned; that’s an outbound technique. While it’s used to create inbound web traffic, it’s different than, say, a Google search. With the Google search, you’re relying on the customer to seek out your brand or product, or something related to it. A Facebook ad is an outreach—you are putting your content or product on the customer’s screen.
Outbound Supports Inbound
It should be clear now: What you need to do is ensure your outbound efforts support your inbound efforts. It’s great to develop exceptional content and put it up on your website, share it through your social media channels, and upload it to YouTube. If you do only that, however, you’re essentially relying on the consumer to stumble across the content and interact with it.
With outbound techniques, you reduce your reliance on the customer. You can place the product, service, or brand somewhere they’re likely to see it. It’s still up to them to determine whether or not they interact with your content, but your outreach efforts are still raising awareness. Next time the consumers search for knowledge on a particular topic, they might search for your firm or blog, knowing they’ve seen a post from you advertised just a couple days before.
Bridging the Gap
So, how exactly do you bridge the gap between inbound and outbound marketing? The two clearly work well together, so why do some people suggest killing outbound marketing and switching solely to inbound?
The answer should be obvious: Outbound marketing efforts must be clearly tied to your inbound efforts. Content needs to be front and center in your strategy—but you can’t simply assume “if you build it, they will come.” There’s a lot of great content out there that doesn’t get any traffic because no one knows it exists. Consumers can’t search for something they don’t know exists.
This is a bit difficult for firms to get their heads around, since outbound marketing has been king for so long; subordinating it to inbound efforts may seem unnatural. It’s not; in fact, it’s the best move you can make if you want to truly maximize your marketing efficiency.