It’s no longer enough for a successful business to rely upon the old business-to-business (B2B) marketing strategies; you can’t expect to effectively buy, beg, or bug your way in the door of prospective customers. The decline of Outbound Marketing of this type doesn’t mean the end of effective marketing, however, as this decline has been paired with the rise of a new concept, a new system of best practices, proven tactics, and measurable marketing strategies to attract buyers: Inbound Marketing. Not sure what the difference is, how it impacts your business, and how to stay on top of this evolution? Read on.
The Difference Between Outbound and Inbound Marketing
To put it in the simplest terms, the difference between Outbound Marketing and Inbound Marketing is this: Outbound Marketing seeks to get the attention of the masses, to pierce the veil of apathy surrounding a potential prospect in the wild and make an impact. You need to get past years of conditioning to avoid and ignore marketing efforts, which is becoming increasingly difficult and extremely expensive (more on that in a moment).
Inbound Marketing, by contrast, positions you and your company to be discovered by those already seeking more information, a product or service to buy, and a marketer to sell to them. You don’t have to bypass the veil of apathy because the prospect has already lowered it. You’re selling to people who want to buy, by positioning yourself to be their best source of knowledge, answers and meaningful value.
Why Outbound Is Failing
Every single day, millions of marketers bombard uninterested prospects with outbound B2B marketing strategies, hammering away endlessly, hoping to slip through and create a new lead. But with each passing year, those prospects grow less interested in your approaches, more inundated in noise and nonsense, and less open to traditional marketing approaches (direct mail, junk email, telemarketing, cold calls, print ads, radio ads, TV ads, etc.).
Add in countless tools which exist solely to separate the masses from marketers, and it’s no wonder Outbound has lost its edge. The tactics of yesteryear worked spectacularly for a time, but that time is rapidly coming to an end.
Why Inbound is the Future
The modern buyer knows how to look for what they want. They hop on their favorite search engine and start to hunt for answers — researching the problem, browsing the industry, finding products, browsing companies, reading reviews, checking prices and more. Buyers have become more informed and quicker to reach out, which means there’s an opportunity available to businesses savvy enough to take those outstretched hands.
By positioning your website to be easily found by those searchers, to answer the questions they have, to inform them on the topics they care about with content they’ll want to come back for, you don’t just create leads, your forge them into the buyers you want. Inbound doesn’t just give you better ins to prospects, it makes those prospects better buyers.
Adapting to Inbound
Redesigning for an Inbound approach can seem like a daunting task, but it’s not insurmountable by any means. Savvy companies should already have websites which lend themselves well to an Inbound approach with a little tweaking. You’ll want to make sure your buyer personas, content, landing pages, and CTAs are all up to par. Carefully structure your page layouts to strip away distractions and encourage a certain pattern of engagement — converting leads from ‘strangers’ to ‘qualified leads’ over time. Be patient; they’re coming to you, so you can afford to take the slow route.
Outbound Marketing still has a place in the modern marketing habitat. Mixed with Inbound principals, Outbound Marketing efforts can bring in a broader audience already primed by the good things they’ve heard from your Inbound prospects. But be wary of wasting too much time and money on Outbound in your B2B marketing strategy — use your time and budget wisely, and secure your company’s future.