Inbound versus Outbound Marketing

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.” – Henry Ford

Ever since search engine marketing has been around, digital marketers have been touting the advantages of inbound marketing – that is, where customers come to you rather than you reaching out to them. This seems like nirvana to a business, if customers search for your products or services and they find you instead of you paying to find them. The likelihood of such a person buying from you is much greater than if they just happen to see an ad in a newspaper because they were already looking for what you provide. But the truth is, search marketing has been around long before the Internet – people used to search for things in the yellow pages of the phone book, and that could arguably be called inbound marketing as well.

Outbound marketing is the opposite of inbound marketing. Some people refer to this as interruption marketing – this includes things like traditional print advertising, radio, TV, and direct mail. And just like the phone book was the analog equivalent to digital inbound marketing, there is an equivalent in the digital world to these analog modes of traditional marketing as well. Email is certainly a digital form of outbound marketing, the digital equivalent of direct mail. And paid advertising is also a form of outbound marketing, whether it is digital or print. Outbound marketing remains effective because people don’t always know what they need. As Steve Jobs said, “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

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Those who lump all digital marketing into the “inbound bucket” and all traditional marketing into the “outbound bucket” either don’t understand the differences or are still trying to justify why digital marketing is better than traditional marketing. The fact is, there are examples of both inbound and outbound marketing in the old traditional world, just as there are inbound and outbound examples in the digital world. But the truth is that digital marketing will often outperform traditional marketing, regardless of whether you call it inbound or outbound. Here’s why:Digital marketing can be more easily targeted and measured. Let’s say you put out an ad during the Super  Bowl. Two of the biggest advertisers during this event are Budweiser beer and Doritos tortilla chips. Now these are big companies, and they know very well that people watching the super bowl like to drink beer and eat nachos. It is not exactly as if this is an un-targeted audience. But what they don’t know is how many people are influenced by these ads to actually take action. On the other hand, if they put these exact same commercials on YouTube, then offer a click-through incentive to redeem a coupon code on their next purchase, they can now track exactly how well their ad has performed. But what if they could further target these commercials so that just people who were interested in drinking beer or eating nachos saw the ads? Turns out, they can.

I participated in a webinar the other day and the presenter discussed how amateurs tried to build their email lists by blogging, posting on social media, and writing press releases. But professionals grew their email lists by buying the leads through advertising. Trying to do everything organically takes a long time and requires a lot of effort. But today, there are advertising options that will both allow you to grow your business quickly by targeting the exact people you are trying to attract and also be able to track the effectiveness of your ads.

A great way to get started with digital advertising is through the use of Facebook ads, both because of the targeting options they offer as well as how inexpensive this can be. I’m not talking about “boosted posts”, but rather full-blown Facebook ads where you can target the exact demographic of the person you want to reach. Here is an example of an ad we ran for a customer last month.

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Mind you, this is an advertisement – yet people were sharing it with their friends, “liking” or “loving” it, and even commenting on it. (And yes, you should go visit Thirty Below Leather in Estes Park – it really is an amazing store.)  Facebook ads can be incredibly effective – here is what the store owner had to say:

Store was slammed Saturday, and we had one absolutely delighted couple that told us that they came in response to the Facebook ad to her. She bought, and was thrilled to find us. This is October when we are normally slow, but we are running July sales figures. I hired two people recently and am still looking for two more.” Dan Decker, Thirty Below Leather, Estes Park

As I mentioned, the other advantages of digital ads is that you can also track the effectiveness of how well they perform. Facebook actually has the ability to determine how many people walk into your physical store after viewing a Facebook ad. You can also show ads just to people who recently visited your website (or to people who didn’t visit your website). And you can see how many people have clicked on your ad to go to the desired page on your site that is selling the product you are advertising. Here are some real results, from another ad we recently completed for one of our customers:

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Would you like to get an additional 1,274 visitors to your website next month at a cost of only 10 to 13 cents per customer? If you would like to see how effective Facebook ads can be for your business, give WebStores Ltd a call today at 877-924-1414 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

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