For most B2B companies, it’s important to focus on both inbound marketing and outbound marketing. These distinctive approaches are complementary in many ways, so if you use both efficiently, you can maximize your brand visibility and ultimately reach more people.
However, splitting your time and resources between these differentiated approaches can be a difficult balancing act to practice.
How do you split your time effectively between inbound and outbound marketing?
Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing for B2B Growth
First, let’s analyze the distinctive features of inbound and outbound marketing in a B2B context.
Inbound marketing is a set of different strategies all designed to naturally attract people to your business. These strategies work together synergistically, boosting the visibility of your brand, increasing the number of channels on which it appears, improving your reputation, and ultimately building consumer awareness and trust.
Among the most popular inbound marketing strategies are things like search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, and social media marketing. If you’re familiar with these strategies, you understand how effectively they support each other.
Inbound marketing strategies have unique advantages, including:
Many marketers are drawn to the world of inbound marketing because it’s incredibly cost-effective. Producing content doesn’t cost much. Posting on social media doesn’t cost anything. And while you probably won’t see immediate results from these types of efforts, they have a permanent and accumulating effect; most of the assets you produce here are going to be indefinitely relevant and valuable to your brand, boosting its visibility and reputation for years to come. Overall, inbound marketing strategies are capable of attracting upwards of millions of people to your website for a relatively small amount of money.
People also appreciate how scalable inbound marketing is. Even if you work at a snail’s pace, producing only one new piece of content every week, as long as you’re consistent in your efforts, you’ll eventually have a gigantic archive of content to support your brand. And if you’re willing to spend a bit more money, you can accomplish a year’s worth of work in a week. Similarly, small startups and large enterprises alike can benefit from inbound marketing – as long as they know their niche.
Inbound marketing is also appealing to some because it’s a bit more natural and organic. Instead of calling a prospect and trying to convince them to buy a product they’ve never heard of before, you’ll be appealing to people who are already conducting organic searches for your type of product. It makes it much easier to build trust, establish rapport, and land sales – even if you can’t reach everyone this way.
Most of your inbound marketing work is going to be contextually targeted. In other words, your materials are going to be relevant to the people seeing them. This isn’t necessarily the case with certain outbound marketing strategies like cold calling or cold emailing.
Finally, inbound marketing strategies are tactically diverse. SEO isn’t the same as social media, and neither of these strategies is the same as content marketing. You can use one, some, or all inbound marketing strategies together, based on your needs.
In contrast, outbound marketing is a set of different strategies, all designed to reach people in your target demographics and deliberately market or sell to them. These strategies are capable of reaching total strangers, attempting to persuade them by showcasing your unique value or overcoming their key objections.
Among the most popular outbound marketing strategies are things like cold calling, cold emailing, and targeted advertising. These strategies can be used individually or as part of a bigger, more comprehensive sales funnel, designed to generate B2B leads over time.
Outbound marketing strategies also have unique advantages, including:
One of the most important drawbacks of inbound marketing is that it takes a long time to develop. But with outbound marketing, you can see results almost immediately. As long as you have a coherent strategy and a talented team of people to execute that strategy, tactics like cold calling can land you sales today.
Capable of Broader Reach
Inbound marketing benefits from being contextually relevant, but at the cost of alienating at least some other people. In contrast, outbound marketing is capable of a much broader reach. If you’re trying to grow your business, or simply reach as many people as possible, outbound marketing becomes a practical necessity.
It’s possible to use inbound marketing materials to target groups of people based on past interest, search history, and other relevant details. But with…