Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing: How to Combine Them to Create an Effective B2B Strategy

Inbound marketing is one of the most effective ways of reaching and engaging your target audience. By creating valuable content and making it easy for your ideal customers to find, you can get their attention and win their trust.

However, inbound marketing alone is not always enough to ensure success in the B2B world. To win the attention of busy decision-makers, you must combine inbound and outbound marketing strategies.

Let’s explore the difference between inbound and outbound marketing, and show you how to combine them to create a strong marketing strategy for your B2B business. 

The difference between inbound and outbound marketing

You often hear the terms “inbound marketing” and “outbound marketing”, but what do they really mean, who do they target and what techniques do they include? Let’s look at inbound vs outbound marketing and the benefits of each: 

What Is Inbound Marketing?

With inbound marketing, businesses strive to attract customers’ attention through organic content rather than paid advertising. Once they have gained the prospect’s attention, they nurture the relationship and work to earn their business. This type of marketing can be very effective, but it doesn’t always work for all types of businesses. Therefore, it is important to consider the pros and cons before deciding if inbound marketing is right for your strategy.

The pros and cons of inbound marketing

The main advantage of inbound marketing is that it tends to be more cost-effective than traditional paid marketing techniques, such as print ads. Additionally, inbound marketing can be very useful in building relationships with customers and generating leads. 

But inbound marketing does require a significant investment of time and resources. To be successful, you need to produce high-quality content on a regular basis and work hard to promote it across the web. Inbound marketing can also be very competitive; with so many businesses vying for customer attention, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd.

What is Outbound Marketing?

Outbound marketing refers to any marketing that involves reaching out to potential customers, rather than waiting for them to come to you. It can take many forms, from cold calling and direct mail to online ads and events. As with inbound marketing, there are also pros and cons to outbound marketing.

The pros and cons of outbound marketing

On the plus side, outbound marketing is very effective in generating leads and reaching a wide audience with your message. It’s also relatively easy to track results, so you can quickly see what’s working and what’s not.

But outbound marketing can be expensive. There’s also the risk of coming across as pushy or intrusive when implementing strong outbound marketing methods.

Which strategy should you use?

While some businesses are successful by implementing only one strategy, either inbound or outbound marketing, you have a higher chance of great results by combining the two. By combing inbound marketing and outbound marketing, you can reach a wider audience and increase your chances of attracting new business.

5 Tips for Combining Inbound Marketing and Outbound Marketing

By using a mix of both marketing strategies, brands can reach more potential customers, build better relationships, and close more sales. Here are five tips for combining inbound and outbound marketing to create one powerful marketing strategy.

1.   Repurpose marketing assets created for your inbound program.

You can do persona research and document the buyer’s journey prior to launching an inbound marketing program. These techniques help to hone in on your target audience and identify the path they take as they move toward your product or service. The insights you gain and the content you produce as a result can also be used to create highly targeted outbound messaging.

2. Integrate inbound and outbound methods to attract new audiences.

While inbound marketing is seen as the gold standard for lead generation, traditional outbound marketing can also attract new prospects. You can attract potential customers to the content you develop for your inbound program in your outbound program and, ultimately, create a strong funnel for leads. 

For example, to help promote an upcoming product release, you can launch an outbound paid ad program on different platforms. Some of your target audience will click directly on the ad, while others may Google your brand name to learn more about you. The content you’ve produced as part of your inbound strategy will show up in the search results, directing these prospects to specific web or landing pages that match their searches. In this case, the paid ads (outbound) lead to inbound traffic.

3.   Make the most of marketing automation platforms to maximize the return for both your inbound and outbound efforts.

Today’s marketing automation platforms do so much more than just automate repetitive marketing tasks. Platforms such as Mautic and Marketo allow you to integrate data enrichment tools to help you identify unknown visitors, and set up lead-scoring programs that allow your sales team to prioritize leads. These platforms become a marketing machine that captures and nurtures prospects, regardless of which strategy brought them to your site.

 Automation turns your marketing into a marketing machine

4.   Use outbound marketing to drive sales and conversions.

Outbound marketing allows you to deliver targeted bottom-of-the-funnel content and product ads, specifically in cases such as paid display and social ads, customized offers, and one-on-one messaging. These help to address buyer concerns and help your prospects justify sales, to them and their stakeholders. The key is to make sure your offers are highly relevant to your target audience and positioned in a way that makes it easy for them to take action.

5.   Continuously measure and optimize your results.

Inbound and outbound strategies should be tracked to understand how your efforts are performing. Specifically, you are looking to understand which strategy generated website sessions, the quality of that traffic, and the impact on sales metrics. You will also want to look at content performance and try to understand which topics and content types work better for inbound versus outbound. The key is to use data from your marketing programs to improve your strategy over time.

When used with relevant, high-quality content, your inbound and outbound combination strategy becomes a powerful lead-generation tool that gets your offerings in front of your ideal audience.

Need help developing your marketing strategy?

If you’re looking for a comprehensive marketing strategy that uses both inbound and outbound tactics to reach, engage, and nurture your target audience, we can help. Our team of experts has experience developing and executing B2B marketing plans and would be happy to chat with you about what strategies would work best for your business. Schedule a free call with us today.

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