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  • Writer's pictureClaire Elbrow

Inbound or outbound marketing for small businesses?

Inbound marketing and outbound marketing are two different strategies used to attract customers to a business.

Inbound marketing focuses on creating valuable content and experiences to attract potential business customers. Inbound marketing includes activities such as blogs, social media, email newsletters, and search engine optimization (SEO). Inbound marketing aims to attract and engage potential customers by providing them with valuable information and experiences that they find helpful and relevant. This content creates and expands brand awareness and can generate new leads, particularly if linked to downloadable customer content as this content will invariably require a potential customer to share an email address.

On the other hand, outbound marketing is a more traditional form of marketing that involves pushing a message out to potential customers. Outbound marketing includes activities like magazines, newspapers, billboards, television and radio ads, event sponsorships, tradeshow presentations, direct mail such as flyer drops, product placement, telemarketing, and cold calling. It may also include digital or online activities such as the use of lead generation software, social media advertising, ads retargeting, video ads similar to, say, YouTube advertising, PayPerClick or PPC advertising, display advertising, and paid search ads.

Inbound marketing is focused on attracting or pulling potential customers through content and experiences. In contrast, outbound marketing pushes a message out to potential customers through advertising and other methods.

Most small businesses or charities' first marketing activities will lie with inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is usually better aligned with today's buyers, who research solutions before they speak to a brand.

What are the benefits of inbound marketing?

Lower costs

Employing inbound marketing enables you to engage in marketing tactics that cost less and are more effective than traditional outbound marketing tactics. According to Hubspot, not only is the acquisition cost per lead is 67% lower than leads generated by outbound marketing, but inbound marketing tactics have a higher ROI than outbound marketing.

Creates brand loyalty

Inbound marketing attracts the right audience to your business like a magnet and connects with them more effectively. Most buyers today research the products and services that they need long before contacting a company. If someone is spending time reading your blog, downloading your white papers or articles and joining your email list, they are making a commitment to your brand. When you build brand loyalty, these warm prospects are more far likely to contact you when they are ready to buy.

Builds trust

When you provide helpful information, solve a problem and answer questions with no strings attached, you develop a more personal relationship that helps potential customers decide whether to do business with you or not.

Expands your reach

For many small businesses, reaching a broad audience using outbound marketing is unattainable due to the cost. Attracting potential customers to your website with quality content can help small businesses reach a broader, more geographically dispersed audience. If your company can serve customers nationally or internationally, inbound marketing is a must for your business, but local companies benefit too.

Now that you understand what inbound marketing is and how it can help your small business, it's time to think about your inbound marketing strategy and develop your inbound marketing plan.

Developing an effective inbound marketing strategy requires careful planning and execution.

Here are some steps that a small business can take to devise an inbound marketing strategy:

  1. Define your target audience: The first step in creating an inbound marketing strategy is identifying your target audience. Who are your ideal customers, what are their interests, and where do they spend their time online?

  2. Develop a content plan: Once you have identified your target audience, the next step is to develop a content plan that will attract and engage them. This plan can include creating blog posts, videos, social media content, and other forms of content that provide value to your target audience.

  3. Optimise your website for search engines: Inbound marketing relies heavily on search engine optimisation (SEO) to attract organic traffic to your website. Ensure your website is optimised for keywords relevant to your business.

  4. Use social media to your advantage: Social media is a powerful tool for inbound marketing. Create social media accounts for your business and use them to share your content and engage with your audience.

  5. Build an email list: Email marketing is a key component of inbound marketing. Offer valuable content in exchange for email addresses, and use email to stay in touch with your audience and nurture leads.

  6. Measure and adjust your strategy: It's essential to track your results and adjust your strategy as needed. Use analytics tools to track your website traffic, social media engagement, and email open rates.

By following these steps, a small business can create an effective inbound marketing strategy that attracts and engages potential customers and ultimately drives sales and revenue.

Talking of social media channels, why not follow me on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook or if you would like a quick chat about your marketing, book a slot today!

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