What’s the Difference Between Inbound and Outbound Marketing?

Are you struggling to determine what type of marketing to invest in or where to put your marketing dollars? Digital marketing is a complex method of reaching audiences with various strategies and ample opportunity. Yet, you may have questions, such as what’s the difference between inbound and outbound marketing and which one should you invest in? With some insight into both methods and what they mean, it’s possible to make better decisions for your business, improving the ROI on any investment in marketing you make. At Website Design Kingston, we offer the tools to support your marketing in every manner possible.

What Is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is a method that of marketing to attract customers to you. This is done by creating valuable content and creating an experience that brings people to your site. This type of marketing is highly effective because it helps attract people to your business as they continue to seek information about your products or services.

There are three components to inbound marketing:
  • It attracts people to your website or company using valuable content while initiating conversations and engagement. People learn you are a trusted advisor in the topic and seek you out to solve their problems.
  • There’s an importance in engagement here. That is marketers need to communicate the pain points of the potential lead and provide solutions to encourage them to purchase or interact.
  • It must support the customers’ needs which includes providing guidance, information, or other valuable content to help them be successful.

The Benefits

Why use inbound marketing as a component of your overall digital marketing strategy? There are a few key reasons why you should make this a big part of your efforts including:
  • It tends to cost less and produce more results because the content created continues to work for you over and over again.
  • The leads coming into the business are more targeted and ready to buy – they are coming to you for a solution.
  • It builds a higher level of trust and credibility for you or your company in the eyes of potential customers. They see you as an expert and the person who can solve their problem.
  • It’s a good way to nurture customers who may not be able or willing to invest yet. They learn about you early on, which can help to spur their overall interest in working with you at some point – you’re building your brand as you go.
  • Inbound marketing helps you delight your customers. They are excited about what you have to offer and what you can do for them. That makes them want to invest even earlier on in the marketing cycle.


You’ll use a great number of potential channels to reach your customers in inbound marketing – and that’s a good thing. It opens the door for new ways to connect and more people to connect to during the process. Some of the channels you may embrace with inbound marketing include:
  • Creation of web content that encourages people to share and dive deep into it.
  • Blogs. It’s the simplest way to communicate about products and services while providing highly valuable content to your readers.
  • Social media. The engagement opportunities here are numerous and it allows for an ever-expanding circle of interested, targeted customers.
  • Video marketing allows for engagement opportunities on social media.
  • Press releases are a form of inbound marketing because they pull people into your site.
  • Whitepapers are a good way to show your expertise for people looking for insight and solutions.


How do you make this happen? You’ll use one of several types of strategies including:
  • Strategies to attract people: This may include creating and publishing content on a blog or social media.
  • Engaging strategies: These strategies help you to create communication opportunities directly with your clients or prospective customers. This may include solutions such as handling calls with care and supporting prospects in the decision-making process.
  • Strategies to delight: A big part of inbound marketing is keeping customers satisfied and happy. Do this through surveys to improve efforts or place chatbots on your website to create support.

Example of Inbound Marketing

How could you put inbound marketing to work for your business? It may be easier to do than you realize. Here’s an example for ABC company.

The company wants to attract new leads to its recently launched product. It starts by creating valuable website content that’s problem-solution focused, meaning the content showcases how their product solves the problem of the customer. They create a blog and engage in some video marketing to help showcase their product.

They then place a link to the blog on their social media pages. As people start watching the video and interacting, the company engages back with the customer. Soon, they have people contacting them and using their chatbot to get information.

What is Outbound Marketing?

Outbound marketing is more like the traditional method of advertising and drawing in customers. It’s about pushing a message out to the potential customer base in the hopes that they see it and connect with it. This can range widely from the use of website ads to cold calling. The goal is to get customers to call you. There are several core components of this type of marketing:
  • It targets people where they are looking for information or solutions.
  • It often focuses heavily on what makes the company different or better than the competition.
  • Outbound marketing helps to get traffic to websites and aims to allow the website or sales rep to sell the product to the customer.


There are benefits to outbound marketing. Though it has changed over the years and is not as effective in some situations, there are clearly valuable times to invest in this strategy. Some benefits include:
  • The marketing message reaches a large number of people. That may include prospects you did not think about marketing towards before.
  • It gets qualified leads if the marketing message is clear and targeted properly across the board.
  • Done well, it is possible to target messages to various groups in an effort to bring them into the business.
  • Outbound also supports inbound methods. They can work well together.


The channels used really does depend on the industry and the business goals. However, there are numerous channels to use when engaging in outbound marketing including:
  • Trade shows
  • Cold calling
  • Seminar series
  • Email blasts
  • Website ad placement


Various strategies exist for outbound marketing, but the premise is the same across the board. Showcase the product or service to get people to buy. Some ways to do this may include:
  • Cold outreach campaigns in which you send messages directly to people through email or cold call them to inform them about a product or service. Those people may not have a relationship or connection with the company.
  • Search and social media advertisements can be used to get people to click on the website to learn more.
  • Trade shows and networking strategies help to create a hands-on opportunity for getting good information and support for decision making.

Example of Outbound Marketing

Here’s an example of how this type of marketing may work to build your business. A company is running a new promotion and wants to tell the world about it to increase sales. They create ads for online use in search engine marketing as well as on social media. They create content to support this, such as an informative, sales-oriented video to place on their website. They don’t stop there. They use their sales reps to call companies or customers who they believe will benefit from their product.

Inbound vs Outbound Marketing

So, what’s the difference between inbound and outbound marketing? Both forms of content can prove to be very valuable to businesses. Yet, it is critical to invest your money in programs designed to support your best outcome based on the type of audience you are targeting.

Take a closer look at what makes these methods different and both valuable considerations:

Inbound marketing:
  • Solves a problem the customer is having
  • Creates engagement and interactive opportunities with customers
  • Helps pull in interested customers through valuable information
  • Often uses blogs, social media marketing, and opt-in emails
  • It’s more interactive with users
  • Content is helpful and valuable to the reader
Outbound marketing:
  • It’s about the sale – content is written to sell the product
  • It’s more about one-way communication rather than engagement
  • Often includes television ads, online search, and social media ads
  • Uses cold calling methods to reach potential buyers
  • Disrupts what content the consumer is viewing or engaging with

Inbound vs Outbound Marketing – Which Is Right for You?

Even if you’re unsure which method is best for you, having access to the right digital marketing services will make the difference. At Website Design Kingston, we offer all forms of digital marketing, providing you with the ability to customize your efforts to create an effective campaign that drives leads and sales to your company. Don’t go it alone. Instead, contact us today to learn how we can help you.

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