The pace of marketing has changed rapidly over the past decade, leaving many retailers feeling lost or overwhelmed when it comes to their own marketing strategies. Software engineer and author R.L. Adams sums it up the best, writing, “It’s a Catch-22. There's a clear need for increased visibility to drastically improve sales. But in order to get more visibility, businesses have to spend more money.”
Some retailers believe the key to success is focusing on cost-effective inbound marketing efforts, whereas other merchants report that costly outbound marketing tactics generate the most leads. The truth is, however, that neither inbound or outbound marketing is superior to the other. Instead of sticking to one strategy, marketers should combine outbound info with their inbound marketing efforts in order to create truly powerful campaigns.
Differences Between Inbound and Outbound Marketing
Before sharing these new marketing strategies, it’s important to establish the core differences between inbound and outbound marketing. Inbound marketing, or inbound lead generation, is focused more on the long-term relationship with the customer and your business. Inbound marketing includes strategies like:
- Creating content (blogs, webinars, eBooks, podcasts, etc.)
- Sharing posts and answering questions on social media.
- Email marketing campaigns.
- Lead magnets (incentives to encourage buyers).
- SEO and keyword research.
Although some inbound marketing is essential for small businesses, it can take a long time to convert an online shopper. This is where short-term outbound marketing strategies can be helpful. These tactics can involve:
- Mass email messages.
- Cold calls.
- Pay-per-click ads.
- Print ads.
- Snail mail.
How to Combine Outbound and Inbound Marketing
As most online sellers already know, customers nearly always prefer less-invasive inbound marketing tactics over “interruptive” outbound ads. With nearly 198 million active ad-block users around the globe, it’s apparent that shoppers don’t want to be bombarded with irrelevant ads or annoying pop-ups.
To make the most out of your next campaign, approach it with both inbound and outbound marketing strategies in mind. The following methods can help you reach a larger audience, establish your brand’s credibility, and increase your sales without spending a fortune (or irritating potential buyers!):
- Review outbound campaigns to develop a clear picture of your target audience.
- Send outbound emails to share your unique content with the best targets.
- Reach out to influencers and/or create an affiliate program.
- Seek out guest writing opportunities, and keep your own blog updated.
- Create useful content for awesome lead magnets.
For more marketing advice, check out our other helpful blogs on eCommerce!