Too often we’ve heard the argument between which is more effective; the traditional, trustworthy outbound lead generation? or the cool, new kid on the block, inbound marketing? But does it really matter which is more effective? Both strategies have are proven in generating leads. What is more important is deciding which strategy fits your business better.
It is important that one examines the individual strengths of each strategy and compares these benefits with the problems their business is facing. By doing this you can take your marketing budget further by making an informed decision on which strategy to emphasize. This guide will outline the differences between both strategies and the difference in benefits they bring.
What’s the Deal with Inbound Marketing Anyway?
Inbound marketing is the development of highly optimized, value-adding content to draw consumers into your sales funnel. Its rise in popularity has been largely attributed to a smear campaign against outbound marketing calling it intrusive and outdated. Inbound marketing rose in popularity with a promise of attracting those who had become numb to traditional, outbound tactics. It talks itself up as a faster, more personal and effective marketing strategy.
Because of this, HubSpot now claims that 75% of SMBs are prioritizing inbound in their marketing efforts, with most small businesses (under 25 employees) relying completely on inbound for their strategy. The problem with this is that inbound simply does not work for every type of business. For inbound to truly work, you need to conduct a lot of additional planning i.e. website development, CRM software. It can also be a longer process in terms of working the customer through your sales funnel. Some businesses simply do not have the capacity for this time and resource consumption.
This is not to say inbound marketing does not work. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that over time, an effective inbound marketing strategy will generate sales leads. However, it shouldn’t be the only marketing strategy considered when developing your sales strategies.
Why You Shouldn’t be Ruling Out Outbound Lead Generation
For those businesses who don’t have the capacity to wait and yield the fruits of an effective inbound campaign, there is always the traditional way of doing things, outbound. Outbound is not dead as a viable marketing strategy, let's dispel that myth right now. The biggest advantage that gives outbound a differential over inbound is that it can generate quicker results. It does this by jolting those leads who might be sitting on the fence of a purchasing decision.
Technology has made the initial reasoning behind the move away from outbound almost redundant. This is because technology has made outbound marketing friendly and relevant through increased personalization and the use of workflow automation. Being able to track how far leads are through your sales funnel has ultimately killed the ‘cold-call’. Now you can reach out to your leads at points in their journey when they need your service the most in a more personable and less intrusive way.
But despite this, 32% of brands are decreasing spending on outbound marketing to spend more on content marketing. It appears there is now little consideration to the thought of utilizing outbound marketing as a way to generate sales. This is despite the unique benefits that an outbound campaign can bring to a business that inbound cannot.
If you want to learn more about outbound campaigns, be sure to check out Sella’s Guide to Creating an Effective Outbound Campaign here.
Which Strategy Should I Prioritize To Generate Leads?
Here at Sella, we want your business to make an educated decision on which strategy you should be prioritizing without the influence of bias. We’ve put together some questions to help you decide which strategy you should be prioritizing in your budgets:
1. Who Is Your Market?
After developing your buyer personas (remember to download Sella’s Buyer Persona Template here), it’s important to answer the following questions about your market:
-How do they make a purchase? Online? Over the phone?
-Where do they get their purchasing information from?
-What strategies are your competitors using to reach the same market?
2. What Are Your Aspirations for the Business?
Once you’ve established the characteristics of your market, the next defining factor are your goals for your strategy. This should include answering the following questions:
-What is your big goal? Increased brand awareness, conversions, driving traffic?
-How quickly do you want to achieve this goal?
-How many new sales do you want to close overall?
3. Who Is Your Brand?
Finally, the last point of consideration should be how each strategy might uniquely affect your brand. Make this consideration by answering the following questions:
-How much finance can you dedicate to your strategy immediately
Based off these questions, we’ve developed the situations that might differ across different businesses that would be benefitted by a different strategy:
Why Don’t We Have Both?
By now you should have developed an idea of how both strategies can benefit businesses in diverse ways. Whilst you might look to prioritizing one strategy, all good businesses should be looking to incorporate elements of both. This is because these strategies serve to complement one another by filling the gaps that either might have.
For example, an inbound focused strategy is complemented by elements of an outbound strategy by giving those leads who are sitting on the fence a timely reminder of your solution and pushing them through the sales funnel faster.
Alternatively, an outbound focused strategy will be better served in conjunction with an inbound strategy by giving you a basis to build a relationship with a lead before you outreach and contact them (removing the need for ‘cold calls’).
Sella recommends that you break down your current situation using the questions we have provided and decide which strategy fits your business better. Prioritize this strategy in your budget and marketing plan and then look to incorporate elements of the other strategy that will serve to complement your primary approach.
So, which strategy is better? The clear answer should be neither. As we have outlined, both strategies will be beneficial to businesses in separate ways with their own advantages and disadvantages.
Inbound lacks speed and directness but will build relationships and see long-term results. Outbound will generate immediate results with the ability to create greater awareness but has problems with its reputation when not done correctly.
Therefore, to harness the benefits of both strategies, one should consider the multitude of technology available to them now. Sella.io is an example of this technology that can provide the benefits of an outbound campaign to one’s business in a positive and efficient way. It can reach out to your potential leads using tried and tested messaging in a non-intrusive manner. You can find out more about Sella at www.sella.io.
Utilizing technologies like this will ultimately allow your business to use the most effective strategy available which is a combination of both.