Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing Strategy. What Is The Difference.

inbound vs outbound marketing

You’ve probably heard the terms outbound and inbound marketing. But what is the inbound and outbound marketing difference? Sure they’re similar, but how do they differ, and which one is better to use to promote your products and services?

In this post, you’ll find out the differences between outbound and inbound marketing and how you can use this information as a guide to improve your business.

What Is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is a newer approach that has become increasingly popular with the growth of the internet. 

Using inbound marketing tactics, businesses create content in order to attract attention and draw people in. This type of marketing favors building relationships with potential customers over one-time conversions. 

Once potential customers are engaged, the businesses can nurture these leads until they are ready to buy. 

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Inbound is all about creating a relationship with customers rather than just trying to sell them directly.

Inbound marketing is a strategy focused on attracting potential customers through the content they’re interested in and are searching for on the web. By creating content that is specifically written to educate and inform prospects at every stage of the sales funnel, businesses drive qualified leads to their websites.

The inbound strategy takes a more targeted approach to marketing, while outbound is more generalized and aimed toward a wider audience. 

One of the benefits of inbound marketing efforts is the ability to accurately measure the results. You can use Google Analytics, for example, to see if your social media or content creation strategy is working. 

Other benefits of inbound marketing include prospect engagement, the ability to track and measure activities, educational content, and continual lead generation.

Inbound Marketing Channels include social media, email marketing, content marketing, and blogging, link building, on-page and off-page SEO, webinars, infographics, 

VIDEO: Inbound vs. Outbound Digital Marketing Strategy

What Is Outbound Marketing?

Outbound marketing relies on more traditional methods like cold-calling, email blasts, and advertisements. While these methods can be effective, they are often seen as disruptive and can turn potential customers off. 

Outbound Marketing Channels include cold calling, email outreach, email blasts, print media, billboard ads, online (pay-per-click) ads, and traditional offline forms of media advertisement including TV and radio.

INFOGRAPHIC: Inbound vs Outbound Marketing: The Pros, Cons & When to Use Them

What Is The Difference Between Inbound and Outbound Marketing?

The main difference between inbound and outbound marketing is that inbound marketing is focused on attracting customers organically, while outbound marketing is focused on actively reaching out to them. 

Inbound marketing involves proactively reaching out to consumers to get them interested in a product. It focuses on creating and distributing high-quality content that draws people into your website. Outbound marketing typically has a more aggressive, wide-sweeping approach, with the expectation that at least some people will convert. 

Outbound marketing is often seen as more intrusive, while inbound marketing is regarded as more helpful and informative. 

Inbound marketing can also be a more cost-effective way to promote your business than outbound marketing. You can gain leads, generate sales, and grow your business with inbound marketing, even if you have a tiny budget or no budget, at all.

Features of Inbound Marketing:

  • Less intrusive
  • Less expensive but more time-intensive
  • More targeted
  • More interactive
  • Easy to measure (Google Analytics, website traffic)
  • Focuses on educating and answering questions
  • Mostly digital assets and content
  • Can be tailored to a specific group
  • Needs continual implementation.

Elements of Outbound Marketing:

  • More intrusive
  • Expensive to implement
  • One way communication
  • Uses traditional marketing channels (print, TV, radio, billboards)
  • Difficult to measure the direct impact
  • Results can be seen faster than an inbound marketing

What Type Of Marketing Should You Use?

Ultimately, the choice between inbound and outbound marketing comes down to what makes the most sense for your business. 

If you are selling a product or service that is new or unique, you may need to use outbound methods to get the word out. 

However, if you have a product or service that is already well-known, inbound methods may be more effective.


There are several main differences between inbound and outbound marketing. Each strategy has distinct applications, benefits, and challenges, and the pros and cons of each method are different. 

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    About Author: Gene is the co-founder of both Big Apple Media and Happy Website Design. He shares his expertise on SEO, digital marketing, web design and development. He also created and manages Creative Web Design & Digital Marketing Group on LinkedIn. Join to learn more about these topics.

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