Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing Explained [Make Money From Both]

Do you understand the difference between inbound vs outbound marketing? If you don’t, there’s no need to worry. 

Many small business owners have trouble understanding how they can make money from both or either of these methods. You can increase the amount of traffic that visits your website and the number of clients you have. 

We are going to compare inbound marketing vs outbound marketing and discuss how each approach can help you generate revenue. If you use both tactics together, you will see the results in the amount of money your company makes.

By the end of this article, you will be able to make informed decisions about how to promote your product or service.

Inbound vs Outbound Marketing

Inbound marketing and outbound marketing are two distinct strategies used to reach potential customers.

Inbound marketing refers to:

  • Attracting customers through valuable content and interactions.
  • Involves developing content (blog posts, videos, social posts, etc.) that addresses the needs of your audience.
  • Tactics such as search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing will drive traffic to that content.
  • Considered a more modern approach. Builds customer relationships through relevant content (rather than interrupting them with ads).

Outbound marketing refers to:

  • Reaching out to customers through more traditional advertising methods.
  • Includes video media advertising, telemarketing, and direct mail. 
  • More interrupting approach, as it actively pushes a message or product onto potential customers rather than waiting for them to come to you.
  • Can be effective in certain situations, but it tends to be less popular with consumers who are increasingly turning to tools like ad-blockers.

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing works by piquing people’s interest in your brand so that they come to you for information. Businesses create blogs, social media posts, search engine ads, and user-friendly websites to attract customers. 

Making content that is useful, informative, entertaining, or relevant is a hook to bring people to your brand. Inbound marketing’s main goal is to bring in the right traffic. 

You then convert those visitors into leads, for example, by collecting their contact details. Lastly, businesses focus on making satisfying prospects with valuable content and product/service offerings to close the deal.

Types of Inbound Marketing

The most common types of inbound marketing used in business today include:

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) 

SEO is an inbound marketing tactic that helps optimize a website and its content to improve its ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). SEO helps to align a website’s content and structure with these algorithms to improve its ranking. 

By optimizing a website’s on-page elements (title tags and keyword-rich content, for example) and off-page elements (backlinks), businesses increase the credibility of their website to search engines and users.

This leads to more organic traffic to the website and, ultimately, more leads and sales for the business. Search engines use algorithms to determine the relevance and authority of a website. 


For inbound strategies, content is king. A good way to hook consumers is to give them information that is useful and relevant to what they are looking for. The type of content can vary; it could be written, video, or voice (podcasts). 

As a part of your marketing, having resources available for your audience to consume builds your credibility and positions you as an authority. In short – people are more likely to buy from businesses that they view as an authority.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is a type of inbound marketing that involves using social media platforms to promote a product, service, or brand. The goal of social media marketing is to build relationships with potential customers and increase brand awareness. 

This is achieved by creating and sharing content, such as text, images, and videos, on social media platforms designed to engage and attract the target audience. 

Social media marketing also allows companies to interact with their customers, respond to feedback, and measure the success of their campaigns through analytics. Overall, social media marketing is a cost-effective and efficient way to reach a large audience and generate leads for a business.

Example of Inbound Marketing

An example of inbound marketing in a B2B (business-to-business) setting might be creating a series of educational webinars and whitepapers on topics that are relevant to your target audience. 

The webinars and whitepapers would be designed to provide valuable information that would be helpful to the target audience. They could be tips for improving efficiency or best practices for addressing common business challenges, for example.

You would then promote these webinars and whitepapers through targeted email campaigns, social media, and SEO optimization on your website. 

As the target audience engages with your content, you would use marketing automation tools to nurture those leads, sending them further information and resources that will help them along the buying journey. 

Eventually, some of those leads will convert into customers as they see the value of what you offer, and they will become loyal customers.

What Is Outbound Marketing?

Outbound marketing involves offline advertising to potential customers. Outbound marketing tactics are used by many big firms since they reach the most people. 

Small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) find these approaches expensive and hard to track. Smaller, localized outbound marketing initiatives may work better for SMEs. In-person conversations with potential clients can also create trust. 

Outbound marketing usually includes tools like advertising, cold calling, direct mail, trade shows, and other forms of promotion. Where inbound marketing is considered “pull” marketing, outbound is the “push.”

Types of Outbound Marketing

TV/Radio/Print Ads

TV and radio commercials have been around since new media, but technology has changed dramatically. TV and radio ads have become more expensive, changing marketing techniques.  

Print advertising can still reach customers who still read newspapers and magazines. It also lets advertisers generate eye-catching images that grab readers’ attention. Print ads can also be put in periodicals targeted to specific interests or demographics, helping advertisers reach their target audience.


Cold-calling, a decades-old marketing approach, is still effective in the information age. Sales leads are generated by cold-calling potential clients. It can attract new customers and create partnerships. Technology can aid in cold-calling. Automation helps organizations quickly identify potential clients and make targeted calls at scale.

Trade Shows

Trade exhibitions help marketers promote their companies. It is a place for displaying products and services, where attendees can meet potential clients and partners. Trade shows are good for reaching a wide audience.


Any business seeking brand awareness and client engagement needs newsletters. Newsletters can reach and produce leads if used consistently. 

Email newsletter marketing is the most popular since marketers can directly contact customers in both inbound and outbound efforts. It also helps nurture consumer relationships by delivering useful material. The more value you can offer your prospects, the more likely they are to buy from you, as you’ve established credibility.

Press Releases

Press releases promote your company or new products. They allow journalists to contact you for more information, which can lead to free article advertising. Consistently sending newsletters helps boost brand awareness. Press releases and newsletters must be well-written, educational, and engaging to attract buyers. 


Billboards attract thousands of potential clients daily. Highways, intersections, and retail malls have billboards. They can advertise products, events, or brands.

Pay Per Click (PPC) 

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is an outbound marketing strategy that allows businesses to place ads on search engines and websites. Advertisers pay a fee each time their ad is clicked, hence the name “pay-per-click.” 

An example of PPC advertising would be a company placing an ad on Google’s search results page for a specific keyword, such as “coffee shop.” When a user searches for “coffee shop,” the company’s ad appears at the top of the search results. The company will pay a fee to Google each time the ad is clicked. 

PPC advertising is an effective way to drive traffic to a website and generate leads, but it can be costly if not managed properly.

Inbound Marketing Vs Outbound Marketing Strategies

Overall, the key difference between inbound and outbound marketing strategies is that inbound marketing focuses on drawing customers in, while outbound marketing focuses on pushing a message out to a mass audience.

Inbound Marketing Strategies

Inbound marketing strategy starts by creating content that is relevant to your target audience. This could be blog posts, videos, podcasts, ebooks, or any other type of content tailored to their interests. 

Once you have brought in potential customers, you need to turn them into leads. This can be done by offering something of value in exchange for their contact information, such as an ebook or discount code.

Pull Marketing

A pain is a need that a customer wants to be fulfilled. They may be actively looking for a product or service, or they may have it listed as a want but not a priority. When they come across your business or service, the way that it’s marketed must be tailored to appeal to them. 

While you can’t appeal to everyone, you must know your target audience. They will receive or view your strategy, and it will pull them in. This is the goal and is a major difference between inbound marketing and outbound marketing. Outbound doesn’t look to “pull”; rather, it “pushes” the marketing material towards the prospect.

Lead Generation

​​Lead generation is an essential part of any successful inbound marketing strategy. 

This generates interest in and awareness of your product or service so potential customers can find you and learn more. 

To do this, you must produce content that engages and motivates your target audience. Inbound marketing relies on content that attracts and assists customers. Provide useful information to help potential buyers choose your product or service.


Each blog you post adds a page to your website, increasing its searchability. If a potential customer Googles something and finds it easily on your website, they are more likely to return. 

Search engines will prioritize your website in their results if they notice people using it for information. Call-to-actions in SEO blogs are one way you can use your blog to attract customers. 

CTAs can link your blog to downloads and newsletter signups. Potential customers are more likely to give their email or contact information if you give them free, useful content. Use data about your customers’ content interactions to determine how to sell to them. 

For instance, if they are reading blogs on a product or service you offer, you can use that knowledge. You can boost sales by connecting them to the things or services they are most likely to need.

Outbound Marketing Strategy

The first step in making an outbound marketing strategy that brings in qualified leads is understanding your audience. Outbound marketing can be expensive. Don’t waste money on a mistargeted campaign.

Developing buyer personas is essential. Your outbound marketing strategy’s goal is less important than its purpose. For instance, running ads just to run them will fail your campaign. Set your goals for outbound marketing, like getting your brand known or getting more leads.

Push Marketing

When you begin to market your product or service, you are in a position of power and vulnerability. You have both what the customer wants and what they are talking themselves out of getting. 

Your job is to highlight why they should choose you without being too forward or intrusive. One way in cold calling or email marketing, for example, is to personalize your approach to your customer based on what you know about them. 

How do you find out this information? By having a consultation form that prospects fill in when they are looking for your service. When you take information from inbound leads, you can use this information to make informed assumptions about what your target customer is looking for. Then, your cold calling/emailing is directed by having insight into why people are looking for your service.

More information on how to effectively cold call can be found in this article.

Customer-Centric Marketing

You should actively reach out to customers. It typically includes activities such as cold calling, direct mail, email campaigns, and advertising. When it comes to customer approach in outbound marketing, the key is to be proactive and engaging. You’ve worked hard to create buyer personas. 

Use the research for sponsored campaign audiences. Excluding audiences optimizes advertising that regularly provides cold leads for your sales team.

Outbound marketing requires lead nurturing. Outbound lead nurturing lets you talk directly to leads who are already interested in your product or service. Make relevant content for every step of the buyer’s journey. The cost of your outbound marketing efforts, like PPC ads, will be worth it, as your audience feels seen, heard, and understood. That will increase the likelihood of these leads converting to clients.

Key Takeaways: Outbound vs Inbound Marketing

Answering the question of which type of marketing (outbound vs inbound marketing) is more effective largely depends on the situation and resources available. 

Different markets and industries require different approaches to lead generation. These include face-to-face customer interactions or online marketing strategies. Consider which approach best applies to the audience being targeted when deciding between inbound or outbound marketing. 

For example, if you are targeting an older demographic, then traditional methods like direct mail may be more effective than digital channels like email or social media.

Make Money From Inbound & Outbound Marketing

Businesses can make money with both inbound and outbound strategies together. When businesses combine the two methods, they can generate leads, and then convert them to sales.

Outbound marketing can be used to quickly get leads, like through paid ads, and then inbound marketing, like delivery high quality informational blogs, can be used to slowly turn those leads into paying customers.

Combining inbound and outbound marketing strategies can help businesses make the most of their resources and get more customers.

Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing: FAQs

What are inbound and outbound marketing examples?

Slow-burn content marketing strategies like blogs, opt-in email nurturing flows, and native recommendations are at the heart of inbound marketing. This is in contrast to more traditional forms of outbound marketing like TV commercials, billboards, cold calling, and display ads.

What is the difference between inbound vs outbound prospecting?

Inbound prospecting is a pull strategy where a business uses content marketing, search engine optimization, and other tactics to attract potential customers to the business. Outbound prospecting is a push strategy where the business actively seeks out and contacts potential customers through cold calling, emailing, direct mail, and paid ads.

Are Google ads inbound or outbound?

Running Google ads is an outbound marketing tactic, as it is a paid marketing strategy that “pushes” the message into the line of sight of prospective customers. This is contrasted to inbound marketing techniques, where a prospect is more subtly drawn into the business through more organic ways (like reading an article). 

Final Thoughts: Marketing Strategies To Grow Your Business

Inbound and outbound marketing both have their place in the modern business world. Outbound is a great way to get your message out and reach new customers.

Inbound strategies work best when you need to keep in touch with your existing audience and build trust. 

By understanding the strengths of inbound vs outbound marketing, you can create a more effective marketing strategy to help your business grow. Scaling With Systems can guide you along the way. Book a free consultation call with us to get the ball rolling.

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