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Inbound Marketing Vs Outbound Marketing

There is two strategy types for Digital Marketing which is Inbound marketing and Outbound marketing.


Inbound marketing is known as permission-based marketing.

Outbound marketing is known as interruption-based marketing.


This graphic explains the differences clearly:

Lets go more in-depth into the two strategies below.

Inbound marketing is attracting customers through pertinent and valuable content and providing beneficial information throughout the customer's buying process. Potential consumers find you through content such as website blogs, search engines and organic social media post.

It's called permission-based marketing because the prospect gives you their personal information to start a conversational relationship with them which in turn becomes free marketing. It means that they saw your brand message or proposition of value so much that they gave you their personal information.


Their personal information can be their name, email, phone number etc. In order to get the prospect or lead to give you their information they have to like you or value what you have to offer whether it is your content or a lead magnet. A lead magnet is a value proposition (ex: ebook or checklist) that many marketers give away for free to attract leads. Getting a prospect's personal information is powerful because it can then be used to market your products or services and educate the customer about your company which can build strong trust. This can happen in their email inbox or by calling them directly. All great companies know that the key to a successful business is to get consumer to like, know and trust you and your company so will purchase now and come back later in the future for more.


That is why Inbound marketing is a two-way street because you give something of value to your customer for value in return.


This graphic shows a detailed visual of the inbound marketing process:

Inbound marketing is about building and nurturing a relationship with your lead so that they trust you enough to buy from you and eventually become a promoter or an advocate for your business. When they become an advocate of your business they will brag about your company to others which increases your sales and builds retention with the customer.


Examples of inbound marketing:

  • Being found in search engines

  • Producing content such as lead magnets

  • Creating a website blog

  • Making organic content on social media

  • Creating ebooks

  • Producing content to your email subscribers



Outbound marketing is paying for advertising so that you can find or attract customers to your business that show interest in your ads, products or services. It is usually a targeting process which allows you to pick exactly what type of customers you want to target. Although, there is certain types of outbound marketing where people contact your business after seeing your ads but you still have to pay for it. Outbound marketing is called interruption-based marketing because people usually come across your ads while they are not necessarily looking or thinking about your business and it can be disturbing hence cause the interruption. Even though, most people don't mind and they actually didn't know they needed your product or service and still enter your marketing funnel and make a purchase.


Outbound marketing produces cold and warm prospects because of this. Most companies use a sales pitch to persuade them and also inform them about their business, its benefits and features. This can be done over the phone or through email. Outbound marketing cost money to reach your target audience but it can payoff significantly depending on how well you target your ideal customers. It is not a passive process and requires work to get the consumer because you have to set up the advertisement, optimize it and display the right message at the right time to the right people.


Examples of outbound marketing is:

  • Creating paid social media ads

  • Creating Pay-per-click ads(PPC) on Google

  • Buying Radio commercials

  • Purchasing Billboard space

  • Sending Direct mail (unsolicited mail)

  • Buying a paid email list


Which marketing strategy do you currently use in your business? Feel free to share in the comments.





Antoine Harris

Founder of Decisive Marketing Solutions

Antoine is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in teaching newbie entrepreneurs how to grow their business through organic and paid marketing strategies.



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