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What Is Outbound Marketing?

Outbound marketing is the practice of reaching directly out to customers. Learn more about outbound marketing strategies here.

Have you ever received a call from someone trying to sell you something? You’ve never talked to this person before, but all of sudden, they’re on the other line trying to convince you to purchase what they’re selling and telling you how much value it’ll bring to your life.

This is called cold calling, and it’s an example of outbound marketing. Outbound marketing refers to any kind of marketing where a business directly reaches out to potential customers. A business can take many different directions when it comes to marketing, but outbound marketing is one of the most common types. Outbound marketing is the opposite of inbound marketing, which is when a business creates content that will draw customers in.

A business can use both forms of marketing or just one, depending on the type of business and its marketing strategy. There are pros and cons to inbound vs. outbound marketing, which are important to know so that you can create the most effective marketing strategy for your business.

So, what is outbound marketing, and how do you know if it’s right for your business? In this article, you can learn more about the outbound marketing definition, examples of outbound marketing, inbound vs. outbound marketing, and more.

What is outbound marketing?

Outbound marketing is when a business proactively reaches out to potential customers to get them interested in a product or service they’re selling. With outbound marketing, the company initiates the conversation and pushes a message out to their customers, rather than waiting for their customers to come to them. The opposite of outbound marketing is inbound marketing, which is when a business uses marketing strategies to pull customers in.

Examples of outbound marketing

Outbound marketing generally includes more traditional forms of marketing than inbound marketing. Some examples of outbound marketing include:

  • Television ads
  • Radio ads
  • Cold calling
  • Cold emailing
  • Press releases
  • Trade shows
  • Seminar series
  • Email spams
  • Media buys

In all of these examples, the business is reaching out to the customer. Outbound marketing is one-way communication with the goal of getting potential customers interested in your products or services.

Inbound vs. outbound marketing

To fully understand outbound marketing, you need to know what inbound marketing is. Inbound marketing refers to marketing strategies that spread brand awareness to pull potential customers in. It’s important to know the differences between inbound vs. outbound marketing so you can figure out which is the best direction to go for your business. These are some of the main differences between inbound vs. outbound marketing:

Inbound marketing

  • Permissive: Inbound marketing tends to have fewer rules and regulations than outbound marketing. The goal of inbound marketing is to create content that is catered to your target audience to attract them to your brand. You have more freedom with the direction you want to take, whether that be with email marketing, social media campaigns, or blog posts.
  • Pulls customers in with interest: Inbound marketing consists of marketing strategies that are meant to pull customers in with interest and entice them to learn more about your brand. Rather than just sending out messages to potentially uninterested audiences, inbound marketing targets audiences who you know are already interested in your brand.
  • Communication goes two ways: One of the main differences between inbound marketing and outbound marketing is that with inbound marketing, communication goes both ways. For example, if you promote your brand on social media, you’ll be engaging in conversations with your customers in order to form relationships with them. With inbound marketing, you can also customize your communication to your segmented audiences.
  • Consumer-driven: One of the goals of inbound marketing is to create products that solve your consumer’s needs. Inbound marketing is more consumer-driven and you keep your customers in mind when creating your marketing campaigns. For example, with inbound marketing, you might create social media content that is catered to your target audience so you can position your business as the solution to their problems.

Outbound marketing

  • Interruptive: Where inbound marketing is meant to flow naturally in your life, outbound marketing is more interruptive. For example, with cold calling, you’re not thinking about what the buyer is doing at that moment, so there’s a good chance you’re going to call them at a time when they’re not available to talk.
  • Pushes products or services on customers: The goal of outbound marketing is to push a message to potential customers, rather than to pull them in with interest. This is why outbound marketing can come off as sales-y or aggressive if you don’t go about it in the right way. Outbound marketing is more active, meaning you’re actively going after the leads you want, while inbound marketing is more passive, meaning you focus more on lead generation and waiting for customers to come to you.
  • Communication goes one way: With outbound marketing, you’re often not taking your customers into consideration with your marketing strategies, and because of this, communication goes one way. Sales representatives also tend to have more control over the conversation so they can adjust what they’re saying based on the situation.
  • Marketer-driven: Outbound marketing focuses less on consumer needs and more on market knowledge. With inbound marketing, you want to understand your customers’ wants and needs so you can create products and services to solve them. On the other hand, outbound marketing is more focused on anticipating trends in the market and creating products/services that fit.

Outbound marketing strategies

There are various outbound marketing strategies that you can use to promote your business, such as:

  • Cold emails: A cold email is an email that is sent to someone without any former contact. Rather than enticing someone to sign up for your mailing list and then sending them emails, cold emailing involves sending unsolicited emails. However, when done right, cold emailing can be a very effective way to reach new prospects and promote your business. A cold email can be a great way to start a conversation with a potential customer who might not have found your business otherwise.
  • Trade shows: A trade show is essentially an opportunity for a business to promote its products and services. Trade shows are a great way to reach new audiences and garner interest in your brand. With a trade show, you can showcase your business’s products or services to a large number of people in a short period of time.
  • Social media ads: Social media ads are advertisements that are promoted on different social media platforms, such as Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. Social media ads are a very effective way to reach your target audience and potentially turn them into customers. However, unlike trying to start a conversation with them on social media, like you would with inbound marketing, social media ads just focus on promoting a product or service to potential customers.

Pros and cons of outbound marketing

There are many benefits of outbound marketing, but there are also many challenges that you may face if you take this direction. That is why it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of using an outbound marketing strategy to promote your business. If you do outbound marketing right, it can be an extremely effective way to reach new prospects and turn them into customers, but outbound marketing can be challenging to get right.

To help you get started, here are some pros and cons of outbound marketing that you should be aware of:

Pros of outbound marketing

  • Boosts brand awareness: If you’re looking to boost brand awareness, outbound marketing is a great way to do so. One of the main benefits of outbound marketing is that it helps you reach new people who probably have never heard of your business. With inbound marketing, your marketing strategies are focused more on reaching your target audience and connecting with existing customers, but outbound marketing is more interested in reaching new prospects. This is a great way to market your business if your goal is to increase your customer base and generate new leads.
  • Immediate results: Another benefit of outbound marketing is that you can get immediate results. Rather than having to wait around for your customers to come to you, you’re actively pursuing them. People who see your ads on television or social media are more likely to take immediate action and do what you’re asking of them. The same goes for cold calling. If you’re lucky enough to get someone to stick around for the phone call and be interested in what you’re saying, they may be more inclined to purchase your product or service, thus resulting in immediate results.
  • Easy to implement: Outbound marketing strategies are generally easier to implement than inbound marketing strategies, as creating content can be time-consuming. For instance, cold calling, sending emails, and dropping letters in mailboxes are much easier than drafting a social media campaign.

Cons of outbound marketing

  • Price: While outbound marketing may be easier to implement and execute, it can be very expensive. The cost of going to trade shows and paying for ads can easily add up and cost you more than the revenue you’re bringing in. Online ads, like social media ads, are typically cheaper than traditional ads, but it can take longer to see results. This is also why smaller businesses typically don’t take part in outbound marketing because they don’t have the budget to do so.
  • Difficult to measure ROI: It can be very difficult to track your return on investment (ROI) with outbound marketing, especially with more traditional forms of advertising, like TV ads and billboards. Outbound marketing focuses more on delivering a message, so while it’s easy to track how many people you reach, it’s difficult to gather more specific measurements, such as how many people actually take action once they see your ad.
  • More roadblocks: Because outbound marketing can involve the use of unsolicited calling and emailing, you’re most likely going to come across legal roadblocks. Your emails may get filtered into people’s spam folders and your calls may go to their do not call lists, making it nearly impossible to get in touch with potential customers. It’s also very easy for people to tune out outbound marketing, like by muting the TV or throwing away their junk mail.

Pros and cons of inbound marketing

Before you can make the decision of whether inbound or outbound marketing is better for your business, you need to weigh the pros and cons of both. There are several benefits of inbound marketing that may make it the right choice for your business, but there are also various challenges that you may face that you need to think about.

These are some of the pros and cons of inbound marketing so you can decide if it’s the right choice for your business:

Pros of inbound marketing

  • Noninvasive: One of the main benefits of inbound marketing is that it flows more naturally into your consumers’ lives. Rather than disrupting their day with a cold call or shoving an advertisement in their face, inbound marketing is noninvasive. People can choose to digest your content on their own time, whether that’s checking out your social media accounts or reading your blog posts.
  • Higher yields: Inbound marketing usually generates higher yields because you can reach your specific target audience that you already know is interested in your brand rather than a random group of people who might not have heard of your business. Promoting your business to your target audience can be more effective because those people are more likely to buy your products or services because they’re already connected to your brand. Inbound marketing also requires less time and, therefore, less money to produce so that you can generate more revenue with less output.
  • Builds stronger relationships: One of the goals of inbound marketing is to connect with your customers. Inbound marketing involves creating content that is curated for your specific target audience and their wants and needs, which can help you build stronger relationships with them. Building relationships with your customers is also a great customer retention strategy because it improves brand loyalty, so your customers will be more likely to continue to support you.

Cons of inbound marketing

  • Time-consuming: Inbound marketing strategies may be cheaper to produce, but they can also be more time-consuming. Inbounding marketing requires you to continually check on your campaigns so that you can make sure they’re up to par and meeting your customers’ needs. It also will likely take a lot more time and effort to create the content needed for inbound marketing.
  • Competitive: Another challenge you may face with inbound marketing is from your competitors. It’s easy to be dominated by your competitors, especially if they create similar content to you and promote it on the same platforms that you use. This is why it’s so crucial to research your competition so you can figure out how your brand differs and use that to your advantage.
  • Diverse set of skills required: In order to create the right content for your marketing campaigns, you need to have a diverse set of skills or a team with different skillsets. For example, you may need a team member with copywriting skills, design skills, technical skills, and so forth. It can be time-consuming to develop these skills and expensive to find people with them, which makes inbound marketing more difficult to achieve.

Wrapping up: Outbound marketing

Marketing is a crucial aspect of any business, but there are countless different directions you can take with your marketing strategies. You can create social media content to connect with your customers, cold call to sell your products or services to potential customers, or create television or social media ads. The type of marketing that you choose is ultimately up to you, but it’s important to choose a marketing strategy that you know will be effective.

Marketing will be expensive and time-consuming, regardless of the direction that you choose, so you want to make sure that whatever you choose will be worth it. So now that you know the differences between outbound and inbound marketing, you can make a more informed decision about which is the better choice for your business. And Mailchimp is a great resource to use if you need help with creating and implementing different marketing strategies.

Mailchimp is an all-in-one email marketing platform that you can use for a variety of marketing purposes, whether that’s with creating digital content or building stronger relationships with your customers. With Mailchimp, you’ll get access to helpful marketing tips, an email marketing guide, customer retention strategies, and more, so you can create effective marketing campaigns that reach the right people so your business can grow.

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