What Is Inbound and Outbound Marketing?

October 19, 2015 / by Chris Vande Lune

arrows_pointing_opposite_directionsAs a marketer or business owner, you may have heard the terms inbound marketing and outbound marketing at some point along the way. You may be wondering “what is the difference between the two?” or “why do I even care?” It can be helpful to know the difference, especially so you can know the most effective way to allocate your marketing dollars. Here are a couple of quick definitions of inbound and outbound marketing:




What is Inbound Marketing?

The philosophy behind inbound marketing is that if you provide something people want, they will come to you naturally. This is every marketer's dream, right? You don’t want to interrupt people, per se, and yet you want to be noticed and sought out by those that your business can provide an answer for.

HubSpot has this to say about inbound marketing:

"Sharing is caring and inbound is about creating and sharing content with the world. By creating content specifically designed to appeal to your dream customers, inbound attracts qualified prospects to your business and keeps them coming back for more."


Common Pieces of Inbound Marketing:

computer_with_blogging_bubble_inbound_marketingInbound marketing commonly includes SEO (search engine optimization), website pages designed to reach your audience, blogging that keeps a constant flow of useful information for your readers, and social media sharing. It also includes landing page conversion optimization (to help you convert visitors once they get to your site), email marketing, customer relationship management, and more.

Basically, inbound marketing is a holistic approach to marketing that draws people to your website and gives a way to build a relationship with customers who choose to give you contact information (like email, etc).


Why Should You Consider Inbound Marketing?

As a system, inbound marketing can be cheaper than “outbound” marketing (which we’ll get to in a second). When done properly, inbound marketing can generate a lot of well-targeted traffic that you don’t have to pay for by the click. This is especially useful when inbound marketing helps your business rank on Google for the searches your business can provide answers to.


What is Outbound Marketing?

Outbound marketing is traditionally more “interruptive”, meaning that those who see your advertising aren’t looking for you but instead you show up as they are doing something else. Wordstream defines outbound marketing this way:

“Outbound marketing is the traditional form of marketing where a company initiates the conversation and sends its message out to an audience.”

Common Pieces of Outbound Marketing:

billboard_advertising_outbound_marketingOutbound marketing includes TV and radio commercials, billboard ads, print advertising and more. Some consider outbound marketing to be an outdated and expensive form of marketing. While it can be expensive, there are many instances where a TV or radio commercial or a billboard ad may be the best way to reach your target market, generate awareness, and drive leads to your business.


Why Should You Consider Outbound Marketing?

Depending on the business you are in, an outbound approach that is more traditional can make a lot of sense and deliver a great return on your investment. This is not always the case, and any “expensive” marketing needs to be done correctly (as in no cheesy commercials or lackluster billboards). For those people that may not come across your business online, or for building greater awareness for your business in general, these methods may be a great complement to your marketing efforts.


What about Paid Ads?

Paid ads that can show up on Google or Facebook have traditionally been considered outbound marketing, but more and more they are being included in inbound marketing efforts because of the detailed targeting capabilities (for example, you would only show ads on Google for something a searcher is already looking for, in a location that you serve). Retargeting marketing may also be considered inbound in nature since you are targeting people who have already been to your site or a specific site page.


How We Combine Inbound and Outbound Marketing Here at Half a Bubble Out

It’s no secret that here at Half a Bubble Out we really love inbound marketing and the success we have had with our clients using this strategy. We also do a lot of outbound marketing, including commercials on the radio and TV and have had great success there too. We believe in a holistic approach that needs to be tailored to your specific business needs.

To learn more click on the free dowload below:

Discover the Powerful Tools that Leverage Inbound Marketing eBook


Since 2002, Half a Bubble Out has been dedicated to providing marketing, advertising, and small business consulting that meet the needs of our clients. We specialize in powerfully telling stories through inbound marketing to grow your business filled with more passion and provision. Based in Chico California, we serve clients throughout Northern California and across the country to New York.

Topics: Inbound Marketing, Traditional Marketing

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