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The Difference Between Inbound Marketing and Outbound Marketing


Outbound marketing, or traditional marketing, relies on interrupting people in an attempt to get them to listen to you.

What’s a great example of outbound marketing? You turn on prime-time television, watch a 30-minute sitcom, and realize every seven-to-nine minutes, you are interrupted for one-to-two minutes by several companies’ self-serving messages.

This annoyance has fueled more than one industry. It has fueled companies like NetFlix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video.

Interruption Marketing

No one wants cold-calls, SPAM, or to be interrupted. For businesses to match how modern humans look for information and make purchase decisions, they must provide information to buyers when they want it on their own terms.

If you want your company to be relevant in the future, it is important to provide helpful, educational, resources and content as a magnet to attract the right kinds of ideal clients into the top of your funnel. This type of content can be directly or indirectly related to the products or services that you purchase, resell, sell, or manufacture.

Inbound marketing helps you attract the right visitors to your website. Inbound works by:

  • Attracting strangers and turning them into website visitors
  • Converting website visitors into leads
  • Closing those leads into new clients through lead nurturing
  • Delighting clients into promoters

The Delight Stage

Inbound marketing does not end once businesses close new clients and generate new sources of revenue.

We live in a world where people are greatly influenced by what they learn about your company when they type it into a search engine. We know it is a positive thing when happy promoters sing your praises on social media, however, what happens if it is the opposite?

When you have disgruntled customers that dislike your staff, products, or company, they write about it online. It is important to provide helpful, educational content, surveys, social monitoring, events, and whatever you can do to help make sure your new clients get the most value out of your products and services.

The Bottom Line                    

Loyal clients become brand ambassadors and promoters. These delighted clients help repeat the cycle and bring us more new strangers. These strangers are attracted to our website, become visitors, convert into leads, accelerate into sales opportunities, and become new clients and revenue sources -- and we keep repeating this cycle.   

To do this the right way, you need to recognize that people do not want to be interrupted. They are seeking answers to their problems. The sales process should be all about them, not about you.


Is your company still interrupting people to get them to listen to you? Have you started to make the move toward inbound marketing? Let us know your thoughts in the section for comments below.

To learn more about inbound marketing, enroll now in our free 7-day eCourse: Go-to-Market Strategy 101 for B2B SaaS Startups and Scaleups.

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