Outbound marketing is the process of using targeted outreach to reach your prospective customers. The intent of outbound marketing is to start a conversation that can lead to making a sale, performing market research, or getting press coverage for your company.
While there are many different types of outbound marketing (cold calls, direct mail, and ads), the most low-cost, fast, effective approach for B2B marketers is cold email.
It’s important to remember that outbound marketing essentially relies on interruption. This is in contrast with inbound marketing, where your prospects are already searching for you.
In contrast, inbound marketing is the process of using content (blogs, videos, podcasts, etc.) to drive traffic to your website so that you can generate leads that can then be converted to buyers.
There is one problem, however, with starting inbound marketing first.
If you haven’t yet had enough direct contact with your target market, how are you going to know what their problems are, and more importantly, the exact words they use to describe those problems?
Putting your customer’s problems in their own words is critical for successful inbound marketing. Without this, your attempts at inbound marketing will likely fail, and that is why I’m such a proponent of using outbound marketing early on.
In addition, content marketing is a long-term play. It isn’t easy to rank for most Google keywords, and you won’t typically see SEO results from a single blog post… but a single email campaign can rapidly reach potential customers.
Ultimately, it’s not actually inbound vs outbound. Ideally you want to use both. When done well, outbound tactics and inbound strategies complement one another.