Lead Generation – the never-ending struggle to find more leads and prospects, make them interested in your product and eventually make a business deal! But, there are many lead generation strategies out there. And two very important ones are Inbound and Outbound lead generation strategies.
And the following questions would definitely come in every business person’s minds –
What constitutes Inbound lead generation strategy?
What constitutes Outbound lead generation strategy?
But don’t worry, we’re more than glad to help you out with it because the first step in determining which approach is right for you is to understandthem.
So, this article is an introduction to both inbound and outbound lead generation with specific attention paid on how they differ and how they are similar.
What is Inbound Lead Generation?
Inboundis the more well known and successful type of lead generation, because it reflects the way in which we have all evolved to tune out sales and marketing efforts, preferring to research products, services, and solutions before contacting sales representatives. It’s also referred to as “Permission lead generation“.
Basically in Inbound, instead of reaching out to prospects, you lay out a trail of information and incentives(content) that your prospects can follow in towards your company. It is the individual prospect who chooses the type and timing of the interaction.
Inbound leverages search engines(SEO) and social media networks to put prospects in contact with your content. One of the main challenges is the rate at which the content trail ages. The most effective content is recent and the social signposts to such content typically disappear from your prospects’ screens in just a matter of seconds.
However, as mentioned earlier, one of the main challenges of inbound lead generation is standing out from the crowd. Even if you provide compelling content and utilize paid ads, it can still be difficult to remain visible amidst the competition.
What is Outbound Lead Generation?
Outboundis basically the opposite of Inbound. Outbound Lead Generation is also termed as “ Interruption lead generation”.
It basically is the process where you send a message/messages, directly to your prospects. The type and timing of each interaction is decided by yourself and not your prospects. That’s the reason why it’s also known as interruption-lead-generation. By making use of this type of lead generation,you could get your potential leads through this communication. Few of the examples of this type of lead generation are the e-mails and normal calls.
This is an older type compared to Inbound, and hence, it’s a more traditional-marketing strategy. It is also considered by few people to be not effective as well as worn out of time.
Few tools associated with outbound lead generation, like e-mail, have even had their own image torn down as well. But they are all wrong because outbound lead generation can still be better and perform better as well.
So, one must have a better knowledge about the audiences, their responses as well as incentives. With this knowledge, you could get the full advantage of using outbound lead generation.
Differences between Inbound and Outbound Lead Generation –
Although the difference between inbound and outbound lead generation is not obvious at the first sight, in fact, it’s very simple. It’s all about who initiates the first contact. When the marketer initiates it, we’re talking about an outbound lead generation. When a potential customer is initiating the contact, it’s inbound lead generation.
In inbound, you would find all the actions that will make your customers want to find you or learn about you. But in outbound, the focus is on looking for new prospects and make them have an interest in your product.
In inbound lead generation, you decide if your prospects should come to you whereas in outbound lead generation, the prospects decide when or how they would reach you.
So, here is a dustinguish between outbound and inbound –
Time and interaction
Chosen by yourself
Chosen by your prospects
Term of effect
Short term effect
Long term effect
Direct mail, e-mail, phone calls and web
Web, e-mail, social media & search engines
Marketing skills needed
Planning, copywriting, graphic design & web
All of those for outbound, plus internet marketing, PR, social media & SEO
Differential Examples –
The best example of inbound lead generation is content marketing, which is where you publish relevant content with the intent of attracting your target audience to your brand’s website.
Cold calling is an outbound action because you’re reaching out to get people familiar with your offer.
Blogging is an inbound action because it attracts right people to your website.
Using display ads is an outbound action because it presents your offer to people who haven’t heard about you,
Social media management is an inbound action because you tighten your relation with potential customers and make yourself attractive to them.
Similarities between Inbound and Outbound Lead Generation –
Despite having fundamental differences, there are things that inbound and outbound lead generation has in common.
In fact Inbound and outbound have the same goal: it’s lead generation. Hence, here are few of the similaritiesbetween them –
Inbound & outbound
Both processes generate leads for their business to sell to
Importance of customers
Understanding your client/customers well is the key to successful lead generation by either method
Need for incentives
Both call for incentives to motivate the greatest response from your target audience.
Leads generated by either strategy require nurturing in order to convert them into sales.
Which Lead Generation Strategy is considered Better?
The answer relies on your audience and your business needs. Since there are almost all the industries who are completely bound to inbound techniques, yet there are few situations that require outbound strategy for better success.
Outbound lead generation strategy produces any result very fast (if done right) but Inbound as seen, obviously takes more time to implement but it brings you potentially leads and hence supports for the betterment of your company. In fact, at AeroLeads, Inbound strategy is the most useful process, but others could surely see outbound as more useful.
In real, it’s better to get a mixture of both outbound and inbound lead generation strategies. This is definitely true since we could go by the quote – “Two is better than one!”
The Solution –
So, as you can see, the dilemma faced in order to choose between inbound & outbound lead generation strategies, isn’t an easy job. It’s all about what you think fits your industry and company the most. The key is to understand your target audience so you can leverage the most cost-effective practices to reach them.
Both approaches understand the need for incentive. Regardless of which method you use, every initiative requires some form of lead nurturing. The most efficient lead generation strategy is to utilize a combination of both approaches. But the key is to understand your target audience so you can leverage the most cost-effective practices to reach them.
So, hopefully, this article was helpful to make your choice or decision.
Navaneetha, popularly known as "nav", loves to read, play badminton, play the keyboard and sing but when she's not doing any of those, she loves to write. What started as a high school hobby to write is now her ongoing passion. At AeroLeads, she manages Inbound Marketing and Social Media Marketing.