Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing

Anuja Lath 15/03/2018 6

Today’s marketing world typically revolves around two terms, inbound marketing and outbound marketing. Businesses prefer either one of the two or they may even prefer both. This depends on whether the business is well established or an SME (small and medium enterprise) and it also depends on the size of the budget. As for the big organizations, budget constraint is never a point of concern for them, so they prefer both. But for small businesses, inbound marketing is preferable due to the constraints in the budget.

The marketing funnels for both inbound marketing and outbound marketing are different, so it becomes important to know the steps involved. Here are the steps of marketing funnels for both:

Inbound Marketing: create, pull, nurture, convert and retain 

Outbound Marketing: reach, nurture, convert and win 

With the first step of inbound marketing being attracting visitors, you don’t want any random visitors visiting your page. Here comes the need for content marketing, in order to attract a niche and specific audience via content marketing. Content marketing is a part of inbound marketing strategy, by which potential customers are able to find your business through relevant content that you post such as blogs and articles. Your content that offers them solutions to a problem helps them stick to your brand. Generating a lead is not the end, it is from here that a business motivates the lead to convert into a customer. Nurturing is when you validate a lead with more promotions about your business, which finally leads to conversion. Retaining customers is important, as you might lose them at some point if they are not satisfied with the type of services that you offer. All in all, inbound marketing is more customer-centric.

On the other hand, outbound marketing is more business-centric, wherein businesses often end up doing aggressive promotions, not targeting niche specific customers. Constant business promotions are very interruptive & do not appeal to the users. Here you reach the audience by promoting your business directly. However, you also need to monitor the leads generated and nurture them to convert into customers.

Both inbound and outbound marketing are really important for a business. It is important for you to know the various benefits that both types of marketing offer. What is the difference between inbound marketing and outbound marketing?   


What is the definition of inbound marketing? Is inbound marketing only about getting leads? No, it is more than lead generation! The promotions on social media help to build trust and brand awareness. It involves attracting the customers, either through social media or various other ways like email marketing and newsletters. This is more customer-centric.

What is the definition of outbound marketing? It doesn’t attract a specific audience, instead covers the whole audience. Outbound marketing is business specific, wherein the businesses promote their brand irrespective of whether the customers want their products/services. The businesses use paid services to market their business well.

Close Rate

What is a close rate? A close rate is the number of deals that you are able to close when compared to the number of proposals made. If we consider the statistics, the close rate of inbound marketing is nearly 15% whereas outbound marketing has a close rate of hardly 2%. This is one of the reasons why businesses prefer inbound marketing over outbound marketing.

Inbound marketing targets the niche specific audience, which makes it easy for potential customers to find your business, hence improving the conversion rate.


Both inbound and outbound marketing are effective in their respective domains and are important to a business. However, inbound marketing is a time-consuming process whereas outbound marketing is not.

It depends on the requirement of a customer and also their need for the kind of service you are providing. It enables your business to aim at targeted customers, whereas with outbound marketing, the business targets all the customers and not specific customers.

Customer Perspective

Look from a customer’s perspective and you shall see that inbound marketing is interactive and focuses on customer engagement. It is essentially customer-centric, providing customers with the solutions to certain problems through effective content marketing.

But in outbound marketing, the focus is on business and its promotions. Here, customer’s perspective is never taken into consideration.


Inbound marketing is not as expensive as its counterpart, i.e. outbound marketing. This is why small and medium enterprises (SMEs) end up using inbound marketing, where they promote their business via social media, email newsletters or cold calling. Well established businesses and firms often end up using the paid services, offered in outbound marketing.

However, for some businesses inbound marketing is able to yield good results and for some it is outbound marketing that generates more business. This completely depends on the nature of the business, their budget limitation etc.


If the statistics are to be believed, then inbound marketing has a better return on investment than outbound marketing.

In inbound marketing, businesses target precisely the niche audience who are in need of your services/products. This leads potential customers to validate before they convert. In outbound marketing, businesses promote their business without targeting a specific audience. So, it might be possible that your business is attracting customers who may have stumbled upon your promotion but are not really interested in the type of services/products you offer. These are likely to never convert.

We hope you are able to differentiate which type of marketing is better for your business with this blog! If we missed out any points, let us know in the comments section below!

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  • David Allen

    Inbound and outbound marketing embody a kind of cultural shift in the entire concept of how marketing works, particularly across channels.

  • Jordan Wilce

    Inbound marketing is currently the more fashionable marketing choice right now.

  • Sue Hunt

    Thanks for explaining both concepts

  • Darren Brown

    Well explained

  • Matt Watts

    Always try new things while you continue to do the old things that are working.

  • Ron Fyfe

    Inbound and outbound marketing will almost certainly change with time and as technology adds new features and ways of connecting with people.

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Anuja Lath

Digital Marketing Expert

Anuja is the Co-founder and CEO of RedAlkemi Online Pvt. Ltd., a digital marketing agency helping clients with their end to end online presence. Anuja has 30 years of work experience as a successful entrepreneur and has co-founded several ventures since 1986. She and her team are passionate about helping SMEs achieve measurable online success for their business. Anuja holds a Bachelors degree in Advertising from the Government College of Fine Arts, Chandigarh, India.


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