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Content Marketing | 7 min read

7 Key Reasons Outbound Marketing Channels No Longer Work

11 June 2018 Written by Alexander Costello

Are you unsure if your outbound marketing works with a modern audience? Are your leads becoming more difficult and costly to acquire?


If you are, don’t worry! You’re not alone.


Many businesses (especially since the introduction of GDPR) are evolving their marketing techniques and making the switch from outbound to inbound. Before we get onto the reasons why let’s have a quick recap of the different types of marketing.


Outbound refers to the traditional way of marketing, such as using television commercials, cold calling and email blasts. It’s referred to as ‘interruption’ marketing as it interrupts a potential client’s day and pushes often unwanted messages onto them.


Here at Digital Media Stream, we use a more effective way of marketing - the inbound way.


Inbound marketing is the opposite of outbound marketing, where you build a relationship with your prospects so that they want to engage with your business. Inbound is built around providing valuable content such as blogs, social media and e-books, all to help you delight potential and existing customers alike.


While the benefits of inbound are obvious, it’s also understandable why many businesses are hesitant about moving away from their previously effective outbound ways.


With this in mind, we’re sharing seven key reasons why outbound marketing channels no longer work and showing why inbound marketing is the way forward for your business.


1. Outbound is Expensive

Outbound marketing is, simply, shooting in the dark. The costs of producing and promoting marketing materials adds up, and there is no guarantee they’ll even resonate with your audience.


This is clear when you look at the cost of acquiring a lead through outbound marketing, which is far higher than the cost of inbound marketing. In fact, research from HubSpot shows that on average, one outbound marketing lead costs £245, whereas it takes only £99 to acquire an inbound marketing lead.


That means you could cut the cost of producing leads by more than half by adopting an inbound marketing strategy.


Inbound marketing is also much more effective at generating leads. In fact, inbound marketing delivers 54% more leads in the marketing funnel than outbound sources.


The reason?


Inbound marketing is simply more in tune with the buying habits of the modern consumer. The philosophy of attracting your clients to your business as opposed to pushing your message onto them is the key to cost-effective and successful marketing.


2. No One Likes Being Rudely Interrupted

As mentioned before, outbound marketing is interruption-based. Businesses push their message onto as many people as they can through outbound marketing channels in the hope that some may listen and convert into customers.


But this is an old way of thinking.


In the online age, consumers have endless buyer options open to them. As a result they’re much less likely to buy based on whichever business shouts the loudest. The power is now in their hands to pick and choose as they please, and make a decision based on the relationship they’ve built with a company through its online brand and content.


Unlike outbound, inbound marketing understands this and is therefore permission-based. When consumers type a query, challenge or need into Google and find your website, they are inspired to engage with your business without you having to chase them.


Ultimately, the goal of inbound marketing is to provide helpful content and solutions to a consumer’s problem. This content attracts clients to your business, and as a result the audience converts from lead to customer at a much higher rate than interruption-based marketing.


750% higher, to be exact.


3. Outbound Only Communicates One Way

Outbound marketing channels use a one-way communication system to attract clients. This means that outbound businesses are often out of touch with the modern consumer, as they push their message onto the customer but get nothing in return.


As a result they don’t know whether the consumer likes their marketing methods or even their product, which means that they can’t effectively market to them. Some businesses try to make up for this through focus groups or other market research techniques, but this takes time and is costly.


Inbound marketing uses a two-way communication system. The inbound methodology asks visitors to provide information such as their email address in return for valuable content or product offers. By doing this, you open a mutually-exclusive dialogue with potential customers, so that you can move them towards purchasing easier.


We use online analytical tools such as HubSpot, Google Analytics and SEMrush to measure metrics like average page views per visit and exit rate. These figures help us understand our target audience better by seeing what content really resonates with them, so that we can continue to create high quality pages for visitors.


As a result we’re much more in tune with our audience’s buying habits, and can adjust our marketing strategy accordingly. By adopting these methods you could be too.


4. Outbound Doesn’t Provide Space For Innovation

In outbound marketing, you only have a limited number of mediums to choose from, making your strategy linear. Methods such as cold calling and emailing have been static for years, meaning your marketing cannot evolve with your customers’ needs.


This is a traditional approach which greatly limits your business growth.


At the opposite end of the spectrum, inbound marketing is holistic. In inbound marketing you can simultaneously use all of the digital channels available to you like your website, search engines, and even other sites that link to you to maximise your marketing efforts.


Inbound marketing uses a combination of elements - a great website, quality blog content, multiple online distribution channels such as social media and search engine optimisation - to maximise your business reach.


And the best bit?


A key part of the inbound marketing methodology is analysing your marketing today to make it better tomorrow. Unlike outbound, if you notice your inbound marketing strategy becoming less effective, you can easily take steps to bring it back to its maximum potential.


5. Outbound Success is Rare and Hard to Measure

How do you know how your consumers have found your business? How do you know which outbound marketing channels lead to a purchase?


A lot of assumptions must be made with outbound marketing, which allows for a large margin of error. This also contributes to a lack of understanding on consumer buying habits, making it harder to effectively market.


Everything is digital with inbound marketing, which means that everything can be measured. You can see which pages visitors spend more time on, how they found your site, the percentage of those who gave you their desired information and so much more.


These metrics allow for analysis that can help you optimise your marketing strategy based on what you know works. The better your marketing, the more revenue your business benefits from.


6. With Outbound, You Don’t Own Your Distribution

Outbound marketing channels are rented, not owned. You must constantly spend money on mediums such as tv or radio adverts, which are then only shown for a limited amount of time.


This may lead people to view your advert, but as you are pushing your message onto them and not providing valuable content for their benefit, you don’t construct a mutually beneficial relationship with them. This means that these people are much less likely to turn to leads and customers. After these ads have been aired, you must then input more money into the next batch of adverts, and thus the costly cycle continues.


In inbound marketing, you own your website, and as a result, your distribution. Creating valuable content and constructing a mutually beneficial relationship with your visitor highly increases the chance that they become a lead. As an added bonus you’ll be able to repurpose your content from time to time in order to ensure that you continue to rank highly on search engines, leading visitors to your site long after you’ve published your content online.


Best of all, the cost of creating and repurposing content is significantly less than airing a tv or radio ad, pointing to the fact that inbound is more cost effective than outbound yet again.


7. Outbound Campaigns Don’t Deliver Value to Customers or Leads

Whereas inbound marketing is focused on providing useful content that attracts and delights consumers, outbound marketing is focused on trying to catch the customer’s attention through any means possible.


The difference there is that inbound marketing is about serving customers, and outbound is designed to serve businesses.


Many outbound campaigns can be too aggressive in pushing a promotional message, which can easily backfire and put people off.


Customers also wish to find answers themselves and don’t like being distracted by ads. All this means is that less than 10% of internet clicks are generated through outbound marketing, whereas over 90% are generated through inbound marketing.


In this new digital age, the content available to customers is limitless. It’s no wonder people ignore everything irrelevant to them and instead focus on finding solutions themselves.

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