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Your Email Marketing: Is it Inbound or Outbound?

Learning about the various marketing strategies and how they differ can be overwhelming. Especially now that with a quick Google search, we have hundreds of strategies at our fingertips. So how do you choose what’s best for your business?

Image of the email icon

Inbound vs Outbound:

It's important to understand the difference between inbound marketing strategy and outbound marketing strategy. This will help you determine which strategy - or mix of strategies - can bring your company the best results in terms of return on your investment.

Inbound Marketing Strategy:

If you’ve ever read a helpful blog post about a topic and downloaded the author’s eBook - that’s inbound marketing. Hubspot Academy defines inbound strategy as “a business methodology that attracts customers by creating valuable content and experiences tailored to them”. Essentially, you’re not pushing information to just anyone and hoping it resonates. Instead, you are creating value for your specific audience by developing meaningful content, letting them come to you for that content, and building strong relationships with those potential customers over time.

With inbound marketing, you attract customers that come to you.

Outbound Marketing Strategy:

On the contrary, an outbound strategy is one in which you get a list of potential customers through trade shows, webinars, telemarketing, email blasts, or other methods, and reach out directly. Hubspot Academy defines it as a “ traditional method of marketing seeking to push messaging out to potential customers”. Although this strategy has proven to be successful for some businesses, it is becoming less effective as consumer’s views on unsolicited emails and calls have changed; tolerance for unsolicited promotion is going down as brand relationship formation and habitual content consumption become more commonplace online.

With outbound marketing, you take your offers, products, and sales pitch straight to potential customers.

This leads us to our most common question when it comes to choosing a marketing strategy:

Is Email Marketing Considered an Inbound or Outbound Marketing Strategy?

It may be surprising given that you’re sending emails out, but email marketing is in fact part of your inbound marketing strategy. Email marketing is the practice of sending educational and promotional messages to subscribed recipients about your products, your industry knowledge, or opportunities they might care about. Once a customer or a prospect willingly gives you their email, you can guide them through the inbound methodology stages: attracting, engaging, and delighting through valuable content. Email marketing is a key pillar in the inbound methodology in which you create and share content that is helpful and human.

Brian Aylward, account lead, explains that “Inbound and outbound marketing requires a stable marriage with good communication. When you share compelling narratives that bring people to you (inbound) and drive email campaigns to reinforce and extend reach (outbound), you create a holistic marketing plan that meets your future clients where they’re at. More importantly, you afford them the right to choose how they consume your content while generating valuable insights for you to learn from.”

The email marketing tactics described here are different from email blasts you’d find in outbound strategy. You're not trying to directly sell them your product or service; instead, you are providing helpful information, coming up with solutions to recipient’s roadblocks, and adding true value while helping readers reach their goals.

Whether the content is blog posts, ebooks, or webinars, an email marketing strategy will help drive a positive customer experience. In return for your valuable content, you are building a trusting relationship with your customer that positively impacts your brand and return on investment.

Want to get started with email marketing, but not sure where to begin? Let’s chat about how we can help.


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