Is Outbound Lead Generation Worth It?

A businessman using outbound lead generation tactics.

How is Outbound Marketing Different From Inbound Marketing?

Before you decide whether outbound lead generation is right for company, you need to know the differences between outbound and inbound marketing. Many subtle differences separate them, but the biggest one to remember is their “aggression” level. 

Outbound marketing is labeled “interruptive,” because it involves forcing your way in front of an audience. Think of your cell phone ringing in the middle of a task or a TV commercial popping up while you watch your favorite show. That’s interruption marketing. Leads don’t ask for cold calls, fliers tucked behind windshield wipers, and unsolicited emails. You offer them anyway, without asking permission.

Inbound marketing is “passive.” Rather than forcing your way in front of an audience, you let leads come to you. You draw them in by creating killer, keyword-optimized content like blog posts that inform, educate, and inspire action. Then you offer a form or a subscription, which the lead can take or leave. Because leads choose when and how to interact with content, inbound marketing is also called “permission marketing.” You don’t interrupt their television program, web browsing, or work day. You ask for their voluntary interaction with your company.

Inbound lead generation is all about exchanging information. The interaction starts with you telling the lead something about yourself through your content. Then, the lead can fill out a form with personal information or share their email address. From there, you have a third opportunity to reach out and tell the lead more about yourself.

Using forms for newsletter subscriptions is a common inbound marketing tactic.

Is Outbound Marketing Dead?

Simply put, no. Outbound marketing is not dead. The RAIN Group Center for Sales Research found 69% of surveyed participants accepted cold calls, while 77% responded positively to emails in 2020. But like anything else, outbound marketing has its downsides. Companies should examine the pros and cons of both outbound and inbound marketing when developing a lead-generation strategy.

Pros and Cons of Outbound Marketing and Inbound Marketing

Outbound marketing—for all its criticism—has positive qualities along with its negative ones. And while many professionals are singing inbound marketing’s praises, the practice has its shortcomings as well. Let’s examine the good and bad of both.

Outbound Marketing Pros:

  • You don’t have to wait for leads to come to you. You choose when and through what medium you interact with them.
  • You can build brand and company awareness faster. Inbound marketing is highly strategic, and developing the perfect strategy for lead generation may take a long time.
  • It’s easier to reach leads before competitors using outbound marketing. Competitors may be busy waiting for permission, allowing you to step past them and introduce yourself first.

Outbound Marketing Cons:

  • Interruption may frustrate potential leads. Think of every deep, dramatic sigh you’ve let out when your TV show skipped to a commercial or a pop-up halted your web browsing; that’s how leads may react too.
  • Outbound marketing carries higher expenses.
  • Outbound marketing is not personalized, and it is restricted to one-way communication. Unless you do a cold call, your leads cannot interact with you the way they would through an inbound strategy.

Inbound Marketing Pros:

  • It’s less expensive.
  • Because inbound marketing material is kept online, you have the flexibility to update, maintain, and repurpose it as needed. That means materials last longer and retain relevance more than, say, emails and fliers.
  • Inbound marketing is less likely to frustrate and scare off potential leads, as it eases them in, rather than getting in their faces.

Inbound Marketing Cons:

  • Developing an inbound campaign is time-consuming. Crafting keyword-optimized content such as blog posts and whitepapers doesn’t happen overnight.
  • Inbound marketing requires specialized knowledge. You may need to hire expert help for things like search engine optimization (SEO).
  • To retain high rankings on search engines and prevent your content from getting lost among the crowd, you’ll need to constantly maintain your website.

Is Outbound or Inbound Lead Generation Better?

Deciding whether inbound or outbound lead generation is right for your company depends on your customers. Business-to-business (B2B) companies may get better results from outbound marketing than a business-to-consumer (B2C) company would. Businesses receive more emails than everyday Janes and Joes. The average person might consider a sales email worthless spam, whereas a business owner may see a chance to improve productivity and revenue. Getting into the mind of your buyers is half the battle when choosing a marketing strategy.

That being said,  using both inbound and outbound marketing covers all your bases. What one lacks, the other makes up for. As long as you’re strategic, you can maximize audience reach through paid advertising and organic traffic. Not all companies can afford outbound and inbound marketing together, but those who can might find the dual-tactic effective.

Final Thoughts on Lead Generation Options

In the end, both outbound and inbound lead generation have upsides and downsides. Using both is an effective way to reach a larger audience; however, not all companies can afford this option. Each individual company must decide—based on resources—what type of marketing strategy it can afford. If you’re a startup with few resources, inbound marketing may be where you’ll start until you can generate more revenue. Conversely, big companies can afford a mix of both inbound and outbound marketing campaigns.

Here’s the bottom line: outbound lead generation is worth it. The real question is whether it’s the right option for your company at the moment, taking money and staff capability into account.

Are you unsure of the best lead generation strategy for your company? Bring your questions and concerns to us. Book a call with our experts today!