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Inbound vs. Outbound Lead Generation for Business Growth

It is undeniable that outbound lead generation has become less effective, particularly in B2B marketing. Inbound marketing is now the most effective long-term strategy; however, outbound lead generation tactics continue to play a role in the marketing mix. Let’s examine the primary pros and cons of each.

What Are Inbound Leads?

Inbound leads are sales leads who contact you first and then pursue you passively. Attracting these leads necessitates the creation of strategic and effective campaigns that bring users to your website and engage them.

These campaigns frequently involve using social media and search engine marketing to promote your company. Inbound leads may also contact you based on referrals from others and therefore serve as walking ads. 

Inbound Marketing Techniques

Inbound marketing seeks customers who are already aware of their problem and are seeking a solution. Some techniques to provide these solutions include:

  • Maps: Many people search for products or services they want by typing the name of the product/service followed by ‘near me.’ By including your brand on Google Maps and Apple Maps, you will reach more people and convince them to visit your website or store.
  • Video production: Creating interesting and informative videos for online distribution is a popular and effective inbound marketing strategy. People are constantly looking for video reviews and instructional videos related to their problems. 
  • Warm calling, emailing, mailing, and texting: Once people are aware of your service and want to do business with you, they may provide their contact information and agree to be contacted. These leads are considered warm, and there is a good chance they will buy your product or service.
  • Search engine optimization: SEO is the most common and effective method of generating inbound leads. Search engine optimization, or SEO, focuses on increasing the quantity and quality of content on a website in order to attract more organic traffic. The traffic is usually already interested in what is being offered and is prepared to act. There are numerous reasons why this technique may succeed or fail, including the use of a fast-loading CMS and advanced SEO Tool for marketers.

What Are Outbound Leads?

Outbound leads are sales leads that you actively pursue or contact first. Attracting these leads frequently requires paid campaigns to highly targeted groups, particularly via social media marketing and search engine advertising platforms. You can also pursue outbound leads by researching specific prospects and contacting them directly using methods such as:

  • Cold emails and calls
  • Direct mail
  • Display advertisements
  • Events
  • Mass emails

Outbound leads give your business more influence over your leads. You choose which audiences or customers you want to draw and convert. However, this may result in pursuing leads who are initially uninterested in buying a product, necessitating more time spent nurturing the lead.

outbound leads

Outbound Lead Generation Techniques

Outbound techniques include all digital marketing strategies that include paid advertisements. However, it also includes some non-ad paid lead generation strategies and techniques, such as collaborating with influencers and social media pages. Here are the most common outbound techniques that will continue to be effective in the future:

  • SEM: Search engine marketing, also known as SEM, is a type of paid advertising. Simply look for words or sentences that potential customers are looking for and that are relevant to your industry. Then pay Google or another search engine to display your ads to people who are looking for these keywords.
  • YouTube Ads: Have you ever tried to watch your favorite YouTuber’s latest video but were interrupted by an ad? This is a video advertisement. Sponsorship for videos or pictures with a link is paid for.
  • Social media advertising: Social media advertising is probably the most popular outbound marketing technique. Simply pay these platforms to display advertisements for your products and services to potential customers.
  • Cold calling, emailing, and texting: These methods are all legal in the United States. Anyone can send you advertising phone messages, emails, or even contact you to promote their product or service.

The Differences Between Inbound and Outbound Lead Generation


The most important differences between these lead gen strategies are:

1. Engagement management

The fundamental difference between inbound and outbound approaches to lead generation is who controls the timing and location of all activity. In an inbound strategy, you mostly let prospects decide how they engage. 

Outbound lead generation allows you, not your prospect, to decide when they see advertisements, receive phone calls, and receive emails, with no knowledge of or concern for the prospect’s readiness.

2. The value of marketing assets

Outbound campaigns have a shorter lifespan than inbound assets. Evergreen content, for example, can generate more leads long after you create it, providing significant long-term ROI on your marketing activity.

A good example of this is organic content like Sleepjunkie’s best mail order mattress article that attracts readers looking for information, helps educate them, and converts them to customers in the process.

Outbound campaigns are typically limited in duration due to their higher cost profile and risk levels. Most of the assets you’ve created aren’t used again after the campaign ends.

3. Campaign cost profiles

Inbound campaigns are typically less expensive and run over a longer period of time. Because traffic is earned rather than purchased, there is no requirement to purchase the distribution method. A typical outbound campaign will have a short and high-cost profile.

The costs of any lead generation campaign adds up quickly; however, because of the compound returns provided by inbound tactics, the cost per lead decreases over time. Outbound campaign costs per lead will typically remain constant or even rise if the creative isn’t refreshed and the target audience becomes bored with it.

Pros & Cons of Inbound Lead Generation

Now let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of each lead generation method.

The Pros of Inbound Lead Generation

  • The cost of generating inbound leads is usually lower than the cost of generating outbound leads.
  • Long-term, inbound lead generation is more sustainable.
  • Inbound lead generation frequently results in higher-quality traffic.

The Cons of Inbound Lead Generation

  • Inbound lead generation takes time.
  • Scaling inbound lead generation can be difficult.
  • Inbound lead generation requires a lot of traffic to function properly.

Pros & Cons of Outbound Lead Generation

lead generation

Now consider the benefits and drawbacks of outbound lead generation.

The Advantages of Outbound Lead Generation

  • Outbound lead generation is easily activated.
  • Outbound lead generation is simpler to scale than inbound lead generation.
  • Even with low traffic levels, outbound lead generation can be effective.

Outbound Lead Generation’s Drawbacks

  • In most cases, outbound lead generation is more expensive than inbound lead generation.
  • Outbound lead generation is less sustainable in the long-term.
  • Outbound lead generation frequently results in lower-quality traffic.

Which Is More Effective?

Inbound marketing’s power lies in its ability to process leads and provide high-quality, pre-qualified, and interested customers. It saves you the trouble of filtering generated leads and wasting precious time contacting the wrong people.

Outbound marketing necessitates more effort, but yields more consistent results. The strength of the outbound lies in its broad reach – it can reach almost anyone, anywhere. The internet, not just the people who contact you for precise data or products, is your market.

In Conclusion

Determining which approach is superior can devolve into an argument about “inbound vs. outbound lead generation,” but both are valid.

Depending on your brand’s business goals and other objectives, one of the two lead generation services might indeed perform better and generate more leads for you. It is simply a matter of selecting the approach that best suits your objectives.

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