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Inbound vs Outbound Marketing

In this article, I will talk about what Inbound and Outbound marketing are. I will do this by listing their differences and how you can utilize them for your business and their relation to SaaS businesses.
If you are a new SaaS company trying new methods to increase your reach, or a person interested in marketing, this article is for you.

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing refers to the marketing approaches taken to reach a small but specific customer base. This specific customer base tends to be more knowledgeable regarding what you present to them. Inbound Marketing aims to reach a target audience that is much more prone to user activation


Pro Tip:

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Here is a short list of advantages of the inbound marketing method:

1. Increased Efficiency

There are certain advantages of this method; the first is how this method is more efficient. Someone who is not interested in your product has more than enough reason to skip your ad, but someone who wants to use a similar product might be more reluctant to ignore your advertisements.

2. Cheaper (Might) Be Better

Another benefit of Inbound marketing is how it is cheaper. Instead of buying fancy ads to be shown in widely-known TV channels, you will create tailor-made advertisements that will reach a specific customer base. This method can be conducted with a bit of capital by new companies in a field.

3. Possibility To Gain Experience

An essential advantage of this method is that your experience and target audience will expand as you grow. This expansion means that you will get more efficient with inbound marketing as you get familiar with this method. This benefit will also help you to develop your brand awareness.

4. A More Educated Target Audience

Your target audience also will be more interested in your ads since they will be familiar with the product you are providing in one way or another. This interest will help you ignore some of the main problems, like explaining the basics of your product. Your target audience will already know the ABCs of your product.

5. Better for SaaS Businesses?

Finally, inbound marketing is often better for SaaS companies since they operate for relatively more minor groups that already know more or less what they want. This advantage will allow you to focus most of your attention on more complex tasks like creating package plans for your customers. 

From DijitalFakulte

What is Outbound Marketing?

Outbound Marketing, often called “push” or “interruption” marketing, aims to reach the biggest target audience to make a sale. Although this sounds good on the paper, outbound marketing often achieves this by disregarding the type of target audience you reach.

Here is a shortlist of features of outbound marketing:

1. Reaching to wider audiences, but at what cost?

As a result of your marketing tactics, you might reach a wider audience, but this comes at the cost of efficiency. Your marketing will be less efficient compared to that of inbound marketing. Your ads might reach a wider audience, yes, but most people might stay unaffected by your advertisement campaign.

2. An Expensive Approach

There is also a matter of money that you should take into account. Outbound marketing campaigns are often expensive. You might need to buy ads on prominent websites, newspapers, and tv channels. Spending a lot of money on something you are unsure about can be problematic, especially if you are a newcomer in the industry without much capital.

3. Possibility of being ignored

There are also ways for your customers to ignore your messaging. They can buy a premium on a website so as not to see ads, change the tv channel when they see your ad, etc. This is a severe short-coming outbound marketing has compared to inbound marketing.

 Also, many SaaS users use computers more than they use any other form of communication, meaning they can use AdBlock or a similar app to stop seeing your ads without any cost. 

4. Increasing your Brand Awareness

A vital advantage of outbound marketing is how it creates brand awareness. Since the target of your advertisement campaigns is the general populace, spending enough time and money on your ads will result in your brand getting known among the general public, thus creating brand awareness.

5. A Lacking Approach for SaaS Companies?

Last but not least, the outbound marketing method might not be best for SaaS companies. Since SaaS businesses usually depend on specialized relationships with a core customer base, outbound marketing might not be as efficient as one would like it to be.

What Are The Differences Between Inbound and Outbound Marketing?

The main difference between Inbound and marketing is their target audience. While Inbound marketing aims to reach a more relevant customer base by identifying your product’s features, outbound marketing aims to reach a wider audience at the cost of their relation to your product.

Techniques employed by inbound marketing are relatively new. This situation is caused by the fact that it was impossible to create targeted advertisements in mass until the advent of advanced computing methods.
Targeted advertisements have developed extensively recently with the advent of the internet and cookies.

An essential difference between inbound and outbound marketing is how you calculate the results. Inbound marketing allows you to keep track of how your advertising campaign is going since you can calculate the rate of users interested in your product so far as to contact you.

Outbound marketing does not allow such a thing since the marketing methods employed by this approach appeal to a broader audience with no possibility of tracking them. This situation is also due to the methods used by outbound marketing. While one can track the success of email marketing, it is not possible to do the same for billboard advertisements. 

There is also a difference in the time frame. While outbound marketing can last from a single day to a month, inbound marketing can take up to a year to present results. This time difference can play a role in your choice if you are a seasonal company that depends on specific periods.

Here is a short diagram explaining the differences between Inbound and Outbound Marketing:

Inbound MarketingOutbound Marketing 
Relatively CheapExpensive
Smaller Target AudienceA Bigger Target Audience
A More Educated Target AudienceStandard Target Audience

Is Inbound or Outbound Marketing Better?

Although Inbound and outbound marketing can be useful for different needs, the question asked is more about which one is better for SaaS businesses. Even though I have given this question a short answer in previous parts, I will explain the reasons better in this part.

SaaS companies, with some exceptions, are not as big as traditional companies. This situation also means that they will not spend as much as those big companies on marketing. Although some big companies like Netflix and Zoom can buy ad time in primetime, this is not the case for most SaaS companies.
Inability to spend much is not the only reason SaaS companies should prefer Inbound marketing over outbound marketing. There is a matter of how appealing your product is as well. Although you might think, again, companies like Netflix can be used by the majority of the populace, Netflix represents only a tiny portion of SaaS companies.
Ad-trackers, data analyzing companies, HR software systems are all specialized SaaS products. It would not make much sense to advertise these products to a broader populace where only a tiny portion would understand what they are.

What Are Some Examples Of Outbound Marketing?

1. TV/Radio Advertisements

This method needs a little explanation. We all know how TV/Radio advertisements work. Many SaaS companies like Netflix buy ad time in channels in prime to reach more customers. Ads of this type need not be in between shows. You can also buy banner ads to be shown while a show is on.

2. Newspaper Advertisements

Newspaper ads are one of the marketing techniques that got old with the passing age. Although customers can’t simply overlook these as they do with TV ads, there is a downward trend with Newspaper sales meaning this method reaches few and fewer people every day.

According to Forbes, newspaper sales have decreased 6% this year, and this is a trend that is simply not going away with the increasing role social media and smartphones play in our lives.

3. Branded Marketing

Branded marketing refers to giving out products that carry your company’s name and logo. This giveaway is a method often utilized by banks. However, we do not see many examples of this method for SaaS companies. Since SaaS companies usually try to attract a more specialized customer base, giving out free pens might not impress your customer base compared to other methods.

4. Telemarketing

Telemarketing is the process of calling possible customers to inform them of your product. This method has gotten old over time. Potential customers now can block your number or not open it, to begin with.

This method is also very unpopular with common people and might result in you getting negative feedback even if people react to your telemarketing campaigns. I would suggest steering away from this method.

What Are Some Examples Of Inbound Marketing?

1. Blogs

Since you are reading this article in HockeyStack blog, I will assume you know what a blog is. Blogs are a great and cheap way to reach a customer base. All you need to do is to set up a website, which can be free, and produce content for your users to enjoy.
Do not forget that a blog needs new articles published often to get a presence in the search algorithm. You might use additional authors to improve your blog.

2. An Ebook

Publishing an Ebook is an excellent way for your customers to check out your product, even when not browsing the net. Although the process of writing a book might be tedious, you can reap the benefits for a long time.

Of course, it might seem imposing to write an entire book. However, here are some benefits of writing an ebook that might encourage you to write an ebook related to your business.

  • Ebooks can always be accessed through your website compared to published books, giving you both clicks to your website and an infinite ad opportunity. 
  • Compared to the written books, it is often free to write an ebook. 
  • You can put links to your website in your ebook, providing you with extra click and exposure. 
  • You can both give away your book for free or even sell it for a sum of your choice, providing your company with additional funds.

3. A Podcast

A podcast might be the most effort-demanding inbound marketing strategy for a SaaS Company. You will need a good microphone, an editor, a recording app, and some free time. Although podcasts require a lot of effort, they are fundamentally different from other methods mentioned here since it relies on customers listening rather than reading.

Even HockeyStack has a podcast project that you can listen to called SaaS Hackers. If you are looking to gain more experience in podcasting,

What Are The Most Important Inbound Marketing Metrics To Track?

In this part, I will talk about some essential metrics you should keep track of while conducting your inbound marketing campaign. This section will serve as a little SaaS Inbound Marketing Guide for you to understand the basics of Inbound Marketing.

1. CAC

CAC (sometimes referred to as Customer Acquisition Cost) refers to the average price of gaining a new customer. This metric is mainly about how much your marketing department spends to acquire one new customer.
Customer Acquisition Cost rate is calculated by dividing your marketing expenses by the number of new customers. You can decide how often you need to figure this metric according to your needs. However, please note that anything more often than a weekly calculation might not be reliable.
There are some reasons why you should keep track of this metric. Calculating your Customer Acquisition Cost allows you to determine the most profitable way to reach new customers. This feature will also allow you to figure out which platforms are better suited for your marketing campaigns.
Calculating your Customer Acquisition Cost is especially useful if you are trying to make an inter-branch calculation for your developing company.

Here is a little diagram explaining how to do your Customer Acquisition Cost calculation:

By HockeyStack

2. Leads

Lead (or leads) is a person that shows interest in your product, making them a potential customer. These people also constitute the first step in the user activation process. These people are often the subject of the metrics mentioned above.

This metric is important because it gives you an insight into how many potential people out there might want to use your product. Calculating this metric will give you insight into how big your market is and what you can do about this.

There are three types of leads, and their position depends on their place in the SaaS Marketing Funnel. These types of leads are called Information Qualified Lead (IQL), Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL), and Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). Here are some brief explanations of what they are:

  • Information Qualified Leads (IQLs) or sometimes referred to as “Cold Leads” are the potential customers that are at the start of their buyer journey. These sorts of leads would like to have basic information regarding the services you provide. These pieces of information are, but not limited to, your company name, your price, services you provide, etc.
  • Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) are in the middle of their sales funnel. After getting familiar with your product, they will talk to you about how you can solve their problem. These sorts of leads are also called warm leads due to being in the middle of the sales funnel.
  • Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) are at the end of the sales funnel. These types of customers have learned their needs and what your company provides. They are finally ready to make a purchase. These types of leads are also called hot leads.

3. Sales opportunities

Sales opportunities refer to the point where your customers contact your support to make a deal with you about your product. This part is crucial because it can determine your customer’s plan and how much you will gain from their purchase.

4. Keyword Ranking

It is essential to keep track of the words written on your website; repetition, short texts, and lack of proper editing could result in your website not showing up in the search engine of customers looking for you.
Here is a shortlist of suggestions for you to improve your keyword ranking/SEO:

  • Use target words that are relevant
  • Optimize images
  • Use multiple types of headers in your text
  • Use links from your own website.


In this article I have defined what Inbound and outbound marketing are, their differences, and examples. A SaaS company needs to keep track of different metrics and methods to increase their reach and keep their already-existing status in a field.

If you are looking to learn more about Inbound and Outbound marketing examples, stay tuned to our blog section, related article(s) will be shared by our writers in due time.


Is Social Media Outbound?

No, social media marketing is an inbound marketing technique since it aims to draw a specific customer base for your company. Multiple social-media websites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram use cookies to present your ads to a specific customer base.

What is the difference between inbound leads and outbound leads?

The main difference between outbound leads and inbound leads is that while you as a company get in touch with a customer to make them a lead in outbound marketing inbound marketing depends on your potential customer getting into touch with you.

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