There seems to be a lot of confusion about inbound and outbound marketing. You may wonder which of these strategies is easier to implement to generate more business.

Outbound marketing is often called prospecting. That’s when you actively reach out to people to win business.

Inbound marketing refers to strategies that involve advertising to get potential clients call you.

Here are my thoughts on these strategies and tips on which one’s best for you …

Outbound Marketing

When you started in real estate your broker probably told you to prospect. That’s outbound marketing. You pick up the phone, reach out to people, and ask them for business or referrals.

Most agents believe that outbound marketing is free. That’s not completely true. If you call prospects you may have to buy a list of phone numbers (e.g. expireds, FSBO’s), a dialer to speed things up, and, of course, your cell phone.

Most importantly, outbound marketing takes time. And time is invaluable as you can’t get it back.

Typical outbound strategies include tele-marketing, door knocking, and networking events. It’s easier for an outgoing personality than an introvert.

Pros of Outbound Marketing

  • It’s low cost, it only takes time
  • It’s direct and personal
  • You can create business quickly

Cons of Outbound Marketing

  • It’s difficult to do consistently
  • You have to love the process
  • There’s a high level of rejection

Inbound Marketing

When you practice inbound marketing, you send out advertising that entices prospects to contact you.

Many brokerages don’t teach inbound marketing. Brokers claim it’s too expensive and only experienced agents can afford it.

It certainly costs more to mail out postcards and letters or advertise online. However, once the system is set up, it runs by itself. That’s why some people refer to it as passive marketing.

It takes less time than outbound marketing, and it’s much easier to do consistently.

Inbound strategies include direct response mail, including postcards and letters, and some types of online advertising.

Pros of Inbound Marketing

  • It can be automated.
  • It’s not very time consuming.
  • People who call you are more motivated.
  • It gives you leverage.

Cons of Inbound Marketing

  • You need to invest money upfront
  • It can become expensive
  • It will take some time and testing before you get any leads

Online Leads

Based on what I said above online leads are considered inbound marketing. When you subscribe to a marketing service leads are coming in quickly.

With so many online services capturing buyer leads their quality and motivation are low. An online lead is merely a name and an email. The person may not really be interested in your service. They are just curious.

So, to convert online leads you will need to do a lot of outbound marketing, i.e. make follow up calls, send emails and texts to convert them into a real customer.

Which Strategy Is Best for You?

Whether you use inbound or outbound marketing, the key is to do it consistently.

Determine your marketing budget first. Then decide which niches you want to pursue, e.g. buyers, sellers, expireds, FSBO’s, and how you can reach them most effectively.

For instance, you can market to expired with inbound or outbound strategies. When you knock on their door or call them, it’s an outbound strategy. If you send them a letter it’s inbound.

I believe you need a combination of inbound and outbound marketing to be successful. Your personality will determine which one’s best for you. If you hate what you are doing, I guarantee you won’t do it consistently.