January 07, 2020 3 min read

The inbound-outbound marketing dichotomy is actually based on the age old tension between push marketing and pull marketing. So, essentially, inbound marketing uses pull marketing tactics, and outbound marketing uses push marketing tactics.

The goal of inbound marketing is to pull people towards your brand, attracting them to the business with valuable information.

On the other hand, the goal of outbound marketing is to push your promotional messages to as many people as possible. This is achieved mainly through advertising.

So, here are the main differences between inbound and outbound marketing:

  • Inbound pulls those who need or want your product. Outbound pushes the messages to everybody, regardless of intent and necessity; 
  • Inbound marketing is interactive, two-way communication, while outbound marketing is static and one-way; 
  • Inbound marketing requires long-term commitment, outbound marketing can either succeed or fail fairly quickly; 
  • Inbound marketing encourages content consumption, outbound marketing disrupts and interrupts content consumption; 
  • Main channels for inbound marketing are search engines, blog, and social media platforms. Main channels for outbound marketing are advertising channels, telemarketing, and other push channels.

SaaS Companies are under pressure to employ go-to-market tactics that drive quick results – but after the smoke clears, have they truly engaged their intended consumer for the long-term relationship?

To strike the right balance, there is no prescribed ratio (percentage of revenue or budget) of inbound marketing to outbound sales. It will come by testing new strategies and monitoring your results.

That brings us to the two types of Marketing tactics:Short-term diminishing returns (mainly Outbound) andLong-term scalable (mainly Inbound).



As shown in the chart above, you have the column “A” that includes all the short-term tactics based on Outbound Marketing. On the other hand, you have the column “B” that includes all the long-term tactics based on Inbound Marketing.

Using this chart, you can define the best tactics that fits your business the most. 

Here are few examples of how you can balance between the two-types of Marketing:

  • If you spend money on PPC, let your budget do more than just an entry into your conversion funnel. Turn every click into an A/B test, and use it to amplify content.

  • A nice homepage is important. But over time, the balance should include multiple dedicated landing pages that help you convert better and ensure relevancy with a targeted component of your customer base. Ideally the majority of your incoming traffic lands on pages that are designed to respond to their needs on first contact.


Outbound is working so double down there. As you build revenues and can afford to invest in longer-term efforts like inbound, go for it then. Have realistic expectations for return on your investment in inbound. You will have a far happier life if you understand that inbound is a long game. Invest now for a good increase in opportunity generation in 9 months, 12 months, 15 months. 

Given that you are a subscription based software business, structure your pricing, proposals and agreements to maximize the number of customers that pre-pay for annual agreements. Prepaid annual agreements allow a bootstrapped SaaS company enough cash flow to make real investments in the future (like inbound marketing, product features, etc.)


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