Inbound Vs. Outbound Lead Generation: Which One to Incorporate

From small businesses using lead generation to get their products and services familiarised to being a sales and profit-increasing source, lead generation is all in rave now. So, if you are yet to jump on the bandwagon, you are missing out big time because chances are your competitors are already using this marketing technique. Today, […] 
Apr 18, 2022
Content Writer @ OneMoreLead

From small businesses using lead generation to get their products and services familiarised to being a sales and profit-increasing source, lead generation is all in rave now. So, if you are yet to jump on the bandwagon, you are missing out big time because chances are your competitors are already using this marketing technique.

Today, lead generation is all that every marketer can think of, and for a good reason. So what exactly does it do for your business? As the name suggests, it is the process of generating leads for your company. So, lead generation, in simple terms, is the process of finding prospective leads to get them familiarised with your products and services and, in return, turning them into paying customers. Result? An increase in sales and Return On Investment.

Lead Generation

However, when it comes to lead generation, marketers are often in a dilemma? Which way to go? Inbound leads or Outbound leads. And while you can always go for both options, there are often budgetary and time constraints that come with it. And most marketers may suggest you go for inbound leads; we do not like to jump to conclusions here.

While inbound lead generation brings the consumer to you, outbound lead generation helps you reach out to them. And there is not a single doubt that using these two together can help you get the best of both worlds. So if you want to choose between the two and do not know which one to opt for, you have come to the right place.

You ask for a detailed comparison between the two. And we have it right here. So, stop scratching your head and read the article to know which lead generation to incorporate into your marketing strategy.

So, without further ado, let's jump right in to discuss the following aspects in detail,


  • Lead generation is one of the most effective techniques to incorporate into your business today.
  • While inbound leads tend to come to your brand for their needs and demands, outbound leads require you to go to them to start a consumer-brand relationship.
  • And you must know all the pros and cons of each technique before jumping to conclusions and opting for either one.

What is Inbound Lead Generation?

Imagine this; you are looking for a service online when you stumble upon a platform that seems to have the answers to your queries. So, you do some research and decide to go for their services. And, this entire process of you finding the brand on your own through their marketing campaigns and opting for their solutions makes you an inbound lead.

Simply put, inbound leads are leads that reach out by themselves that may or may not have had prior interactions with the said brand. So, inbound lead generation is how companies drive leads to their site through advertisements, content marketing, Search Engine Optimization, and much more.

inbound lead

And I like to think of inbound lead generation as catching a mouse. The way you put out cheese on their trap to see them, the same way you do everything that can entice prospective leads to interact with your brand and become paying customers.

So, what is the catch? Like any other marketing strategy, inbound lead generation comes with challenges. With inbound generation, there is an added necessity of standing out from the rest of the competitors. You need to create content that grabs the consumer’s attention and retains it.

The secret ingredient to a successful marketing campaign is to know your consumers and create content that appeals to them and meets their needs simultaneously. However, the traffic generated through inbound generation is entirely organic, meaning you have a better shot at transitioning the leads into paying customers.

What Do You Mean by Outbound Generation?

Outbound leads, on the other hand, are those customers that have no prior knowledge of the existence of your brand. So with the outbound lead generation process, you reach out to these people that are yet to get familiarised with your brand. And this is where cold calls, messages, and emails come in.

Remember those seemingly unsolicited phone calls, messages, or emails that would pop out on your notification bar now and then? You guessed it, all of those are a part of outbound marketing strategy. So, the idea behind outbound lead generation is to reach out to customers and introduce your brand first. The intent? To create a relationship between the consumer and the service provider.

outbound lead

Outbound lead generation, because of its approach, is known to have intrusive qualities, hence the name interruption lead generation. It is like reaching out to your crush every day in hopes of getting noticed by them and building a mutual relationship. And while some marketers may debate its necessity and relevance in creating a marketing strategy, about 78% of businesses today use email marketing to reach out since it is highly effective and budget-friendly.

With outbound, you control which potential customers you want your focus on, how to approach them, and what to do to influence them into making a purchase. And, since you have faster access to different markets, outbound gen can be increasingly effective for small businesses starting in this industry to build brand awareness and a following of their own.

How Does Outbound Lead Generation Differ from Inbound Lead Generation?

Inbound Vs. Outbound Lead Generation Strategy

Authority and Trust

Since the prospective leads are the ones to first come in contact, businesses play less of an authoritative figure than consumers. However, the good thing is that this builds a sense of trust among the consumers towards the brand. Because when it comes to inbound leads, they have already researched your brand and have had one or two interactions. So, they are already in the know and in control of whether or not to take any action. Thus, you have a higher possibility of building credibility with the customers.

However, in terms of outbound lead generation, the company reaches out first and gets itself acquainted with the consumers. So, in this case, the brand is in control, meaning they get to research and decide which prospects to target based on their market and industry. That said, unlike inbound leads, outbound leads do not have any prior experience or knowledge of the brand, so they have a lower level of awareness. Therefore, it takes time for the business to build trust and credibility.

Budget and Cost Per Lead

Outbound lead generation will cost you higher in general compared to inbound. Why? Because outbound comes with its fair share of challenges.

Unlike inbound, outbound is an ongoing process. So, it requires businesses to effectively maintain consistent communication with the consumers so that they are up to date with all the recent activities of the brand. Thus, they have to focus on each client separately to instigate them to make a purchase. Moreover, the campaigns are usually designed on a shorter scale to avoid the risks of incurring any loss. So, it only makes sense that it would cost you more per lead in a shorter span.


Contrary to that, inbound lead generation costs are lower. The percentage amounts to up to 61% lower than outbound lead generation. In addition, since inbound relies on driving organic traffic to their site, they optimize their content, advertisements, and website accordingly. So, consumers can find their brands through organic searches and opt for their services.

Due to being customer-driven, it does not require you to go to each customer's doorstep. Because when these consumers interact with your brand, chances are they are already interested in your products or services. So, you incur less cost over a more extended period.

Content and Its Scalability

It all comes down to the content that you have in stores for your clients. And if you want to opt for inbound lead generation, there are a few strategies that you would need to follow to have a successful campaign. It asks for visually appealing social media advertisements, videos, warm emailing, SEO, etc.

For starters, SEO optimization. SEO or Search Engine Optimization is how brands help rank higher on the Search Engines Results Page. By optimizing the website with SEO, businesses ensure that whenever potential leads search up their content or any relevant words, it ranks higher than other competitors in the market. Thus, increasing the possibility of larger traffic to the website.

As inbound leads walk towards the brand with their needs, they mostly judge the brand based on the content available online and offline. However, scalability comes easy with inbound lead generation, as you can always modify and optimize your brand to add to your consumer's user experience.

Now, let's move on to outbound leads. In the case of outbound, the strategies are a bit different. Have you ever noticed the ads that pop up every time you search for a product and service? That is all due to outbound lead generation.


SEM or Search Engine Marketing is very crucial when it comes to outbound leads. Marketers use this technique to identify the most relevant keywords related to their product or service. And then pay search engines to show your content each time any consumer searches for them.

When you hear of outbound lead generation, your mind directs to cold email, cold messages, and phone calls. And while it mostly surrounds all of that, there is much more to it than just cold marketing. In fact, any paid online content that you see is a part of outbound lead generation, for instance, YouTube ads, social media influencer marketing, etc.

Execution Time

When it comes to outbound generation, outbound leads do not have control over when they want to interact with the brand because the company comes to their doorstep. With outbound lead generation, you need to be considerate of when you are sending cold emails or calls to the leads.

On the other hand, you have inbound leads that come to you at their convenience, so there is a lower chance of an increased bounce rate. That said, inbound generation is a lengthier process because your content is what drives them to you as opposed to outbound, where you can execute your strategies immediately.

Quality of Leads

When it comes to inbound lead generation, you generally get a better quality of leads than outbound leads. Why? Because when an inbound lead reaches out to a business, chances are they have issues that they need resolving.

For instance, if I have any legal issue that I need solutions to, I will search for a lawyer in my localities and opt for the one that seems to have the answers to my queries. So, this makes me a valuable lead. However, if I were to get a phone call for any legal services, I am most likely not going to interact with the firm.

Final Takeaways

When it comes to digital marketing, both inbound and outbound lead generation plays a crucial role in bringing out the best results. However, if you had to choose between either one of them, I suggest you research the market, the pricing, and the competitors to understand which lead generation technique works the best for your company.

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