inbound vs outbound leads

Inbound vs. Outbound Leads: Which Is Best For You?

Leads allow you to make connections with potential customers — and are the backbone of making the sale. 

There are two main types of leads: inbound and outbound. Becoming familiar with both approaches will help you decide which is best for you and your business, and which one will provide the most benefits when using a Messenger bot.

What Is An Inbound Lead?

An inbound lead occurs when someone finds you through a simple Google search or digital content. If someone Googles “pizza restaurants Chicago” and then discovers your restaurant when clicking on your website in the search results, that’s an inbound lead. With these leads, you don’t have to actively do anything to get them to come to you.

What Is An Outbound Lead?

Outbound leads are active, with your company getting out there and seeking interested people. Phone calls and direct mail both count as outbound leads (although you can’t integrate your Messenger chatbot with either). For example, if you sell a B2B (business to business) product that makes marketing managers’ jobs easier, you might send several marketing managers an email asking if they’d like more information about your product. When it comes to outbound marketing with chatbots specifically, you can create outbound leads through creating ads that pop up on specific users’ newsfeeds, asking them to opt-in and message with your chatbot. 

Messenger Bots and Inbound Leads

For inbound leads, chatbots are a way to engage people: People come to your company looking for something (information or a product), and a chatbot answers their questions and helps them make decisions.

Chandler Tools, a company that sells home and industrial tools, uses ManyChat to connect with customers through a Messenger bot that Facebook visitors can engage with. Visitors to the Chandler Tools Facebook page can choose to opt-in and begin communicating with a chatbot, learning more about the company and its products. 

Whereas outbound leads are very short — they’re limited to just a brief phone conversation, or someone skimming over your email — inbound leads tend to be longer-lived, making it easier to cultivate a long-term relationship (after all, people are more likely to stick around if they were the ones initially interested in your business instead of you reaching out to them). 

Inbound leads can increase your brand awareness, too, and it makes things easier for both your sales and marketing teams because inbound leads are passive (set up your chatbot and then let it do its job). 

When might inbound leads be a good fit? If you want to sit back and attract people to your company, then keep them there for a long time, inbound leads may be what you’re looking for. 

Messenger Bots and Outbound Leads

Outbound marketing is somewhat limited with chatbots; after all, you can’t cold call someone through Facebook Messenger (at least, they wouldn’t appreciate it). You can, however, set up an ad that will pop up on someone’s newsfeed. From there, potential customers can click and begin interacting with your chatbot. Once you’ve made that initial reach-out and created the interaction, you can send a message to this person as long as the chat remains active.

Getting outbound leads can take a little more work than getting inbound leads. But those outbound leads have big rewards, too. Outbound leads help you build brand awareness because you’re getting your company name and logo in front of more people as you create targeted ads and send messages.

Outbound leads and inbound leads both have benefits, and they’re both important ways of growing your business. Use these tips to figure out the best approach for your business to get more leads and watch your business grow.

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