Wait, are we really about to discuss the benefits of outbound marketing, prospecting, direct mail and paid advertising? What place could these old tactics possibly have in an inbound marketer's world? Well, jump in, hold on and enjoy the ride, because outbound still has a place in inbound marketing, and we're about to tell you how!
The Difference Between Traditional Outbound and Inbound
For starters, it's important to understand that you cannot rely solely on inbound or outbound marketing to achieve your growth goals. It's about having a healthy and integrated mix of both inbound and outbound methods to amplify growth and bring your company to the next level. That being said, outbound should be done in an inbound sort of way, and we'll explain that in more detail as we go.
When we use the term "traditional outbound," what we're referencing is print, radio and TV ads, paid email lists, billboards — and of course, the dreaded cold call. These forms of outbound marketing are interruptive and lack targeting. They don't feel personal, because they're not. This often leads to frustration for those receiving the message, and low ROI for those serving it.
Inbound methods are on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. Inbound marketing is a customer-centric approach that attracts prospects to a product or service through a combination of content marketing, blogging, SEO and social media. Inbound allows you to communicate to specific target personas and directly address their needs in relation to your solution.
Now, how do you do outbound in an inbound way?
Outbound prospecting should be about attracting new leads to your marketing funnel and guiding them through a buyer's journey you've created just for them. You decide who, when and how you bring them into the funnel. Because people have become numb to traditional prospecting, this effort should be about positioning yourself as a useful resource for your prospect and offering them value.
For example, social media is a great place to prospect because it is where communities share insights and content. Engage with your prospects by liking, commenting and delivering value through helpful and relevant posts.
Paying to place an ad is inherently outbound, but there's no reason it can't be done in a more inbound way. Positioning is key, and so is making sure your paid ad ends up in front of the right audience. With tools like Google Ads and Facebook Lead Ads, marketers can seamlessly integrate paid advertising into their existing marketing strategy.
These digital advertising platforms give marketers the ability to get extremely granular with messaging placement. You can create segments for demographic, geographic, or even previous conversion data (just to name a few). You can control the time of day your ads are shown, and even their placement. This allows you to maximize your conversions and ROI.
Isn't direct mail dead? Not quite.
When done right, direct mail is a great way to stand out, especially in account-based marketing. If you know who you're targeting at an organizational level, you can use direct mail to deliver relevant content in oder to increase awareness and inspire action. Connecting with stakeholders on a personal level is a great supplement to your typical outreach.
Think about it: content is flooding everybody's life. Finding a way to rise above digital noise can create a refreshing change for your prospects. Just remember to do it in an inbound way by being thoughtful and genuine. Stay highly personalized and targeted. Always consider whether or not your message is relevant and helpful. And use the opportunity to continue to cement your place as a subject matter expert.
Sure, trade shows and conferences are outbound, but you can still generate high-quality inbound leads through them. It's all about strategy and follow up. Remember, these types of events are expensive, so make sure you calculate the estimated cost and compare that with your ROI goal before committing.
To capture that ROI, ensure the leads you gather will convert to customers. Follow a strong lead-qualification process and spend your time engaging with qualified prospects. Additionally, establish an actionable strategy to follow up with your new leads after the event. You shouldn't expect they'll remember every person they met during the conference, so prepare your strategy in advance in order to act quickly — both during and after the event — and stay top of mind.
You can't rely solely on inbound or outbound marketing efforts to achieve your growth goals. Use outbound as a supplement to your inbound efforts to reach your prospects in actionable, engaging ways. Be thoughtful, genuine and targeted, and you'll be well on your way to successfully driving inbound growth using outbound methods.
Ready to listen to the webinar for even deeper insights?
James is a former New Breeder.