The EZ Guide to Developing an Outbound Marketing Strategy
Inbound marketing has dominated headlines for the last few years, but does that mean outbound marketing is dead?
Not at all.
Like all absolutes, you can't trust that one marketing strategy reigns supreme over all the others. In fact, diversifying your marketing efforts can actually improve ROI and help you reach more customers.
Outbound Vs. Inbound Marketing
Think of outbound marketing as an opportunity to connect with consumers in a big way. Traditional examples include television and radio advertisements, but mass texting, mass emails, direct mail, and other strategies also fall under the outbound umbrella.
Inbound marketing, on the other hand, works like a magnet. It's designed to bring customers to the brand rather than the other way around. It includes interacting with customers on social media, asking customers to provide their contact information, creating landing pages on websites, and more.
Obviously, you can't attract all potential customers via inbound strategies. Some of your customers might never use social media, read your blog, or opt into a funneled email strategy. You need outbound to balance the scales.
To give you a better idea of the comparisons here, let's look at how businesses have used both inbound and outbound marketing successfully.
Inbound Marketing Example: Crazy Egg
Helmed by world-class entrepreneur and marketing expert Neil Patel, Crazy Egg uses predominately inbound marketing to attract new customers and to reach people online. This much is obvious from the moment you visit the company's website.
Immediately, you're asked to input your website's URL to see a heat map that can help you better organize your landing pages, home page, or other website properties.
If you scroll down the page, you'll see a video that describes how Crazy Egg works as well as key information about its features and an invitation to try a free 30-day trial. The company attempts to collect your email address, as well.
Outbound Marketing Example: Budweiser
If there's one company that knows how to engage its customers in an outbound capacity, it's Budweiser. When you visit the brewery's home page, you immediately get invited to watch the company's most recent ads.
In other words, Budweiser wants you to observe crafted, meticulously scripted advertisements that you might otherwise see on television while watching your favorite docu-series.
In 2017, Budweiser paid an estimated $10 million for the pleasure of seeing its ads run during the coveted Super Bowl. That's another example of outbound marketing that can reach thousands or even millions of people.
Outbound Marketing Tactics
If you want to take advantage of outbound marketing for your brand, you can choose from several tactics that have worked for years. You'll also find a few new options that rely just as heavily on technology as their inbound counterparts. In other words, outbound is neither dead nor outclassed. It's simply a different way to reach your audience.
Most of your customers have smartphones, and they're likely attached to those phones 24 hours a day. You can use that to your advantage in your outbound marketing strategy by incorporating mass texting.
A mass texting campaign lets your customers opt-in to receive communications about upcoming events, sales, promotions, and coupons. You can even personalize the messages if you want, and if your business targets multiple types of consumers, segmenting your audience can make mass texting even more effective.
Use an SMS marketing campaign to take advantage of both in-store and online purchases that your subscribers might not have otherwise made. You'll remain foremost in your customers' minds when they decide they want to make a purchase, which can help you beat out your competitors.
Direct Mail Marketing
Use a direct mail marketing campaign (either via email or post) to bring your customers new information about your business and to announce yourself to people who might not have heard of you. While direct mail marketing might not fall under the inbound umbrella, it can prove extremely effective.
Have you ever received a postcard or other missive in the mail and realized you needed something from the business that sent it? This type of interaction happens millions of times a month all over the world, so why not get yourself a piece of that pie?
Consider using direct mail marketing to announce a grand opening, send paper or electronic coupons to customers, reconnect with people who have bought from you before, and to get your products in front of as many eyeballs as possible. Postcards aren't the only option. You could also send catalogs, fliers, and other types of mailings.
You can categorize email marketing as either inbound or outbound, depending on how you use it. In outbound email marketing, you're sending messages to targeted consumers who have not opted to receive communications from you.
Let's say that you're running a B2B marketing campaign. You search for businesses online that might need your products or services, snag the email addresses of decision makers at those companies, and send them a highly targeted, personalized email to inquire about their need for your own business.
You have to be careful when wording your email to avoid violating spam laws. Always give the recipient the option to decline future correspondence, and try to add some personalized language about that company's culture, products, services, and other qualities.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising
You can use PPC advertising in several different ways, such as through AdWords (paid search) or on social media. Essentially, you post an advertisement through the network, and when someone clicks on one of your ads, you have to pay for it.
While this might sound like a giant money pit, many businesses have experienced impressive ROI through PPC campaigns. To get the most bang for your buck, focus on long-tail keywords during the bidding process and make sure you define your audience. You don't want advertisements to appear in front of consumers who have no need for your company's deliverables.
You'll spend more money on commercials than you would on email or direct marketing or even on PPC advertising. However, it's worth the ad spend if you can reach more people with your brand message.
There's a reason companies still advertise their services on television and the radio. If they didn't experience positive ROI from the process, they would stop paying for ad spots.
However, if you're going to create a commercial, go the professional route. Have it shot, edited, and improved upon before you let it go live. You may turn off customers if you produce a cheap, home-movie-style commercial that paints an unprofessional picture of your business.
Sometimes, there's no better marketing strategy than getting boots on the ground, shaking hands, and trading smiles with potential customers. Live events, from trade shows to conferences, give you a chance to step out from behind the keyboard and meet prospective customers or clients in person.
You don't even have to spend too much money. If a booth or table isn't in the budget, simply attend the event as a spectator. When you meet new people, pass over a shiny new business card and give your 30-second elevator pitch. You never know when those chance encounters will turn into business relationships.
Telemarketing has gotten a bad rap over the last decade or so, but it works. If you can create a cold-calling campaign that doesn't irritate your prospects and that targets people who might have a genuine interest in your business, you might generate healthy ROI.
Like mass texting and email marketing, cold calling only works if you're brief, to the point, and direct. Don't waste anyone's time. Let the person on the other end of the line know why you're calling and how, specifically, you can help him or her solve a problem.
Yes, people still read newspapers. In fact, they're most likely to buy newspapers on Sundays, when many publications run extensive advertisements and sales pages.
If you don't want to take out an ad, consider publishing a sale for your business. Newspaper advertisements generally work best for local businesses, so you can find customers that won't see your business from the street.
When you visit trade shows and other events, don't forget to bring a bag of swag. Pens, mugs, USB drives, and other items can be branded with your company name and logo. Pass them out like candy to gain instant exposure.
Maybe the person who takes the pen isn't interested in your business, but what if he pulls it out to sign a document or receipt, and someone asks about it? You never know when branded products will fall into the perfect hands, even if the actual customer is a few times removed from the initial connection.
It's true that your website can constitute a form of inbound marketing, but it also works in an outbound capacity. When you create content, you optimize it for SEO and hope that people find it through organic search traffic. As long as you provide a compelling reason to stay, you can reach new customers.
Chat bots offer an excellent outbound marketing tactic. They communicate directly with the site visitor, which makes them invaluable for forging new connections.
As you can see, outbound marketing is still alive and well — you see examples of it every single day. If you're not getting the right results from inbound efforts, you might throw in a few outbound strategies to up your game.
For instance, you can sign up for EZ Texting for free right now. Take advantage of mass texting so you can grow your audience and increase your brand visibility.