Years have taken its toll on outbound marketing. It is now seen as expensive and time-consuming, where it once was trendy. But whatever is said of outbound marketing, there is still real value in it when done correctly. In fact, you can develop a sort of symbiotic relationship between inbound and outbound marketing tactics in order to create an even stronger overall marketing strategy.
What is Inbound and Outbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is when you attract an audience to you. For example, you create great content on your website, and you end up getting visitors from social media, Google etc.
With outbound marketing instead of waiting you reach out. You identify a group of relevant websites/contacts and reach out to them to promote your product, service, content etc.
Which is preferable?
Inbound and Outbound need each other to produce results. Inbound marketing is fantastic for building a brand presence and awareness amongst your audience. However, there are drawbacks with Inbound. Just because you have brought an audience to your site and got them engaging with your content, does not mean that they are going to convert any time soon (or ever). Brand awareness and building a presence online takes time — and without those immediate conversions and results, smaller companies and startups may struggle to keep investing in Inbound strategies.
Inbound is excellent for the long haul, but client acquisition (especially acquiring the RIGHT kind of client) takes time. Outbound in the earlier stages can help fund your inbound investment and help you through the less financially stable stages of a startup. Or indeed, if you are more established, outbound helps you leverage sales from Inbound leads or Inbound audiences. What Outbound can do is work to leverage your Inbound efforts actually to make a sale.
Here are four key areas that Outbound can support your Inbound strategies.
1. Outbound Helps with Prospect Profiling
Prospect profiling is key for both Inbound and Outbound approach — to make a sale you need to have an understanding of who you are selling to. While Inbound can generate content to attract certain groups of people interested in specific areas to your site, Outbound allows you to reach out directly to those people with a message tailored to them. Because you can see how prospects engage with your offering first hand when you are fielding responses from an Outbound campaign, these strategies also enable you to paint a clearer picture of your target persona, which in turn allows you to create more specific and tailored content to draw the RIGHT kind of people onto your site.
2. Outbound Helps Leverage Your Content
One of the most fundamental reasons for Inbound not working is the fact that marketers and copywriters forget what the end goal is — making sales. While educational and inspirational content might draw people to your site, persuading and convincing your audience are the keys to seeing any ROI. The means of distributing content in the Inbound way, principally through social media networks, has also fundamentally changed. Platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook have changed their algorithms and are no longer as accommodating to links as they once were. In order to be profitable, how we think about content distribution has to change. Using outbound email campaigns to circulate content, or indeed display retargeting on particularly product-based content, can help not only distribute content in a greatly saturated marketplace but also see conversions from your content.
3. Outbound Helps Convert Visitors on Your Website
Display advertising, a digital outbound technique, has a notoriously low ROI. The average clickthrough rate of display ads across all formats and placements is just 0.06%. What is worse, there are now 198 million active ad block users around the world. Display advertising and retargeting can also be frustrating — with 33% of internet users find display ads utterly intolerable.
By identifying content and landing pages which indicate a higher degree of interest in your service, you can ensure your banner ads are being served to visitors who have signalled intent. What it means is that you are not wasting budget on people who just fall under your demographic industry and geographic criteria but will focus instead on people who already have an interest in solving a particular problem.
4. Outbound Techniques Can Grow Your Web Presence and Online Reach
Another way around content saturation and the competition on social media is to leverage other people’s reach to increase your own. Influencer marketing is a way of cutting through the competition. Referrals speak louder than any paid campaign. Sourcing influencers is where Outbound methodology comes in. Reaching out via email and social messaging and communicating your offering will grow your network and provide a potential channel for content distribution.
Influencers can also provide guest writing posts and quotes for your articles — which increases your reach when they share on their networks and means a higher number of visitors on your site. Writing guest posts for other publishers or company websites is another way of increasing your brand awareness and reach.
While effectively an Inbound strategy as it is content-based, getting featured on a website involves reaching out to publishers and partner companies and building a relationship. Again, email is an invaluable tool here and creates possibilities where other channels can’t.