With the rise of the internet and social media, outbound marketing has greatly lost its importance. However, this traditional method of marketing is still revered by marketers. In fact, marketers employ a lot of their marketing budget to outbound marketing.
Thus, modern marketers should not completely disregard outbound marketing. The efforts can help you build awareness and generate leads.
In this guide, you will get to learn all about outbound marketing- the types of outbound marketing activities, strategy for outbound marketing, and how to integrate outbound marketing with popular inbound marketing tactics.
1. What is Outbound Marketing?
Outbound marketing is those activities that target a large group of people simultaneously. The aim of an outbound marketing campaign is to reach the message to as many people within the target market as possible.
When non-marketers think about marketing, they usually mean outbound marketing. Outbound marketing activities include traditional advertisements, print and radio advertisements, cold calling, direct mail, etc.
2. Benefits of outbound marketing
The biggest benefit of outbound marketing is that you can reach a huge number of prospects. If It’s done correctly, you will be noticed by a large number of people. That can translate into a considerable amount of sales later.
You can start an outbound marketing plan, be noticed by millions, and make sales within a matter of weeks. But the outcomes rely largely on the money you spend.
3. Outbound vs Inbound marketing- which is better?
In inbound marketing, marketers position their brands in places (usually the web) where customers are more likely to find them. Inbound marketing activities include SEO, blogging, and content marketing.
The opposite of outbound marketing is considered Inbound marketing. Unlike outbound marketing where you “push” your marketing efforts to consumers, you “pull” your customer in inbound marketing.
Since 2010, marketing experts have extolled inbound marketing and considered it superior to outbound marketing. This is because inbound marketing is less costly and returns higher ROI. Moreover, it is seen as not as intrusive as outbound marketing is.
However, inbound marketing and outbound marketing should not be seen as two opposite extremes. You will need outbound marketing for brand awareness and lead generation. After that, you can use inbound marketing to provide value to your customers.
3.1 Who is it most effective for?
If you are a new entrant in the market, building awareness will be your main priority. Outbound marketing campaigns are effective when you need to build such brand awareness.
Outbound marketing also works best for business-to-business (B2B) marketing. It works best for marketing which is targeted for an older audience as well.
Outbound marketing also works best for those who want to generate a huge number of leads in the shortest amount of time.
4. Creating an outbound marketing strategy
As a lot of money is spent on outbound marketing, you might want to plan first before execution. So before you start an outbound marketing campaign, you need to have a strategy. This section goes through a five-step process for you to craft an outbound marketing strategy.
4.1) Set goals
What do you wish to achieve through the campaign? By answering this question, you will be able to decide the messaging and medium of promotion of your campaign later on.
In addition, deciding on the goals will help you measure the success of your outbound marketing campaign.
4.2) Research target audience
The second step is to decide your target audience. Before deciding, you should research on the habits, preferences, and buying behaviors of your target audience. That way, you can determine what kind of messaging to apply and where to promote your campaign.
For example, if you decide on a print ad for your clothing store, you would decide to place your ads on fashion magazines. This is because your target audience (i.e. fashion enthusiasts) are the main subscribers for such magazines.
4.3) Research competitors
Most companies spend a huge chunk of their marketing budget on outbound marketing campaigns. As a result, competition in outbound marketing is stiff.
Research beforehand your competitors. See where they are doing it right, where they are doing it wrong and how can you improvise.
4.4) Define message
In this step, you decide on the message you want to communicate through your campaign. Decide on the messaging and imagery of the campaign. At this step, the most likely question you will ask is-” What shall my target audience remember from this campaign?”
Try to keep your message simple and short. The message, slogan, and hashtags should be memorable and attractive enough to make it viral.
4.5) Choose platforms
The last step is to decide where you want to place the campaign. You may decide to use online, offline, or a combination of both.
Whatever channel you decide to promote your campaign, you will need to create further strategies for each of the channels. For example: if you wish to place a TV ad, you might need to work with an ad agency.
5. Outbound marketing channels
In the last step of your outbound marketing strategy, you choose a channel for promotion. With the rise of inbound marketing in the 2000s, there has been a rise in new channels that combine both inbound and outbound marketing. In addition, some old outbound channels (such as cold emailing) have also made a comeback.
In this section, you will get to know about all the outbound marketing channels you can use for your promotion campaigns.
5.1 Social media advertising
Social media advertising is all paid promotional efforts you undertake on social media. Social media advertising can range from classical ads to sponsored content.
The benefits of social media advertising are immense. Social media advertising allows you to raise brand awareness to a huge audience in a small amount of time. It is also less costly and the results can be measurable. Moreover, social media platforms provide tools for you to optimize your ad campaigns for better results.
5.2 Boost successful social media posts
Marketers often combine outbound and inbound marketing when it comes to social media advertising. Promoting content on social media (i.e. using sponsored content or an ad for a giveaway) is an example of combining the two marketing techniques.
Successful social media posts can be the right candidate for promoting content on social media using paid channels. These posts, which have already been responded favorably, signal to the target audience that they consist of high-quality content.
5.3 PPC advertising
In Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, advertisers pay for each time a user clicks the ad. Although it is considered an outbound marketing activity, marketers often integrate it with inbound marketing activities to drive better results.
You can use PPC ads and combine it with inbound marketing activities in the following ways:
- Ads that promote content that provides the information your target audience is looking for.
- Ads that provide content that will help customers move in the next step of the marketing funnel
- Ads that provide content personalized for each target segment
5.4 Video Ads
Video ads are those that appear before, during, or after you visit a website. It also comprises of ads that appear on video platforms and display ads.
Video ads can be engaging but at the same time, can be annoying as well. One famous rule used by Youtube ad marketers, which you can use as well, is to follow the five-second rule- if you cannot grab the attention of your audience in five seconds, they will skip the ad.
You can use video ads on both social media networks as well as on video platforms like Youtube.
5.5 Cold calling
Cold calling in marketing has often been responded negatively. No one likes to have a stranger calling or emailing for making a sale.
However, in this era of human interaction based marketing, cold calling is making a comeback, especially in B2B marketing. But instead of being “cold,” cold calling is being based on warm human experiences with the target customers.
In order to make cold calling “warm,” research your customers first. Understand their problems and how you can fit in. Then start cold calling.
Set your messaging in a personalized way. Try to show how your products can help them benefit. Of course, the conversation should be natural and not be seen as a sales.
Cold calling like this can help you win “warm” customers!
5.6 Email blasts with one-time offers or discounts
If you have been collecting email addresses, you can offer email offerings to your contacts. Offering them with one-time offers or discounts can help you convert your leads to sales.
5.6 Print and radio ads
With the rise in social media and streaming platforms, people are forgoing newspapers, television, and radios. Still, these traditional channels are where you will find the majority of your target audience.
Advertising on these channels is also expensive. So make sure you have a sufficient budget to carry out advertising on these channels.
Also, advertising on these channels is considered interruptive. So, ensure the content of your advertisements on these media channels is attention-grabbing.
5.7 Live event
Live events are excellent ways to build awareness, engagement, and generate leads. They also facilitate human to human interactions which help build better customer relationships.
Live events can range from concerts, fairs to seminars and conferences. Hosting such live events will indeed cost a lot of money. So make sure you measure the costs and benefits of hosting a live event before you pull one.
5.8 Direct mail
Direct mail marketing consists of using mail service to deliver promotional pieces to your target audience. It is a great way to generate leads.
You can integrate direct mail with inbound marketing tactics. Promote relevant content that your audience would love in your mails. You can also ask them to subscribe to your mailing list or offer any promotions or discounts.
5.9 Tradeshows and other industry events
Tradeshows and other industry events can help your business generate brand awareness. It is also useful in generating leads.
However, use these events to build relationships as well. Network with potential customers and you can then use other outbound marketing tactics (like email blasts, direct mail, or cold call) to convert them to customers.
6. How much outbound marketing cost?
Outbound marketing activities cost more than inbound marketing ones. One study found that outbound marketing activities cost twice as much as inbound marketing activities.
Outbound marketing activities are also less cost efficient- you can get more customers from inbound marketing at a lower cost.
That being said, though outbound marketing is costly but should not be disregarded. As you have seen, it is effective for brand awareness and lead generation.
7. What’s the problem with ONLY outbound marketing actually?
Companies often allocate a huge chunk of their budget to outbound marketing as it has been the norm for a long time. However, it should not be the only marketing activity you should use.
It is not easy to calculate the return on outbound marketing. So you might have problems describing the results of your efforts to your company’s higher-ups.
Moreover outbound marketing techniques like ads, cold calls and email blasts can be seen as intrusive. People might block or avoid you. This can harm your reputation.
7. Combining outbound and inbound marketing
As mentioned before, you do not need to choose inbound over outbound or vice-versa. Combining both inbound and outbound can generate better results for your marketing.
You can use outbound marketing to build awareness and then use inbound marketing to get your customers to the next stage.
For example, you can place a PPC ad for your fitness center. The ad can promote a blog on fitness tips your target audience will like.
You can also do the other way around- use inbound marketing to build awareness and then outbound marketing.
An example can be promoting your presence at a physical event on social media as awareness. Then you can engage and make sales in the event.
Although outbound marketing is slowly losing ground to inbound marketing, it has been a norm for a very long time. So you can expect outbound marketing to stay for a time and your efforts in this type of marketing will not be that fruitless.
However, the best strategy is to combine both inbound and outbound marketing. That way, you can utilize the benefits of both activities and get better results.