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What is Outbound Marketing? A Complete Guide

  • What is outbound marketing and is it effective today?
  • What is the difference between inbound and outbound marketing?
  • Outbound marketing strategies business should consider
  • Social media crosses over into both inbound and outbound marketing

If you’ve got questions about outbound marketing, then you’ve landed on the right page as we’ve covered strategies that you could implement to help your business grow.

Whether you want to know what outbound marketing is or are after information relating to how it can benefit your business, we’ve delved into outbound marketing methodology.

What is outbound marketing?

Outbound marketing is when a business initiates a conversation and sends a message to its audience to attract them to the brand.

While outbound marketing tends to cost more than other forms of marketing, it is a commonly used method, with TV commercials, cold calls, paid advertising, billboards and direct emails all examples of outbound.

What is the difference between inbound and outbound marketing?

Inbound marketing is a non-invasive form of marketing, which pulls in an audience and encourages them to initiate a conversation with a business.

The audience is already actively looking for a solution or product and interacts with the business after visiting the website, reading an e-book or online guide that they may have found or been directed to on social media, for example.

Inbound marketing was made possible by the Internet, making targeting a specific audience easier than several decades ago.

As it is a cheaper form of marketing, the inbound method has grown in popularity over the years and understandably, given the fantastic results it produces.

However, outbound marketing still accounts for 90% of marketing budgets due to the high cost per outreach. Outbound marketing aims to build authentic relationships with audiences through targeted content and placing your company in visible positions to strike the eye of readers or users.

However, to improve your return on investment (ROI), businesses must allocate budgets to outbound marketing methods.

Is outbound marketing dead? 

While outbound marketing’s power is a shadow of its former self, it is certainly still relevant. It continues to play a significant role in the digital landscape, especially when used alongside inbound marketing.

Still, given that consumers tend to delete promotional material from their inboxes without opening the email, it’s easy to see why, as a business, you might be questioning whether the method holds any value.

The issue that tends to be the case in that scenario is that the business has accumulated swathes of emails. Promotions are then sent to every contact without considering whether each of those recipients is part of their target audience.

Suppose they had segmented their lists and targeted clients and prospects. In that case, they’d likely have more desirable results as outbound marketing is still an extremely effective tool for driving brand awareness, maintaining relevance and building relationships with customers.

Outbound marketing is a more invasive method. It helps the business remain or exist at the forefront of the audience’s mind, which can help with lead generation as these customers will more than likely recommend your brand to someone else.

Inbound marketing is especially effective for small, low-budget companies, as you organically earn the attention of ideal buyers. However, remember that if you offer a niche product, customers can’t search for something they aren’t aware of.

On the other hand, you’re guaranteed to reach people with outbound marketing, albeit beleaguered markets will be battling for attention.

That said, as you know, the content you market will be seen, outbound marketing remains relevant and can present opportunities for a good ROI. 

Outbound marketing strategies businesses should consider

Successful marketing campaigns usually employ several different strategies, inbound and outbound, to help reach their target audience.

Here are some effective outbound marketing strategies your business can utilise.

Cold Calls 

The idea is almost taboo, given that people tend to ask for the call to be terminated, hang up or even spew verbal abuse when they receive a cold call. But despite its reputation, many marketers still rely on cold calling and make it work for the business.

Cold calling is a form of telemarketing where marketers aim to acquire new business by reaching out to customers whom they’ve had no previous contact with via the phone.

It allows salespeople to reach out to new audiences, and if approached correctly, businesses can see great success by implementing this marketing strategy. 

Instead of thinking that the purpose of a cold call is to secure a sale, it’s better to consider it an opportunity to make a sale.

Cold calling tips:

  • Research your target market and prospect before calling
  • Prepare an opening statement that doesn’t sound scripted
  • Focus on helping the prospect solve their problems during your conversation
  • Respect people’s privacy; don’t continue to contact the customer if they’ve asked to be removed from the business database

While outbound marketing relies on volume, for the purpose of cold calling its quality over quantity – work on growing your relationship with the customer rather than focusing on numbers.

Be pleasant and understanding to whoever picks up your call; if you’re speaking with a vulnerable person, put protections in place to allow them to change their minds. 

Cold Email

Cold emails offer several advantages due to the scope and scale they operate, allowing them to bring in an incredible ROI for businesses.

However, cold emails are often forgotten about in a world where newsletters and promotional deals from websites are customary.

A cold email is an unsolicited email that is sent to a prospective customer without previous contact. As the business is initiating the interaction, it falls within the margins of outbound marketing.

While you might be thinking, “people hate receiving cold emails, it’s spam”, – what if those unsolicited emails don’t resemble a typical cold email?

As a business, you should consider ways to personalise cold emails to make the recipient feel like they are offered value beyond the email’s subject line.

Many people think that outbound marketing needs to be assertive, impersonal and “loud”, but marketers can draw upon the same creativity used for inbound marketing. Instead, show that you understand the needs of your target market by crafting cold emails in a way that would get responses and generate leads.

When formulating your email marketing strategy, you will want to consider:

  • Cleaning your list to make sure there are no duplicates and you’re reaching verified emails
  • Write an engaging subject line that invites the recipient to open the email
  • Personalise the content to prevent people from feeling like they’re the millionth person to receive the email
  • Show that by choosing your service or product, they will be gaining something in return – offer value to the prospect 
  • Set up A/B testing for any email campaign you produce, including differing subject lines, CTA’s and the time you send each email

The subject line is crucial, as this is the first piece of information that is received. According to recent data, 30% of people open an email based on the subject line, so make sure these are engaging.

Direct Mail

Direct mail is a marketing strategy that involves sending promotional material such as postcards, flyers and brochures to your prospects and/or clients home.

Although there has been a significant shift to online over the past few years, with COVID-19 accelerating the digital transformation, we still enjoy receiving physical mail.

According to a study by Canada Post Corporation (CPC), brand recall is 70% higher among participants that receive physical promotional material than come across online advertisements.

While you might not be able to make it as interactive as an email, you can still ensure that your brand’s voice and ethos are represented with direct mails. Although average ROI estimates vary, when used effectively, it could be a game-changer for any marketer.

If you’re considering reaching out to your audience via direct mail, think about:

  • Segmenting your target audience based on past purchases, demographics, locality and age
  • Getting creative so that your promotional content stands out
  • Including a way to track your success, perhaps include a promotional code that can help you assess how your audience is responding

While there’s no denying that the business world is swinging towards the more efficient and cheaper digital landscape, direct mail is still a helpful outbound strategy.

Paid Search Ads

Search ads are one of the most popular forms of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

While it is primarily considered an outbound marketing technique as the business initiates the conversation, it also crosses over into the inbound marketing sphere as ads appear before people searching for your product or service.

Search ads are a great marketing strategy for businesses looking for immediate success, as marketers place the advertisement directly in front of motivated customers.

Unlike search engine optimisation (SEO), which has no guarantee of success due to its dependence on organic search traffic, search ads almost guarantee traffic by giving your brand an immediate presence in search engine results pages (SERPs).

When SEO works, it’s an incredible tool as you don’t have to pay for clicks, which you need to consider when creating a search ad.

To secure good ROI with this marketing strategy, you should:

  • Make sure your search ad is correctly optimised: Have you included at least one relevant keyword? Does it convey your unique selling proposition (USP) and offer value in return?
  • Streamline the checkout process on your website, as this could make a significant difference to your ROI on search ads
  • Ensure your site homepage and landing pages are well-structured, as poorly designed pages could hurt your conversion rate

The trick is to anticipate what your audience wants to know to make them more inclined to click your ad as soon as they see it.

Social Media Adverts

With billions of people on social media every day, social media adverts are one of the quickest and most effective ways to reach your target audience.

It’s easy to see why marketers have embraced social media ads with data showing that Facebook and Instagram users log in more than six times per day, and 25% of Snapchat users log into the app more than 20 times per day.

A recent study also revealed that 50% of all respondents admitted purchasing a product or service after seeing a social media ad.

Social media ads offer plenty of profitable opportunities. They are more cost-effective than organic social media, with an organic search post reaching just 5% of followers, compared with 20% of people for paid ads.

Boosting your reach also helps increase brand awareness, although the key here is targeting. Social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and TikTok have an abundance of data on their users, which you can draw upon to reach people you’re going to impact the most.

TV, Radio, and Print Advertisement

While digital marketing has transformed the way companies advertise their products and services to new and existing customers, traditional methods are still widely used.

The Internet has created many opportunities for businesses to advertise their brand online, but the results that TV, print and radio can generate are impressive.

TV consumption among the older generations is notably high, with seniors in the UK dedicating up to six hours a day watching television in 2020.

Although hours spent watching TV are lower in children, teenagers and young adults, that is also due to the rise of streaming services. With streaming services gaining popularity, the number of people watching traditional TV programmes has significantly declined.

Nonetheless, if marketers try to tap into the older demographic, TV, print and radio ads are a great way to capitalise on that market. Make sure you research your target audience and get creative with your advertisement to help generate an excellent ROI.

Whether you use all the strategies outlined in this guide or employ a few, it’s evident that outbound marketing plays an essential role in business success.

Outbound marketing is also more effective when utilised alongside inbound marketing strategies, as it enables you to identify which prospects are more sales-ready.

Nonetheless, as the marketing landscape is highly competitive, you can’t always rely on people searching for your brand. Sometimes, you need to initiate the conversation with your audience and showcase your brand to get exposure.

Suppose that is the case for your business, then cold calls, cold emails, direct mail, paid search ads, social media ads, and traditional ads offer excellent ways to boost your reach and grow your brand.

If you can successfully target your audience, understand their needs, and solve their problems by offering a product or service of value, outbound marketing could positively impact your overall strategy.

Outbound Marketing: Frequently Asked Questions

If you still have some questions about outbound marketing, we’ve created an FAQ section on the most commonly asked questions.

Is inbound or outbound marketing more effective?

Both inbound and outbound marketing methods can generate desirable results; it comes down to your business goals.

Outbound marketing works well if you have a bigger budget and want to establish credibility in a new market as you are essentially showcasing your brand to a mass audience.

Inbound marketing focuses on building brand authority organically, which also helps establish credibility and boost your reach over the long term.

Is social media inbound or outbound marketing?

Social media crosses over into both the inbound and outbound marketing realm, with paid ads being a form of outbound and organic reach, an inbound marketing strategy.

Why is outbound marketing effective?

When used strategically, outbound marketing tactics are incredibly effective as they can generate immediate results.

As the activity is undertaken by yourself, you don’t have to wait for people to find your brand as you would using inbound marketing techniques.

What are examples of outbound marketing?

Outbound marketing examples include TV advertisements, cold calls, direct mail, social media ads and paid search ads.

Is outbound marketing cost-effective?

Outbound marketing can be expensive as you’re paying for traffic rather than gaining it organically. However, when used strategically, you could earn a great return on investment.

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