How your outbound marketing can support your inbound strategy
We talk about inbound and outbound as if never the twain shall meet.
But they often do. And they work much better having crossed paths.
The truth is neither inbound nor outbound exists in its own hermetically sealed space. Life is just not like that: things never sit in neat little boxes or work in isolation.
Ask Dr Ian Malcolm (aka Jeff Goldberg).
All those years ago, just prior to all hell breaking loose in Jurassic Park, he told us there is no way to keep things separated.
“If there’s one thing the history of evolution has taught us, it’s that life will not be contained. Life breaks free, it expands to new territories, and crashes through barriers painfully, maybe even dangerously, but, uh, well, there it is. … Life will find a way.”
Let’s take a look at how outbound marketing will not be contained, how it expands into inbound’s territories to find a way to deliver more deals from leads.
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Outbound is where you push messages out to your prospects. Things like email outreach, telemarketing and banner advertising are the sorts of marketing activity we are thinking of here.
Inbound is when you create informative and engaging content that lures prospects to come in to your website or to sign up for your newsletter. Things like blogs, ebooks or webinars are the usual suspects here.
So far, so good.
But – in reality, the two strategies cannot be contained and separated. Inbound and outbound work best when they work together to deliver results.
For example, the effects of inbound on building a brand presence and raising awareness can greatly strengthen the results of your outbound cold email. If inbound has done its work the cold recipient is effectively already warmed up – they are aware of you as an authority at the very moment that your email lands.
Inbound, however, is not always the handmaiden helping to deliver. On many occasions it is inbound that requires support to make conversions and deliver results.
Think about it: just because you have brought a visitor to your site and engaged them with that carefully prepared content, it doesn’t follow that they will be converting any time soon.
Building a brand takes time and those sales figures simply can’t wait for the slow percolation of content to hit the mark.
Here’s the thing:
Inbound is great. But it takes time to convert – and, what’s worse, it is notoriously indiscriminate about who it attracts in the first place.
Which is to say that:
You should be concentrating on using outbound to leverage your inbound marketing and convert more prospects as you move others further down the sales funnel.
And here’s how…
1. Using outbound to profile prospects
Profiling is all about qualifying exactly who you are selling to.
Inbound can profile to some extent: certain types of content are more likely to attract certain types of people, for example.
But outbound allows you to reach out directly to these people with a tailored message. And, because you can see how prospects engage as you review responses from your outbound campaign, you can gain a clearer picture of your ideal prospects.
Outbound can help you understand:
The exact level of interest for your offering
The sectors that have the greatest need for it
The messaging that resonates strongest with them
2. Using outbound to leverage content
Outbound tends to have a clearer eye on the prize than inbound: deep within its DNA is the urge to make sales. Inbound is more likely to be made up of the urge to entertain, inform and educate (and, perhaps, convince).
This is not to say that there is not a need to use educational and inspirational content to draw people to your site. But it is to say that ROI will only be realised through convincing your audience.
Outbound tactics can be used to push out these convincing BoFu (bottom of the funnel) messages to exactly where they are needed.
3. Using outbound to convert website visitors
By being selective with retargeting, display campaigns can deliver a greater return. Instead of targeting all visitors, outbound display ads can be only aimed at those who have visited certain pages (i.e. those that indicate a greater degree of intent).
This helps you to avoid wasting budget on people who just so happen to fall under your industry and geographic criteria. Instead, you can hone in on those with interest and intent.
4. Using outbound to expand your reach
Another way that outbound can help the inbound content you have created is through outreach to influencers: sourcing influencers involves exactly the same skill sets as prospecting.
And whether the outcome is guest post opportunities, recommendations, mentions or sponsored content, the end result is more inbound traffic.
Beyond the blinkered approach that sees outbound in one corner and inbound in the other, lies a very fertile meeting ground.
This is where outbound and inbound can work together to deliver results.
To (extremely loosely) paraphrase Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park:
“If there’s one thing the history of sales and marketing has taught us, it’s that outbound will not be contained. It breaks free, it expands into inbound’s territories, and crashes through content’s sacred zones, but, uh, well, there it is… Prospecting will find a way.”
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