The debate between inbound vs. outbound won't die. So, do outbound marketing strategies make sense for 2017? The short answer is yes. Here's why…
1. Everyone’s doing inbound marketing (also known as digital marketing). OK, maybe not everyone, but our point is this: A decade ago, “inbound marketing” was the cool new kid on the block. Now, so many companies are employing this strategy—sometimes exclusively—that it’s become a lot more crowded online. And “online” is the inbound marketing playground.
Inbound marketing works like this: businesses produce content that will attract the people who are actively hunting for said content. Then, the business will nurture these folks through the sales cycle.
All good, right?
Not so fast! The problem is not every business is executing the inbound methodology flawlessly, resulting in a lot of noise online.
So what does this mean for outbound marketing (direct mailers, print ads, radio ads, etc.)? Opportunity. If done well, certain outbound campaigns could potentially stand out more than noisy, poorly executed inbound strategies.
Consider this: Most businesses send regular email communications to customers and prospects (and depending on whether the person opted into the email, you could call email an outbound effort). But when’s the last time you received a print newsletter in the mail? (It would probably stop you in your tracks, right?)
So what would happen if you targeted a list of VIPs or hot prospects and sent a slick, content-rich printed newsletter once a month over the next four to six months? You might have a better chance of standing out than you would in a cluttered email inbox.
Yes, a printed newsletter is a bigger investment up front, but if you get more customers using this strategy, it could make sense from an ROI perspective.
2. Outbound marketing can complement inbound efforts. We don’t believe in “either/or” scenarios, especially when it comes to marketing. The key is finding the right marketing mix that delivers the results your particular business is looking for.
For example, do you have a killer landing page for your newest offer? Great! What if you could get even more traffic to the page? That’s what the right outbound strategy could potentially do.
Perhaps you run a radio ad and direct people to the landing page (or, better yet, a copy of the page so it has a unique URL, allowing you to measure the effectiveness of the outbound effort). Depending on what the offer is and the info you gather on the form, you might have a telemarketer follow up with each lead that downloads the offer. Telemarketing, of course, falls squarely in the outbound realm, but when used in the way we just described, it can be an effective way to follow up with prospects.
Suddenly, your inbound efforts (i.e. the landing page with the awesome offer) is getting a boost from outbound strategies. See how it works?
3. Inbound can be an effective way of attracting new customers. But what about current customers? Your current customer base is a gold mine for repeat business and referral business. Since these people are already in tune with you and your organization, the way you market to them will—and should—be different from the way you market to new customers. Outbound marketing—emails, postcards, printed guides, coupons in the mail, etc.—might make a lot of sense for this audience.
4. If outbound marketing works for you, why would you change it? We’ve seen too many businesses abandon effective outbound marketing strategies in order to jump on the inbound marketing bandwagon. We understand the allure—at least, originally. Many of these businesses wanted to take advantage of the exciting new strategy before everyone else.
While it’s always wise to consider and test new methodologies, letting go of tried and true methods that deliver quality results doesn’t make sense.
Here’s the thing: if outbound marketing works for your business, that’s OK. More than OK—it’s great! Yes, you should always measure results. Yes, you should be aware of new marketing methods. Yes, you should likely do a mix of inbound and outbound. But, again, that doesn’t mean giving up on outbound altogether.
At Proforma Durkee, we practice what we preach: we have an optimized website site, relevant offers for our audience, compelling content on our blog, and so forth. But we also know how important (and effective) promo items, trade shows, billboards/signage, and other “outbound” methods can be.
Bottom line: there’s still a place for outbound marketing strategies in 2017.
Need help navigating all the options? Contact us and let’s chat.