Outbound Marketing – Reaching out to your customers

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Outbound Marketing refers to the form of outreach when certain customer information is available to you, and the goal is to communicate, educate, and convert them into qualified leads. In contrast to inbound marketing, Outbound involves sending OUT messages to your prospects in the form of emails, telemarketing, banner advertising, tradeshows, sponsorships, etc.

Outbound marketing tries to approach customers through several traditional marketing methods, either through media advertising or in-person contact. With the increased popularity of the internet, mobile devices, and other creative digital advertising options, outbound marketing channels have lost their appeal. Though outbound marketing nowadays is not considered as effective and efficient, it plays a vital role in introducing your brand. It enhances the ‘first contact’ probability that can later be nurtured as a business relationship.

Outbound marketing is based on interruption-based marketing, where the audience is interrupted with disassociated ads. The use of television, radio, emails, newspapers, and billboards are a few examples of outbound marketing. The pressure of always standing out of others to ensure you are seen and grab customer’s attention still exists. The strategies followed are linear in the outbound marketing approach that encompasses selecting a proper channel for targeting the market. Unified messages can be created for a specific period across all the chosen mediums and then reviewed and altered accordingly at regular intervals. In the essential prerequisite of “standing out”, “the outbound marketing messages are often obscure, complicated, and dishonest. The success measurement of outbound marketing is challenging, thus diminishing the chances of improving the results.

Often considered as a traditional form of marketing, outbound marketing is defined as a set of tactics initiated by a brand to connect with the maximum potential customers to drive brand awareness and generate leads at scale.

Key channels and types of Outbound Marketing 

1. Traditional broadcast media like TV, newspapers, radio, and magazines.

2. Digital advertising like Google ads on searching text and display ads.

3. Exhibitions, trade shows, and outdoor events.

4. One to one email marketing

5. One to many email marketing

6. Telemarketing/ cold calling

7. Press releases

8. Direct mail (brochures, postcards, catalogues)

9. Branded marketing (newsletters, key chains, pens, flash drives)

10. Websites, blogging, and social media

Outbound Marketing Benefits

Outbound marketing channels are the easiest and most effective way to reach the broadest possible audience in the shortest time. They are very effective for business-to-business (B2B) focused companies mainly. For businesses that do not usually attract the interest of audiences, it is the guaranteed means of presenting their products or services to a wide extent of viewers for generating the business. Even though entrepreneurs use inbound marketing channels, they eventually pursue personal contacts established through different face-to-face meetings or networking at various industry events and trade shows. Advantages of outbound marketing channels are:

  1. It enables conveying of your message to the selected prospect by chosen means of communication.
  2. It serves as a direct form of market research as you can record and analyze your targeted audiences’ reactions first hand.
  3. Among the digital channels, email has the highest ROI.
  4. It helps create brand awareness among audiences through offline advertising like TV, radio and OOH, and banner campaigns and social media sponsorships.

Limitations of Outbound Marketing

Outbound messaging is “inherently obfuscated, duplicitous and full of shit.

Jess Rosenblum of Questus

Outbound marketing channels are characteristically intrusive and interruptive, which results in frustrated prospects and ineffective campaigns.

1. Cold contacting frustrates people and may lead to negative results.

2. Good quality lists and leads required for positive responses are time-consuming and expensive.

3. Offline advertising channels are usually costly and have limited ROI.

4. It can also result in a missed opportunity to gain a customer due to incorrect timing of approaching the prospect when he is not sales-ready.

Types of Outbound Marketing Channels

The types of outbound marketing channels that can be utilized to widen your reach to the audiences are discussed below:

Traditional Advertising

Traditional advertising, also known as above-the-line (ATL) advertising includes TV, radio, billboards, and print media like newspapers and magazines. ATL advertising succeeds in creating brand awareness by sending messages to a broad spectrum of audiences, but it lacks in refined targeting capabilities.

Digital Advertising

There are numerous possibilities of advertising through digital channels, few of the types of digital ads are:

1. Search engine marketing (SEM)

2. Display ads

3. Social media ads

4. Over-the-top (OTT) ads

5. Native language advertising

6. Video ads

 Digital advertising belongs to below-the-line (BTL) advertising category due to its ability to precisely target the audiences. The various criteria of audience targeting are demographics, geographic, psychographic, behavioral characteristics, interests, and habits.

Through-the-line (TTL) Advertising

Through the line (TTL) advertising, comprises of both ATL and BTL ad types. The entrepreneur might create brand awareness through television, radio, newspapers, and social media platforms. Digital-out-of-home (DOOH) advertising, a way of displaying dynamic ads through traditional outdoor media, is also included in TTL.

Cold Calling

Cold calling, also known as telemarketing, involves making calls to the database of people with whom the salesperson has zero communication history with the customer. Cold calling is the most notorious and challenging marketing channel as recipients do not engage willingly with the salesperson and also activation of do not disturb (DND) service.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is categorized under both inbound and outbound marketing channels. It facilitates extensive connections to build up to identify different opportunities. The types of emails, an entrepreneur can send to his subscribers, and customers are listed below.

1. A welcome email that includes a brief introduction about your brand. 

2. Lead generation, nurturing, follow-up campaigns

3. Weekly or monthly newsletters

4. New product/feature launch

5. Product feedback, survey

6. Customer retention campaigns

7. Upselling or cross-selling emails

8. Cart abandonment emails

9. Discounts, offers, or customer loyalty campaigns

Content Syndication and content discovery

Publishing your content in a third-party website is termed as content syndication. It can be through your brand collaboration, or as a guest post, interview, leadership article, or a brief of an existing report from your website. Content discovery platforms are also related to content syndication, which involves publishing your advertisements on third-party publishing websites.

Tradeshows and exhibitions

The tradeshows, events, and exhibitions enable the face-to-face meeting of entrepreneurs and prospective and existing customers for lead generation, prospects conversion or retention of existing customers. For encouraging conference participation, different promotional methods mentioned above should be used.

Creating Outbound Marketing Strategy

  • Knowledge of your offerings
  • Knowledge of your audience
  • Research on your competitors
  • Campaign message creation
  • Platforms selection

Key metrics for outbound marketing channels

Two metrics categories can provide an understanding of outbound sales process:

Email Engagement Metrics

These metrics helps measure relevance and targeting of your email messaging content.

It help you to deliver the right email message to the right prospective customer. The three email engagement metrics utilized for email template level measurement are email open, email click, and email reply rates.

Low email open rates indicate problems in email deliverability, while a high email click rate can be achieved through a well-targeted email template and an appealing subject line. Average open rates are indicative of a good start. Click and Reply rates are symbolic of your content relevance and well-constructed call to action.

Funnel Metrics 

These metrics help in understanding and identifying the improvements required in which parts of your funnel. They play a crucial role in understanding your predictable revenue process.

  1. The number of contacted prospects: The number of new prospects contacted every day constitutes the top of the funnel. You should be consistent, making it a daily habit.
  2. The number of prospects engaged with your content indicates the prospects engaging, i.e., opening or clicking your emails. If audiences do not engage with your content, then the sent emails should be evaluated and then only move a step further.
  3. The number of prospects who replied indicates the accuracy and specificity of your call to action timing. 
  4. The number of positive replies: More the number of positive responses is the probability of finding the right prospects. It also shows that the right content is sent in emails.
  5. The number of qualified prospects: The number of qualified leads points towards your marketing process’s overall efficacy. You can compare and analyze different outbound channels used by you for lead generation.
  6. The number of closed prospects: It helps in measuring and comparing the pace of closing of your outbound leads that can be utilized for sales ROI calculation of the outbound process.

Few more metrics that you should use to measure outbound campaign ROI are as follows:

  1. Marketing campaign’s direct influence on revenue: Identifying audiences ready for contact through lead scoring and consistent campaign nurturing decreases the sales cycle length and enhances sales.
  2. Revenue and net new customers: This metric helps evaluate the source of new customers, whether through trade shows, nurturing, lead generation campaigns, networking, or cold calling. It will help in deciding which outbound channel to choose for the future.
  3. Revenue growth in existing customers: Marketing campaigns support sales activities by reminding the customers of maintenance renewal dates, new features, and other services they were unaware of.
  4. Pipeline growth: New opportunities and qualified leads enter the pipeline through sustained nurturing and consistent lead generation campaigns. 
  5. Media interaction: It reflects social media engagement and compelling content. With the gained content credibility, you can quantify your brand’s market awareness and recognition and thus drive revenue.

Best Practices for Outbound Marketing

The best practices you should follow for a successful outbound marketing campaign is discussed below.

Shady marketing tactics should be avoided.

The tactics like email lists to purchase, sending unsolicited bulk messages, not keeping an unsubscribe link in emails, and likewise should be avoided by the entrepreneurs. You should obtain user’s permission before sending promotional emails or text messages. The use of shady activities is ineffective and can lead to a considerable amount of fines and ruin your goodwill.

Lead generation through LinkedIn

Utilization of LinkedIn features is the legitimate way of establishing connections with your new prospects. LinkedIn allows messaging, called inMails, to people outside your contacts through LinkedIn Premium and Sponsored features.

ROI Tracking mechanism

The efficiency of your marketing campaigns can be measured by creating unique QR codes offline media outlets to track the right source, offering an ad specific discount, or using net promoter surveys (NPS) for evaluation.

Implementation of CRM application

Full-stack CRM application with the facility of tracking phone calls and leads, prospects, and customers tracking should be implemented. The built-in automation feature in CRM application will enable you to keep a track and manage the entire sales process through a single interface.

Building an Outbound Content Distribution Channel

There is a need to create a content distribution workflow to promote their published content. The entrepreneurs can maintain the workflow by notifying or sending an email to subscribers on publishing new content article or blog. Also, posting your content link in answers at various forums and collaborations with brands and influencers in your field will enhance content reach.

The tailored approach in email marketing

The emails sent to the prospects should be focused on specific requirements of your particular target and address their business’s challenges and problems faced by them. Your recipient will be receptive to your offerings only after the development of understanding with you. The subject line of the emails sent is essential and should create an interest in the recipient to compel him to click on it.

Tools for Outbound Marketing Services

Outbound marketing includes digital marketing, traditional advertising, and email marketing. Outbound marketing services are utilized by entrepreneurs who lack in-house marketing department or require specialized advertising campaign partner. Examples of few outbound marketing services are:

  • KlientBoost
  • SmartSites
  • CloudTask
  • Disruptive Advertising
  • OpenMoves
  • Mayple
  • WebFX
  • Zareklamy Ads
  • Belkins

Although inbound marketing channels have gained immense popularity as compared to the outbound marketing channels, it solely cannot get the leads and their conversion. It should be complemented with outbound marketing tactics. Instead of any individual approach, marketing efforts should be focused on using them in unison. The advanced inbound/outbound marketing platforms can help in generating increased leads and close more deals, thus paving the path for marketing success.

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