Inbound and outbound marketing are core strategies at the centre of all successful campaigns. Thanks to giants like HubSpot, Content Marketing Institute, and Wordstream, these have become very common marketing terms. And if you've ever looked for examples and ideas for either of these marketing concepts, chances are that you've found highly credible sources that advocate for inbound tactics and denounce outbound.
However, it's important to understand the intricacies of both inbound and outbound before you decide which is right for your business. We've already written a blog about what inbound marketing is and how you can use it. In this blog, we're looking at outbound strategies and their applications in modern marketing.
What is outbound marketing?
Outbound marketing is also known as interruption marketing because it's designed to pull the attention of potential leads away from what they're doing to your product or service advertisement.
The main goal of outbound marketing is to be seen. This involves reaching out through methods such as digital or TV ads, billboards, print advertising, and even cold calls. It's often difficult to assess the exact return on investment (ROI) you are getting from these initiatives because of the medium they use. However, that doesn't mean they are ineffective.
Should you do outbound marketing?
Even though it interrupts peoples' activities to achieve a goal, outbound tactics have become more sophisticated over the years, leading to more favourable results. It's true that outbound marketing has a bad reputation, but this stems from:
Those who implement it poorly and see adverse effects
The success stories of inbound marketing overshadowing the effectiveness of outbound techniques
Of course, outbound marketing can get quite expensive. Aside from promotional material, you also need to invest in external agencies and specialists to get your campaign running.
That said, outbound marketing has a specific purpose: to grab attention and be recognised.
For example, if you're a handmade jeweller, and want to attract movie costume designers to your business, you'll have to be aggressive and persistent in your marketing. That's when outbound marketing can help. Instead of expecting them to search for jewellery makers online and land on your website, it makes more sense to drop off print notices so they think of you on their next project.
Useful outbound marketing activities
There's more to outbound than telemarketing and door-knocking. Here are some activities that are more commonly used and generate more successful customer relationships:
Advertising on social media, including sponsored posts on Facebook and Instagram
Placing video ads on YouTube
Buying display and text ads on search engine results pages
Dropping leaflets and brochures in letter boxes or giving away notices on the streets
Putting up posters in public spaces or on noticeboards
Purchasing billboard ad space in high-traffic locations
Advertising on radio, television, and at sporting events
Sending bulk emails to lists purchased from third parties
When to use outbound marketing
Because outbound marketing can be expensive and difficult to analyse, It's important to be strategic about when to employ outbound campaigns. It's always a good idea to assess your budget and business position before you jump in.
Outbound marketing is much like stock trading—you invest a lot but won't necessarily see returns anytime soon. If you're looking for immediate, short-term results, you'll be disappointed with your efforts. Outbound marketing is designed to get people's attention and get them talking about your brand. This increases organic exposure through word of mouth and increased brand awareness.
Use outbound marketing when you want to:
Build awareness and recall with a new audience
Outbound campaigns are great when selling to a group of people who've never heard of you before. This can be done through online publications, television, billboards, and more. This helps more people think about your brand when they are seeking certain products or services. Consider how you think of "Aldi" when you think about discount groceries or "Telstra" when you need a new SIM card or internet connection. This is the power of widespread brand awareness.
Establish your brand authority in a large market
If you're in a market where people already know your brand and use your products, you can run outbound marketing activities to establish yourself as a market leader. This reassures your customers that they've made the right choice in working with you. It might also convince people who use other brands to switch.
Run competitive campaigns
Also called guerilla marketing, this type of advertising is designed to ambush a competitor's marketing activities. It becomes a contest where you try to outdo your competitor with bigger and cleverer campaigns. Some of the most successful guerilla marketing campaigns come from the car manufacturers Audi and BMW. This is an excellent example of how outbound marketing can increase word of mouth and your brand's recall value.
Adjust marketing to current events
These campaigns should be timed well so that they're relevant to the right audience at the right time. For instance, consider a tourism agency promoting travel packages. If they launch outdoor or television campaigns in line with government-announced tax cuts that encourage spending, they might have better results.
Well, there you have it. I hope this blog gives you a general overview of outbound marketing and when you should consider it for your business. Of course, outbound campaigns are stronger when coupled with long-term inbound efforts, and will give your audience a fuller picture of your brand and offerings. That said, not every business needs outbound marketing either. What works for you depends on your business style. We recommend understanding the advantages and disadvantages of outbound marketing and experimenting with everything before you invest in your top strategies.
Read next: Frequently asked questions about inbound and outbound marketing