In the previous section, we discussed some characteristics of inbound and outbound marketing. Rather than thinking of inbound and outbound as two distinct methods, it’s better to look at them as overlapping and complementary strategies.
Relying on a combination of both inbound and outbound marketing creates a holistic brand experience. The more channels you’re active on, the more exposure your business will get. Outbound marketing is especially good for introducing your brand name to prospects; from there, your inbound strategies (like content marketing) will help to educate and build credibility. Even those who don’t become customers right away might eventually have a need; keeping your name top of mind is crucial to see future conversions.
The best marketing strategies use inbound and outbound to feed into each other. For instance, creating compelling content is essential for your inbound strategy. By placing ads to promote your blog posts, videos, podcasts, and other content, you can drive traffic to your website. By gating the content, you have the opportunity to capture email addresses and continue nurturing interested prospects. If a prospect has already found your website through SEO or social media and you follow up with a call or email, you have the opportunity to connect with a lead while they are actively gathering information. A hybrid approach is synergistic and helps to support your prospects no matter where they are on their buying journey.
Creating Synergy Between Inbound and Outbound
Below are just a few of the pathways to make the most of your inbound and outbound tactics.
Grow Your Email List
An email list is one of the most effective ways to nurture leads. While you can build your list using inbound methods such as SEO and social media, you can speed up the process by advertising using pay-per-click and other types of ads. Placing ads that offer high-value gated content on platforms like Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn can help you build your list faster. An ad not only catches your prospect’s attention while they’re scrolling, but it also builds credibility with content and captures leads for further nurturing. Once opted into your email list, you can continue to drip relevant content to your prospects, helping them move through your sales funnel.
Use Calls to Further the Conversation
If a prospect stumbles upon your website (thanks to a well-optimized webpage) and then downloads a piece of your content, you can follow up with that lead using outbound tactics. Done correctly, this is an incredibly effective way to connect with warm leads. According to the Five Minute Rule, when B2B sales teams respond to leads in under 5 minutes, their chances of engagement and conversion skyrocket.
Rather than trying to sell cold leads on the spot, you can use this conversation to gauge interest, offer them more information, or even schedule a meeting with a sales representative.
Use Content to Drive Conversions
High-value content not only has the ability to capture leads but can also help to move them down your sales funnel. Using your email list, ads, or even placements on relevant podcasts, you can promote content-driven events like webinars. Webinars are a great way to drive interest for new leads while offering valuable insight into some of their most pressing concerns. You have the opportunity to educate your prospects, overcome common objections, and set them up for next steps. Of course, after the webinar, your prospects should be placed in an email drip or follow-up sequence to continue the nurturing process.
Don’t Ignore Offline Methods
Many traditional forms of offline marketing can be effective for promoting your online content. This includes:
- Networking at live events. Traditional networking is still effective for building relationships. Invite people to check out your website. Ask them the best way to contact them, such as by email, phone, or LinkedIn. Always carry business cards with updated contact info.
- Advertising in print publications. You can target your audience by placing ads in trade journals and industry magazines.
- Billboards and signs. Having thousands of people see your brand name every day is still an effective promotional tactic. You can place your phone number and website URL on the billboard.
- Direct mail. Postcards with special offers or simply your website URL can help to generate awareness of your business.
Guidelines For a Multichannel Approach
Using a multichannel approach to marketing goes hand in hand with a hybrid inbound-outbound strategy. Multichannel can refer to either inbound or outbound tactics. In either case, your targeting approach is comprehensive.
Identify Your Channels
There are now countless channels and platforms where you can post, advertise, and connect. You can’t be everywhere and if you attempt to do too much, your efforts will be diluted. An effective multichannel strategy is about identifying where your audience spends time and which channels are most profitable.
The demographics and habits of your customers should guide your marketing strategy, including which channels to prioritize. Not all channels will be effective for your market while others are more universally acceptable. For instance, Facebook and Google are relevant enough to encompass most demographics while Snapchat and Instagram are good for targeting younger users. Instagram and Pinterest are great for showcasing physical products and anything where visuals are key, while LinkedIn is dominated by B2B marketing. Keep in mind that channels also include offline communities, print publications, and tactics like email and calling.
Once you’ve identified the best channels for your audience, you can strategize your approach to outreach.
Identify and Track Customer Touchpoints
Each touchpoint is an interaction between a customer and the business. Customers may interact with a few or multiple touchpoints before deciding to buy something. This may include a phone call, an advertisement, a social media post, an email, attending a webinar, or meeting a sales rep at a trade show. By tracking touchpoints, you can find out which ones provide the best ROI. Similarly, you can determine which ones need to be improved or perhaps even discarded.
Touchpoints guide customers along the buyer’s journey. You want to make the process as seamless as possible. You don’t want to clutter the journey with too many touchpoints or ones that are complicated or confusing. For example, you may be successfully driving traffic to your company website through SEO or advertising but find that visitors aren’t taking action. You may need to redesign your landing page, opt-in form, or navigation. Observing touchpoints lets you isolate features, so you can find out what is and isn’t working.
Create an Environment of Engagement
A multichannel approach to marketing can and should include both inbound and outbound methods. Customers are seldom consciously aware of marketing concepts such as touchpoints, channels, inbound, and outbound. They are seeking information and solutions to their problems. As a marketer, you don’t want to simply create a series of touchpoints but rather an environment of engagement. From social media to a short email, create pathways to connect with your prospects in a way that offers value and convenience. Testing will be necessary to find your perfect formula, but the outcomes will speak for themselves. A holistic marketing strategy sets you up to best connect to, support, and convert your ideal customers. To learn more about generating leads through outbound marketing, click here.