I chuckled at the irony of writing a blog post, one piece of inbound marketing, about outbound marketing, but here we go. So many people have done outbound inefficiently, it’s referred to as spam or noise, and marketers get lost in the lowered cost of inbound marketing. When done correctly, both inbound and outbound marketing enjoy a symbiotic relationship, which I wrote about here.
Outbound marketing has moved beyond the days of print ads, television spots, radio ads and sending a single email to thousands of recipients, hoping a fraction of them open them – the old spray-and-pray method. Customers have evolved, and marketing must as well, whether distributing your message through email, print or social media, your efforts have to meet your target consumers where they are. That said, here are some of my top dos and don’ts of outbound marketing.
DO segment your customers: Don’t send individuals marketing pieces to promote business products unless they’ve been actively engaged in asking about them. Know your customers – not just for regulatory purposes, but also for more personalized marketing offers. According to Mailchimp, appropriately segmented emails 75% more likely to be opened.
DON’T sell them in your subject line: Or the body of the email for that matter. Use your contact efforts to inform and educate. If they want to learn more, they’ll click-through a simple call-to-action and visit your site.
DO track your effectiveness: Track open rates, click-through rates, and conversions for email, digital, social media and even direct mail. See who’s finding your and how, and what content formats are the most effective.
DON’T just link to your websites or product pages. Create landing pages for each outbound program. You’ll be able to track your visitors to your programs better and get more information.
DO actively engage your customer base: Many marketers will say email’s a black hole. It can be, if you don’t track it. Keep your contact information for your prospects and customers up to date. Leverage your CRM systems, and balance it with the data you have on them to send them the right info.
DON’T treat outbound marketing as a standalone project: use it in conjunction with your inbound efforts. Did you post an awesome blog that your customers will find beneficial, but they aren’t reading it? Have an educational video that will benefit them? Email them links or use snippets in a video ad to drive your traffic.
DO use social media and multimedia: Banner ads are a branding exercise; they don’t drive traffic as they used to in the early days of digital. Smart Insights released a study showing that viewing videos and social media are the two most popular uses for the internet. Are you leveraging your Facebook page or YouTube channel to reach these customers?
At the end of the day, these efforts are intended to convert browsers to customers. Leverage your outbound marketing efforts to draw them in to your website, app or branch. Remember, whether it’s inbound or outbound, you want your strategies to be cohesive, integrated and demonstrate a return on your investment.