DINOSAUR PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy of the Library of Congress: LC-H261- 7051 [P&P] Outbound marketing isn’t the dinosaur you might suppose it to be. Sure, inbound marketing has long been the darling of content creators because it emphasizes the need to educate consumers instead of yelling at them. Yet there’s something to be said for sending forth a message that you’ve taken care to plan, develop and execute. New strategies and online resources can make your outbound message more effective than ever as a complement to inbound marketing. To quote from RetentionScience.com: “The best marketing tactic is not one versus the other but a combination of both.” In this post, we’ll explore 10 outbound marketing strategies that can supercharge your brand.
#10: Analyze Campaigns in the Cloud
A common critique of outbound marketing is that brands are ill equipped to assess its performance. In the real world, that might play out in this way: A brand installs a billboard along a major highway advertising a new product, yet it’s impossible to tell how many sales, Twitter follows or other engagement resulted. For online content creators, the lesson here is to pay attention to technology companies innovating in this arena. In January 2015, for example, startup LiveHive partnered with Act-On, a software company specializing in integrated marketing automation. The relationship means marketers will have more actionable data to work with and a better sense of “prospects’ interests and behaviors that can be used for more tailored sales follow up.”
#9: Hand Customers the Megaphone
We traditionally think of outbound marketing as a brand acting to push its message toward consumers. Yet social media has reversed that logic, turning consumers into marketers. Some experts say it’s the perfect time to capitalize on that reality. Sports arenas, for example, will increasingly offer fans free Wi-Fi in 2015. Armed with cameras and brand affinity, thousands upon thousands of impromptu outbound marketers can help feed these athletic franchises into the talk of the Twitterverse. In the same way, your brand or office might enable more customers to capitalize on in-house Wi-Fi or other resources that put the power of outbound marketing in their mobile devices. #ohthepossibilities
#8: Attention to Retention
Outbound marketing not only applies to consumer-facing brands but also organizations that specialize in business-to-business transactions. Trying to recruit or retain memberships in your professional association? Pair inbound strategies with multiple outbound communications such as follow-up emails, phone calls or a webinar aimed at education. Help your audience understand the value you bring by starting with personal outreach.
#7: Tune Those Virtual Rabbit Ears
Television advertising is a classic example of outbound marketing, but the Internet has changed how those messages are consumed. Those interested in pursuing online video ads should review this Ipsos report on the qualities of a winning modern TV spot. Among the qualifications: it must be relevant, engaging and unique. (Informative? Not so much.)
#6: Visit With Pod People
Another ever-popular outbound channel online is the podcast. Communicating a marketing message in this space is challenging because you’re dealing with short bursts of time. Many podcasts are inherently bite-sized, so it’s important to remember a few key principles, notes QuickAndDirtyTips.com. Clearly tell listeners what you’d like them to do, whether it’s visiting a website or shooting a video of themselves jumping up and down on one leg. Repeat that message multiple times throughout the course of the ad. And use emotional cues through storytelling to make it stick.
#5: Make a Display
There are plenty of reasons to grow frustrated over display ads. Tracking performance can be tricky. Lest you think this format simply functions to raise brand awareness, though, writer Rachel Balik provides an education over at MarketingLand.com. Balik’s focus is in the B2B space, but the message is true for any marketer: In reality, display ads can speed up the sales cycle and complement an overall marketing plan. But they often take time, which is why you should adopt a degree of stick-to-itiveness. If you’re ready to get started, check out the Google Display Network or services from companies such as CyberMark, which can customize a display ad campaign.
#4: Ease Into Mobile
Outbound marketing in the mobile space can be challenging. Financial and technological investments are required to make digital properties easy to consume on any platform. Yet this is a space that will only balloon in importance over the coming years, meaning now is a perfect time to future-proof your brand campaigns. Before spending tons of cash to build back-end infrastructure, get to know what experts in this arena predict. How are major brands such as Coca-Cola, American Eagle Outfitters and Tumblr preparing? You can find out by surveying these PDF presentations prepared for the recent Mobile FirstLook: Strategy 2015 conference.
#3: Meet and Greet
Conferences and other live events remain a fantastic channel for outbound marketing. TEDx has popularized the meeting of minds for discussion of compelling ideas on a variety of topics. Your own branded events can similarly be used to communicate effectively alongside a solid inbound strategy. Select trade shows that will serve you well and help reach specific goals, advises Demodia, a European firm specializing in inbound marketing. Additionally, MarketingProfs.com notes, recognize survey data show people still act on outbound channels. People still register for events after getting a cold-call invitation, for example.
#2: Consider a Little Native Advertising
Many social media channels enable marketers to place their messages alongside those of channel users. This is known as native advertising, whether in the social space or on websites generally, and it’s worth considering as part of an integrated strategy. In this way, you can elevate your brand message to the point at which new and previously unsolicited prospects can see it.
#1: Keep on Innovating
Consider the case of Business Rx, a firm that aims to take the ethereal nature of a Snapchat message and apply it to online promotions from retailers. The Washington Post reports the resulting company, OpiaTalk, aims to “get those visitors who are on the fence to feel a sense of urgency and make a purchase.” Who can say where the next winning outbound idea will come from? One thing’s for sure: There’s no shortage of compelling value propositions.