I’m often asked to compare inbound marketing vs. outbound marketing, and people are surprised when I talk about how to integrate inbound and outbound instead.
At Stryde, we focus on inbound marketing because we believe that it’s the best way to engage people who have an increasing amount of control over the content that they consume. We rightly point to stats like these to highlight the rise of inbound and descent of outbound, or traditional, marketing:
- Blogs are 63% more likely to influence purchase decisions than magazines (Content+)
- Inbound marketing is estimated to deliver 54% more leads into the marketing funnel than traditional outbound methods. (HubSpot)
- 50% of consumers spend 75% or more of their total shopping time conducting online research (PowerReviews)
- 86% of People Don’t Watch Television Ads (The Guardian)
- 44% of Direct Mail is Never Opened (EPA)
- 2/3 of US Citizens are on the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call List (FTC)
With trends like these, it is no wonder that 48% of marketers will increase inbound spending in 2013 (HubSpot). Smart marketers know that the future will be won by businesses and brands that earn their attention through remarkable content.
Outbound works best when it’s integrated with inbound
All of this doesn’t mean that outbound marketing is dead. One new customer told me last week that radio ads are driving their impressive monthly growth. Another customer recently broke their all-time record for leads collected at a tradeshow. When people need our help to make inbound and outbound marketing work together, they often find themselves in one of the following situations:
- already committed to a significant contract for an outbound campaign
- already using an outbound tactic that is generating a positive ROI
- hoping to reach a target audience that is hard to reach online
- feeling that if they are not at a certain event, or in a certain publication, that they won’t be viewed as players in their space
- needing to see huge results immediately
Avoiding leakage – the power of inbound when combined with outbound
In any of these situations, our customers see a significantly higher ROI on their outbound when they integrate an inbound approach. Here are five ways you can make it happen:
1. Events (conferences, seminars, tradeshows)
Before the conference, prepare some killer content (guide, ebook, checklist, white paper, video, webinar, etc.) focused on something that the attendees deeply care about.
Get an email list of everyone that will be attending and send it the list. Any click through from the email should take people to a well-designed landing page that is built to convert. Make it easy for people to get the content they want and give you their email address in exchange. Once the attendees have joined your list, be prepared with some follow up emails that provide more relevant content. Let them know where they will be able to find you at the event and give them a reason to get to know you.
If there will be great content shared at the event, blog and/or tweet about the event live. Make sure that if you are blogging, you are focusing on using keywords that matter to your target buyers. When tweeting use the conference hashtag and have fun interacting with everyone else that is in one the cyber conversation.
After the conference, follow up with another piece of powerful content. Give them a compelling reason to connect with you via email, and the appropriate social network (generally YouTube, Facebook or Twitter for B2C companies, and LinkedIn and Twitter for B2b companies).
If you follow these steps, your event marketing dollars will do more for you than they ever have before.
2. Direct Mail
If you have a targeted list that will go to your ideal customer, test an ad campaign that invites people to download a free white paper on a hot topic their industry. Send these people to a landing page that is built to convert. Your campaign will be more measurable, and you will see a higher total conversion rate than if you were going only for the direct sale. Once they are in your funnel, you can follow up to close the sale.
If you are sending an email to the list of another company or organization, first make sure you know what matters to those people and understand how they like to be spoken to. As you prepare the email, be careful to not come across as too salesy. Remember that people don’t like to be sold to (although they love to buy). Instead, deliver compelling content. Direct the audience to a specific landing page made just for this campaign, and deliver a special offer that is only meant for them. When you do this right, you are leveraging the inbound infrastructure that you already have set up – and building one of your most powerful assets, your contact list. Oh, and you can also make a lot of money while you’re at it.
4. Advertising on LinkedIn and Facebook
These work best if you know that a certain company on LinkedIn, or a certain group of people on facebook, are already interested in what you have to offer. Make your ads specific, focusing on what you know that they care about. You might, for example, know that people from a certain company have been visiting your website – you can find the key decision-makers of that company on LinkedIn and target them. Or, you may know that a certain facebook group has been sharing your content. Put an ad in front of them that references the materials that you know they liked and give them a clear way to get more of that.
When you are running TV campaigns, include a URL with each spot. Make sure that the landing page at that URL is mobile-optimized, as 49% of mobile-internet users will browse their phones while watching TV (IAB). Keep your message on the landing page consistent with the messaging from the ad, and offer clear calls-to-action that make it obvious to people what you want them to do. Remember to include sharing links – because if your ad is interesting enough to bring people to the site, it is compelling enough for some people to share. Once they have visited your site, reward them for paying attention and earn their permission (and contact information) to keep the conversation going through email and social media.
The leaky bucketThe bottom line is that we see inbound marketing as being the best option for most businesses. And almost any outbound marketing will have a bigger impact for you if it is integrated with inbound. Dumping money into an outbound campaign without having your inbound ducks in a row, is kind of like trying to carry water in a leaky bucket.]]>