Outbound Marketing Still Works!

Outbound Marketing is a more traditional approach to marketing. Most of the time when people talk about marketing, they are referring to outbound marketing where a company initiates the conversation and broadcasts their message. If you are looking to spread the word quickly about a new product or service, outbound marketing can achieve this very well. The issue is it doesn’t always translate into actual business, but it can begin to make the viewer aware of a product or service.

Outbound marketing can be confused with inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is creating interest and leads based on connecting with potential and current customers, while outbound marketing is much more aggressive in trying to generate business by interrupting users with banners, pop-ups and advertisements. Outbound marketing is all about getting a message out to the masses, where inbound marketing is all about meeting the needs of a more targeted market.

Outbound marketing is still widely used and works for many bigger companies that have a bigger budget. Auto makers use it to show us new vehicles or this year’s model, fast food chains use it to show their latest food item to sell, Internet companies use it to entice people to switch to their latest product or service.  Outbound marketing can be expensive because you are basically throwing a net into the ocean hoping to catch some fish. However, many of these marketing methods can be scaled for smaller budgets.

Outbound Marketing Methods include:

  • TV or Radio Advertisements
  • Cold Calling or Telemarketing
  • Email Blasts
  • Direct Mail (brochures, postcards, catalogs)
  • Billboards or Lighted Signs
  • Brand Marketing (newsletters, key chains, pens)
  • Trade Shows
  • Newspaper Advertising
  • Press Releases
  • Advertisements on Websites, Blogs, and Social Media

Benefits of Outbound Marketing:

  • Ability to reach a broad base of potential clients.
  • Ability to gain awareness of a product or service quickly.
  • Comfort level with these techniques and mediums are non-threatening and more trusted because they have been around a lot longer.
  • Builds brand awareness when used effectively over time.
  • Propels leads through the sales funnel much more quickly by assuming they are ready to buy.
  • Can create an urgency to buy by creating a “wow” factor to make your company stand out.

Developing an Outbound Marketing Strategy

web design - internet marketing plan, strategyPlan. Take the time to think through your marketing campaign. What is your ultimate goal? Lead generation? Selling a product or service? Brand awareness? Begin to think through a step by step plan of how you can attract this type of viewer to achieve your goal.

  • Know your market: Understand who you are marketing to and what they like, what they don’t like, then craft a message that will truly reach your ideal customers. Knowing if they are young or old, male or female, office professionals or service industry will help you know how to better communicate to your potential clients.
  • Market channels: Which methods and techniques will deliver your message to the broadest market of potential customers in a timely manner? Which methods are used the most by your market?
  • Product description: Are you introducing something new? You may need to explain more or persuade a buyer to come take a look.
  • Competition: How fierce is your competition? Is there another product or service in the same market? How well known is your competition?
  • Budget: Stay within your limits. You can achieve much by focusing and limiting your presence in key areas.
  • Set Goals: What do you hope to achieve? Increasing traffic, generating leads, brand awareness are all examples of goals that can be set for an Outbound Marketing campaign.
  • Strategy: How do you want to accomplish the goals you set? What Outbound Marketing tools are best for the goals you set? When is the best time to reach your target market or potential customers? Your strategy should use some type of funnel to walk your audience through the process of lead nurturing which includes awareness, evaluation, and purchase. Set incremental goals (or benchmarks) to be able to measure your success.

Analyze. Establish a way to collect data from your Outbound Marketing tools that is goal specific. This will make it easier to determine whether your plan is working or not. Check key data at regular intervals, such as how many phone calls are received based on advertisements, how many viewers clicked through to the landing page, and whether or not sales have increased since the start of the campaign. Have you met your goals?

Revise. Adjust your plan according to what you found from the analysis of the data you collected. Are your advertisements strong enough to attract attention? Is your funnel clear enough to measure? Instead of starting over, make necessary tweaks and try again. Keep a record of what you have learned and take that knowledge into your next campaign. Keeping good records and making thorough reports is vital for this learning process.

So how does this work?

Let’s say you own a small bookstore that recently added a service to specialize in unique and hard-to-find books. So, let’s walk through what you can do for an Outbound Marketing Strategy.

Plan

  • Know your market: Your market is anyone who reads printed books and magazines. Your market is mostly older adults, but will also be a younger crowd. Your market will include many walks of life from “book worms” to business professionals to creative artsy people. The young adult market will prefer communication online and visual with a quick call to action and incentive. The older adult market will prefer communication with many more details. They are both likely to share incentives with others. Most of your market is within 100 miles of our store, but some travel from bigger cities looking for unique shopping experiences like yours.
  • Market channels: Because of a smaller budget, email blasts and focused ads online with incentives and landing pages with call-to-actions, billboards and lighted signs, trade shows and local conferences are probably the best use of these funds.
  • Product description: Descriptions will include where to find you on the web, why you decided to add this service and encourage your already loyal customer base to take advantage of this new service.
  • Competition: There are many online bookstores available, but you offer a unique and personal book finding service. What makes you different is that you offer personal service, not just customer service. Your store has old and out of print books that may be hard to find. Your store also has experts on staff that are great at recommending and finding unique book titles.
  • Budget: Budgeted funds are minimal because of being a small business, so be very specific in targeting your message in social media ads. Most of the market is local, so you concentrate there first, then  branch out to the cities and areas you know have brought people to purchase in the past. Lastly, try other markets if your budget allows.
  • Set Goals: You hope to achieve brand awareness and lead generation for your new service.
  • Strategy: Pictures of well known, unique books in stock will be placed in the ads to draw attention. Questions for viewers to click-through to find the answers will be included. Once the targeted interest to viewers who like unique books has been established, you will use a call-to-action to ask them to sign up for updates or fill out a form to begin a search. Pictures of well known children’s books that are older will be placed in ads to help generate interest in a childhood memory and ask the viewer to pass it on or make a new memory, which will lead them to make a purchase. For trade shows and local conferences, unique book displays and cards will be passed out with the same information as online. Sign up sheets will be available to add to your mailing list and free give away items to increase brand exposure. Some of the giveaways will be items that are not book related to increase traffic.  Expectations are to increase sales in children’s books overall and capture interest in your new service.

Analyze.  Data will be collected from online sources as well as an overview of trade show and conference attendees. This will aid in determining how many visits you had overall vs. how many actions were actually started. By analyzing this data, you will be able to see if the goals to increase sales of children’s books and increase interest in your new service was accomplished.

Revise. Adjusting your plan according to what was found from the analysis of the data is extremely important. Ask questions like did you attract attention? Is your funnel clear enough to measure? Did you actually increase sales and interest in your new services? What markets responded? What markets did not respond? Was your sales increase in the expected area? Why or why not?  Make necessary tweaks and try again until your budget is gone. Keep a record of what you have learned and make thorough reports that will help in the future.

Outbound Marketing is still an effective tool and can be used to reach a broad base of potential customers. It is still the best way to reach the masses and have an immediate response. Although it can be rather expensive, if you think outside the box, there are ways to use outbound marketing tools for free or with lesser fees. Outbound marketing is an effective marketing approach when targeting choice leads or increasing brand awareness.  Bottom Line, marketing is always about getting the word out!  Choose the best technique and marketing approach that works for your market and achieves the goals you set.  Always be ready to adjust and try again!

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