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Hugo recently detailed the ins and outs of Inbound Marketing and created a template for building a powerful Inbound growth engine. In this post, Hugo will explain how we can explore the other side of the count – Outbound Marketing.
The aim of this post (and the rest of the series) is to give you a rock-solid foundation on how to design and build a growth program that scales. Rather than doubling down on any one method, diversifying your growth channels is the key to building sustainable, predictable growth.
Let’s get started.
There’s often a lot of confusion around what the difference between Inbound and Outbound marketing is. One easy mnemonic to follow is Inbound Marketing involves “drawing in” Outbound Marketing is all about “reaching out”.
Inbound is frequently referred to as permission based marketing – using a combination of product, content & ancillary value to draw your customers in.
Outbound Marketing, on the other hand, is far more direct: it’s about broadcasting your product & services to the world, often via direct customer outreach. An easy analogue that might help explain the difference would be Brand Building vs. Direct Sales.
Outbound Marketing can be a lot of different things. The two big ones we’re going to cover:
Before we dig into cold outreach, we need to talk about Lead Generation. The first step of doing cold outreach is to build a contact database of potential customers (be it email, phone numbers, or both).
There’s several different ways to do Lead Generation – far beyond the scope of this article. However, here are a few tried and true tools:
Lead generation is the first step of Outbound Marketing. The average salesperson spends nearly half of their time finding leads and adding them to their CRM – it’s important you learn the ins and outs, as well as the necessary tools.
Also, with the advent of new privacy regulations like the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), it’s important to know who you’re cold emailing and what the regulations are around it.
So you’ve generated a nice list of emails and phone numbers in your go to CRM. What now? This is where we get into the core of Outbound Marketing: Cold Outreach.
Here are the basic steps to running a successful cold emailing campaign.
Cold Outreach is any kind of human-to-human outreach with people you don’t have a previous connection with. This can be anything from direct messages on social media to cold calls. In this day and age, cold emails are the most popular way to get started.
Then rinse and repeat and go back to the lead generation step. Simple, right? Cold emailing can be a powerful strategy for growing your business, especially early on – but it has it’s negatives.
If you’re comparing the effectiveness of cold outreach to standard inbound techniques like blogging, content marketing, newsletters and social media, it doesn’t come out very favorably.
Cold emailing will certainly get results quicker than these techniques, however it loses it’s effectiveness very quickly and is not a viable long-term option for most businesses.
Remember we stuck an asterisk on paid advertising as an outbound technique earlier? Many people argue back and forth on whether PPC is technically an Inbound or an Outbound method.
On one hand, you’re directly broadcasting to a targeted group of people with your message… but on the other hand, what’s the difference between a Google display ad and just having a piece of content that ranks?
I argue that PPC techniques are indeed Outbound Marketing.
The fact that if you turn off the PPC’s campaign budget, the results will stop (your ad will not appear in front of your audience), tilts this method towards Outbound. In Inbound, if you cut the budget off, your content will still be found by your audience, and your results do not stop, when the budget stops. Inboud lead generation maintains “momentum”.
There’s a lot of details that go into PPC, far more than we can go into in this article. I’ll write another article that goes into PPC details.
So how do Outbound Marketing techniques compare against Inbound Marketing, and where should you be investing your time? Well, here’s a general overview to help you out:
Outbound Marketing techniques are a great way to get an instant influx of customers and get traction – but they don’t scale very well, and are not a reliable long-term growth engine.
Inbound Marketing, on the other hand, is built to scale – although it might take some time to start seeing the fruits of your labor, those growth gains compound and stick around for a long time.
For most online businesses, Inbound Marketing should be your bread-and-butter, and Outbound Marketing should be a catalyst to break through plateaus or get your early users.
Hopefully this guide has been useful for you – next in our series, we’ll do a deep dive into making PPC work for you.