Inbound marketing has taken the world by storm and there is good reason for that; the sustainability and ROI are undeniable. Although embracing inbound marketing methodology is a no-brainer for many companies trying to achieve long-term goals, it is not a strategy that prospers overnight. It takes time, expertise, and focus to create an inbound strategy that will setup your company for sustainable success.
In fact, many companies fail to understand that inbound and outbound tactics can coexist under a single integrated strategy. Here are four ways you can leverage inbound methodology to improve existing outbound marketing initiatives.
Targeted towards a specific audience
If your company has not yet created a buyer persona, pull out a white board and get to it. Conduct the research and understand your target market to the point where you can build a personality for your prospects. Find out their interests and disinterests, what events they attend, who they are influenced by, what television channels and radio stations they tune in to, where they shop, etc.
Once you have an understanding of who your buyers are, interact with them. Deliver advertisements and marketing collateral directly to them opposed to making your prospects seek you out. Target your audience through the marketing channels that will effectively reach them.
Keep in mind, this strategy will suffer if the proper time and dedication towards market research is not allocated.
Promote Online Content
Your website is far and away your organization’s most impactful sales tool, use it. By promoting online content rather than prices or products, you can appeal to prospects at all stages of the sales cycle. Is this advertisement a prospect’s first exposure to your brand, or are they almost ready to buy? Alternatively, maybe they have purchased in the past and could be a potential recurring customer?
Whatever the case may be, through the promotion of online content, you are able to speak to prospects at their particular position in the sales cycle. This is assuming, of course, you’ve done a good job of creating online content and web offers to target different stages of the cycle. Hint: you should create online content and web offers to target different stages of the cycle.
Measure and Refine
The use of analytics, especially the ability to modify marketing efforts based on analytics, may be the most important element of a successful inbound marketing strategy. But how can you effectively measure outbound marketing initiatives? There is no universal solution to the lack of measurability with regard to outbound tactics; however there are ways to better understand the ROI of outbound campaigns. For example, attach custom URLs to direct mailers, print ads, event collateral, and even television and radio ads. As I mentioned, this will not solve all of the analytical shortcomings of an outbound campaign, but it can serve as a reduction to its unknown effectiveness. Another popular tactic is the use of hashtags. Create a unique hashtag for a particular campaign and promote the hell out of it throughout all the collateral created for that campaign. Through the use of hashtags, your company will be able to better track levels of prospect engagement.
Do your absolute best to attach an ROI to every marketing campaign your brand implements. Crickets in the background are a far from ideal response when asked, “How did that particular campaign perform?” Alternatively, if you are able to answer that question through effective measurement and the ROI is poor, adjust your strategies and tactics based on the analytics you’ve collected.
Integrate, Don’t Isolate
No marketing effort should stand alone; instead everything you promote should be supplemental to the overall goals of your integrated marketing strategy. Your inbound strategy of attracting visitors to your online channels, converting them into sales leads, and closing business is not lost when implementing outbound marketing initiatives. Over time, your inbound efforts should bleed into the strategic framework of your outbound efforts and create a unified strategy toward the achievement of long-term goals and sustainable success.
In summary, the best ways to integrate inbound with outbound are encompassed in the sections above. Target your marketing efforts to a specific audience by leveraging channels based on research, promote your online content rather than prices or products, and commit to the measurement of initiatives to refine future marketing efforts.