With all the focus on the great returns that inbound lead generation provides, outbound lead generation has been left in the dust. But outbound lead generation techniques are still great for converting your target audience and driving sales fast.
The key to outbound lead generation is the way you implement the strategies. Well-designed and executed outbound techniques do work.
Let's discuss some of the benefits of outbound lead generation, the difference between inbound and outbound, and eight great tactics that you can use in your marketing strategy.
What Is Outbound Lead Generation?
Outbound lead generation refers to the process of seeking out new customers and engaging with them to stimulate interest and create awareness in a product or service. The goal of outbound lead generation is to fill your sales pipeline with qualified leads.
This process requires sending or pushing messages out to a target audience. This may include direct mail, cold emails, telemarketing, and anything else around us that disrupts our daily routine, such as TV ads and various other advertisements.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Outbound Lead Generation
Outbound lead generation tactics are still valid in today's marketing landscape. This form of lead generation has some good benefits for your business and some drawbacks.
Review some of the benefits and drawbacks to help you see if outbound lead generation is right for your marketing strategy:
The Benefits of Outbound Lead Generation
It Builds Brand Awareness Quickly.
Outbound is still relevant. There are still ads everywhere and that’s because they still work. Mainly, they build brand awareness quickly because you don’t have to wait for your site to rank to get your marketing messages out there.
People notice ads, and the images from your ads are likely to stick in their memory if they see them enough.
It Helps Shorten the Sales Cycle.
Inbound is a bulletproof, sustainable methodology that you can apply to all aspects of your business. However, it can take many months before it starts paying off.
On the other hand, some outbound tactics can help shorten the sales cycle since it takes a more direct approach. Gaining leads sometimes takes just a matter of minutes when you apply a certain amount of charm in cold emails and cold calling.
The key to these outbound methods is selectivity. You must know your buyer personas well to target the right people so you don’t waste time marketing to people who are unqualified or disinterested.
It Provides a More Personalized Approach.
Outbound lead generation often involves meeting prospects face-to-face. This makes it easier to determine your prospects feelings about your products or services because you can see their body language as you present your offerings.
People like real interactions and many outbound tactics provide that.
It Allows You to Reach Out to a New Market.
Not every person is interested in reading content online. Some people may not engage with online media often.
But those people may still be interested in your product. If you only applied inbound techniques, you risk missing out on this segment of your target market.
Imagine all the people you could reach with outbound and inbound tactics.
The Drawbacks of Outbound Lead Generation
It Can Be Expensive.
As a whole, outbound lead generation is more expensive than inbound lead gen. Outbound often requires investing in promotional materials and then paying to distribute it, which is not a problem if you properly manage your marketing budget.
The problem isn’t the investment. It’s that there is no guarantee that your target audience will pay any attention to your efforts or take action to purchase your products or services.
Outbound campaigns are often more aggressive and intrusive than inbound campaigns. This can be off-putting to audiences.
People often like to discover things for themselves, instead of being told what to like or having things forced on them.
It’s Difficult to Receive Feedback.
Most outbound lead generation focuses on getting their message out there in a one-way communication system. There isn’t enough opportunity to truly engage with your target audience when you implement outbound tactics that don’t invite a two-way conversation.
If you want to receive feedback from your customers about how they are responding to your ads, you’ll have to organize focus groups or create surveys. This takes even more time and money.
It's Simple for People to Avoid Outbound Marketing Campaigns.
As more information becomes available through the use of technology, people become savvier. This means they know how to avoid your ads and efforts if they don’t want to see them.
People avoid advertisements more than ever by blocking cold calls, avoiding websites with too many pop-ups, and by unsubscribing from email lists.
Outbound Lead Generation vs. Inbound Lead Generation
Outbound lead generation involves sending direct messages to a target audience, even if the audience has not asked to receive information or expressed any interest in the content, products, or services.
For instance, a company receives a list of phone numbers for people who may fit their ideal customer profile and they cold call them to make pitches.
Inbound lead generation is the opposite of outbound because it involves digital marketing that makes your brand easy to discover online through content creation and other content marketing campaigns.
With inbound lead generation techniques, the audience and site visitors can decide if they are interested in your company’s solutions by providing their contact information in exchange for content offers such as ebooks and blog or newsletter subscriptions.
It’s easy to see some of the similarities and differences between outbound and inbound lead generation already, but let’s discuss them in more detail.
Similarities of Outbound and Inbound
- They both generate leads and create demand.
- Both methods understand how to segment target audiences.
Differences of Outbound and Inbound
- Inbound strategies allow prospects to decide when the timing is right for them to reach out for more information. Outbound methods don’t pay attention to the prospect’s readiness.
- Outbound campaigns have a shorter lifecycle than inbound campaigns.
- Inbound typically costs less because the cost is spread over a long period of time. Outbound campaigns are more expensive per lead.
- Outbound is intrusive, whereas inbound is indirect, focusing on providing knowledge and information.
8 Outbound Lead Generation Tactics
Here are eight lead generation tactics for you to consider applying to your marketing strategy.
1. Cold Email
Cold email is similar to cold calling. It involves sending unsolicited emails to people on an email list with the goal of building leads and generating interest in your business.
Cold email is a highly effective method that can provide you with a great return on investment. Automation tools make this tactic easier than ever because you can market to hundreds or thousands of people instantly according to the schedule you set.
- You can reach the most people at a low cost.
- It can net a great ROI, depending on your prices.
- They take a lot of time to manage and execute properly.
- Some of your messages can go to spam folders and ruin your results if you don’t set up your campaign correctly.
2. Social Media Messaging
Social media messaging involves using social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to make contact with and advertise to your target audience.
- It gives you easy access to your target demographic.
- It is a free or inexpensive way to market.
- The amount of social media options is overwhelming.
- You have to remain consistent and engaged every day, multiple hours a day to see results.
3. Inside Sales
Inside sales refers to a team of inside sales reps that make use of the internet, email, and the telephone to sell products and services to customers.
- Inside sales is growing quickly.
- It is more efficient than outside sales because sales reps can work from an office or remotely with everything they need to handle a variety of sales-related tasks.
- Closing large deals can be difficult because inside sales teams don’t travel.
- They can’t meet with their clients in person.
- Less prestige compared to outside sales roles.
4. Direct Mail
With direct mail, you send your customers or prospects a physical piece of mail like a postcard or letter using a mail provider. That's right: Physical paper and mail are not as obsolete as you may think.
- There is less competition.
- This tactic has high open rates.
- It can provide a higher value than email or social media messaging.
- It can get expensive compared to digital marketing tactics.
- It’s not easy to measure the ROI of direct mail campaigns.
5. Word of Mouth
Have you ever told your friend about a product you loved and they went out and bought the product too? That’s word of mouth marketing.
It is a way to directly interact with your customers that allows you to disseminate information informally. This form of communication usually takes place between family and friends where they share their honest experiences about your company in conversations.
This is similar to referral marketing where a company offers you 25 percent off of your next product or service when you refer a friend.
- People are more likely to believe a marketing message when it is from someone they trust.
- There is minimal upfront cost, but you may have to budget money to pay referral fees.
- You have less control over what message your customers choose to send about your brand.
- It isn’t as easy to measure the results of word of mouth tactics as it is to measure other tactics.
This outbound lead generation tactic involves marketing and promoting your brand at various events.
Here are some events your business could get involved in:
- Sponsoring a community baseball league
- Lectures or luncheons
- Farmers markets
For events, you may have to meet with local community members, create flyers, and market the event at local civic buildings in town.
- You can add a personalized touch to your business and meet face-to-face with people in your community.
- You can network with other businesses in your community.
- You can gather physical addresses and emails at the events for later campaigns.
- Events can be costly depending on the type of event you host.
- Weather can ruin the event if it is outside.
7. Paid Advertising
Paid advertising comes in several different forms. This includes billboards, TV ads, social media ads, and Google ads.
To optimize your campaigns properly, you may need to hire a paid advertising professional to get the best return on your investment.
- Your campaigns can become more effective depending on where you advertise them.
- You can gain actionable insights and analytics that you can track.
- Some of your audience may have ad blockers, so they won’t see the ads you’ve paid for.
- Some users don’t trust paid advertisements.
8. Trade Shows
A trade show is a medium-to-large exhibition where businesses in the same industry come together to learn more about industry trends, to find new products to buy, and to promote their business using trade show marketing strategies.
- It is a great opportunity to reach out to and connect with new prospects.
- It allows you to get a good amount of feedback from prospects.
- Attending and participating in trade shows can get expensive.
- You’ll need to send your most experienced and knowledgeable team members to trade shows to get the best value from them.
Generating leads is what keeps your business afloat. It is important to know as much as you can about the wide-range of lead generation tactics available to you. This way, you can apply them when your current tactics cause a slow in the amount of leads you get.
When you bring together inbound and outbound marketing, you're able to keep your sales pipeline filled with good-fit contacts who are ready to talk to your sales team and become your next customer.