Are outbound marketing techniques still relevant in industries across the world today? Or are they too pushy, salesy, and irrelevant to people who have full access online to nearly anything they could ever want or need?
While outbound marketing tactics are still effective and can provide a decent ROI, some that used to be the standard for marketing have changed significantly over recent years. It’s time to learn what still works and what strategies should make way for modern practices.
What Is Outbound Marketing?
Before we can look at some dying outbound marketing techniques, we need to answer the fundamental question: what is outbound marketing? Currently, many companies still spend up to 90% of their marketing budget on outbound marketing techniques.
Outbound marketing is essentially any form of marketing where the business starts the conversation with its audience. This means things like television commercials, newspaper advertisements, sales calls, email spam, flyers, and radio ads are all considered outbound marketing tactics. Options like these have been the go-to marketing choices for decades or longer.
In comparison, inbound marketing is when customers search you out. Techniques like search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, and blogging fall into this category.
Irrelevant Outbound Marketing Techniques
Especially in recent years, outbound marketing techniques have become much less effective than they once were. When you use alternate strategies, clients come to you and already want your product. Because of this, many of the outbound marketing examples below offer a worse return on your investment.
1. Print Ads
While print ads might not be dead (yet), they are still one of the most expensive techniques for advertising a product. If you are trying to maximize your marketing budget, print ads are unlikely to be the best choice.
In a study completed last year, researchers found that more than 87,943 brands stopped using print ads as part of their outbound marketing tactics. While an argument was made that only a small portion of these switched to paid digital advertising, it is likely the larger part of them realized the power of organic marketing strategies like content marketing.
2. Newspaper and Magazine Ads
In 2007, magazine circulation peaked at $4.9 trillion. By 2017, this number fell to less than $2 billion, marking a decline of more than 60%.
Part of the problem is consumer behavior as people simply aren’t buying magazines and newspapers like they used to because of cheaper alternatives. Why buy a magazine when you can read the same article for free online?
Many publications are trying to stay relevant by going digital. The 162-year-old magazine known as The Atlantic managed to thrive by focusing on digital articles with advertisements and online subscriptions. If you consider online newspaper and magazine ads, then there is still some hope for these outbound marketing campaigns as long as they also see what is changing.
3. Cold Calling
According to a study completed by Baylor University, only about 28% of cold calls are answered with about 1% of those answered calls turning into an appointment for a second contact. As you can likely imagine, the number of conversions from this point is a mere fraction. While some consider these numbers to be a relatively strong ROI, you’ll have to decide if it is successful enough.
People already commonly refer to outbound tactics as “interruption marketing.” And there are few techniques more annoying to consumers than cold calling them at all hours of the day. After all of the work it takes to get a qualified lead, those leads convert only 20% of the time.
4. Email Lists
While outbound marketing email lists are less annoying than cold calls, they are growing increasingly less effective as spam filters and other software is becoming increasingly more effective at preventing these notes from ever reaching your target audience’s inbox. Email providers deliberately try to weed out targeted advertisements and emails, so few of your emails will end up getting through the spam filter in the first place.
A large percentage of companies still use outbound marketing emails as a part of their overall marketing efforts. While email lists may be on their way out, there are clearly some areas where they are still in use. But more often than not, these emails are deleted before a potential new client even opens it up.
Outbound Marketing Tactics Still Worth Pursuing
An outbound marketing strategy can help you grow your company, but you have to do it the right way. While some outbound marketing tactics are slowly dying, the following outbound marketing examples will help you breathe new life into your next advertising campaign.
1. Social Media Ads
An estimated 42% of the world’s population currently uses social media. Meanwhile, 68% of Americans get on social media each day. On Twitter, 83% of people who tweeted a company and got a response ended up feeling better about the brand.
Savvy companies go where the consumers are when it comes to marketing their products. Right now, a large portion of your typical consumers is going to be on social media, making it a great place to put at least some of your marketing budget. If you want your outbound marketing strategy to work, you need to place your ads where your audience can find them.
2. Search Engine Ads
As with social media ads, the majority of online markets are flooded with companies who are paying large sums of money to have their advertisements and content show up in the first spot on Google. This is because search engine ads continue to be surprisingly effective.
In a sense, these ads are a type of inbound marketing technique as they typically show up for consumers who have already shown interest in what you’re offering. Unlike a newspaper or television ad, your search engine ads don’t appear indiscriminately before the viewer. Instead, they show up if someone searches for similar terms.
3. Direct Mail
Even with all the digital options available now, a direct mail postcard still gets an average response rate of about 4.25% to 5%. In comparison, digital re-targeting response rates tend to be around only 0.7%, depending on the campaign.
Part of the difference is because of how direct mail works. Like emails, direct mail can be targeted at certain consumer demographics and geographic regions. Unlike email campaigns, direct mailers have to physically get into your audience’s hand.
Someone can delete an email without ever seeing it. They can also ignore search engine ads by quickly scrolling to the next option. If you send a prospective customer a postcard, they have to physically sort through their mail, look at it and carry it inside before they can consider their next step.
4. Cold Calling & Cold Emailing
Nope, this isn’t a moment of déjà vu. Cold calling and cold emailing really can land on both sides of this list. The old cold-calling techniques are dying off, but new outbound marketing campaigns make cold outreach more effective than before. Rather than merely cold calling or emailing prospects, new tactics give you the ability to target your outreach.
Every marketer worth their salt has tried cold calls and cold emails before. Now, you can carry out this outbound marketing strategy more effectively by targeting your audience.
More than 70% of someone’s buying decision occurs before they ever talk to a salesperson. To be effective, you need to do your research and learn about the consumer’s needs before you make a call. Your goal should be to use technology and research to turn your cold calls into warm calls, which involve having some kind of interaction or research involved before you contact someone.
Are You Ready to Shift Your Thinking to New Marketing Tactics?
While there may still be an outbound marketing strategy that will work for you, it is time to start incorporating new tactics. With the right examples, you can learn which outbound marketing techniques are the most effective today, which ones to ignore, as well as fresh ideas to add to your campaigns.
If you’re ready to take the next steps and massively improve your marketing efforts, the crew at Endurance is fully prepared to serve you. Choose us to handle a variety of marketing services for your business as we increase the authority and engagement of your brand.