Tips to Integrate an Inbound Strategy Into Your Current Marketing
As the world of marketing continues to evolve, more attention is being given to the benefits of combining inbound and outbound marketing strategies. If your business has traditionally relied on outbound marketing practices (e.g., print or display advertising, direct mail, telemarketing, etc.), you may be unsure of how to effectively integrate inbound marketing into your current promotional practices. Below are some practical tips to help you combine an inbound strategy with your outbound efforts in order to create a successful, well-rounded marketing strategy.
1. Develop a Consistent Message
As new factors are introduced and added into your marketing mix, the potential for miscommunication and confusion increases as well. This holds especially true for larger organizations; the tendency to create departmental silos can definitely threaten the cohesiveness of your marketing message. Whether you’re working on the inbound side via content marketing or developing print ads for an outbound campaign, you have to be vigilant to ensure that your brand’s message is harmonious across all channels. This doesn’t mean that all of your marketing materials have to say the exact same thing, but rather each individual component of your marketing strategy should echo the central message that you intend to convey. This requires constant, open and thorough communication from all involved parties. The last thing you want to do is create a situation where half of your marketing team is in the dark about the direction and objectives of a campaign. Frequent communication is absolutely critical in this regard.
2. Paid Media: A Different Approach
The classic outbound strategy of paid media (e.g., banner ads, print ads, etc.) is typically designed to drive people directly to the final step of the conversion funnel: the sale. This approach can be adjusted to include the promotion of Facebook pages, downloadable whitepapers or other tools designed to promote awareness instead of just going straight for the sale off the bat. Allowing people to comfortably enter into the first phase of your conversion funnel will often prove to be more effective than hoping for cold conversions at the very end of the funnel.
3. Adopting an Inbound Mindset to Direct Mail
Direct mail is not generally known for being highly targeted, but segmentation technologies for direct mail have vastly improved over the past two decades. While this improved technology has enabled marketers to obtain better ROI from their direct marketing campaigns, adopting a traditional approach to direct mail may actually limit the capabilities of this powerful marketing medium. Try reserving a small area of your direct mail piece for promoting some type of content offering that educates people about your products and services. This will attract potential prospects in a non-obtrusive manner, and enable you to ease those who are not ready to buy into the conversion funnel, even if they choose not to respond to the direct call-to-action on your mailer. You can track your direct mail conversions by way of a customized tracking URL, as well as a landing page that has been tailored for that particular offering. In addition, be sure to connect your direct mail offering to your marketing software so that you can keep track of conversions and other elements of campaign performance.
4. Paid Email Promotions
Although you’ve worked hard to build your in-house email list, you can actually limit your reach if you only engage with your current subscribers for your content marketing or promotional efforts. While your in-house list is definitely your bread-and-butter, you will not generate new leads this way. For this reason, it is a good idea to consider paid email promotions as well. Trade publications that offer bulk email lists are an excellent way to generate new leads in a cost-effective manner, but be sure to choose a provider that offers quality segmentation.
5. Shift the Focus of Your Outbound Marketing Message
Traditionally, the message of most outbound marketing campaigns has essentially been the same: “Buy our product!” In a world where the average person receives thousands of marketing messages a day, this will not be enough to garner a prospect’s attention. Infuse your outbound efforts with an “inbound feel” by creating a message that genuinely informs prospects about your products or services, absent of any abrupt “salesy” language. In other words, employ outbound techniques in a way that makes sense from the buyer’s perspective.
The truth is that there really is no high dividing wall between inbound and outbound marketing practices. They should not be seen as opposite entities, but rather two sides of the same coin. By utilizing the tips above, you will be able to create a comprehensive marketing strategy that uses the best of both your inbound marketing strategy and outbound practices, which can ultimately lead to greater campaign performance.