7 Tools to Improve Your Outbound Marketing
It’s no secret that most of the “heat” in marketing today is on inbound marketing, in which companies draw customers to them through the content they create. It seems every innovative business out there is striving to be a thought leader by publishing on topics that will be of interest to people they can potentially turn into customers.
But old-fashioned outbound marketing still has a place, experts say. This is the more overt type of outreach, everything from advertising to conventions to cold calling. Part of the new appeal of inbound over outbound is obvious: It generally costs a lot less. For the price of one 30-second TV spot, you could produce a slew of high-quality articles for your blog.
However, outbound still holds lots of potential to make a timely impact. One rapidly growing area is social media advertising, which can target an audience at a very granular level — and for a fraction of the cost of legacy media ads.
Leveraging Inbound with Outbound
Don’t think of inbound and outbound marketing as being intrinsically separate, says Thomas Smale, founder of FE International, an M&A advisory firm for online businesses. He says outbound can be a terrific tool, especially when a company is starting out.
“Outbound marketing is a great way to get your name out there and become known in the early stages of your business when people are not yet familiar with you. Cold calling, direct emails, reaching out to blogs and proposing strategic partnerships are all effective ways of gaining traction early on,” Smale says.
Then, once you’re starting to get traction with building an audience, use your outbound efforts to leverage your inbound ones.
“Outbound marketing is also a useful way to supplement inbound marketing, for the same reason: It helps display your content strategy to people who would find it valuable but who might not know about it yet. These efforts then tend to grow on themselves exponentially,” Smale says.
Ian Cleary of RazorSocial.com agrees, writing that “There is huge potential to build your business using a combination of inbound and outbound marketing.” While inbound is good at building trust and authority, it’s not as effective in creating leads, he says.
Assemble the Right Kit
There are so many digital tools available to assist with outbound that it can be daunting to even start picking which ones you need. It’s all about assembling the tool kit that’s right for your company, not just the ones that are receiving the most buzz.
Smale wrote an article with his picks of some outbound marketing tools his team tested. “Basically, if you have the means to manage each channel you put outreach efforts into, you have the recipe to scale these efforts and grow them into an effective strategy,” he says.
Based on his suggestions and others we’ve culled from a variety of sources, these are a few tools you might consider.
UpLead — Email marketing isn’t going away anytime soon. This lead-generation platform connects B2B marketing/sales teams with a database of millions of global business decision-makers.
Buffer — Buffer is one of the most popular tools for social media advertising. It allows for scheduling of posts across every major social media platform, for patterns and for follow-up analytics.
Midroll — Midroll is an advertising sales platform to purchase airtime on podcasts. It works closely with hosts and producers of popular podcasts to find the right fit for your audience goals.
Close.io — Cold calling, although much maligned, remains one of the most effective ways to connect with prospects, both through the phone and email. This tool can optimize the outreach through things like follow-up emails and pre-recorded voice messages.
Jelli — Jelli applies new tools to an old industry, broadcast radio, that continues to thrive. It streamlines the process to buy advertising time on radio by consolidating access to thousands of U.S. stations, with real-time analytics.
EZ Texting — People can’t ignore text messages as easily as they do email, so it’s an underexploited platform. EZ Texting lets you set up and automate text messaging campaigns.
VanillaSoft — VanillaSoft aims to be an all-in-one package for CRM, lead generation and telemarketing, with robust automation tools and a queue-based sorting system.