Many people welcomed inbound marketing as a panacea that would replace the hard work of outbound lead generation. The pioneers of inbound marketing enjoyed a brief period of advantage, but the world of inbound marketing is now every bit as competitive as outbound marketing. Even HubSpot, the inventors of inbound marketing, use PPC advertising and outbound sales tactics to continue the worldwide growth of their business.
Inbound marketing is absolutely essential as it matches the modern buying process. But is it enough? A recent survey by Act-On and Demand Metrics attempts to answer that question.
What the data says about marketing effectiveness
Let's cut to the chase. In the Act-On/Demand Metrics, survey, 84% of survery respondents agreed that, "Inbound and outbound marketing tactics together drive our business." When asked which approach generates more leads, 32% said outbound, 32% said inbound and 13% said both equally.
A review of the study will give your more detail, but suffice it to say that real world businesses are using a balanced mix of inbound and outbound marketing tactics in their revenue generation strategies.
We agree with this conclusion and recommend that B2B businesses use an "allbound marketing" approach that integrates inbound and and outbound marketing tactics.
What an allbound marketing approach looks like
The key to an effective allbound marketing program is the integration of inbound and outbound marketing tactics. Neither inbound tactics nor outbound tactics exist in a vacuum. What is important to keep in mind for both tactics is to be helpful at all times. Your outbound tactics can't be a 21st century version of the old "dialing for dollars" hard-sell approach. This approach will only alientate potential customers.
The foundation of an allbound marketing strategy is inbound marketing content. The data shows that B2B buyers turn to web searches when they are researching potential purchase options. By publishing helpful SEO-optimized content like blog posts, eBooks, whitepapers and videos, you attract potential buyers to your website. This is how you generate leads from prospects you don't know. These prospects find you when they do search engine queries to learn how to solve business problems.
But why limit this helpful content to strangers who find you on the web? Why not use an outbound email prospecting program to share it with prospects you know that fit your ideal customer profile? The personalization of content for target accounts is at the hear of an account based marketing strategy. Remember - the goal of your outbound marketing is to generate leads by being helpful and demonstrating value to potential customers.
Here are some things to keep in mind when integrating inbound marketing content into your outbound marketing strategy.
- Send personalized emails to your target accounts. Don't send the same email to 50 target accounts! Use a trigger event or your knowledge of business to connect your message with something that rings true with them.
- Put yourself in the reader's shoes. Let me ask you a question. Do you have the time or interest to read a 2 page unsolicited email? I sure don't. Make your prospecting emails short and sweet - 200 words or less is a good target because that email will generally fit on the screen of a smartphone. Writing short emails will force you to be economical in your writing and communicate effectively. Remember, your subject line is what sells the reader on opening the email in the first place, so make it something that will entice the reader to open the email.
- Use sales technology like HubSpot Sales to track email opens and clicks. Email tracking software is a must to help you iterate and improve the effectiveness of your outbound marketing strategy. It also supports the goal of providing a personalized experience for all of your prospects.
Drive prospects to your website. The goal is to get a prospect to voluntarily opt in to your inbound marketing program. You do this by offering helpful content to which the prospect attaches enough value to share demographic information to access it. We recommend offering ungated content in your first outreach to a prospect. Even if it is ungated, good email tracking software will let you know if the prospect accessed it.
The process outline above shows how inbound marketing content can be integrated with an email marketing outreach campaign. It can be used for other outbound tactics like pay-per-click advertising, networking, tradeshows and direct LinkedIn marketing.
As you develop your growth strategy, make sure to include both inbound and outbound tactics. While inbound marketing content serves as the foundation of your growth strategy, outbound tactics help enough people see it to build a healthy sales pipeline. The key to success is integating inbound and outbound tactics into a coordinated allbound marketing approach.