If you’re serious about improving your bottom line and nurturing steady business growth, then keeping the top of your sales funnel full is an absolute must.
Most companies these days are accomplishing that via an ongoing focus on inbound lead generation, and that’s as it should be.
But you shouldn’t let the effectiveness of inbound convince you that outbound marketing no longer has value.
The key to making outbound lead generation work for you in the digital age is to update your strategy so that it’s entirely in step with the times.
When leveraged correctly, a solid outbound marketing strategy is the perfect complement to your inbound marketing efforts.
Here’s a closer look at everything you need to know to make it work for you.
What is Outbound Lead Generation?
There’s a whole world full of potential consumers out there who might love your products and services.
But before they can become customers, they first have to hear about what you have to offer.
Outbound marketing is an approach to getting your company’s message out to potential customers.
The term “outbound” refers to how such marketing efforts cast a wide net to best reach as many potential leads as possible.
Outbound lead generation techniques can be quite varied and include such examples as trade shows, email blasts, and cold calling.
An individual sales prospect officially becomes a lead after showing interest in a particular product or service, but before they finalize a purchasing decision.
Leads generally fall into one of two categories:
Marketing-qualified leads (MQLs)
MQLs have demonstrated a potential intent to buy one of your products or services. They may have done this by visiting your website, downloading offered marketing materials, or otherwise engaging with your online content.
Sales-qualified leads (SQLs)
SQLs are MQLs that have made it all or most of the way through your sales funnel and are ready to progress to the next stage, possibly with the assistance of a sales rep.
Why Outbound Lead Generation Still Works
Outbound lead generation should be viewed as a complement to your existing inbound lead generation instead of a replacement, as it brings benefits to the table you can’t get any other way.
Here’s a closer look at some of the most critical ways outbound lead generation is still a practical part of any ongoing digital marketing strategy.
It’s an efficient way to close sales more quickly
Converting a curious consumer to a paying customer via inbound marketing takes time and effort.
On the other hand, outbound lead generation moves the average prospect down the sales funnel reasonably quickly.
Therefore, you can use it to provide potential buyers with precisely the information they need to make an informed decision and thoroughly address any questions they might have.
It’s a great way to pursue new demographics
Sooner or later, every company will want to branch out into new markets, especially as it develops new products and services to add to its catalog.
Outbound lead generation techniques are fantastic for discovering new demographics and testing how your catalog might be received.
In addition, you can get valuable feedback in real-time, making it easy to define what’s working best and refine your efforts accordingly.
It’s great for raising brand awareness in record time
Before someone can buy from your brand and make your products a staple in their lives, they need to know you’re out there in the first place.
Inbound lead generation techniques can accomplish this, but again, it typically takes a long time.
Outbound lead generation tactics get your brand and your message out there now. It not only makes people aware of what you’re offering, but it also effectively gets it in front of the right people.
What are the Key Differences Between Inbound and Outbound Lead Generation?
Inbound and outbound lead generation are two sides of the same coin.
That said, they have many things in common. Both have an ultimate goal of generating leads that can later be converted into paying customers, especially with the help of attractive incentives.
Both leverage the rapport you’ve established between your brand and target audience, as well.
However, there are significant differences to keep in mind.
Existing vs Potential audience
Inbound marketing is about reaching an existing audience via digital channels or social media.
Outbound marketing is about expanding further toward a potential audience that may not yet be aware of your brand.
The average cost per lead is significantly less with inbound marketing, especially after 5-6 months of consistent effort.
Outbound marketing, on the other, often means investing in tactics like pay-per-click advertising to expand a brand’s reach.
Online vs Offline
However, outbound lead generation can encompass other methods like cold calling, direct mail, in-person events, and traditional media.
Although it’s definitely effective, inbound marketing can be time-consuming and more challenging when it comes to standing apart from your competition.
Outbound marketing tends to convert sales prospects quickly and get your brand in front of potential leads ahead of your competitors.
What are the Best Strategies for Effective Outbound Lead Generation?
Although many modern marketers make the mistake of thinking outbound marketing is dead because so much of brand-building is now about slowly establishing and nurturing long-term customer relationships, this is simply not true.
Instead, the changing landscape of the marketing world means outbound techniques are more critical than ever.
Adding an outbound component to your lead generation strategy is a crucial part of standing out from all the white noise out there vying for your audience’s attention.
It’s also the key to keeping your bottom line healthy in the face of new sales challenges (like the pandemic, to name just one example).
Here are some tips for taking the guesswork out of outbound lead generation and meeting your marketing goals.
1. Personalize whenever you can
Don’t assume that because outbound lead generation involves casting a wide net that it’s not worthwhile to personalize your efforts.
Personalization has always been a helpful strategy, but it’s even more so today.
In fact, according to Smarter HQ, up to 72 percent of modern consumers will only engage with personalized content.
Personalization has also been proven to:
- Efficiently convey the benefits of a service or product to a potential lead.
- Boost sales and convert leads.
- Make the entire experience better for the customers from start to finish.
These days, everything from traditional calling scripts, to targeted ads, to marketing emails can and should be personalized.
Engagement rates go way up, calls to action deliver better, and the target feels more positively about their decision to purchase.
2. Automate your marketing efforts
Automating outbound marketing tasks when and where it makes sense is a considerable time, energy, and labor saver.
It simplifies the process of reaching out to your targets across multiple channels.
It takes the guesswork out of recording crucial data in regards to how your outreach campaign is going, as well.
If you have a dedicated sales team, automation software can keep them in the know as to how things are going, so they can react to changes in real-time.
Remember, modern consumers value responsiveness in the companies they do business with.
According to research, they’re up to nine times more likely to follow through with a purchase when a rep follows up on a request or inquiry within five minutes.
3. Don’t shy away from cold calls and cold emails
Cold emails are far from dead, even in this day and age. The same goes for cold calls.
In fact, when done properly, they’re so effective that many marketing experts still rely on them as a primary means of generating leads.
Cold calls may not be fancy, but they’re personal, which is a powerful way to win a potential lead over.
Just be ready with a personalized message, and add some unique value to the call to generate interest.
Most people, especially business owners, check their email numerous times per day, so a well-executed cold email stands a better chance of success than you think. They’re especially effective for B2B companies.
4. Consider syndicating your content
If you’re looking for cost-effective methods to add to your outbound lead generation strategy, it’s hard to go wrong with content syndication.
Not to be confused with guest blogging, which is an inbound marketing strategy, content syndication describes the process of distributing your content across the internet to connect with your audience.
Content syndication is a great way to boost brand awareness while building credibility and authority.
It can also help you maximize your return on investment in your online content. Content types that make great fits for syndication include whitepapers, articles, and infographics.
A comprehensive marketing campaign doesn’t stop with a great inbound marketing strategy.
It also brings outbound lead generation into the mix to widen your brand’s reach, tap into lucrative markets, and accelerate the process of fattening up your bottom line.
But generating great leads is only part of that equation. The rest is all about converting those leads once you have their attention.
Make sure you’re converting as many of your incoming leads as possible by studying up on today’s most efficient techniques.
Start with our handy interactive ebook on lead conversion!
You’ll learn about micro vs. macro conversions, tips on how to identify key opportunities, the most effective strategies for increasing conversions, and more.