"Inbound and outbound got married and we didn’t get the invitation," remarked Trish Bertuzzi of The Bridge Group at HubSpot's Inbound 2014 conference. The idea of merging the two marketing strategies is as important today as it was then - Outbound hasn't become irrevelent, it still has a place as inbound's partner.
Here are seven tips for an eternal union between your inbound and outbound marketing strategies.
#7 Define which inbound activities matter to you
Inbound opens doors and provides visibility that we've never had before. It's a platform to promote virtual conversations, express observations and opinions, and position you as an expert in your space. With inbound, you can educate, entertain and provoke new ideas between people that may have never been connected otherwise. Inbound marketing is here to stay thanks to the digital world we live in. Whether you are a digital native or a digital immigrant, we all now exist in this new order of marketing communication. Inbound allows clients to find you – a real game changer for organizations that take it seriously and boast strong inbound programs. It's important to pick the inbound marketing activities that fit your business and industry in order to be successful.
Examples of inbound marketing initiatives include websites with appealing user experience, a search engine optimization (SEO) plan, blogging, podcasts, videos, webinars, and social media marketing. Think of inbound as activities that "draw clients in".
#6 Define which outbound activities matter to you
Outbound is now a highly targeted activity, digging deep to elicit information and business intelligence. Outbound engagements today need to be very precise and worthwhile. Outbound is here to stay thanks to the newly emerging client/customer centric world we live in. However, an email or phone conversation must yield useful information and feedback - details, details, details! For example, get specific client needs and challenges, time frames, budgets, and buying process information from your outbound interactions.
Outbound needs to be aware of what inbound has uncovered and visa versa. Information, metrics and data must flow between the two. Think: no marriage can exist without understanding and communication. It's important to pick the outbound marketing activities that fit your business and industry in order to be successful.
Examples of outbound marketing include trade shows, seminar series, email blasts to purchased lists, internal cold calling, outsourced telemarketing and advertising. Think of outbound as activities that "reach out" to clients.
#5 Affirm compatibility
Do your current inbound and outbound activities work together as a team to achieve your goals? If yes, this affirms their compatibility. If no, it's time to reassess.
Let's say your goal is to market and sell a new product line to existing customers. Creating an educational email campaign around the new product line and then sending said email campaign from a salesperson with a clear call-to-action and sales follow-up plan is an example of a compatible inbound and outbound union.
#4 Define common goals
Defining common inbound and outbound goals are as important as making sure both you and your significant other do (or don't) want children before getting married. For a successful, long-term union, your inbound and outbound activities need to want the same things.
For example, if your inbound team's Q1 goal is to drive new leads while the outbound team's goal is to raise awareness of a cause, these are not common goals. Instead, working towards the same goal(s) ensures long-term success.
#3 Commit to your goals together
Committing to clear objectives and well-thought-out plans will keep the marriage alive. If inbound is executing initiatives while outbound is slacking, goals won't be reached. Both inbound and outbound need to be "adults" - talking and working towards their goals together without any drama or finger pointing.
For example, let's say a billboard with a website call-to-action is your new outbound initiative. However, when prospects visit your website, they find it hard to use, thus losing business because inbound wasn't committed.
#2 Communicate and provide feedback with weekly internal meetings
Recognize the successes and failures of current inbound and outbound initiatives, then share that feedback with the team. Awareness is so important and yet so overlooked! Without it, there is no way to tell what is working and what is not in this marriage.
For example, let's say your inbound team noticed a drastic increase in webinar form submissions. Sharing this with outbound is essential, because you know your audience is interested in said webinar topic.
#1 Develop clear hand-off and follow-up processes
Think of this as you dropping your dog off to the groomer, then asking your spouse to pick up and pay. Could you imagine dropping off your dog at the groomer, then no grooming, payment, or pickup takes place? The same is true for the inbound and outbound marketing process - you must develop a clear hand-off and follow-up process in order to be successful.
Going back to our billboard example, if it doesn't include a call-to-action and just simply has your logo, there is no hand-off to inbound and thus no purchase. Instead, include a clear call-to-action on the billboard that sends interested prospects straight to where they want to go.
As sales and marketing professionals, we need to work to keep this relationship healthy. Do you have any additional tips for a successful union? Leave a comment!