Should I pursue an inbound or outbound marketing strategy?
The answer is.. BOTH!
The next part of this question is generally: What inbound or outbound marketing should I be doing for my business? This is where the answer is not so simple.
Every business has different. Inbound might be great for one business and outbound might be great for another. That said think of lead generation as a circle. You need both inbound and outbound lead generation to complete the circle. You should use a combination of both inbound and outbound marketing strategies to get the best results for your businesses.
The great thing about inbound lead generation is that this strategy is still working when you are not. The bad thing is you need to be patient as it does not happen overnight.
The great thing about an outbound lead generation strategy is you start talking to clients immediately and hopefully are able to start building a relationship with them straight away. The bad thing for some about outbound lead generation strategies are not knowing if people will be interested, if your message is clear and appealing, is your data is incorrect making the campaign a waste of time.
One of the things I love most about outbound lead generation is you can be as creative as you want with any newsletter or DM campaigns but you also have control over what you are doing.
You may still need to persuade people to buy your solution but you are the one who is seeking them out, not the other way around.
There are many companies out there who claim you should only focus on inbound lead generation but I believe you need both inbound and outbound for your business to succeed.
The first step in identifying your customers is creating an ideal customer profile. Look at who your clients are now and make a list. Who are they? What industry are they in? How does your product help them? When are the most likely to buy from you? All of these things can help you come up with a customer profile that will help you find more clients like the ones who you have been successful in securing as clients.
If you are looking to sell to a new type of client again follow the Who, What,When and Where of creating your customers profile. Ideally you want to target the people who could most benefit from your product and would be most likely to buy from you
Once you have you have identified your ideal customer you need data. Buying from a list company is not ideal as you do not know how clean the data is or how many other businesses have also purchased the list that you are interested in. If you do your research right you will find there are industry body websites that list members, as well as online directories that you can use to populate your database.
Ideally you should be calling the people on the list to ensure you have their permission to send them any information. If you do not plan on calling your newly populated list before emailing them be sure to check your local governments SPAM act to ensure you are not breaking any laws.
Challenges with an outbound marketing strategy
One challenge you may face is timing. If your ideal client is an accountant or bookkeeper as an example you would want to check when any deadlines are that may affect the outcome of the campaign.
An inbound marketing strategy
You can start inbound at anytime. A difference between inbound and outbound lead generations is the amount of patience required. It usually takes half a year to really get going. If you do it right, you get showered by good leads.
Inbound lead generation relies on content that people like and find engaging.
One of the most important aspects of inbound lead generation is having good content. You want your customers / potential customers to see you as having great knowledge in your field, in which they will see your product as the ideal solution.
Therefore a lead generated through an inbound marketing strategy will already have some knowledge of your product and will have signaled an intent to buy. So does it require a ton of people to pull this off?
The great thing about inbound is that as you create more content, with a good SEO strategy the popularity of your content will increase. Ideally, your contents search rankings will increase to be seen on the first page which will result in more clicks and higher ratings.
The rewards are great for an inbound lead generation strategy but one of the biggest things to remember is you need to be patient as it can take a long time to see results.
The growth rate of inbound is less predictable than outbound. You can’t be certain that a piece of content will convert in the way you want it to for a while after it’s published.
It is good to have an inbound and outbound lead generation strategy in place so that while you are waiting for your inbound lead generation strategy to start working you can be creating sales using outbound lead generation.