The Marketing Tightrope Act: Balancing Inbound and Outbound Methodologies
Thanks to the efforts of companies such as HubSpot, inbound marketing has become a big deal. It has become synonymous with content marketing to most marketers. Marketers use inbound techniques to promote content on their website, social networks, and email lists; they optimize their websites and content for SEO and nurture customer relationships to generate leads.
But as important as inbound marketing can be, it’s pivotal to find a balance between inbound and outbound marketing.
Even with the well-deserved hype social media marketing has gotten in the past few years, the majority of Americans still don’t have a Twitter account. Depending on your business and industry, every social media channel may not be right for you. If you are a product brand, you can easily reach decision-makers on networks such as Facebook.
But if you are targeting CEOs in large institutions, chances are you aren’t going to reach them through a personal Facebook account.
According to the graph below (created by the Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs), a majority of B2B marketers find LinkedIn effective. However, the jury is still out on all of the other social media sites. The graph below even shows that the two social media heavy hitters (Twitter and Facebook) aren’t convincing B2B marketers.
Depending on the demographics of your customer base, you may be better off exhibiting at a trade show or sending out direct mail pieces. Don’t be afraid to use “old-fashioned” marketing techniques as long as they still work for your business.
Admit it; we’ve all felt like this before. And that’s one reason why marketers often have such a bad reputation. But that doesn’t mean that outbound marketing methods aren’t effective. Actually, they can even be used to support your inbound marketing efforts (and vice versa).
As much as some companies like to juxtapose the differences of inbound and outbound marketing, this isn’t a zero-sum game. You don’t have to only invest in inbound marketing and outbound marketing. In fact, it’s better to invest both time and resources in both methodologies.
For example, we combined both inbound and outbound marketing methods a few years ago at a tradeshow. We created highly targeted, valuable content related to the trucking industry. We sent emails and direct mail pieces to clients and prospects. This included the first half of the content and encouraged them to get the next half at the show.
It was wildly successful. We had hundreds of clients and prospects come to our booth asking for the other half of the content.
Using creative content can improve the performance of your outbound marketing strategies.
Content at the Core
No matter what kind marketing strategy your company uses, content must stay at the core of what you do. Both your inbound and outbound marketing can stand to benefit from an effective content strategy which promotes thought leadership and builds business value.
Content can take many forms, and you can often repurpose the same content in multiple formats to appeal to audiences across a number of different channels. For example, our well-performing blog posts are sometimes turned into independent content campaigns. We also customize and distribute content campaigns across our different vertical industries.
Content does more than just get your name and branding in front of customers and prospects, though it can be used for that also. Looking at the infographic above, content is a great way to build positive brand sentiment. This means that it can also be used as a great way to generate quality leads.
By making your audience the hero and focusing on assisting them with their problems, you will sell yourself well before you ever broach the topic of purchase.
As a modern marketer, it’s important to incorporate new techniques into your marketing strategy. But you also need to know what works. Finding a way to balance new, innovative strategies with well-tested techniques can help attain new heights of success.