In the past, there was a pretty firm line between traditional marketing and inbound marketing tactics. But today, with companies dishing out more content than ever and search engine algorithms changing on a daily basis, it can be harder and harder to create effective organic inbound campaigns.
That’s why the line between outbound and inbound marketing is becoming increasingly blurred, with people constantly finding new ways to combine the tactics into cohesive and effective campaigns. These days, outbound marketing standbys such as Pay-Per-Click advertising and direct mail are playing increasingly significant roles in companies’ inbound strategies because—believe it or not—there is an inbound way to approach these tactics.
At the end of the day, inbound marketing is all about building customer relationships by adding value to your prospects’ days. You can still accomplish this, even if you’re using tactics that haven’t always been considered inbound. Here are some ideas for spinning 4 common outbound marketing tactics to make them work for your inbound marketing campaigns.
1. Direct Mail
If you don’t want your direct mail to become junk mail, think about your campaign in an inbound way. You can increase the success rate of your snail mail campaigns by following a few tips that come straight from the world of inbound marketing.
- Target your mailing list. Just as you would segment your lists for marketing emails, you should be targeting Send To lists for direct mail campaigns. There are several strategies you can use for creating targeted mailing lists. One is to do your own research using tools such as the HubSpot Prospects tool to discover best-fit companies that have a need for your product or service. Another is to search for relevant industry groups or associations for member information.
- Keep your messaging simple. Keep the design and copy on your direct mail piece as clean, clear and simple as possible. Don’t attempt to say everything about your company—just what’s most important to your buyer personas.
- Make it trackable. We once ran a very successful direct mail campaign for a client by building a custom landing page on their website that specifically corresponded to the piece that was mailed out. We included the URL of the page on the mailer, and whenever someone filled out the form on the landing page, we knew it was a direct result of the mail campaign. This way the customer was easily able to effectively nurture the leads and determine the ROI of the campaign.
2. Pay-Per-Click Advertising
To approach PPC advertising from an inbound perspective, pay careful attention to the user’s intent. Just as the goal of organic content is to be helpful to the prospect, the goal of PPC ads should be to help users solve their problems by being the most relevant answer to their question.
- Focus your keywords. It may be tempting to create adgroups that target hundreds of keywords in order to attract as many clicks as you can. But from an inbound marketing standpoint, you want to attract people who are as qualified as possible. To do this, keep your target keywords focused, relevant, and specific.
- Optimize your landing page. One of the keys to a successful PPC campaign is having a fully optimized landing page. Focusing on the landing page has several important benefits. First, the better your landing page, the more likely your ad is to be shown. Also, there is a better chance that prospects will stay on your site after clicking your ad if your landing page is as targeted as possible. In order to capture inbound leads, be sure that the page has an offer, form, or something for the prospect to do.
3. Social Media Advertising
- Target your buyer personas. Most social media advertising platforms have fairly advanced targeting that allows you to get specific about who your messages reach. Instead of advertising to a wide set of people who may or may not be interested in what you have to say, social media advertising allows you to go after only those people who matter most to your business.
- Re-engage existing leads. Some social media platforms, such as Facebook, have retargeting options that allow you to re-engage with prospects who have already visited your website. Through the use of tracking pixels, you can show specific offers to prospects who are already familiar with your brand.
- Provide value to their day. To truly take an inbound approach to social media advertising, your ad needs to be more helpful than disruptive. Instead of displaying an advertisement, offer a downloadable piece of content that your buyer personas will find valuable.
It’s time to rethink “outbound” and “inbound” in favor of what gets results and delivers ROI. The next time you plan an outbound marketing campaign, take an inbound spin and watch what happens.