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Outbound Marketing Strategies: Find Your Next Customers

Outbound Marketing Strategies: Find Your Next Customers

Rather than waiting for customers to come to you, outbound marketing is about reaching out to them. It is a proactive method that focuses on advertising and promotion towards the target audience.

You have often encountered outbound marketing, such as cold calls, direct mail campaigns, trade shows, and TV/radio ads. The ultimate aim? To make contact to pitch products or services.

Inbound marketing (where people are drawn in through SEO, content, etc.) may be growing in popularity, but this doesn’t mean outbound strategies should be ignored by businesses that want to expand their customer base quickly. When done correctly, outbound marketing can deliver high-quality leads and measurable ROI (return on investment).

Why Does Outbound Marketing Matter?

What Is Outbound Marketing

With so many digital options available to consumers, businesses must get ahead of potential buyers. You could be waiting around forever with inbound; this first touch has to be made now, and you have to make it!

Imagine this: your ideal customer doesn’t know what they need yet – how will they find you? This is where strategic outbound marketing comes into play: keeping your brand in front of mind when the time is right.

It gets better still… segmenting audiences means giving incredibly relevant messages which hit home every single time. Rather than shouting generic offers into space with no reply, whoopee cushions at a wedding, anyone? Outbound allows for speaking directly with those prospects' most fitting buyer personas.

So yes, some people might consider it interruptive or annoying (we’ve all had our fair share), but the numbers don’t lie! Companies wouldn’t make over one hundred billion cold calls annually if there weren’t any return on their investment – executed correctly, these things pay off like crazy!

Mastering Outbound's Human Touch

One major outbound pitfall? Coming across as robotic, impersonal, or just plain disruptive. No one likes getting blasted by generic spam from a brand that doesn't seem to care.

The solution is infusing your outbound efforts with the “human touch” — that hard-to-define quality that makes marketing feel friendly, relevant, and valuable rather than like another faceless corporate ploy.

How do you humanise outbound? It starts with research to deeply understand your prospects' pain points, interests, and communication preferences. Ask questions, gather data, and map out ideal customer profiles to shape tailored messages.

Then, go beyond just touting features and benefits. Tell stories, provide free resources, and show you want to help — not just make a sale. Aim for natural conversations and real connections.

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Little touches like using the prospect's name, mentioning shared interests or connections, and offering genuine insights go a long way. So does simply exhibit empathy and emotional intelligence in your outreach.

Outbound Marketing Channels & Strategies

Brand Trust Outbound Marketing

Now, let's explore the core outbound marketing tactics and channels to consider:

Cold Calling

The granddaddy of outbound — cold calling involves prospects who didn't request contact. It's one of the most direct, personal methods for reaching new audiences at scale.

Keys to successful cold calling include thorough research/targeting, engaging scripts that focus on the buyer's needs, and skilled reps who can build rapport quickly. Consider voicemails and follow-up emails, too.

Direct Mail

In our digital world, dimensional mail can grab attention. Send custom packages, product samples, handwritten notes, or creative mailers to cut through the online noise.

Again, the more personalised and relevant to your target audience, the better. Combine direct mail with other outbound channels like follow-up calls for maximum impact.

Email Outreach

From prospecting sequences to e-newsletter sponsorships, email offers many outbound opportunities. The key is securing quality email data and sending laser-focused, high-value messages.

Poorly targeted email blasts are spam. But personalised, well-timed outreach showcasing your expertise can win prospects over. As with other channels, prioritise relevance and minimise disruption.

Social Media Outreach

Twitter, LinkedIn, and other platforms enable direct outbound communication at scale. Share insights, comment on threads, send prospecting messages, join groups — there are myriad ways to initiate conversations on social.

Add value through social listening and genuine engagement to stand out from gratuitous self-promotion. Build credibility before pitching to boost your outbound social success.


Both digital ads (programmatic display, social media, PPC/SEM, etc.) and traditional channels like TV, radio, print, and OOH give you opportunities to go after specific demographics and locations.

With ads, you can build brand awareness while promoting core offers. Combine them with retargeting to nurture warm leads. Just be sure your creative and targeting are on-point to maximise ROI.

Referrals & Word-of-Mouth

Pay attention to the power of existing customers, partners, and advocates to drive outbound leads and awareness. Actively request referrals, offer incentives, launch referral programs, and empower superfans to spread the word.

After all, people trust recommendations from real humans over marketing any day. Harness that credibility through innovative outbound word-of-mouth strategies.

Events & Trade shows

Getting face-to-face allows you to connect with new contacts at scale. Exhibit at key industry events, host proprietary conferences, or sponsor meetups relevant to your audience.

Then, work your outbound magic — drive registrations through pre-event campaigns, gather opt-in data for nurturing, record sessions to fuel ongoing content promotion, and more.

Combining Outbound With Inbound For Maximum Results

While invaluable, outbound marketing strategies become exponentially more powerful when aligned with inbound tactics in a cohesive program.

For example, you could kick off an outbound direct mail or cold calling campaign targeting your most qualified inbound leads or warmest website visitors. That one-two punch can shorten sales cycles and boost conversions.

Or launch retargeting ads and nurture email sequences to stay top-of-mind after someone engages with your inbound content like webinars or e-books. That keeps you visible until they're ready to buy.

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The key is mapping out your complete marketing funnel and customer journey. Identify the ideal blend of outbound promotions and inbound education to guide prospects towards becoming customers and promoters.

Measuring & Optimising Outbound ROI

Outbound Lead Generation Effectiveness

Like any marketing investment, it's crucial to consistently measure and analyse the performance of your outbound efforts to ensure you're getting maximum bang for your buck.

KPIs beyond just “number of dials” or “mailers sent” to track include:

  • Qualified appointments or conversations
  • Cost-per-lead and cost-per-acquisition
  • Actual sales pipeline $$ and closed revenue influenced
  • Brand awareness, perception, and affinity metrics
  • Lifetime customer value of acquired customers

Additionally, map full-funnel attribution to assess how outbound touchpoints influence downstream conversions — and vice versa. For example, did people who received a prospecting email go on to consume more inbound content or make a purchase?

Savvy teams don't just report on vanity metrics — they tie outbound back to overarching business objectives like new revenue, cheaper acquisition costs, faster sales cycles, etc.

With measurement in place, you can continually test, optimise, and double down on the highest-ROI outbound channels and messages for your unique business.

Hiring & Coaching Outbound Talent

Behind every successful outbound program are actual humans doing the outreach and interactions. That's why hiring and coaching the right outbound talent is mission-critical.

When evaluating potential outbound reps, marketers, account executives and the like, look for:

  • Persistence, resiliency, and the ability to handle rejection
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • A knack for building rapport and “breaking the ice.”
  • Subject-matter expertise and overall business acumen
  • A personal, charismatic demeanour
  • Emotional intelligence, empathy, and listening skills

Finding good talkers won't cut it — they need that magical “it” factor that translates into trust and credibility from the get-go.

Beyond hiring, continually coach and train your outbound teams on updated messaging, pitches, objection handling, omnichannel strategies, and more. Make them true ambassadors and consultants for your brand.

The Future of Outbound in an AI World

Artificial Intelligence In Advertising

Speaking of human talent, what role will AI and automation play in the future of outbound marketing?

AI-powered automation can supplement time-consuming outbound tasks like data gathering, list building, content personalisation, response tracking, lead scoring, and nurturing.

However, outbound requires the crucial human touch we discussed forging meaningful connections. AI assistants could automate initial cold outreach at scale, but real people will be needed to engage in substantive conversations, address questions, and build credibility.

The outbound marketing role is becoming more strategic and reliant on human skills like emotional intelligence, consultative selling, and in-depth product knowledge.

Rather than just making dials or sending emails, the outbound marketers of the future will be masters of omnichannel personalised engagement, adept at using automation and AI tools to scale meaningful 1-to-1 communication.

AI-powered insights will inform hyper-personalisation and predictive modelling to prioritise the hottest outbound targets. Conversation intelligence will capture voice and chat data to refine future outreach.

But at its core, outbound marketing will remain a human-driven endeavour focused on making authentic connections. Those who can marry AI's scalability with a personal advisory approach will be the outbound elite.

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Crafting Your Outbound Gameplan

Ready to double down on outbound to accelerate pipeline growth and revenue? Here are some tips as you build out your strategy:

Research Target Audiences Obsessively

Don't make assumptions about their needs, behaviours, and preferences. Use data, customer interviews, surveys, and more to develop detailed buyer personas.

Craft a Stellar, Differentiating Value Proposition

Why should prospects ditch their current solution or vendor for you? Distil your unique value and quantify its impact.

Map the Full Customer Journey

Determine the ideal cadence and blend of inbound and outbound tactics to guide buyers through every stage — from awareness to consideration to decision.

Test Your Way to Messaging That Resonates

Don't just guess on copy and creative. Use A/B split tests, pilot campaigns, and continuous optimisation to find your secret sauce.

Invest in Training & Enablement

World-class outbound begins with stellar people who embody your brand and can provide exceptional experiences. Coach, teach, and motivate accordingly.

Implement Measurement & Optimisation

Track outbound's influence across the entire funnel, from initial outreach to closed revenue. Use data to refine your approach continually.

Maintain Compliance & Privacy Standards

Particularly in heavily regulated industries, make sure your prospecting practices are above board on permissions, disclosures, and more.

Overall, effective outbound marketing is both an art and a science. But executed thoughtfully and strategically, it can be your competitive advantage for rapidly scaling sales pipelines.

FAQs on Outbound Marketing

What is the distinction between outbound and inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing is deeply concerned with content creation and channel optimisation to attract prospects in their time of need instead of when they are not. Conversely, outbound marketing involves initiating contact with potential customers who may need to be made aware of the existence of your product or service.

Isn’t outbound marketing interruptive and annoying?

Indeed, it may seem so, especially if done excessively or incorrectly, such as through cold calling. However, outbound done right provides pertinent customised worth only for those prospects that best align with your offer rather than a wide-reaching spam attack.

Do I require an outbound program? Shouldn’t I just focus on inbound?

Although inbound works wonders for most companies, its limitation lies in not bringing in new large audiences that otherwise might never find you. Therefore, what is recommended here is a striking balance between both approaches.

What skills should my team have for outbound marketing?

Besides having a sales background, essential communication, and specific marketing skills, great outbound marketers can quickly establish relationships and show emotional intelligence while giving well-informed consultative advice.

How much should I budget for outbound marketing?

This will depend on factors like customer acquisition targets, average deal size (ADS), types of tactics employed and cost per customer acquisition (CAC). Nonetheless, one general guideline is to set aside 5-15% of your annual revenue projection towards this activity.

What do prospects respond best to in outbound campaigns?

Relevance and value come out strongly here. The more closely you can shape your outreach around their particular job titles/roles, industries they work for, challenges they face, etc., the higher chances of success will be realised compared with generic offers across the board. These only serve as instant turn-offs.

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Can I just automate all of my outbound marketing efforts?

No! It must be remembered that things like relationship building require a personal touch, especially when dealing with high-touch elements associated with this marketing strategy. Too much automation without human beings being involved in nurturing relationships may work against you. For now, AI should act as a catalyst rather than substitute entirely for real people.

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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