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While inbound marketing is getting a lot of buzz, a well-rounded marketing mix should include both inbound and outbound marketing strategies. Inbound works for broad lead generation activities, but outbound is good to amplify your inbound efforts, and target specific opportunities. So what exactly is outbound marketing? It’s using outbound channels to introduce your message and content to your prospects, typically through rented attention, rather than making your content and messages availableon your own properties.
Leads may come from various sources or activities, for example, digitally via the Internet, through personal referrals, through telephone calls either by the company or telemarketers, through advertisements, and events. A 2015 study found that 89% of respondents cited email as the most-used channel for generating leads, followed by content marketing, search engine, and finally events. A study from 2014 found that direct traffic, search engines, and web referrals were the three most popular online channels for lead generation, accounting for 93% of leads.
As your company grows, lead management becomes about organizing and tracking not only who your leads are, but how they prefer to communicate with you, what you’ve already talked about with them, and which marketing campaigns they’ve enrolled in. That’s a little more sophisticated than just capturing an email address and adding it to the “To” field on your marketing newsletter.
Today things are different. Customers have a wealth of information at their fingertips: coffee blogs and review sites, recommendations from friends on social media, and so much more. By the time a customer even thinks about going to a store — and it may well be an online store, at that — they’re less likely to ask a salesperson “What coffee makers do you have?” than “Can you beat this price on the model I already know I want?”
Content: While the download of a coupon shows an individual has a direct interest in your product or service, content (like an educational ebook or webinar) does not. Therefore, to truly understand the nature of the person's interest in your business, you'll probably need to collect more information to determine whether the person is interested in your product or service and whether they're a good fit.
Facebook has been a method for lead generation since its inception. Originally, companies could use outbound links in their posts and information in their bios to attract strangers to their websites. However, when Facebook Ads was launched in 2007, and its algorithm began to favor accounts that used paid advertising, there was a major shift in how businesses used the platform to capture leads. Facebook created Lead Ads for this purpose. Facebook also has a feature that lets you put a simple call-to-action button at the top of your Facebook Page, helping you send Facebook followers directly to your website.
Search engine evaluators work online as independent contractors and give feedback about whether search engine results are comprehensive, accurate, relevant, and timely. Search engine evaluators are the human quality-assurance check in a system run by complicated algorithms, and they must be familiar with the language and culture of the local web search engine users. Typically, these positions are bilingual, but some openings are available for English-only search evaluators.
Prospecting is another technique that often provides the link between inbound marketing and sales activities. When leads have been nurtured through to the bottom of the funnel, your sales reps can follow up on them with prospecting activities. Prospecting generally involves targeted communications to individuals — like emails, LinkedIn messages, and phone calls or voicemails — as opposed to content meant to draw an audience. Another way to think about it is that prospecting is a one-to-one conversation, while marketing is one-to-many.
Sales Development reps (SDRs), also often called Inside Sales or Lead Qualification reps, are focused on one thing: reviewing, contacting, and qualifying marketing-generated leads and delivering them to Sales Account Executives. Simply put, SDR teams pass the baton from Marketing to Sales. Why do it this way? Because you want to make sure every single lead Marketing passes to your Sales team is as qualified as possible. Your SDRs should take the time to help each and every lead, offer them value, make a positive impression, create future demand, and become a trusted advisor. This step is critical in the lead generation process because you don’t want to treat your leads as blank faces to be simply questioned, qualified, and harvested.
However, some of the world's top-earning blogs gross millions of dollars per month on autopilot. It's a great source of passive income and if you know what you're doing, you could earn a substantial living from it. You don't need millions of visitors per month to rake in the cash, but you do need to connect with your audience and have clarity in your voice.
Unlike outbound marketing — television commercials, print advertisements, internet banners, email lists, and good old-fashioned cold calling, where you are proactive in your outreach to new customers — inbound marketing meets consumers where they want to be, providing the content and resources that will pull them into your business. The outbound style of casting broad nets for leads still has its place, but by and large inbound marketing has proven a more effective — and cheaper — means of generating quality leads.
How Much of this Guide Should You Read? This guide is designed for you to read cover-to-cover. Each new guide builds upon the previous one. A core idea that we want to reinforce is that marketing should be evaluated holistically. What you need to do is this in terms of growth frameworks and systems as opposed to campaigns. Reading this guide from start to finish will help you connect the many moving parts of marketing to your big-picture goal, which is ROI.