There’s inbound marketing and there’s outbound marketing.
You have to pick a camp. Can’t straddle the fence on this one.
Kidding, mostly. But people do tend to pick a preferred side in this debate (thank you, HubSpot, for positioning outbound marketing as the “enemy” years ago).
Inbound marketing is all about creating content that pulls people towards your company and product, where they want to be.
Outbound marketing is the opposite; it’s a type of marketing that reaches out to people where they are, whether that’s through advertising, cold emailing, or even old-fashioned snail mail.
This post will cover outbound marketing – what it is, inbound vs outbound marketing, and 6 examples of outbound marketing.
If you’re looking for new ways to reach your target market and generate outbound leads, then you’ll want to keep reading.
What is Outbound Marketing?
Before we dive into the examples, let’s first make sure everyone is on the same page regarding what outbound marketing is.
Outbound marketing is a type of marketing that focuses on delivering messages to potential customers through different channels such as TV, radio, magazines, newspapers, direct mail and email.
It’s a way for companies to get their messages in front of people who may not have otherwise seen them.
Outbound marketing is still a very viable and effective form of marketing, especially for companies that are looking to reach their target audiences quickly and efficiently.
Inbound vs Outbound Marketing: What’s the Real Difference?
The line between inbound and outbound marketing is thinner than one might think, however.
First, the definition of both inbound and outbound marketing has been made up to sell software.
The term “inbound marketing” didn’t really exist until HubSpot invented it to define the category they were creating – an amalgamation of tools and approaches like social media, blogging, video, and customer-focused content marketing that eschewed tactics like cold calls and radio ads as “traditional” or old school.
You can see, however, that even HubSpot’s definition of inbound vs outbound marketing has gotten fuzzy – they’ve since launched a suite of outbound advertising tools and a large part of their own business is built on a CRM and sales funnel tools that facilitate a seemingly outbound marketing model.
I’ll also go out on a limb and say that the best campaigns combine both inbound and outbound marketing efforts.
For example, some of the highest ROAS advertising campaigns are built on data and remarketing pixels that are only possible by investing in inbound and brand awareness efforts first.
Some of the examples of outbound marketing I’ll list below are much more effective when you also have inbound marketing efforts working in tandem (that’s, for example, how we do our own marketing here at Omniscient).
The biggest thing you want to avoid is being dogmatic and ideological. At the end of the day, who cares whether a marketing campaign is categorized as inbound or outbound marketing? If it works, it works.
Here are six examples of outbound marketing tactics that work like a charm:
6 Examples of Outbound Marketing
- Cold Emailing
- Snail Mail
- Trade Shows
Advertising is one of the most common and effective forms of outbound marketing.
Whether you’re running ads on Google, Facebook, or another platform, you can reach a large number of people with your message quickly and easily.
And, thanks to advanced audience targeting options, you can make sure that your ads are only being seen by people who are likely to be interested in what you have to say.
Let’s look at a few examples of different types of advertising:
Paid search ads
Paid search ads are the ads that appear at the top and bottom of search engine results pages when someone searches for a specific term.
These ads are highly targeted, since they’re only appearing to people who are actively looking for information related to your product or service.
Here’s an example of a few paid search ads that come up for “best CRM.”
You can see everything above the fold is actually a paid ad.
Another one for “b2b content marketing agency.”
Fun fact: we rank #1 organically for that keyword, which would be considered inbound marketing (whereas the ads are outbound).
Radio ads / podcast ads
Radio ads are a great way to reach a large audience quickly, since radio is one of the most widely consumed forms of media.
You can target specific audiences by running your ads on certain radio stations or during certain times of the day or week.
I’ll also include podcast ads in this category.
There are great examples if you listen to any major show. For example, brands like Athletic Greens, Four Sigmatic, and Pique Tea heavily advertise on programs like the Tim Ferriss show:
While radio ads tend to be very scattershot targeting (but cheaper because of that), podcast ads can be narrowly targeted by affinity and demographics.
Sure, you could just go for the biggest podcasts (Joe Rogan, NPR, etc.).
But if you want to get started out, you can also go for niche podcasts. For example, our podcast The Long Game gets less than 1,000 downloads per episode (right now), but our audience is a bunch of directors and VPs of marketing.
YouTube ads can also be effective, especially at boosting brand awareness.
Brands like Dollar Shave Club and Old Spice advertise heavily on YouTube.
Controversial though he may be, Tai Lopez is a great example of someone who built their entire business and strategy on the back of YouTube ads. You probably remember his famous “here in my garage ad.”
Display ads / remarketing
Display ads, as a rule of thumb, aren’t very effective. Even for brand awareness, there tends to be “banner blindness” on most websites.
Like, I barely noticed this display ad for Ridge Wallets. Why? Because I’m trying to read the darn article.
However, remarketing campaigns can make these much more effective.
Basically, you put a pixel on your website and can target people who visited your website, or a specific page, across the web. It’s sort of a reminder, like “hey, don’t forget about our brand.”
It’s even more effective if you can target them with products in their abandoned cart or with specific pages they visited.
This is a great way to combine inbound and outbound marketing.
For example, I mentioned we have a piece of content on “B2B content marketing agencies.” We get some leads from that, but most people don’t convert. We could easily and cheaply set up remarketing campaigns for everyone else that visits that page but doesn’t fill out a consultation form.
When we think about blog conversion, approaching it across many sessions like this might be a more effective way to drive results.
Instagram ads / Facebook ads
I’m a sucker for Instagram ads. I’ve bought tons of stuff there (hello Magic Spoon cereal).
I just popped on today and saw this cool ad for Snow teeth whitening kits.
Remarketing is also an effective approach to advertising campaigns on Instagram. I’ve been looking at The Speaker Lab recently, so I got hit with this ad for their guide to booking speaking gigs.
Same thing on Facebook – got his with this remarketing campaign from The Speaker Lab there as well:
Bit of a “surround sound” effect, no?
They say it takes multiple touch points to drive awareness as well as purchase. They’re doing a good job getting in front of me and making me remember the brand.
Reddit Ads are notoriously bad.
Check this one out on my homepage:
Zero clue how they’re targeting me, but I don’t have an iOS app. Makes no sense.
It does seem like targeting on Reddit should be much easier. After all, subreddits you follow should be an amazing portal into your affinities as a user (e.g. if I’m subscribed to /r/nootropics, hit me with some supplements).
Even clicking into specific subreddits, in this case /r/nootropics, the ads are poorly targeted.
Quora also perplexes me with its poor ads.
I searched “CRM ” and got an ad for Grammarly. I guess they’re both MarTech tools?
Not sure what’s happening there. I can tell you I’ve been at many companies where we’ve experimented with Quora ads and they never work very well.
Again, I’m sure there’s a way to make them work.
But right now, the text ad as well as the two display ads (for Semrush and Bluehost) are just not effective for me.
Finally, we have billboard advertisements.
Chick-fil-a is a huge billboard advertiser:
You can get creative with billboard ads, even buying them in office builders where your competitors or ideal customers work.
There’s a ton of cool targeting you can do with these, though of course you need a decent budget to get the reach and repetition needed for them to work.
There are tons of other ad types, but I’ll stop there so we can get along with the rest of the 5 outbound marketing examples.
2. Cold Emailing
Cold emailing can be an effective way to reach new prospects who you think would be interested in your product or service.
The key to cold emailing is to make sure that your emails are well-written and targeted at the right audience.
Let me say that again: target the right people and write well.
What does that mean? It means stop Googling “cold email templates,” and think for yourself. Write like a human. And above all, add value.
Also: get to the point. Too many cold sales emails just ramble for several paragraphs, to the point where I don’t even read it.
Anyway, rant over. If you want a great guide on cold emails, check out this one I wrote a while ago.
Cold email works when you do it right. We do a lot of cold outbound emails. Check this out:
3. Snail Mail
In today’s digital world, it’s easy to forget that there’s still such a thing as snail mail.
But believe it or not, sending physical letters and postcards can be an effective way to reach your target market.
After all, everyone loves getting mail—especially when it’s not a bill! If you’re considering using snail mail as part of your outbound marketing strategy, make sure to include a call-to-action so that people know how they can learn more about your product or service.
And get creative – we love sending gift baskets, hand written notes, or quirky gifts that showcase Omniscient’s personality and culture. Check out Goody for gift sending.
4. Trade Shows
Attending trade shows related to your industry is another great way to generate leads and get your name out there.
Not only will you have the opportunity to meet potential customers face-to-face, but you’ll also be able to show off your product or service in person.
This is especially beneficial for industries like tradesman professionals, automotive, tech, building, remodeling, and construction among many more.
Attending a tradeshow is such a pure blend of marketing and sales. It’s honestly hard to pull off because so many companies fracture and splinter those two departments.
But the best way to approach these things is in tandem. Marketing and sales should share similar goals with trade shows and events.
You can sponsor conferences, speak at conferences (best option), or just attend.
Whatever you do, don’t skip the happy hour in the lobby bar. Almost all the value from these things comes from a healthy dose of extraversion and actually building relationships.
Skip the business cards, connect on LinkedIn, and make sure to follow up and maintain that network.
My favorite marketing conference? CXL Live for sure:
Telemarketing can be an effective way to reach potential customers who may be interested in what you have to offer.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that telemarketing can be quite intrusive; therefore, it’s important to use this technique sparingly and only when necessary.
When used correctly, though, telemarketing can be a great way to generate leads and build relationships with potential customers.
I used to do cold calling for LawnStarter when we were trying to build out the supply side of our marketplace. It was a great experience. It’s scary AF. You have to learn to face rejection and the fear of calling.
But it’s a numbers game. You call 100 people, 5 might buy. Most ignore the call, and some tell you to eff off.
But for some industries and companies, cold calling can work super well. And you’d be surprised at how many tech companies still employer call center solutions for telemarketing.
Events, either virtual, in-real-life, or hybrid, are another type of outbound marketing.
They give you the opportunity to engage with potential customers in a way that’s not possible through other types of marketing.
It’s important to make sure your event is focused on providing value to attendees; otherwise, it won’t be successful.
Also, make sure you do them with enough consistency. We host Office Hours twice per month. We used to only host them monthly, and since doing them twice monthly our registrations and attendance has either stayed the same per event or increased.
I also host IRL events here in Austin and when I travel. Meeting people face to face is just the best.
Make sure to include plenty of engaging activities, as well as opportunities for people to network and ask questions.
As we’ve seen, there are a number of different outbound marketing techniques that can be used to generate leads and reach potential customers.
Which method is right for you will depend on factors such as budget, resources, target market, and objectives.
However, one thing is for sure: if you’re not using outbound marketing as part of your overall marketing strategy, then you’re missing out on a valuable opportunity to grow your business.