Inbound marketing is great. By creating valuable, useful content that relates to your buyer persona’s interests, you can drive relevant traffic to your website. You can then convert some of that traffic into subscribers or sales.
However, when I look back at the growth of my company, it wasn’t all about inbound. I did just as much outbound marketing. That outbound marketing helped build relationships, drive traffic, and grow sales.
In this article, I’m going to talk about how online outbound marketing (i.e., not trade shows, cold calling, etc.) is crucial to growing your business.
If You Build It They Won’t (Automatically) Come
A content trends report from Buzzsumo showed that over 70% of the 100 million articles they researched got no links to them, and the median shares on an article went from 8 in 2015 to 4 in 2017!
To get traffic, you need to get links to your content/website.
Publishing great content is not enough. You need to promote that content!
Are you promoting your content/website enough?
You probably create valuable content but don’t do enough promotion. Would it be fair to say that you spend more than 80% of your time creating the content and less than 20% promoting it?
How about this instead:
- 20% research – If you don’t create the right content then promotion isn’t going to help.
- 40% creation – It takes time to create a great piece of content.
- 40% promotion – No matter how good your content is, you won’t get the full benefit of it if you don’t promote it.
So, here are some outbound tactics to help with promotion:
- Targeted advertising – Use social advertising to reach a relevant audience that is already familiar with you, your website, and/or content.
- Reaching out via email – You’ve probably seen more than your share of poor email outreach, but it can actually be highly effective when done right. If you send highly relevant and personalized emails, you can easily build more links and shares to your content. We used to use Gmail and an Excel spreadsheet for our outreach, but that was painfully slow and difficult to track. So we built OutreachPlus, which is specifically designed for email outreach. It allows you to send highly personalized emails and helps manage and track responses.
- Social media outreach – This goes beyond just “socializing” your posts. It involves strategically reaching out to relevant people on various social networks.
Electronic Outbound Marketing Tactics That WORK
So how can you use each of these channels to get more links to your website/content and get more shares? Here are 8 tactics:
1. Targeting a custom audience of your website
One of my favorite tactics for driving relevant people to my content is running Facebook ads targeting a custom audience.
If you are careful about the categorization of your website’s content, you can track visitors to specific categories and create custom audiences for each.
What makes custom audience ads so effective is that you’re targeting people who are already familiar with your brand and who have previously shown some interest in what you have to offer.
Custom ads may be an outbound tactic, but they’re less intrusive and more targeted than standard ads, which makes them a great complement to your inbound efforts.
2. Outreach prior to publishing your content
Reach out to a group of influencers about the content you are about to publish and ask them for a quote/feedback/input.
When you publish the content, reach out to them again and thank them for their contribution.
As they were involved with the content, they’re more likely to share and link to this content.
3. Make the content all about them
Instead of just asking for their feedback, make the content about them.
For example, Aaron Ordendof from Shopify created an awesome post highlighting tips from 17 enterprise executives about unlocking growth. It’s not surprising that this post got over 400 shares.
The process is simple:
- Reach out to a group of influencers to get their input related to a hot topic.
- Create the post.
- Reach out and tell them the post is published.
If you focus on a small list of influential people who are a good fit for your brand, you’ll get the benefit of exposure to a targeted audience that you couldn’t have reached on your own.
4. Create content that is already proven to get a lot of links
Andy Crestodina shares an annual report where he surveys over 1,000 bloggers to find out their blogging habits: How many posts they write, how many hours they spend writing the content, etc.
As seen on the Ahrefs chart below, Andy gets a lot of links to this content:
So you know the websites that link to content research about bloggers. If you have a different report (e.g. a report on content marketing for bloggers) you could reach out to these websites to see if they’ll link to your new research. They have already shown an interest in similar research and have written about it. We all need ideas for new content, so they’ll likely be grateful for your suggestion!
5. Finding Complementary Links
Find an article that is about a similar topic to your article, reach out to the publisher, and agree to link to each other’s articles. You should only do this is if the link to your article adds value to their article and vice versa. This is known as a reciprocal link.
Reciprocals links are very normal from a Google perspective as long as that’s not the main type of links you have on your website.
6. Promoting to your audience on social media
Agorapulse is a very useful social media management tool that allows you to set up multiple schedules for sharing content across a variety of social channels.
When sharing on social channels, you have to assume that the majority of people won’t get to see your content. There is so much content out there we can’t possibly see everyone’s post. So you need to look at ways of maximizing the number of people that get to see your content:
- Mention the people who are included in your post. This will attract their attention.
- Share your content multiple times, but each time share a different image, video, text, etc.
One feature Agorapulse offers that’s extremely valuable for social media outreach is that it allows you to highlight influencers that are already sharing previous content. You can apply a filter so that you can identify this group and then reach out to them to share your new content.
7. Promoting your content on social media to a new audience
When you’re creating a piece of content, you should set up a monitoring tool, such as Brand24 to track who is talking about keywords related to the topic.
When you publish the content, you can pick the more influential people and reach out about your content.
If they showed interest in sharing similar content, there’s a good chance they’ll share yours.
8. Ongoing relationship building
Are you regularly sharing content from other influencers? By sharing their content, they’re more likely to notice you and share your content also.
Use Feedly to track a range of blogs from key influencers and regularly share out their content.
You should also respond to people that who do share out your content to thank them. A thank you goes a long way towards getting your next share from that person!
Embrace the New Outbound Marketing
For inbound-oriented marketers, outbound tactics offer a range of untapped opportunities to improve your marketing results.
Outbound marketing isn’t an outdated strategy. You just need to adapt it to the “new world” by using new best practices and proven tactics. The ones we discussed in this article are a great starting place, complementing your inbound marketing efforts.
Are you ignoring outbound marketing or are you blending it with inbound to outperform your competitors? Let me know in the comments how you are using electronic outbound marketing.