I’m a big fan of inbound marketing. What could be better than a passive approach to sales built on delivering value that can’t be beat.

Sounds ideal, doesn’t it?

That said, there are times when inbound marketing is not the best strategy. In those times, outbound marketing might be a better fit.

For starters, inbound marketing takes months to gather the content you need and then get that content found by prospects. Then you have to set up marketing automation to nurture them throughout their purchase journey.

It’s no small task.

And if your buyer personas are even slightly off, you could miss the boat entirely and not get the right kinds of leads.

Not only that, once you perfect your inbound program, it’s going to take some time to produce the amount of leads you need.

When you need short-term wins, outbound marketing starts to make sense. Instead of waiting for prospects to come to you, you go out and find them. This approach is particularly effective if you have a core set of target customers you need to reach.

Ideally, you’d work both these angles. You would create content and offers and at the same time reach out to prospects the good old-fashioned outbound way. Perhaps more importantly, outbound marketing gives you breathing room to build your inbound marketing lead machine.

Here are five strategies you can include in your outbound marketing process to reach highly targeted markets:

How outbound marketing gives you breathing room to ramp up inbound marketing Click To Tweet

Identify Ideal Target Prospects

A crucial step with inbound marketing is creating buyer personas. The same is true with outbound prospecting.

Even though you probably have a mental picture of who your ideal customer is, it’s good practice to fill out a detailed prospect template. This will ensure that the entire organization will have a solid understanding of the target prospects and the chain of command, so they’re able to contact the right people easier. This template should be well documented and shared by everyone within your organization.

Once you’ve identified your target prospect, you need prospectors who will go out and prospect. It’s important to note that you don’t want or need your account executives digging up these leads. You need a highly specialized team to qualify prospects and deliver them to sales. Prospectors won’t be handling the whole process from start to finish – their job is to hunt and deliver.

Having qualified leads makes the whole sales process smoother and delivers better results.

Having a clear buyer persona will help ensure success with outbound marketing Click To Tweet

Email Campaigns

When done correctly, outbound email is an effective way to get in front of prospects.

First, you need a list. You can purchase lists from databases, build off of your current contacts or manually build your own email list. I recommend building your own lists. Purchasing them from a third-party runs the risk of the contact information being outdated.

Once you have your list, it’s time to being the outreach.

Make sure you adhere to best practices when emailing prospects to avoid being red-flagged as a spammer.

It’s tempting to add prospects to a drip campaign after you’ve completed the initial outreach. The catch here is that you need their permission in order to do that. The CAN-SPAM Act prohibits signing prospects up for mailing lists without them opting-in.

You can send individual emails with a sequence of follow-ups, but you can’t take those contacts and email them for any extended period of time. Once the sequences, you’re done with the email campaign.

Violations of CAN-SPAM act can result in potential fines of $16,000 per email violation, so it’s best to be very careful and adhere to regulations.

Before you email your entire list, test email and subject lines to find the combination that gets the best open rate. Given that you have anywhere from 3-7 touches to grab a prospect’s interest, spending time upfront to tweak your messages will yield the best results.

Test email subject lines and opening paragraphs to double your open rates Click To Tweet

Generally speaking, you want a subject line that sparks curiosity. Having said that, I’ve gotten some of the best open rates by being direct and asking for a meeting. I’ve also compared using the same subject line with two different openings and gotten surprisingly different results.  So open rates about more than the subject line alone.

Be careful not to pay too much attention to email templates and supposedly “winning” subject lines. Test. Test. And test again to find the best performing subject line and message.

Once you’ve found a winning combination, software such as YesWare and QuickMail are powerful tools that will automate and schedule the sequences. Tracking options include opens, clicks, and replies, and detailed stats show which variations are getting the best response rates. You can also experiment with days and times that prospects are more likely to open emails.

QuickMail Dashboard: Test Email Subject Line Variations


Pay-per-click (PPC) ads are still one of the most powerful ways to get in front of customers. When someone types a query for your products or services into search engines, your ad will appear.

The beauty of PPC ads is that you’ll see immediate results and gain insight into what keywords are driving traffic to your business.

With these ads you’re bidding against other ads for top placement in search results. The cost of PPC ads is calculated by the ad cost, divided by the number of clicks the ad generates. The stronger your ad copy is at convincing people to click, the lower your ad cost.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when crafting your ad campaigns:

  • You can set daily budget limits to control monthly costs
  • You can focus your targeting locally, regionally, nationally or globally (the more localized your targeting, the more control you’ll have over keywords, landing pages, performance and costs)
  • You will see immediate results and gain insight into what keywords are driving traffic to your business
  • Varying the ads within each ad group is a powerful way to test your conversions.
  • For best results, make sure keywords closely match the ad copy.

Paid ads on Social Media

Paid ads are another powerful way to get your message in front of a highly targeted audience. The difference between PPC ads and Paid ads lies in the targeting. While PPC ads target by search query, Paid ads target by audience demographics and/or interests.

Social media ads differ based on the platform on which they appear.

Given that Facebook is pushing down the reach of standard posts, ads are a very effective way to reach a very targeted audience. And some ads, such as sponsored posts, will reach a lot more people than standard posts and stay closer to the top of people’s news feeds, so there’s a better chance that they will be noticed.

The power of Facebook ads is in the targeting. They’re an incredibly effective way to reach a very targeted audience. You can target by income, education, zip code, interests, you name it.

The cost of Facebook ads is determined by your targeting criteria. Like PPC ads, you can set a daily budget and control costs while you’re A/B testing ad performance.

Twitter has a number of ad options, including promoted tweets, promoted trends or promoted accounts. Depending on the option you choose, your ad will be displayed in either the Twitter news feed or the sidebar.

LinkedIn offers excellent ad opportunities for B2B marketers. LinkedIn ads are the business version of Facebook ads. Targeting works in a similar way to Facebook, only with different criteria. LinkedIn ads target by position, job function, company, location, industry, company size, and so on. There’s very little real estate to work with, so you need to choose your words and call to action carefully.

Targeted Partnerships

If your business is aware that your target audience visits a particular site on a regular basis, why not try to form a partnership with that site for marketing purposes?

This can be very effective because the audience’s trust is already built into the site you want to partner with. If that site “validates” your business by going ahead with the partnership, they essentially transfer that trust they’ve built with people to your business.

For instance, if you are in the business of selling tripods, it might be very profitable for you to form a partnership with a camera manufacturer. Their customers are likely to make up a healthy percentage of your target market. By getting the manufacturer to essentially validate your business by forming a marketing partnership, you can win the trust of the people who have been loyal to that particular camera brand.

The best partnerships aren’t one-way streets — if you really want to create long-lasting, effective partnerships, you should have something you can bring to the table other than money. Your brand or product value is just as important as the partner firm. Look to develop a long-term relationship where both of you see the endgame as being more than a one-time play.

Key Takeaway

As you ramp up your inbound marketing, you probably will need to supplement inbound with outbound prospecting for some quick wins. Use the strategies listed here to engage targeted prospects and then turn them into qualified leads. As with all marketing, success of outbound marketing is in the hands of the marketer, not the activity. Whether you outreach through email, inmail, cold calling, ads or partnerships, make sure your message resonates with the right audience.