There's been plenty of speculation touting the death of outbound marketing. But a recent survey reveals the speculation to be greatly exaggerated. In fact, outbound marketing is still efficient for driving leads and sales.

DiscoverOrg recently surveyed 1,000 IT executives at a variety of firms, from Fortune-ranked companies to small and medium-sized businesses. The results show marketers should be careful not to ignore traditional marketing strategies.

Here's what top IT executives had to say about the effectiveness of outbound marketing:

  • 60% said outbound calls or emails have led to an IT vendor's being evaluated.
  • 75% said they'd decided to attend an event or take an appointment after having received a cold call or email.

The data is surprising at a time when inbound strategies, such as content marketing, social media, and search engine optimization have gained steam for their cost-effectiveness. But the data makes it clear: The cold call isn't dead.

In today's climate, companies are increasingly pushing social selling—like blogging, content creation, search engine optimization, and social media engagement—as the best means of marketing a product or service. But the DiscoverOrg data underscores the importance of traditional outbound marketing techniques, such as cold calls, emails, TV commercials, and print ads, for driving leads and sales. A good old-fashioned phone call can help to humanize you to your marketing prospects, no matter the size of a business or industry.

For many companies, a mixture of inbound and outbound marketing techniques may be best. And it doesn't take pricey TV or print ads to reap the benefits. Here are a few ways companies can add outbound marketing techniques to their social strategy.

Draft scripts. When making a cold call or sending out an email blast, ensure you don't come off like an advertisement. Anything that sounds too sensationalistic will fall flat. Draft a script and practice reading through it in a conversational tone, and ensure all written copy reflects your company's tone and brand.

Be mindful of time. Cold-calling can be tricky, and if your contacts are busy, you run the risk of being seen as a nuisance. Pay keen attention to the details—particularly, time of day. Lunchtime calls are generally unwelcome; it's typically when professionals take a break and don't want to be bothered. Morning calls between 8 and 9 AM can help you to catch someone who hasn't yet entered the office for the day. Another option is late afternoon, between 4 and 5 PM, when the workday is winding down.

Make it personal, but don't take it personal. Do some social media research and create a list of details about whoever you're calling. Include those personal details in your outbound marketing efforts to lend yourself credibility. And don't be afraid to think outside the box: These days, a handwritten letter may get you a lot farther than something generic mailed en masse.  But don't take non-interest or lack of return calls personally; some people are just not in a position to listen to how you're going to help them make or save more money.

Offer incentives. Use outbound strategies to direct interested clients and customers to your online presence or blog. Cold calls and emails can alert them to a social media promotion or contest where you provide an incentive to participate—like a raffle or some other chance to win a prize.

Promote, promote, promote. Build your brand by including links to your online presence in print products, such as brochures, direct mail, business cards, advertisements, and packing slips. Ensure all employees include links to your company in their email signatures, and ask that they share company updates on their personal social media profiles across Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Create a landing page. Make it easy for anyone who's been directed to your online presence to get quick information about your company or product. Create a landing page on your company's Facebook page—just install the application and tweak the code. Or, add one to your website. Always include a succinct company bio and a call to action.

Track results. Invest in a customer relationship management (CRM) platform to track the results of your outbound and inbound marketing efforts. It will help you to tweak your strategy over time and line up your techniques to ensure your strategy is working comprehensively across multiple techniques and platforms.

Creating a mixture of inbound and outbound marketing techniques may be just what your company needs to improve leads and sales. Try these techniques to get your business to stand out.

Does your company focus on inbound or outbound marketing techniques? Which strategy works best for your needs, or is it best to employ a mix of the two? Share your thoughts in a comment below.

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Outbound Marketing Strategies Are Still Effective

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image of Henry Schuck

Henry Schuck is a co-founder of DiscoverOrg, an intelligence and lead generation services company.

LinkedIn: Henry Schuck