Crafting The Perfect Blend Of Inbound Marketing And Demand Generation Tactics

Getting The Ingredients Correct And Working From A Recipe Is Key

Back in 2010, most of our recommendations included heavily weighted inbound marketing programs. That made sense at the time, because budgets were tight, efficient and smart marketing was the goal, and our clients were interested in earning attention instead of buying it.

Today, the cookbook has changed. So many program and tactical options exist, so many software tools make scaling easier and the data available today helps us focus and optimize 10 times faster than we could in 2010.

The result is that now we’re blending inbound marketing and outbound demand generation together to create the perfect recipe for revenue growth at our clients’ businesses.

Here are some of the secrets behind the recipes our revenue chefs are cooking up for clients.

Using Content In Context With Cold Outreach

Orchestrating inbound and outbound marketing tactics

Cold email campaigns usually represent one of the demand gen tactics our clients are most interested in talking to us about. That’s no problem for us, as technology has made targeting, segmentation, personalization and measurement much more insightful. The result is much better results from a tactic that historically performed poorly.

However, one of the other keys to improved performance is messaging and content. Specifically, creating compelling, emotional and disruptive email content is a non-negotiable for us. Our team of writers spends a significant amount of time developing email copy that moves people to action. You can’t phone this in and expect it to work. You have to create a compelling story and you need a number of options. It’s possible that your first wave misses the mark, so you need to switch gears and go with your back-up email in wave two to see if that improves performance.

Finally, the goal of any email is not an open but rather a click-through. This puts a lot of pressure on the links and offers included in the email. If these are strong, the email campaign generates leads. If they’re not, you’re left with a low click-through rate, which makes for an unsuccessful campaign. Make sure you have the content assets to deliver content in context, content that is targeted to role or industry and content that is focused on their pain. All of these strategies will produce better results, and it’s all about the results for us.

Leaning Heavily On ABM For Sales And Marketing Alignment

A great way to blend inbound and outbound is with account-based marketing (ABM). This is also a brilliant way to strategically align your sales and marketing teams together. In fact, we don’t even undertake ABM programs with clients unless the teams are aligned (and more specifically, aligned at the top).

ABM programs are going to need outreach tactics either via email marketing or social media connect tactics. Then you’ll need content to drive engagement on those who connect. You’ll also need nurture sequences to work those newly engaged contacts down into your sales process. Eventually, some of them might present as sales opportunities, and now you need your sales team to be prepared with a remarkable sales process to take those prospects and guide them through the buyer journey, presenting them at the end as new customers for your company.

You can use the content and nurture strategy to earn their attention and then use any sales process improvements to move them through their buyer journey with you and your sales team as their guide. It’s a wonderful blend of inbound and outbound marketing with a dash of sales process.

Customer-Centric Marketing Campaigns For Low-Hanging Fruit Revenue Generation Opportunities

The Recipe for Leads, Sales Ops and New Customers

We’re focused on revenue, but that doesn’t always mean revenue from new customers. One of the best ways we help clients generate revenue is by focusing on the people who already know, like and trust you — your current customers.

Email campaigns with specially designed content offers and/or special customer-only offers work well to engage current customers in conversations about new products, additional products, and upsell and cross-sell opportunities with limited investment required.

Assuming your customer data is complete, you can create highly segmented, personal and relevant content offers for a wide range of customer segments. This segmented and personal approach can improve conversion rates by up to five times and drive revenue in short order because the infrastructure to take the order and follow up is already in place. They’re not new customers; they’re your current customers.

Tying Long-Form, Short-Form And Micro-Format Content To Tell An Orchestrated Story

Remember when people were talking about integrated marketing? I’m not sure exactly what that meant, but today we’re saying integrated (tactics that simply work together) is not enough. Today, you need orchestrated. It’s not enough that tactics be connected; they need to be synchronized like a symphony orchestra. The combination of the various tactics all playing the same music produces something special.

With so many channels and tactics today, orchestration is difficult to achieve. That’s why you see tools like Marketo, Eloqua, Pardot and HubSpot. They make orchestration easier. One excellent example of this is how you use content in so many different marketing and sales applications.

You have content on the website, content in nurture, content in cold outreach, content in the sales process, content in your email newsletters, content on social, content on referring sites, content for search and content in the onboarding process once a prospect becomes a new customer. How do you orchestrate all of that content?

One way that way we do it is by creating all that content as part of an overall strategy as opposed to individual content projects. When you take this approach, you end up with long-form content like an e-book that will also produce five new blog articles and 15 new social posts. Plus, it will be perfect for one specific sales-related situation that comes up 80% of the time. You also know that this particular content creation effort supports your search strategy (because the keywords people use are included in all of the content created) and that you’re creating a video, podcast and infographic around a similar story.

Now you have an orchestrated content effort that drives search, conversion, sales and the web experience. This isn’t easy to do, but it should be mandatory if you’re working hard to generate consistent revenue growth.

Better Understanding The Prospect Journey And Delivering An Upgrade Experience

Inbound and demand generation tactics

If you want to improve your ability to blend inbound, outbound and demand techniques to produce better results, then you must gain a deeper understanding of the prospect journey. You also have to understand that the journey crosses over both marketing and sales tactics, meaning it’s no longer relevant where your program tactics attempt to influence behavior. It can be both part of marketing and sales. In fact, that is the only way to think about it.

How are we going to influence prospects and potential prospects’ behavior?

This is it, right? This is the goal of marketing and sales: to get someone to do something you want them to do. Not to coerce or to convince but to guide them toward your world view because it’s the right view for them and their company.

You’ve all seen the new buyer journey model. The element of gravity that once pulled prospects down and into the bottom of the funnel is gone. Today, it’s all about the influences that push and pull at prospects while they’re in the various cycles.

Great sales and marketing is excellent at subtly influencing, and that’s needed more than ever before. You’ll need both inbound, outbound and demand gen tactics to execute this influence. You’ll need to create the awareness. You’ll need to direct people in the awareness stage toward specific ways of thinking. You’ll need to influence people in the consideration and evaluation stages. You’ll even need to influence them when they get down to making that final decision.

Consider going through your own marketing experiences and your own sales experiences as a prospect to get the full weight of your influence on a real buyer journey. Where are there gaps? Where are there missing steps? Where are you over-emphasizing points that are less relevant? Where can you make a point or emphasize something important? Where can you differentiate? Where can you add value? How can you do so in a remarkable way that clearly positions you as the expert? This work is always strategic and will always influence both inbound and demand generation tactics once you see where the opportunities are for improving the overall experience.

If you remember, one of the promises of inbound marketing was lower cost of lead acquisition. The size of your brain was more relevant than the size of your wallet. But today, wallets are fat, budgets are big and people are putting money into every kind of newfangled marketing tactic, sales improvement and software tool.

Running a blend of inbound marketing and outbound demand generation typically means a hefty investment in the dual approach. While you can design demand generation tactics to be highly targeted, generally more waste is associated with digital advertising, demand generation and unsolicited outreach tactics. Keep that in mind as you create your own secret recipe for lead generation, sales opportunity creation and revenue growth.

Square 2 Marketing – Revenue Is Earned Through Experiences, Methodology And Insights!

Mike Lieberman

Co-founder, President and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2 Marketing the only inbound marketing firm in the world that has cracked the code on how to use inbound marketing to generate leads for their clients.

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