So you’ve decided to try your hand at outbound marketing to help drive up your sales. Now the question is — which communication channel do you use?
There are plenty of sources online that will praise the benefits of some channels over others — usually you will find the reason being it’s the channel that the source specialises in.
The truth is, the way of communication is unique to each company, industry and target.
There are many factors you need to take into account before deciding on the right outbound channel for you.
Here at UMG we can provide you with a detailed unbiased overview of the biggest automated outbound channels, based on our own experience.
Before you go ahead with the automation, you need to decide a few key things first.
These questions will help you determine the best outbound channel because each of them serves a different purpose and has different benefits.
“To get leads, obviously,” you say. The word “lead” has become muddled and confused. Different people qualify leads differently.
Of course in the end, all marketing efforts usually lead to a sale and increased revenue, but it does not have to be its only purpose.
Outbound marketing is not only for people who desire to have their work calendar booked with calls that bring in cash.
You could also use outbound to raise awareness of your company, service or product; start a mutually beneficial relationship; drive traffic to your website or focus attention on a particularly good piece of content.
Whatever your end goal may be, this is the first thing you need to figure out, otherwise the outbound outreach will not be as effective.
2. What type of communication are your prospects used to?
Take a look at your own communication channels. What is the most commonly used one in your industry?
Answering that will help you figure out where your prospect would expect a business proposition.
Despite being a very useful tool and very heavy marketing, not everyone has or uses LinkedIn. In fact, some industries’ representation on the platform, like the legal industry, are extremely scarce and difficult to find.
Similarly, if positions in your target primarily use email, you risk a chance of getting lost in the sea of other cold emails or never even making it past the spam filter.
Knowing your audience and their preferences is essential when deciding on the channel.
LinkedIn is one of the most popular platforms for B2B communication and marketing. With over 706 million users and 50 million listed companies, it’s an effective way of reaching potential prospects.
Some more stats: 80% of B2B marketing leads from social media come through LinkedIn. That makes it an either overused channel or the most effective one — decide for yourself.
The unique thing that differentiates LinkedIn from other social media platforms is the intentionality. According to LinkedIn’s own research, the majority of people go on LinkedIn to learn, gain insights about their professional field or find business opportunities.
Unlike other social media such as Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn is focused on working and professional relationships, therefore people’s engagement with the platform, content and other users is a lot more mindful and intentional.
This is why LinkedIn is such a great tool to generate leads. It provides the necessary level of personalisation that cold emails and cold calling lack, while at the same time being appropriate for the medium.
As a platform, LinkedIn is also very diverse in its functionality. There are multiple options of contacting leads, each for a different purpose and various a price — e.g. direct messages, paid messages, InMails and others.
The way LinkedIn functions is also great for content marketing. Since 99.62% of Linkedin traffic is organic, engagement with content is more effective which leads to higher conversions. In fact, according to a Hubspot study, LinkedIn generates close to 3 times more conversions than Facebook or Twitter at 277%.
LinkedIn is a very affordable and user-friendly outbound marketing channel, available to everyone even without previous marketing background. Perhaps that is the reason why over 92% of B2B marketers use it to distribute content making it a top source for lead generation. Lead generation messages on LinkedIn are very common, so in order to stand out, one must be creative.
Another downside of relying on LinkedIn is that despite its popularity, not everyone uses it regularly. As it does not involve the mindless scrolling typical of Twitter and Facebook, people are less likely to visit their LinkedIn feeds unless they see a genuine value in them.
So it might be a good idea to diversify your outbound marketing outreach to catch all those leads that get away.
Cold Email is a tale as old as outbound marketing itself. It still remains one of the most popular outbound channels, with over 70% of B2B enterprises using it to close deals.
As cold emailing has become more widespread, its effectiveness has decreased. According to stats, in 2020 the average email conversion rate was 15% as opposed to its peak 18% in 2018.
Prospects are more aware of cold emails these days and are harder to get through — looking at your own inbox, how many cold emails have you responded to lately?
But there is a reason it is still one of the most used and effective ways of outbound outreach.
Here are a few obvious facts: emails are universal, meaning that it is the primary method of business communication. Every professional will have an email address — often even multiple, including their personal ones.
Email is also something people check daily or throughout the day, increasing your chances of being seen and responded to, unlike LinkedIn. For some prospects, emails are the only way to reach them and the only way they would even consider a business inquiry — this is something specific to each industry and country.
Sourcing the emails of people in your target list is a lot easier than finding their phone numbers — there are multiple open source databases, and it’s also possible to find it manually.
Emails often have more credibility and gravitas than a direct message or a call. If sent to a corporate address, they already establish a business relationship.
You can pack a lot more information into an email, including the necessary attachments, links, signatures etc. to help you build a credible trustworthy case.
The downsides of an cold emailing as an outbound marketing channel are almost the same as its upsides.
Despite the credibility, emails show no level of personalisation. You, a stranger, are sending emails to another stranger who didn’t ask for them. Unlike in LinkedIn, they cannot accept your request, check out your profile and follow your posts.
In general, cold emails are met with a lot more hostility than any other way of communication, if they even get through the spam filter.
Starting an outbound email marketing campaign is a lot more labour- and knowledge-intensive. You have to ensure a sending tool, keep an eye on domain reputation, delivery rates, bounce emails, open rates and others.
The difficulty of setting up an email funnel is perhaps why it’s got such a bad rep — people just don’t believe it can be successful.
But with the carefully written email, the right personalisation, the perfect follow-up and a system in place, it can be one of the primary ways of delivering you leads.
Whatever cold reach-out channel you decide to utilise in the end, remember to keep in mind the pros and cons of using each channel and choose what’s best for your current needs and industry preferences.
You don’t have to limit yourself to a single outbound channel either — use a combination of 2 or even more. A multichannel drip campaign has been known to be the most effective way of B2B lead generation.
Here at UMG our experts can help you set up a channel that would work specifically for your needs and take care of all technical specifics. Book a chat with one of our team below to get started on your first outbound marketing channel!