Thought Outbound Marketing Was Dead? Bring It Back To Life With These 5 Strategies

Erica Thompson

Erica Thompson

Head of Agency Marketing

A few years ago everyone swore outbound marketing was out and inbound marketing was in. But research is proving that outbound marketing isn’t as dead as we once thought. 

Yes, the old school way of hunting customers down and spamming them with products is a thing of the past, but companies are seeing stellar results using a combination of inbound and outbound marketing.  

We all know inbound marketing is more of a long game, while outbound marketing is more of a short game. Wouldn’t combining both of these strategies give you a better chance of success? Research says yes (and we’ll talk about this more below).  

So, if you thought outbound marketing was dead, use these 5 strategies to brush off the dust and bring it back to life.  

Hone Your Niche

Just as we humans can’t be all things to all people, neither can your products and services. As badly as you may want to market to the masses, you’ll have higher success if you embrace your niche and market accordingly. 

Your ideal customer is looking for a product or service just like yours that can solve all her problems, but she can’t find you through all the noise. Cater your outbound marketing strategy directly to this ideal customer and your pool of competitors will shrink right before your eyes. Even better, your ideal customer will actually be able to see you and the value you offer. A win-win. 

Modernize These 3 Traditional Outbound Marketing Types

Direct Mail

It’s true, the volume of direct mail is on the decline and people aren’t receiving nearly as much as they did a decade ago. This may sound like bad news, but it’s actually quite the opposite. With fewer companies taking advantage of direct mail, there’s less competition and more of an opportunity to connect with your ideal customer. 

Here are some stats to prove it. 

Direct mail boasts a whopping 4.4% response rate, compared to 0.12% for email, according to a response rate report from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). The response of direct mail can be 10 to 30x that of email making it well worth your marketing dollars. 

Modernize your direct mail initiative by making it about your customer, not about you. Use purchase history, user data, and your current email list to fuel your direct mail campaign.


The average email user spends less than five minutes deleting 50% of the emails they receive every day. These are messages that go straight to the Trash folder, without even being opened. 

Let this statistic be a warning that subject lines mean everything! You must craft a subject line that grabs your reader by the eyeballs and entices them to investigate further.  

“You can automate your campaigns to reach people over time by ‘drip-feeding’ them relevant information and leading them through the sale funnel. By sequentially targeting prospects that might benefit from your product or service, you can grow their interest level and generate leads,” writes Sheila Kloefkorn, President at KEO Marketing.    

Social Media & Search Ads

Identify how your ideal customer discovers new products. Are they more responsive to ads on a smartphone instead of a desktop? What social platform do they use the most? Figure these things out and mold your ads to fit their expectations. How people interact with technology is constantly changing. Don’t assume you know best. 

Social media and search ads can be an effective way to boost website traffic while you wait for your inbound marketing strategy to kick in. The SEO keywords you discover through your inbound marketing strategy can even help you niche down and find ideal customers for your outbound marketing strategy.

“If you’re not using ads in your marketing mix today, you’re likely not doing everything you can to provide customers with helpful, relevant content at every stage of the buyer’s journey,” writes Nicholas L. Holland, VP of Product at Hubspot.

Don’t Use Cookie-Cutter Templates

Think back to all the junk mail, emails, and ads you’ve seen lately. Were there any pieces that stood out? If so, why’d they catch your eye? 

The truth is, your brand won’t stand out with cookie-cutter templates. You need personalized materials that touch on the recipient’s pain points from start to finish. Just saying “Hi [First Name]” isn’t enough. You need to dig deeper and find out more about their age, what industry they work in, life events they’re going through, and so on.  

“[Outbound marketing] used to consist primarily of large scale, one-off email blasts, but now the technology has moved to the point where marketers can hyper-target small subsets and even individuals with very focused content tailored to their specific interests,” says Steven Coufal, Senior Media Relations Specialist at Gartner. 

Ask yourself if this [Facebook ad, mailer, email, and so on] offers value to your ideal customer. Does it address their pain points and offer a solution to their problems? If not, then it’s a waste of your time and money.

Get The Whole Team On Board

How many times have you gotten an offer in the mail, called the number to find out more, only to realize their customer service had no idea what you were talking about? It’s a nerve-racking feeling. One that can make you not want to call no matter how good an offer sounds. 

Outbound marketing campaigns can be a huge investment. Make sure every department (especially customer service) is aware of what’s going on. The last thing you want to do is lose out on a sale because someone didn’t know you were having one to begin with. 

Infuse Your Outbound Marketing With Personality

Does your brand have a distinctive personality? One so strong that people would recognize it even if your business name and logo were stripped away? If so, that’s a good sign that your outbound marketing strategies will work! 

“A good rule of thumb in branding is that if you can paste your logo on top of someone else’s marketing piece, you don’t have a unique brand to claim. From Apple’s distinct design of its ads (always clean, lots of white space and few words) to Papa John’s Pizza (Papa is always in it), these brands manage to leave a strong impression with every outbound marketing touch point,” writes Gal Borenstein, CEO and Chief Strategy Officer of the Borenstein Group. 

The Bottom Line

You don’t have to choose between inbound and outbound marketing; they aren’t competing against each other. Continue providing prospects with helpful information that solves their problems and they’ll begin to see the value you offer. Pairing your inbound marketing strategy with an updated outbound marketing strategy allows you to reach your ideal customers in multiple ways—and ultimately helps you attract and retain high-quality customers. 

How are you using outbound marketing to reach more customers? Let us know on social!