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Winning Strategies

When and How to Merge Outbound and Inbound Marketing Methods to Drive Better Results

Content has always been tied to inbound marketing. Picture wine and cheese, peas and carrots, or a PB&J. For HubSpot's Joe Chernov, content is inbound's lifeblood. At Lean Labs, we heartily agree.

Often, we're asked if content marketing will work hand in hand with traditional marketing too. Is there a way for the famous Content King to thrive with old school outbound?

Yes, of course!

Just because you're an inbound marketer, that doesn't mean you can't pay for print ads to gain more attention. With content marketing forecasted to remain as formidable as ever in 2016, you can gain a competitive edge if you combine new school with old school.

A Beneficial Coexistence

Combining content marketing strategy with outbound methods is a great way for brands who want to accomplish quick results of their short-term marketing and sales goals. Because, admit it, inbound doesn't bring immediate gratification. Not to mention that people are now more selectively attentive.

Unless you've sworn with all your heart that you're going to be an inbound purist for the rest of your life, you've come to the right blog post if you're looking for actionable tips on how to be a savvy content marketer by complementing traditional tactics to your existing inbound blueprint.

Seth Godin and the rest of the permission marketing gurus would be proud. Scout's honor!

Print Ads

Who would have thought that print ads could play a tremendous impact on promoting and distributing content? These fifteen brands did!

While print advertising traces back its roots to outbound marketing, shifting your goals from hard selling to educating and engaging with your target audiences via print is the key to getting people to check out your content.

Content marketing hack:
Got a magazine ad going out? Offer them something of value and relevance rather than just a web address. Get them to opt-in to your email marketing system through a vanity URL or a promo code. By doing so, you'd be able to track and measure the ROI of your clever print ad idea.

Email Marketing

Traditional marketing is all about pushing the message to your prospects and customers. It is the exact opposite of inbound, where the goal is to attract people to your brand. Therefore, email marketing is outbound, right? Many folks have wondered the same thing.

In recent years, email marketing has turned from an interruptive, spammy tactic, to a more intimate way for brands to reach out to their tribe. Gone are the days of sending email blasts to a set of purchased email lists. With smart opt-in forms and landing pages, email has become a powerful way for brands to communicate with their customers. Sorting contacts into smaller segments can take intimate personalization to a new level. 

Content marketing hack:

Gated assets such as templates and eBooks are excellent tools to help you build a solid email list. However, if you absolutely must have an email list to kick off your content marketing campaign, do not fall into the trap of purchased email lists. Instead, go for opt-in lists.

Keep in mind that an opt-in list tactic will only deliver positive results if your content screams value to your targeted list. This is particularly true if you are targeting a highly specific audience (e.g. college professors residing in a particular zip code, parents of a child diagnosed with autism in your city)

Paid Advertising

Paid advertising can mean a lot of things. It could refer to PPC (pay-per-click), social media ads, CPC (cost-per-click), promoted tweets, or CPI (cost-per-impression). Mentioning paid advertising to a group of inbound marketers may sound like you're talking about the benefits of lard to a household of vegans.

When done the right way, paid ads could be the missing piece to your content marketing efforts. In 2015, HubSpot even began to support LinkedIn's Sponsored Updates and Google’s AdWords campaigns on their platform. As long as creating valuable and relevant content is your priority, paid ads can help boost brand awareness and engagement. Using your prospects' language in your ads is equally important.

Content marketing hack:

Try native advertising. At one point or another, you've probably been highly engaged by one of those sponsored stories in The New York Times. In a study conducted by the paper with real-time web analytics company Chartbeat, the results reveal that native advertising's branded content have more or less the same engagement rate as the editorial pieces.

Or if you're into paid Facebook ads, instead of swinging for the fence and selling your product's features, offer valuable content for free if they opt in. As a result, you will have the permission to market to them on an ongoing basis.

Direct Mail

Since the advent of the Internet era, direct mail has gotten a bad rap. Why send a physical mail when there's an easier way to do it via email?

Well, it depends on your target demographics. What if your intended audiences are seniors? It has been shown that this segment of the population ( 65 and up) respond the most to direct mails. Surprisingly, 18 to 34-year-olds respond well to direct mail too. This can be attributed to the fact that snail mail is perceived as less spammy than email.

Content marketing hack:

Like its electronic counterpart, it's best to send direct mail to people who already opted-in to regularly receive content from you. Let's say you're a coffee shop owner who wants to nurture existing customers. Consider sending in a physical copy of your latest info-zine about the new variety of beans (plus samples for your customers to try at home) you're selling.

Best of Both Worlds

If you're in an industry where outbound tactics are still likely to help promote and distribute content, push the inbound envelope and go for it. In a nutshell, adding in outbound to your content efforts can work well if your main purpose is to help rather than pitch.

Which industry do you think will benefit the most to merging traditional marketing and content marketing?

Content Repurposing Toolkit

Written by Kyjean Tomboc / January 6, 2016

Kyjean Tomboc finished nursing school but found joy in plucking and stringing words to ​create value-driven content for brands in the health, life sciences, and lean startup niches. She loves everything strategic in creating content -- from CRO to SEO to SMM to UX (the Internet sure loves acronyms!). Her current obsessions include the human gut microbiome, A/B testing, and Benedict Cumberbatch. Kyjean is also a seasoned trekker.

Articles by Kyjean Tomboc