WHICH OUTBOUND MARKETING ACTIVITIES ARE RIGHT FOR YOUR BRAND?
Every business experiences the post-launch blues. Don’t let it get you down. The most sustainable and profitable audience is yet to be built. Let’s get things rolling quickly with popular outbound marketing activities that will boost traffic and leads.
In case you’re wondering, in online marketing, the difference between ‘inbound’ and ‘outbound’ is fairly self-explanatory: inbound is when the customer comes to you; outbound is when you go to them. Outbound marketing tends to interrupt the user experience but if you do it well, the user will welcome the distraction.
I may increasingly sing the praises of inbound marketing techniques like SEO, content marketing and organic social media, but there’s always going to be a place for an effective, high-conversion advertisement or a well crafted email.
Excellent for most business types, but especially effective for content creators.
Facebook marketing is starting to become complex due to policy and algorithm changes, but the ad platform is powerful, especially in Cambodia where approximately 40% of the population is obsessed with FB. The key to mastering ads is to create experiments. Facebook provides deep audience analysis, so you can slowly fine-tune outbound marketing activities to get the best ROI.
You can build relevant audiences by targeting your ‘likes’, uploading external lists (e.g. subscribers), asking Facebook to build a lookalike audience, or tell the platform to target people who have already engaged with your content.
Targeting is important, but the copy, images, videos and CTAs (call to action) seal the deal. I’ve created campaigns that were as low as 1c per click, but I’ve also had clients who were happy with $1 per click because the product they were selling was worth thousands of dollars. It’s all relative. But remember that the ad’s job is to get people to your landing page. After that point, it’s the website’s job to do the rest. Good ad + poor landing page = bounce.
Why is Facebook effective? The targeting and ad varieties are excellent, but I think the key is the audience’s low level of concentration. Facebook users are often just bored and skimming the feed, so a well-crafted ad can be more interesting than seeing yet another baby photo.
Top tips for Facebook ad success
- Experiment by using low budgets, multiple ad versions, and multiple creatives (I usually start with 12 combinations for a major campaign)
- Carefully name campaigns and audiences for re-use and cloning
- Always boost original content (it’s a complete waste to spend money on content creation if you don’t promote it)
- Use the Facebook pixel to measure the success of your campaign
- Set a permanent monthly budget (it should be a continual activity)
- Remember that Cambodians ‘like’ everything, but shares, comments and clicks are another matter
- Ensure you have congruence, which is the consistency between the ad and the destination page (in my experience, incongruence accounts for 25% of failing ads)
For top tier content creators and virtually any business selling a product or service
Globally, Google is king as far as referrals to websites are concerned. The complication in Cambodia is the difficulty in measuring the usage of Google’s local search engine. But type any Khmer word into www.google.com.kh, and you’ll soon see why it’s ridiculous to assume Cambodians don’t use Google.
As for Adwords campaigns in English, you need significant volume (searches per month), conversion-friendly search terms, and a better bid than your competition. If you can tick those boxes, Google Adwords beats Facebook when it comes to advertising products or services.
Unfortunately its interface is less intuitive than Facebook. That can lead to a lot of wasted money, especially for beginners. It also helps to have search engine optimisation knowledge, and as a professional SEO, I have to admit that it’s beyond the reach of many clients (and many marketers).
Top tips for Adwords success
- Aim for very specific, conversion-friendly keywords (for instance, keywords including ‘cheapest’ or ‘best’ suggest the user is looking to make a purchase)
- Beware low volume keywords with high competition (there are some terrible marketers out there, and just because they’re bidding for a keyword doesn’t mean you should)
- Remember that users are specifically asking a question so you must provide the answer (stay relevant)
- Research, experiment, revise, repeat (never stop chasing the best ROI)
- You must rank #1 for your brand name, even if you have to buy it!
- Include misspellings or awkward phrases (you can’t use these keywords naturally in content, so ad campaigns are a great way to incorporate them)
For businesses that can generate frequent content, offers and promotions
Email marketing can help you segment an audience to a level of sophistication that is superior to Google and Facebook. Sometimes this requires better CRM software than free options like Mailchimp, but it may be worth it. Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to understanding customers.
Emails have proven to be a very convenient way for people to keep track of a brand’s offering. Users have become fatigued by the constant flow of information that social media pages provide, and this has become the key to email marketing’s survival.
If you can retain your subscribers, they will see your brand every time you send an email, regardless of whether they click or delete it. And as long as you remain relevant, you should enjoy high open and click rates. Email is especially powerful when you have exclusive subscriber-only offers or content.
Top tips for email marketing
- Don’t buy lists – you can be banned by an email client (instead ask a partner to promote your business in their email)
- Get the user flow right (design a sophisticated series of triggered emails that will help you retain your users, complete sales, and upsell)
- Segment your audience by using multiple sign-up opt-ins, and give customers an easy way to manage subscriptions
- Encourage subscription during conversion (if you can get them to sign up, you’ll capture rich customer data,)
- Whatever you think is an acceptable frequency of emails, halve it (dramatically lean in favour of restraint)
- Give your subscribers content and offers first (reward them for signing up)
- Always allow a user to unsubscribe with a single click (personally, if I don’t have that option, I immediately hit the ‘spam’ button)
So which is the best outbound marketing channel?
It will depend on your offering.
Facebook is the easiest channel to use, and definitely the fastest way to grow clicks to a content-rich website. If you’re selling a product, you’ll find ads are a lot more effective than your page posts, unless your product has a definite cool factor (or you have a very clever marketer).
Adwords is not the best method for content specialists unless you can build a page or site section that is powerful enough to become the definitive answer to a user’s question. But it’s a must for goods and services as long as the offering satisfies the needs of the user. If you have a highly competitive niche product that is relatively easy to purchase, you’ll be hard to beat if you outbid your competitors.
Email is arguably the best method for growing a loyal audience, and when it comes to analysis, it’s surprisingly powerful because you can tailor the data to suit your needs. If you’re using it for products, you’ll need a great schedule of promotions and offers. Products or services that perform well usually have low price points or rapidly changing catalogues.
Rather than be challenged by the complexity of digital marketing, concentrate on the ROI and gradually roll out each channel strategy in phases, beginning with the one best suited to your offering.
Above all, remember that revenue is the ultimate measurements of success. If you’ve given it your best shot, but the revenue doesn’t pay for the marketing campaign, don’t give up – just change tactics.