5 Outbound Lead Generation Best Practices

by | Jul 21, 2020 | Outbound Marketing

There’s so much information out there about inbound marketing. From how to transition to inbound marketing to tools that help you do it, there’s a wealth of blogs, resources, and more to teach you everything you need to know about inbound marketing. Outbound marketing doesn’t have the same support out there, yet. 

For quite some time, marketers were moving away from outbound marketing because it was disruptive and largely ineffective. But today’s modern outbound marketing, which is targeted, specific, and relevant to ideal leads, can be remarkably effective. If you’ve been looking for ways to implement an outbound marketing strategy that delivers the leads you want, on the timeline you need, we’ve got answers. 

Here are 5 outbound lead generation best practices you can use to implement intuitive, successful outbound marketing strategies that aren’t disruptive, and deliver the leads your sales team wants. 

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01. Develop Accurate Buyer Personas

Outbound marketing is inherently less focused than inbound marketing. You’re putting out a message to a range of consumers you don’t know. Unlike inbound marketing, where the consumer chooses to engage with your content or website, you’re putting a message out to consumers who don’t necessarily know you or your brand. 

It’s more important than ever to identify who you want to talk to, so you can craft ads, emails, and events that speak to those ideal leads. 

That means developing accurate buyer personas. 

If you’re new to the buyer persona game, we’ve got a handy step-by-step guide to developing your buyer personas that should help you out.

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In general, you want to figure out who your ideal client is:

  • How old they are
  • What their job title is
  • What industry they work in
  • What their personal life looks like
  • What their personal and professional goals are
  • What challenges they face

When you have a clear picture of who you want to market to, it’s much easier to develop an outbound lead generation strategy that will still work to bring in the qualified leads you want, rather than just anyone on the internet. 

02. Create Targeted Messaging

Again, the danger of outbound marketing is always drawing in leads you don’t want.

Whether you’re developing an ad or an email campaign, you know what those buyer persona’s pain points are.

Develop content that speaks to their interests, their pain points, and their goals. 

The more tailored your content is to your buyer personas, the more you’ll encourage those qualified leads to reach out and talk to your team. It’ll also be easier for unqualified leads to see that they’re not a fit for what you’re offering. 

There is harm in creating ad copy that’s too generic. The less specific your messaging, the more likely you are to pull in buckets of unqualified leads. 

While it might seem like you’re getting a ton of leads, and that might be exciting for a minute, your sales team will quickly notice that these leads aren’t useful to them. 

Unqualified leads, especially those gained through outbound marketing tactics, are expensive. They cost money to convert, and then they cost your sales team time to connect with, only to find they’re not a good fit.

To avoid a lot of extra work for your sales team, and to maximize your outbound marketing budget, targeted messaging is an essential outbound lead generation practice that works to pull in just the qualified leads your sales team can close. 

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The outbound lead generation best practice that helps eliminate unqualified leads is messaging. You know who your buyer personas are now — craft messaging that speaks directly to them. 

Whether you’re developing an ad or an email campaign, you know what those buyer persona’s pain points are.

Develop content that speaks to their interests, their pain points, and their goals. 

The more tailored your content is to your buyer personas, the more you’ll encourage those qualified leads to reach out and talk to your team. It’ll also be easier for unqualified leads to see that they’re not a fit for what you’re offering. 

There is harm in creating ad copy that’s too generic. The less specific your messaging, the more likely you are to pull in buckets of unqualified leads. 

While it might seem like you’re getting a ton of leads, and that might be exciting for a minute, your sales team will quickly notice that these leads aren’t useful to them. 

Unqualified leads, especially those gained through outbound marketing tactics, are expensive. They cost money to convert, and then they cost your sales team time to connect with, only to find they’re not a good fit.

To avoid a lot of extra work for your sales team, and to maximize your outbound marketing budget, targeted messaging is an essential outbound lead generation practice that works to pull in just the qualified leads your sales team can close. 

03. Complete Quality Keyword Research

The success of paid advertising, whether it’s Google PPC or Facebook advertising, relies on you choosing the keywords that your ideal buyers are searching. 

That’s why keyword research is an outbound lead generation best practice. The better your keyword research, the more likely your outbound marketing ads are to perform well. 

And let’s remember, you’re paying for these ads. The better your ad targeting, the less you’ll spend to pull in outbound leads that are qualified and ready to buy. 

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If you’re new to keyword research, Google’s Keyword Planner is a great place to start. The tool makes it easy to find keywords relevant to your company, industry, or product, and it tells you at a glance how much the average bid cost is per keyword. 

If you’re new to keyword research, Google’s Keyword Planner is a great place to start. The tool makes it easy to find keywords relevant to your company, industry, or product, and it tells you at a glance how much the average bid cost is per keyword. 

A few paid keyword tips to keep in mind:

  • If you’re looking to drive sales and conversions, look for keywords that show buyer intent. These are usually highly-specific searches, like your exact product number, or a brand name. A search like “Size 9 Women’s Nike Training Shoes” is one with great buyer intent. The person typing in that query knows exactly what they want, they just have to figure out where to buy it. 

 

  • If you have a smaller budget, choose long-tail keywords. These keywords typically have a lower bid cost but can deliver more qualified leads. Though you’ll probably see fewer clicks on the keyphrase I used above than something like “women’s shoes”, the clicks you do get will be much more qualified. 
  • Look for high search volume, low competition. These keywords will be cheaper to bid on, but with a high search volume, you’ll still get in front of plenty of potential leads.
  • What are your competitors doing? If keyword research has you stumped, look into what your competitors are bidding on. Tools like SEMRush and Spyfu can help you out here. 

04. Manage Up-to-Date Contact Lists

Unlike advertising, email marketing is a tactic where you know something about the people you’re emailing. 

They gave you their email address for a reason, and that means you can use the context you have on those contacts to deliver relevant, specific messaging. 

But, targeted email marketing only works if you have up-to-date, organized contact lists. 

You could have the best email workflows and campaigns the world has ever seen. But if you’re working with out-of-date contact lists, your emails will always miss the mark. 

Contact list management is the dishwashing of digital marketing — no one wants to do it, but somebody has to. Click To Tweet Though it can feel like a pain to your marketing team, it’s important to run through those contact lists regularly, at least once a quarter. 

Just like you might split up the work of washing the dishes at home, consider breaking up contact list management into smaller tasks. 

Have your sales team diligently re-categorize leads after they close. If your marketing team is working with a lead and they go cold or transfer up to sales, encourage them to adjust that contact’s status immediately. 

If everyone pitches in just a little bit, it becomes much easier to manage contact lists. When you get to that quarterly list grooming session, it won’t be nearly so difficult or time-consuming. 

No matter how you do it, make sure you’re managing and updating your contact lists regularly. Email marketing is responsible for some of the highest outbound lead conversions — managing your leads effectively is an outbound lead generation best practice you just can’t overlook. 

05. Choose the Outbound Marketing Platforms that Best Serve Your Lead Generation Goals

Every outbound marketing platform is different. That means they’re not all perfect for your lead generation goals. 

Facebook is different from Linkedin, and both of those social media platforms deliver significantly different results than a webinar, industry event, or direct mail campaign. 

The fifth and possibly most important outbound lead generation best practice I’ll leave you with today is this: choose the outbound marketing platform that best serves your lead generation goals. 

To develop an effective outbound marketing strategy that delivers the leads you want, you need to use only the platforms that will serve your goals. Here’s a quick look at what I’m talking about: 

  • Email Marketing. Can deliver qualified leads that close, but you first need a list of contacts. 
  • Facebook Advertising. Great for raising brand awareness and driving leads to your website, but less likely to deliver immediate sales. 
  • Instagram Advertising. Delivers brand awareness, but not as great at driving conversions. 
  • Google Advertising. Delivers qualified leads to your site, and depending on the keywords you bid on, can produce great conversion and close rates. 
  • LinkedIn Advertising. Delivers highly qualified leads, and gets you in front of the professionals you want, but can be more expensive, with a lower likelihood of conversion. 

This is just a general overview of a few digital outbound marketing tactics. 

Each of those platforms does offer ways for you to develop campaigns that are more directed at awareness, driving web traffic, leads, or conversions, but it’s important to know that they don’t all work the same way, and each platform has its unique niche of benefits.  

For example, if you’re a manufacturing company looking to invest in account-based marketing tactics, Instagram probably isn’t the platform for you. LinkedIn and email marketing are likely to be more successful at targeting the key companies and positions you already know you want to get in front of. 

While every outbound marketing platform provides value, it’s an important outbound lead generation best practice to select and invest in only those platforms that align with your goals. 

If you’re having trouble deciding which platform is best suited to your outbound lead generation goals, look back at your buyer personas. 

Where do your ideal buyers hang out online? Are they avid Instagram shoppers, or are they researching solutions on Google? Maybe they’re big networkers, always looking to connect with someone new on Linkedin or Facebook. 

You’ve spent the time developing killer buyer personas. Don’t forget about them — use them to help guide your outbound marketing strategy. 

When it comes to developing an outbound marketing strategy that delivers qualified leads, your best bet is to pair those fast-acting outbound marketing platforms with inbound marketing strategy. By defining your buyer personas, taking the time to research the keywords you plan to bid on, and by tailoring your messaging to the platforms and people you want to talk to, you’ll start to see the outbound lead generation you’ve been looking for. 

We hope these outbound lead generation best practices help you optimize your strategy to pull in more of the right leads. If you have any more questions about inbound marketing, outbound marketing, or how to apply any of it, we’re here to help

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