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Modern Outbound Lead Generation: Not Your Father's Marketing

Last Updated May 5, 2021

Let’s talk about lead generation. This one is for all the budding SaaS marketing pros still trying to pin down their lead strategy and figure out what the heck “outbound lead generation” means.

What you'll learn in this post:

Tom Hanks thinking face

Contrary to popular belief, outbound lead generation is very much alive, even if it doesn’t look like it once used to. While we might think of it as a more old-school approach like cold calls and cold emails, it can still work and deliver results if used effectively along with today’s marketing trends and technologies.

Outbound lead generation defined

Outbound lead generation is sometimes called “interruption marketing,” because it consists of initiating contact with prospects to communicate a sales message to people who haven’t asked to be reached. Think of marketing tactics that show up unprompted in our daily routines—that’s the gist of outbound lead generation. Often we see these messages on signs, buses, billboards, and TV shows. You know telemarketing? Yeah, that’s interruption marketing.

Let’s pause for a second because I bet you’re boiling at the thought of telemarketers bugging you. Breathe.

Alicia Keys deep breath

Moving on.

We’re not here to hate on outbound lead generation. In fact, thanks to technological advancements, outbound lead generation methods aren’t as traditional or interruptive as they used to be. Technology has improved the relevance of outbound lead generation for businesses to reach their target demographic without being annoying. 

personalize-prospecting-emails-example-twoExample: personalized cold email via Yesware 

Don’t throw outbound marketing out with the bathwater! There are awesome benefits to trying out outbound lead generation strategies. Let’s take a closer look.

Outbound lead generation vs. Inbound lead generation

Lead generation is popular in the SaaS marketing and B2B space where there is often a push-pull relationship between marketing and sales teams. (Who do you think would win in that fight?)

Looney Tunes fighting

The main difference between outbound and inbound lead gen is who is in control—outbound marketing is uninvited (but mostly tolerated) advertising, whereas with inbound marketing the target audience initiated the relationship with the advertiser. It’s like the difference between having a stranger slide into your DMs versus giving a new acquaintance your number and getting a text from them the next day. 

Maybe both are welcome messages (let’s hope so!), but one was invited and the other was not.

Common examples of outbound marketing include:

  • Paid social media ads that appear while you're scrolling Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and wherever else you hang out online. 
  • Paid search or display ads that show up when you're browsing Buzzfeed.
  • Native ads that populate on websites when you're catching up on the news. 
  • Sponsored reviews in apps or on websites. 
  • Cold email blasts to lists of leads.

Outbound lead generation relies on you to seek out your leads, rather than them opting into communications. 

If you want to take full control of the overall interaction and generate measurable results for your business, use outbound lead generation to get in touch with your potential leads first. Don’t make prospects find you—give them directions, maybe even a map!

Blake Griffin sliding into DMs

How outbound lead generation can help your marketing strategy

Build awareness quickly

You can reach a wider group of audiences by generating leads through outbound methods (like paid search), most especially including those who may have no idea they need your product just yet.  

If you already know who your target audience is, and you’ve done the research to know them well, outbound lead generation can also be a powerful means to grab leads ripe for nurturing. 

This is the method we use most often, and why we encourage our clients and readers to pursue an active management approach to their digital marketing efforts. You want to research, test, and optimize all outbound strategies (especially paid traffic!) so that you're incrementally improving your chances of reaching the right audience at the right time. 

👍 Testing works! Check out these 5 client success stories.

Control your leads

As outbound lead generation methods often target specific data sets, you get the upper hand of having more control over who hears about your brand and which leads then are passed onto your sales team.

Unlike this blog that will be published into the ether for anyone to see (using the power of SEO and inbound-focused content magic), outbound marketing strategies chase down leads where they are. That means that you get a lot more say in who will see your advertising efforts (or receive your emails, phone calls, and so on). 

Gain sharper marketing intelligence

Using outbound lead generation methods will help your team better understand your audience and at the same time produce carefully controlled and data-driven campaigns for your business.

Which is better - inbound lead generation or outbound lead generation?

This is the million-dollar question we’ve been waiting for the whole post to answer! Truthfully, neither inbound nor outbound lead generation is inherently better. In fact, we ourselves use a combination of the two. When you download one of our awesome PDF guides to paid traffic from our website—that’s inbound lead gen! But when we push out ads on Facebook—that’s us using outbound marketing tactics.

Why don't we have both?

Using both methods makes your digital strategy stronger. With paid ads, we can get a really quick read on what messaging is a hit and what’s a bust. On the other hand, if we see a blog post skyrocket in views, that tells us we might have a good topic to test in our ad campaigns. 

🏠 "Rent-to-own" your marketing strategy by testing PPC campaigns. →

Make sure that you take the opportunity to pull insights holistically from your lead generation efforts and use those learnings to strengthen your marketing overall. 

If you want to find out how to bring effective outbound lead generation to your growing brand, book a call with our team!

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