Many marketers see inbound marketing vs. outbound marketing as a cut and dry choice they need to make. They believe they have to choose one or the other, and stick to it in order to see the best results.

If you’re doing traditional marketing tactics like cold calling and buying email lists, you could revolutionize your efforts (and get better response) by tying in some inbound marketing tactics. One big change that could transform your marketing is offering your target prospects useful content instead of simply product, company or brand advertisements.

Here are a few tips for doing outbound marketing in an inbound way.

Best inbound marketing tactics for e-mails to purchased lists

If you’re not ready to give up sending emails to purchased lists, consider changing the messages you send to those lists. Stop sending these people product promotions and other content they might not be ready for.

The problem with paid lists is that the recipients often don’t know who you are. If your very first interaction with someone is a blatant advertisement, they’re likely going to view your company as annoying or spammy.

On the other hand, you might send an email that will appeal to a recipient that doesn’t know anything about your company. What industry related questions do these people have? Send them an email containing some information that answers these questions. Rather than an overt advertisement, consider linking to a popular blog post that covers a hot topic in your industry, or a landing page for your latest topically-relevant whitepaper.

When you give someone information they can use instead of an advertisement, you set your company up as a resource. You can still have a sales message within the email, but make it a secondary message. Focus first on educating your prospect on how to solve some of their daily struggles.

Best inbound marketing tactics for print or online display advertisements

Consider using your print ad space or online banner ad space as a place to offer useful content to viewers. Many traditional marketers use advertising space as a place to promote their company's brand message. These ads often contain a website address or link to your homepage. Simply sending prospects directly to your homepage can confuse them because it's not specific to their needs.

A great way to get more interest from your ad is by advertising your content (like a whitepaper or guide). If you have an ebook that addresses your reader’s daily concerns, use that as the focal point of your advertisement. You can do this by directing people that see your ad to a landing page instead of the homepage of your site.

Promoting your ebook has an added benefit - generating relevant leads! If you send readers from your ad to a landing page for your ebook or premium content, they’ll have the chance to fill out a form to read the information. Now you’re creating a database of people who are interested in specific topics, and could potentially be highly qualified leads.

Best inbound marketing tactics for trade shows

Trade shows are traditionally focused on companies and their offerings. Companies set up their booth, give away branded swag, and promote their latest product or service.

This kind of information is good for someone who knows exactly what they’re looking for, but not everyone at a trade show is ready to buy. Alongside your branded offerings, consider offering some useful information.

Here’s an easy way to do this - choose a blog post that you think would be relevant to your trade show audience. Copy the blog post onto your letterhead and make copies of this content available at your booth.

Another inbound trade show tip is to build your email subscriber list. Make an iPad or even just a sheet of paper available at your booth that invites attendees to sign up for regular, relevant tips from your company. Send them a quick “thank you” email after the trade show, and send them new blog posts as they are posted to your website.

We've talked before about how you can get hundreds of ideas for your blog if you write down questions trade show attendees ask. We've also talked about some clever ideas for using social media at your next trade show.

Small Steps

The reasons you'd use these inbound marketing tactics in your traditional marketing is to engage the buyer and get new, warm sales leads your sales team can follow up on.

By sending readers to your website, you can position yourself as a resource for your consumers as they read information they can use. An added benefit of a form on a landing page can encourage people to convert, become leads, and potential customers.

What other ideas do you have for transforming traditional advertising to encourage interaction? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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