Outbound Marketing

Attract, convert and close more customers.

Outbound marketing isn’t dead.

There. We said it.

Controversial? Maybe.

True? Definitely.

It doesn’t matter who you are, if you’re on social media or the internet at all, you’ve engaged with at least one advertisement.

Whether it was a remarketing ad reminding you about those shoes you added to your cart, or an Instagram ad that hooked you into a new, sustainable food delivery service, we’re all still susceptible to outbound marketing tactics.

For a while, many marketers — especially those loyal to the inbound methodology — wrote off outbound marketing practices as disruptive and detrimental to a consumer’s experience with a company.

But what if you’re offering a product you know your target buyer wants? Is it really so disruptive to offer them something that will actually improve their life?

Maybe not. And that’s why outbound marketing (when done properly) is still a powerful resource when seeking to increase traffic, leads, and new customers.

Overview/Table of Contents

Today, outbound marketing still exists, and people still use broadcast advertising and cold calls, but effective outbound marketing is a little different.

This guide to outbound marketing and the digital marketing agencies who use it will teach you how to combine outbound marketing effectively with a targeted inbound marketing strategy to generate qualified leads and engage potential clients positively, while still getting your product out there.

Here’s a look at the layout of this guide. Feel free to jump to the section you’re most interested in, or stick with us for the long haul.

What is Outbound Marketing?

Outbound marketing is any type of marketing that pushes your product, service, or message to a consumer.

If you were born before the internet, you might know this as just *marketing*. In the old days (before the internet) outbound marketing meant cold calls, broadcast and print advertising, television and radio ads, and anything else that generally interrupted your daily activities.

In today’s digital age, outbound marketing is pay-per-click advertising, social media advertising, and targeted email marketing. These are all methods of getting your brand out there. Unlike the old days, these outbound marketing methods can be developed with an inbound marketing perspective that minimizes the disruption in your target buyer’s day, and constantly provides a high-level customer service experience.

Can Outbound Marketing Really Work With Inbound Marketing?

The simple answer is yes.

The real answer is still yes, but it’ll take a bit of work.

It’s easy to get caught up in an either/or mindset when it comes to inbound and outbound marketing, but the truth is that both methods deliver better results when they work together.

Outbound tactics in the past were at odds with the inbound approach of informing and delighting leads. Today, a shift in the way consumers purchase means any effective marketing campaign needs to make use of both inbound and outbound tactics for the best results. Let’s look at why that is:

Today’s consumers don’t appreciate the hard sell. They don’t like a “buy this and change your life forever” approach. We’ve talked about this before in our analysis of how B2B advertising has changed.

Instead, today’s consumers want a story. They want to know where a product comes from, how it got here, what it does, and how they can choose the right version for themselves.

Inbound methodology solves this new consumer desire by offering up quality content that tells a story about a product and that packages a company as a living, breathing network made up of people who matter and who care. Today’s outbound marketing tactics function to deliver those messages to the right people, at the right time, more quickly than organic search results could.

In other words, when done properly, outbound marketing is a tool to deliver that resonant inbound marketing story efficiently to the right people.

Let’s look at a quick example of outbound marketing assisting inbound marketing:

Say you created a content offer that you know will help your ideal client. This is great content that’s super relevant to a lot of your qualified buyers.

How are you going to get the word out?

You could write a blog about it, and you could promote it on your social media channels, but given the state of social media channels these days, if you don’t throw money at it, you’re unlikely to see much exposure.

You want traffic to that content offer now!

In that case, a pay-per-click or social media ad might be your best bet. You can choose the keywords you’d like that content offer to appear for, and if you opt for a social media ad, you can also choose exactly who sees that ad and who doesn’t.

By understanding your target market, and applying inbound marketing principles to your outbound marketing campaign, you can optimize your ads to reach the right people, at the right time, on the right platform.

These are outbound marketing tactics, definitely. They push your company and your product out to consumers. But, when they’re applied with an inbound mentality, you save money and boost ROI by targeting only the right consumers, who are already interested in what you have to say.

Who Uses Outbound Marketing Strategies?

Many businesses and companies use outbound marketing strategies like these, but those who have a particular expertise in outbound marketing are called digital marketing agencies.

A digital marketing agency is an agency dedicated to growing your company through a comprehensive suite of digital marketing tactics. This includes both the inbound marketing methodology, as well as outbound marketing and business growth tactics.

When it comes to outbound marketing specifically, a digital marketing agency is dedicated to managing and optimizing your outbound marketing campaigns for overall company growth.

To understand the complete suite of outbound marketing tactics a digital marketing agency uses, here’s a breakdown of the most common outbound marketing tactics, and how a digital marketing agency will optimize them to grow your company:

The most common outbound marketing strategy you’ll see in the digital age is paid search. Think of paid search as the umbrella term for any paid ads you see on search engines like Google, Bing or Yahoo.

What is Paid Search?

Paid search, or paid search advertising is any type of advertising you do on search engines. Paid search ads show up on search engine results pages with a small “ad” tag, and are categorized as any search result that is not organic, and has instead been skewed by an advertising budget.

Many people get paid search confused with PPC — or pay-per-click advertising. While PPC is a way to advertise on search engines, it’s not the only way.

If you’re looking for help on PPC specifically, take a look at these two blogs:

PPC For B2B Manufacturers: Everything You Need to Know

Optimizing Your Homebuilding PPC Strategy For Local Leads

Otherwise, let’s keep moving.

We’ll get into the different types of paid search ads in our section on Google Advertising, but it’s good to keep in mind that paid search refers to any type of advertising you do on a search engine — from shopping ads, to impression ads, to local search advertising and more.

Who Uses Paid Search Advertising?

Paid search advertising is useful for nearly any business. As long as your target audience uses the internet, there are ways to optimize paid search advertising campaigns that can drive new, qualified traffic to your website.

Digital marketing agencies are particularly adept at paid search advertising. Before we get into the why though, let’s define a few of the industry terms and acronyms we’re going to start throwing at you:

Paid Search Terms to Know

  • CPC – Cost per click. This is a metric your digital marketing agency will track to determine how much you’re spending for each click in your paid search ad campaign.
  • CPM – Cost per mille. This is a metric your digital marketing agency will track when they run impression ads. It will tell you how much you’re paying for every 1,000 impressions your paid search ad campaign delivers.
  • CTR – Click-through-rate. Another paid search metric, click-through-rate measures how many people actually click on your ad and make it to your website or landing page.
  • Impressions – Every time a consumer sees your paid search ad, it’s considered an impression. The more impressions, generally the more successful the ad.
  • Keyword – The word or phrase you bid on for your ad to appear. A digital marketing agency will run an entire keyword report before creating a paid search campaign. This ensures you’re creating ad campaigns that target keywords and queries your target buyer is searching.
  • PLA – Product Listing Ads. This is a general term for a shopping ad. The most common example would be a Google Shopping Ad.
  • PPC – Pay per click. This is the most common paid search model, where advertisers pay search engines for every click on an ad they’ve created. Check out this blog post for more information on how PPC ads and budgets work.  
  • SEM – Search engine marketing. Any type of marketing done to optimize search engine positioning, either paid or organic. Also refers to SEO (Search engine optimization).
  • SERPSearch engine results pages. These are the results that a search engine returns when someone types in a search query. Google’s first page results are the most famous.

Benefits of Paid Search

As a digital marketing agency, we use paid search to help grow our client’s businesses quickly. One question we get often is about the benefit of paid search, especially since we primarily focus on inbound marketing tactics that aren’t very costly.

Many companies new to digital advertising wonder if paid search offers a legitimate return on investment, and why we’d use paid search if our inbound tactics are supposed to deliver results. Here’s what we usually say:

Paid search ads cost money, sure.

They don’t cost as much as that billboard or radio ad spot you were thinking about though.

On average, a PPC ad on Google will cost the advertiser between $1-$2 per click. That’s an average across all industries, and we often find that costs go down as we target longtail bottom-of-the funnel keywords that produce qualified leads.

That’s a pretty good savings, especially if you’re only targeting keywords that speak to searchers ready to buy. Here are a few additional benefits you can reap from a quality paid search campaign, beyond just saving money:

First Page Placement

The first, perhaps most obvious benefit of paid search advertising is that it puts your company front and center on the first page of search results.

For consumers who are ready to buy, that’s exactly the placement you need.

And if your ad viewers aren’t quite ready to buy, you’re still getting your company name out in front of them (if you’re running PPC ads, you’re not paying for the people who see your ad but don’t click). When they are ready to buy, they’ll remember seeing you at the top of search results.

Paid Search Clickers are Ready to Buy

Paid search is the only platform where you can place ads in front of an audience who is actively searching for a solution. (Read: your solution) People on search engines are there for a reason. They’re looking for answers to a question or a problem they’re experiencing right now.

That fact alone means that by advertising with paid search, you’re going to encounter consumers who are looking for exactly what you have to offer.

What’s more, paid search can deliver a profitable ROI because the people who click ads on SERPs are the people who are most ready to buy. They’ve already done their research, compared products and companies, and are ready to make a decision.

People who are ready to buy are more likely to click on the top three results that pop up (the paid search results) and make a decision from there.

Paid Search Analytics

Paid search advertising offers a great deal of insight into your ideal buyer’s demographics and purchasing habits.

Search engines like Google and Bing offer up analytics to advertisers using their platform. They provide information about the people who click on your ads that you can use to further optimize your advertising campaigns and even apply to your larger inbound marketing strategy.

You can learn:

  • Where people clicking your ads are located geographically
  • How much time they spend on your website
  • What pages they visited on your website
  • What device they were using to surf your site (tablet, phone, or desktop)

With this kind of information in hand, you can tailor your ads to target specific times, regions, and ad types that you know your target buyer is more likely to engage with. The more you analyze and optimize, the more profitable results your ad campaigns will drive.

Efficient Results

As a digital marketing agency, we often use paid search advertising to drive immediate results to a new client website. Inbound marketing and SEO best practices can take some time to have an effect and boost organic search results.

Paid search advertising, on the other hand, works to drive qualified traffic to new sites immediately, rather than waiting for search engines to crawl and rank the site. This helps us deliver efficient, qualified results to clients just starting the inbound journey.

Paid Search is Cost Effective

When it comes to paid search advertising, you only pay what you want. You’re able to set an ad budget for a month, a week, or even just a day, depending on what your goals are. You bid on what you’re willing to spend for the keywords of your choice.

You also have the opportunity to tweak and update ad campaigns in real time. If one keyword isn’t performing, or if you’re spending way too much on a few keywords, you can reduce spending, take those keywords out of your ad set, and reconfigure your campaign to better fit your goals and budget.

Paid search advertising can deliver some pretty exciting results when developed properly.

The trick is to create campaigns that target the right people, and the right keywords, so you’re only spending money on qualified leads that you actually want to work with. Here’s how a digital marketing agency develops paid search campaigns like those:

How Digital Marketing Agencies Develop Paid Search Campaigns That Convert At Low Cost

Paid search advertising campaigns take time and experience to develop effectively.

You want a paid search campaign that delivers results, but you also don’t want to spend an arm and a leg to do it. That’s where a digital marketing agency comes in.

It’s a digital marketing agency’s job to develop effective paid search advertising campaigns that not only convert, but produce positive ROI. How do they do it?

Keyword Research

Everything in the digital marketing world, inbound or outbound, starts with keyword research.

You have to know what keywords your site is already ranking for and what it’s not ranking for.

There’s no point in bidding on keywords or phrases that you’re already on the first page for — you’re just throwing money away then.

On the other hand, it’s not worth it to bid on super-general keywords like “coconut” or “digital marketing”. These are broad level keywords that will be expensive, and that aren’t likely to target specific buyer personas.

The first thing any quality digital marketing agency will tackle when it comes to your paid search advertising campaign is your target keywords. These are keywords that:

  • Your website doesn’t already rank highly for
  • Are relevant to your business
  • Speak to your target buyer
  • Target bottom-of-the-funnel queries (people who are ready to buy)
  • Have low competition
  • Have a relatively high search volume

A digital marketing agency knows that the paid search sweet spot is in relevant keywords that have a high search volume, but a low cost-per-click rate. These are the keywords that will get you the site visitors you want, at an attractive price.

Identifying Intent

It’s not enough to bid on a few keywords that are relevant to your company. A quality digital marketing agency works to identify the intent behind specific keywords and phrases. This helps pin down keywords that are guaranteed to convert qualified buyers likely to click through and make a purchase or take an action.

Let’s look at two keyword phrases for example:

“What is Digital Marketing”

“Best Digital Marketing Agencies Near Me”

Both of these phrases are focused on the concept of “digital marketing.” But only one of these keyword phrases identifies an intent. Can you guess which one?

If you said door number two, you’d be correct.

The first search query is exploratory and informational. The searcher wants to know what digital marketing is. While it’s possible that they’ll need a digital marketing agency in the future, they’re currently at the very top of the buyer’s funnel, and aren’t anywhere close to making a decision.

If you bid on the first keyword, your ad would perform best if the ad linked to a content offer or blog post explaining the basics of digital marketing. But, if you’re a digital marketing agency, this isn’t a great keyword to bid on.

Why?

Because you’re paying for a top-of-the-funnel prospect to come to your website when you could be bidding on bottom-of-the-funnel keywords that will convert quickly, and prove immediate ROI.

The second search query, or keyword phrase, demonstrates the searcher’s intent to buy.

They’re looking for the best digital marketing agencies in their area, which means they’re probably looking for the top two or three options so they can make a final decision about which agency is best for them.

“Best Digital Marketing Agencies Near Me”is a longtail keyword that’s likely to produce a better ROI than the first keyword phrase, because a larger percentage of the people who click on the second ad have already decided that they need a digital marketing agency, and are working to make a purchasing decision.  

A digital marketing agency works every day to zero in on keywords that signify buyer intent, and offer a low CPC value.

Continual Campaign Optimization

A digital marketing agency that understands the benefit of outbound marketing is dedicated to developing, launching, monitoring and optimizing paid search advertising campaigns.

It’s their job to monitor your ad sets often, and make necessary adjustments to ensure you’re getting the best value out of the money you’re putting into those ad campaigns.

With a digital marketing agency optimizing your ads continually, your team is free to work on other things.

Quality paid search advertising takes time — time to develop, time to deploy, and time to optimize — if your team doesn’t have that kind of time or the experience necessary to develop a proper strategy, a digital marketing agency is a great choice to get you those leads you want.  

Regular Reporting

Another key positive you can expect when working with a digital marketing agency to develop your paid search advertising campaign is regular reporting. Your paid search advertising platforms offer analytics, as we’ve mentioned before.

Your digital marketing agency will break those analytics down for you, offering a clear picture of what’s working, what’s not working, and what you can do to continue optimizing your strategy.

Since digital marketing agencies regularly work in paid search advertising, they can offer a great deal of insight into your campaign, providing you with the information you need to make data-driven decisions for the future.

How Paid Search Fits into an Outbound Marketing Strategy that Boosts Lead Generation

Paid search is just one (very important) aspect of your outbound marketing strategy. Paid ad strategies that perform well and produce quality ROI deliver qualified leads directly to your website.

More than that, paid ads can work together with your entire digital marketing strategy to nurture target buyers through the buyer’s funnel and all the way to close.

When you apply outbound marketing strategies like paid advertising to a website that has been optimized using inbound marketing techniques, the methodologies work together to bring you the leads you want and help you engage with those leads meaningfully at the right time to convert them into customers.

Paid search is a great way to drive qualified visitors to your site. They can’t make people buy things, but they can get target buyers headed in the right direction.

Once someone clicks over from your ad, it’s up to your website and your sales and marketing teams to do the rest, which is why paid ads work so well in conjunction with other marketing strategies.

Paid search is one of the biggest outbound marketing strategies, so we’re going to spend a little time going over its most well-known platform: Google.

Google Advertising with your Digital Marketing Agency

We’ve been talking about paid search advertising for a while, and if you’re like us, you’ve probably been thinking Google. That’s because Google is far and away the most popular paid search provider out there today. There are other providers, like Bing, but Google tends to get the spotlight in any conversation about paid search advertising.

If you’re working with a digital marketing agency to develop your outbound marketing strategy, you’ll need to know a little about Google Advertising:

What are Google Ads

Google Ads are Google’s version of paid search advertising.

Google has long had a comprehensive system, formerly known as Google AdWords, that allows digital marketers to develop, deploy, and optimize paid search ads that are either pay-per-click, or pay-per-thousand impressions. Google has optimized this ad platform for years, until it’s become what we know now as Google Ads.

Today, Google offers two major options for paid search advertising, called Google Search Network and Google Display Network. Here’s a bit about each:

Google Search Network

Google Search Network is probably what you think of when you hear “paid search advertising” or “PPC”. These are the ads that pop up on Google SERPs when a user enters in a query.

Google offers a few different types of search network ads, text ads, shopping ads, and image or video ads. Here’s a quick breakdown of those: 

Google Text Ad – A text ad is pretty self explanatory. It’ll look something like this, and will have that little green ad icon in the top left.

example-of-google-ads

Google Shopping Ad – A shopping ad will display and link to products for sale. Instead of being labeled “ad”, they’re labeled “sponsored.” You’ll only really see shopping ads in queries for a specific product, like men’s boots or heated coffee mugs. You can expect shopping ads to look something like this:

example-of-google-shopping-ads

Google Image and Video Ad – These ads, as you might imagine, display an image or video, instead of just text. These ads are displayed on Google’s partner sites, which means it’s hard to say what they might look like in the end. For the most part, they’ll look similar to Google’s other ads — your image or video, your ad copy, and a small indication that the post is sponsored.

Google Search Network ads show up on the Google search engine, and any search engines Google has partnered with.

Google Display Network

Google Display Network Ads are ads that will show up on Google’s partner sites. You’ve seen these online when you’re taking Buzzfeed quizzes, when you’re browsing your favorite news sites, and especially when you’re shopping online.

These are the ads that show up on the right hand side of your screen, advertising products and services that might be relevant to what you’re already browsing.

According to Google, the Display Network reaches over 90% of global internet users expanding across 2 million sites. If it’s exposure you want, the Display Network is a good place to start.

Google determines placement based on the demographics you set for your ads, but your digital marketing agency can also take control by choosing the specific domains you’d like ads to show up on.

Types of Display Network Ads

Remarketing Ads

One of the best ways for many companies to get started in Google’s Display Network is to begin a remarketing campaign.

At this point, most of us have been on the tail-end of a remarketing campaign. Let’s say you’re thinking about buying a new pair of shoes. You check out a few websites, maybe add a pair or two to your cart or wishlist.

A week later, you’re scrolling Facebook, only to find that exact same pair of shoes you saved popping up in ads left and right!

This is an example of a remarketing ad.

It sounds a little creepy, but essentially sites use cookies to track users, and then are able to remarket that specific product or service to the same user as they browse other sites in the Google Display Network.

While remarketing ads are a great place to start, you can use Google Display ads for a number of goals, products, and services.

Responsive Display Ads

Also called “native ads” by outbound marketing professionals, responsive display ads are developed by your digital marketing agency, but Google will optimize them to improve performance and blend into the network partner’s website look and feel. These ads provide a more cohesive feel to the web browser, and feel less disruptive than ads that aren’t responsive to the publishing site.

Image Ads

For a simple ad option, Google’s Uploaded Image ads allow you to easily upload an ad as an image, choose your campaign settings, and let it roll.

Engagement Ads

If you’re looking to boost brand awareness, an engagement ad might be a good option for your company. Engagement ads make use of images and videos, and encourage people to interact with your ad. Google will track the ads’ engagement to see how people are responding to your ad and brand.

Gmail Ads

Google’s Display Network also lets you place ads at the top of people’s inboxes. Your ad will show up in an expandable format right in people’s Gmail account.

How Google Ads Drive Traffic to Your Website

Google ads, in every form, work to drive traffic to your website just like any other paid search advertising campaign. When it comes to Google ads, you have quite a few options about which metrics are most important to you, and who you’d like to see your ad.

You can choose to display ads based on keywords, target demographic, specific website domains if you’re working with display ads, and so much more.

You can also choose to run traffic campaigns, lead campaigns, campaigns that increase sales, boost engagement, promote your brand, or generate product awareness. This makes Google Advertising a flexible tool that you can use to drive the right traffic to the right pages of your website.

The only kicker?

You do have to bid against other people — and when it comes to Google, the best ad always wins, regardless of how much you bid.

That’s where your digital marketing agency will come in handy.

How a Digital Marketing Agency Develops Effective Google Ad Campaigns

Google is a notorious people pleaser.

Nearly every decision Google has made to improve their algorithm since their founding has been done to improve user experience.

For us users, that’s awesome. It’s one of the reasons Google is most people’s go-to search engine.

For outbound marketers, Google’s consumer pleasing approach is still awesome, but can make advertising a little more difficult.

Here’s what a quality digital marketing agency needs to do to ensure your ad gets placement over your competition.

You Have to Beat the Competition in the Google Ad Auction

The first thing to know about how the Google Ad platform works is that it’s basically a competition.

Your digital marketing agency will choose particular keywords, strategically bid on those keywords, and develop ad campaigns around them, but you’re always competing against other companies bidding on those same keywords.

And how you win isn’t exactly straightforward.

You’d think that to get the best placement, you’d have to bid the most money.

In capitalist America, that would make sense. Except that Google cares about user experience above all else.

Google gives priority ad placement to ads it feels are the best. Your ad’s placement will be determined by its “Ad Rank“. That is, how well Google expects it to perform.

Ad Rank is determined by a number of factors, but key aspects your digital marketing agency will watch out for include:

Relevance

The ads your digital marketing agency develops for your outbound marketing strategy have to be relevant to the keywords you’re bidding on.

If you’re selling coconuts, and you decide to bid on the keyword “digital marketing agency”, Google probably isn’t going to show your ad.

Google favors ads that are highly relevant to the keywords they are related to. So, your digital marketing agency will work to develop ad content that includes the keywords you’ve bid on, and that offers a specific solution to that searcher’s query.

Eye Catching, But Not Spammy

Google appreciates calls-to-action that draw the consumer’s eye, but will not tolerate spammy tactics like 15 exclamation points or all-caps ad content.

Your digital marketing agency will have to work to develop ad content that is exciting and intriguing, without relying on spam tactics. This is why it’s handy to work with a digital marketing agency that understands inbound marketing. They’ll be able to develop content that speaks directly to your target audience, with an attractive call-to-action that’s eye catching, without seeming spammy.

Appropriate Landing Page

Google Ads takes a look at every aspect of your ad to determine its ad rank. If you’re advertising an awesome deal on granite remnants, but link to your company’s home page instead of a page that shows all the discounted materials, your ranking will go down.

Your Google Ad Rank is dependent on more than just the ad copy your digital marketing company writes. Your ad also has to be useful to their searchers. You can’t lead them to a general page, because that won’t solve their problems.

Your digital marketing agency can help you develop ads that link to quality landing pages and solve Google searcher’s questions, while simultaneously bringing new, qualified leads to your website.

In the end, Google Ads, and paid search advertising as a whole is an amazingly useful outbound marketing tactic, but you have to implement it properly.

A digital marketing agency has the expertise and the team you need to develop paid ads that convert qualified leads to your website. Without that experience, it’s easy to waste money on paid ads that don’t rank well or that don’t convert.

Social Media Advertising

Now that we know how paid search advertising works, it’s time to move on to social media advertising.

A newer, perhaps more hip way to hit your target audience, social media advertising is another powerful outbound marketing tool. The biggest issue with social media advertising is that many companies don’t recognize its benefits. (S/O to all our B2Bs, we’ve got a guide to social media if you’re not already using it.)

Let’s start by identifying what social media advertising is, and why it is so useful in the digital age:

What is Social Media Advertising?

Social media advertising, also known as paid social, is any social media marketing effort that is paid for.

This could be a boosted post on social media, or it could be a social media advertising campaign you’ve devised and deployed on Facebook.

Essentially, paid social is any type of social media interaction or post that you’re paying for.

If you’re paying for a like campaign, boosting posts, or running Instagram ads, you’re already using paid social to your advantage.

If you’re not, here’s why you should be:

Why Paid Social Media Is Necessary for Brands and Businesses

Paid social media is necessary for brands and businesses primarily because social media platforms are restricting your organic reach.

While many brands and companies feel this is unfair, there is a reason for it. That being, consumers.

Consumers don’t like being sold to, and they really only want to see advertisements when they expect to be seeing advertisements. So, as social media platforms have evolved, their algorithms have begun to hamstring the reach a business’s post can have.

Of course, there are ulterior motives too. Social media platforms don’t want you advertising a product if they can’t get a cut too.

The general rule is if you’re posting a lot of promotional posts and materials, you probably won’t get much of an organic reach, especially on Facebook.

That’s where paid social comes in. Your promotional Facebook post isn’t getting much engagement on its own, but when you boost it with a little money, and target who, specifically, you’d like to see that post, you can do wonders to boost awareness for you your brand, and get the word out about your promotions.

Whether you’ve already begun advertising on social media platforms, or you’re still not sure about outbound marketing as a whole, this next section is going to give you an in-depth look at how and why paid social is so effective. Let’s start with a couple of basic terms:

Paid Social Media Terms to Know:

Each of these terms refers to a different metric. Social media advertising platforms measure each and every ad you deploy, and return these following metrics to let you know how your ads are performing:

  • Conversions — Any action a consumer takes on your ad by clicking a link, liking your page, or reacting to your post is considered a conversion. Most often, we refer to conversion as the act of clicking over to a website from a social media ad. In that case, conversions could also be measured by “click-through-rate”.
  • Traffic — The amount of people coming to your website. Usually referred to as a “boost in traffic” or a “decrease in traffic”. Some social media ads work to drive more traffic to your website or business.
  • Engagement — How much people interact with your post by commenting, sharing, liking, or reacting to it. Engagement campaigns are used on social media platforms to raise awareness for your brand.
    • Brand Awareness — When we talk about awareness or brand awareness, we’re talking about the number of people who recognize your company when they see your logo or hear your company name. The better brand awareness you have in your industry, the more likely you are to be a consumer’s first choice. Google is an example of a company with great brand awareness.
  • Reach — In the context of social media advertising, reach means the number of people your ad reaches: how far it spreads across social media.
  • Impressions — Each time someone sees your ad, a social media platform counts that as one impression. Usually an ad will have more impressions than reach, because many consumers will see your ad more than once.
  • Frequency — The average number of times each consumer saw your ad through the course of its campaign.
  • Lead Generation — Lead generation refers to the number of qualified consumers who contact your company or who leave their contact information with your sales or marketing team. Inbound marketers and digital marketing agencies use lead generation as a key metric indicator of overall success. The more qualified leads who contact you after seeing an ad, reading a content offer, or coming to your website, the more effective your digital marketing agency’s tactics.

How Digital Marketing Agencies Use Paid Social Effectively

When used effectively, paid social media can do a lot for inbound marketers and outbound marketers alike.

What sets okay digital marketing agencies apart from great digital marketing agencies is mindset.

You need a digital marketing agency whose focus isn’t just on outbound marketing tactics. If they understand the fundamentals of inbound marketing too, they’ll be able to develop a paid social media campaign that is perfectly optimized for your brand and your audience.

The Key is Quality Over Quantity

One pillar of inbound marketing is that you want to gather the right qualified leads, rather than just any old Joe Shmoe on the internet.

Instead of wasting money, time, and effort blasting your message to the general public, handpicking the perfect, ideal audience for your brand will garner better results, and you won’t have to work as hard to do it.

That’s what makes paid social advertising so effective for inbound marketers who understand outbound marketing methods too. They’re able to narrow ad sets down to just the key consumers you want to work with, and who are likely to want to work with you too.

Bulking Up Your Digital Marketing Strategy With Paid Social

Quality digital marketing agencies know that paid social is an outbound marketing tactic that can seriously bulk up your overall marketing strategy. Here are just a few ways your digital marketing agency can use paid social to drive traffic and qualified lead generation to your business:

Promote Content

Let’s say your digital marketing agency just worked with you to develop a brand new ebook or whitepaper.

The best place to share the news would be on social media, but you could amplify that announcement by sponsoring the post.

Since most businesses have a declining organic reach on social media platforms, a sponsored post would ensure that a greater number of your fans and followers are able to see what you’ve just created.

Better Understand Your Audience

Paid social media posts also give you an opportunity to better understand your audience.

When you create an advertisement or sponsor a post, all social media platforms offer you in-depth analytics in return. You can see which demographics responded the best to your ads, at what times your ad was most successful, and where a lot of your successful engagement and clicks are coming from.

This gives your digital marketing agency better insight into your target audience, allowing them to custom-tailor future content and ad development specifically to those most likely to engage with it.

See Immediate Results

Inbound marketing takes time. Your digital marketing agency will tell you that even as you improve your website’s SEO, publish more content, and work on beefing up your social media profiles, you’re unlikely to see immediate results.

Paid social media advertising can help you get immediate traffic by putting your company directly in front of consumers who best fit your brand. From there, you can gain insights from the traffic and leads you do get, and make adjustments to your new website and content accordingly.

Save Money

When you work with a digital marketing agency, they know your ideal buyer backwards and forwards. They understand their likes, interests, occupations, and so much more.

That means they can work to develop narrowly targeted ads that are specific to your company, and to each unique advertising campaign.

Since social media advertising is already so much cheaper than any other form of advertising out there, it offers an excellent opportunity to grow your brand awareness and drive traffic to your website in a way that’s inexpensive.

Identify New Opportunities

The powerful analytics that social media advertising platforms provide can do more than help you better understand your existing audience. They can also reveal new opportunities that you or your digital marketing agency may not have considered.

For example, maybe your company primarily markets your product to millenials, but after deploying a few Facebook and Instagram campaigns, you see that your ads are resonating with older working professionals as well.

This gives you insight about new opportunities your outbound marketing team can take advantage of to deliver more traffic and more leads.

Social Media Advertising Platforms Perfect for Your Outbound Marketing Strategy

There are all kinds of social media advertising platforms out there, and my guess is that you’ve heard of most of them. If not — no worries, that’s what this section is for.

Whether you’re familiar with the following social media advertising platforms or not, keep on reading. This next section will break down a few of the most popular social media advertising platforms and tell you how each platform is unique, who it’s useful for, and how you can use it.

Facebook Advertising

Facebook advertising is one of the most popular digital advertising platforms out there, surpassed only by Google Ads.

In the beginning of Facebook Ads, super low-cost ad prices were drawing advertisers to the platform to supplement pre-existing Facebook followings (tips on how to grow a FB following here). Now, digital marketing agencies recognize Facebook as a powerful tool for narrowly targeted ads.

Facebook has a great deal of insight into the lives of its users and can offer highly specific demographic and targeting information that ensures your ads go to exactly the right people.

Whether you’d like to segment by interest, age, occupation, income level, or more, Facebook makes it easy to drill down on an ad set that’s highly specific.

Different Types of Facebook Ads

Facebook offers a number of ad types, each with their own pros and cons depending on what your objective is for your Facebook ad campaign. Let’s take a quick look at the different types of Facebook ads available:

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Brand Awareness Facebook Ads

If you’re new to Facebook, or are hoping to get the word out about your product, a brand awareness campaign can help you get new followers and let people know that your brand exists. Facebook’s brand awareness ads are pretty flexible, so you’ll see them used often, even for campaigns that aren’t related to brand awareness.\

To get the most out of these ads, though, you’ll want to create some show-stopping content. The goal is to make an impression that helps people remember you.

This ad from Promo is a great example of a brand awareness ad that makes people stop and look. The creative for this ad is a bright, powerful burst video that catches the eye.

They’ve included a “learn more” button for those who are interested in checking out their brand, but even if you don’t click on the ad, you’re likely to remember its vibrant colors and associate them with the Promo brand name. Brand awareness mission accomplished.

Local Awareness Ad

Got a local company or brick and mortar store? Local awareness ads work just like brand awareness ads, but they’re tied to your specific location. If you’re trying to create awareness for a new store you have opening up, these ads can be targeted to specific geographic locations, ensuring you’re only spending money on ads going to people in your area — people who will actually be able to visit you.

Store Visit Ads

If you’re trying to drive foot traffic, a store visit ad is the way to go. Store visit ads not only target audiences based on geographic location, but they can provide a “get directions” button so your followers or new ad recipients can figure out how to get to you at just the push of a button.

Website Conversions

Brand awareness campaigns are a great way to drive long-term success. If you’re looking to see immediate conversions though, a website conversions ad campaign is a better choice. If you have a quality offer, like a discount or a cool ebook you know your target audience won’t be able to say no to, a web conversion ad is the way to go.

Check out this simple web conversion ad from The Sill. It’s bright, eye-catching (it’s a video ad) and it speaks to millennials by encouraging them to grow their “indoor jungle”. Their “Shop Now” button links right over to their website, where visitors are immediately met with their newsletter sign-up CTA. A quick, easy way to add to an email list.

Just make sure to use web conversion ads intuitively — you’re spending money to get people on your website, after all. Make sure they’re headed somewhere useful, like The Sill sending users to their newsletter sign-up CTA.

A landing page or a content offer download would also work to collect that contact information.

example-of-facebook-ads
example-of-facebook-ads
Clicks-to-Website or Traffic Ads

If traffic is what you’re after, the clicks-to-website ad type is Facebook’s best option. Possibly one of the easiest ads to develop, they look just like a sponsored post, but link over to your latest blog post or product offer, or even a landing page on your website.

This click-to-website ad from Inside Weather is particularly effective, as it’s a video ad. The video works to show off the customization and ease of assembly their product offers, and the ad doesn’t ask too much from the viewer.

A simple “shop now” CTA ensures ad viewers make it to the website. Inside Weather isn’t asking much from consumers, probably because they know that if they get consumers to their page, the rest of their marketing strategy will work to capture contact information, and close on a sale.

This is a simple, effective example of a click-to-website or traffic ad you’ll see often on Facebook. Here, the goal is just to get the viewer to the advertiser’s website. Then, their optimized marketing strategy can do the rest.

Event Ads

Hosting an event? Have a booth at an upcoming festival or show? Let people know, and get them excited about it with an event ad. These ads are designed to help you promote events. They do a great job of getting the word out and give you an idea of how many people are interested in the event; plus, they’re shareable, so you can hope to gain more exposure there too.

If you’re looking for event signups, though, you’re probably better off using a website conversion ad to meet on-page goals and collect contact information.

Offer Claim Ad

An offer claim ad is a great way to drive sales if you have a specific offer or discount you’re promoting. Offer claim ads allow you to customize your CTA, and can be used for both in-store or online promotions.

Whether it’s a 20% off discount code or a free coffee thermos with purchase, Facebook will keep track of the people who have claimed the offer, and send them notifications when your offer is about to expire, helping drive traffic to your site.

Check out this offer claim ad from HelloFresh. It’s simple, but attractive, and $80 Off makes a pretty compelling offer.

When you click the “get offer” button, you’re taken right to their site, and the discount is loaded into your cart immediately. Then, users can check out with the click of a button. Pretty effective.

Full Form Lead Generation Ads

One of the biggest issues with most Facebooks ads that work to drive conversions is that they require the user to leave Facebook.

Facebook has addressed that issue with their full form lead generation ads. These ads actually allow users to fill out your lead generation forms in-app, and Facebook will help by auto-filling their contact information for some of the more general fields.

Take a look at this one we created for our client, Renewed Homes:

When a Facebook user clicks on the “learn more” button, they get this pop-up, still on the Facebook website or in the Facebook app:

You can see that the form will auto-populate the user’s information, so all they have to fill in are the three top fields and their ZIP code, and then submit the form. Once they hit that submit button, their information goes to our client, and the user can go right back to their social media surfing.  

The lead generation ads are perfect if you’re looking to capture contact information. They offer the most seamless conversion experience possible, and you can sync Facebook to your existing CRM, so those leads are waiting for you the moment you log in on Monday morning.

Page Like Campaigns

If you’re just looking to get the word out about your brand or company and expand your reach, a page like campaign is another great way to go. Unlike an awareness campaign, a like campaign does offer a little measurable engagement. Instead of linking to your website or an offer, like campaigns encourage users to like your Facebook page, so they’ll see your organic content in the future.

Engagement Ads

Engagement ads are similar to boosted posts, in that they mostly look like organic Facebook posts. The difference? You can target who your post goes to, and you can encourage engagement with comments, shares, and reactions. Engagement ads also include a “like page” button at the top, so people who enjoy your content can get your regular organic posts.

This Funny or Die ad is a great example of an engagement ad that also works to generate page likes. It’s a video — which will help boost engagement right off the bat, and it features two well-known comedians. That’s a pretty good way to drive up those reactions, comments, and shares, while reminding people to like your page at the same time.

example-of-facebook-ads
App Engagement and App Install Ads

If you’ve got an app, Facebook’s got an ad for you. Choose from their app install ads that encourage people to either engage with your app (usually targeted to people who already like your app) or download it (encouraging new people to try out your app).

How Your Digital Marketing Agency Will Choose the Right Facebook Ad Type for Your Campaign

Clearly, Facebook offers a ton of different ad styles, each better for different objectives. So how do you choose the right ad type? This is where your digital marketing agency comes in handy. They’ll first ask you what your objectives are:

Do you want to drive more traffic to your website? Are you hoping to boost lead generation? Maybe you want to jumpstart sales with a discount promo. Or maybe you’re just launching your brand on Facebook and you need a boost to get started. Whatever your objective, it’s important to choose it before you choose a Facebook ad type, because each Facebook ad type is optimized to deliver different results based on your objectives.

For example, if your goal is to drive traffic and conversions to your site, a like, engagement, or brand awareness ad won’t work. Those are in-app ad types that don’t encourage users to navigate away from Facebook. Instead, a web conversion or click-to-website, or even an offer claim ad would make more sense.

If you’re not sure which ad type is right for your goals, a digital marketing agency can help. It’s their job to optimize ad campaigns for optimal results based on your campaign objectives.

How Digital Marketing Agencies Optimize Facebook Ads to Generate Growth

It’s clear that Facebook ads offer significant benefits when implemented properly. But what does it mean to implement an ad campaign properly and how does a digital marketing agency develop quality Facebook ads the convert leads efficiently and cost effectively?

Here are a few Facebook Ad best practices a quality digital marketing agency can help you incorporate for quality performance:

Facebook Ads Must Be Visual

Social media is increasingly visual. We’ve seen this trend gaining speed for years as Facebook shifted from primarily text-based posts to what we see today: videos and images.

If you want your ad to pack a punch, you need quality creative.

Your digital marketing agency can either create graphics for you, or punch up your own company’s graphics to make a bigger impact. If you want your ads to do well, you need quality visuals.

Relevant to Your Ideal Audience

We’ve already talked a bit about targeting Facebook Ads. Your digital marketing agency will work hard to identify key audience targets for your ad campaign. Since your ad set is targeted so specifically, the ad copy and offer should be relevant to that group of people you’re targeting on Facebook.

Offer Something Enticing

Every Facebook Ad campaign you run has to offer your audience something. With a web conversion ad, this is easy — you’re offering the chance to sign up for a great newsletter or download an awesome content offer.

With like campaigns, the offer is a little bit more complicated.

Your digital marketing agency can help you create ad copy for those tougher campaigns that makes the offer to your audience clear. For a like campaign, the offer might just be following a company or brand that they know will deliver awesome, organic content that is relevant to them.  

Tells People How to Get Your Offer

Finally, every Facebook ad should feature a specific call-to-action.

There are literally hundreds of ads on Facebook every day. A Facebook user won’t know what you’re offering if it’s not made clear in the ad.

Your digital marketing agency will work to develop a CTA that’s relevant and specific to your ad. “Download your free ebook now” or “Sign up today” are great examples of CTAs that clarify what people will get when they click the button.

With best practices like these in place, your ads are likely to attract and convert better potential leads throughout the course of your Facebook ad campaign. For more info on developing quality Facebook ad campaigns, here’s 6 Steps to a Facebook Ad Campaign That Delivers.

How Facebook Ads Drive Qualified Leads

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Facebook ads offer one of the most advanced targeting opportunities on the market today.

That means that as long as you and your digital marketing agency understand your target buyer, you can create ads that are specific and relevant to them.

When you’re delivering highly-relevant ads to consumers you know are interested in your product, you’re going to see quality ROI.

Every type of Facebook ad works to get the word out about your company, and many of them work to drive traffic to your website too. From there, it’s up to the rest of your inbound marketing strategy to capture those qualified leads through your website, content offers, and landing pages.

Still not sure you’ve nailed Facebook Ad campaigns? Inbound-ify Your Facebook Ads.

Instagram Ads

Though Facebook is still the most popular social media advertising platform, Instagram is steadily growing in popularity. Many digital marketing agencies have found that when done properly, Instagram ads can be more effective than Facebook ads.

In the past, Instagram has gotten the snub because it’s so segmented. Many brands find it difficult to generate an organic following on Instagram, but now that Instagram is owned by Facebook, its advertising capabilities have been revealed.

It’s a well-known fact that Instagram gets much more engagement than Facebook. (Check out this blog about Instagram’s epic engagement if that’s news to you.) Combine that with Instagram’s exceptional user experience, and the platform has become quite attractive for digital marketing agencies: there’s plenty of opportunity, Instagram users are highly engaged, and there’s also the simple fact that Instagram ads just look better.

Two Key Benefits of Instagram Advertising

  1. Instagram ads are seamlessly integrated into the platform. It’s very difficult to tell immediately which posts on a feed are ads and which are organic posts. This helps boost ad interaction on the platform.
  2. Beyond that, the majority of Instagram ads open up links that remain in-app. So, users are clicking over to the advertiser’s site, but they remain in the app. When they’re done interacting with the advertiser’s site, they can easily click out of it, and Instagram will take them back to their feed, without losing their place.

Because Instagram ads offer very little disruption to the user, they have the potential to do very well. Let’s take a look at the different types of Instagram ads:

Types of Instagram Ads

Instagram ads are set up similarly to Facebook ads, primarily because Facebook owns Instagram. That means you can benefit from the same microtargeting qualities of Facebook, while also benefiting from Instagram’s increased engagement and seamless native ads.

Let’s take a look at the five major types of ads on Instagram:

example-of-instagram-sponsored-ads
Photo Ads

Instagram is a visual platform. The entire concept of the social media site is to share imagery, so if you want to advertise effectively, you need to have quality creative. Photo ads are the most basic way to do this.

Like the title suggests, photo ads are comprised of a photo, along with a description, and a call to action button. You can also optimize Instagram photo ads to include a “view profile” button, that will take viewers to your Instagram profile if they want to see what else you’ve posted lately, or if they want to click a link in your bio.

Photo ads support the following call-to-action buttons, which does mean you can’t customize your own, but their options cover most situations:

  • Apply Now
  • Book Now
  • Call Now
  • Contact Us
  • Get Directions
  • Learn More
  • Get Showtimes
  • Download

Nothing groundbreaking, but photo ads will get the job done.

Video Ads

Video is the social media content of the future. It only increases in popularity, especially on Instagram, a platform that was designed with visuals in mind. Take your Instagram ads an extra step forward by using video.

Video does a better job of engaging your audience, catching their eye with Insta’s autoplay feature, and clueing them into your brand at just a glace.

Instagram video ads have the same capabilities as photo ads, but can do a better job of capturing attention if you have the creative to produce them.

Video ads support the following call-to-action buttons:

  • Apply Now
  • Book Now
  • Call Now
  • Contact Us
  • Download

Again, nothing earthshaking, and even fewer options than the photo ad, but with a video ad you can let the video do the talking for you.

example-of-sponsored-instagram-post
Carousel Ads

Remember when Instagram introduced multi-image posts and everyone freaked out?

Yeah, us too.

Well now, Instagram lets advertisers leverage those multi-image posts as carousel ads.

Everyone does them a little differently, but the positive is that you get to show off more sides of your product, service, or brand in just one ad. This is a great way to boost awareness for your brand, or show off the versatility of your product.

Check out this carousel Instagram Ad from Blue Apron:

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They used each image in their carousel ad to show off a different plan option — showcasing their diverse offerings perfect for any food preference or family size. They topped it off with the final image encouraging viewers to get six meals free, which paired with their caption “$Get 60 off!” smartly.

This is a great example of using Instagram carousel ads to show off multiple sides of your product or service. It’s also good to know that you can now use video on carousel ads for an even greater impact.

Instagram Story Ads

The last two types of ads aren’t found on the typical Instagram feed. Instead, they show up in users’ Stories. 300 million Instagram users view Instagram Stories everyday, which means there are plenty of people who will see your Story Ad. Instagram Story Ads can be done in two ways:

Traditional Story Ads

Traditional Instagram Stories ads look and feel like a normal story. Check out this one from Succulent Studios for an example. Story ads are a full-screen sized image or video of your choosing, with a swipe up call-to-action that can take users to your profile, your website, or anywhere else you’d like them to go. You have a choice of the following CTA buttons:

  • Apply Now
  • Book Now
  • Contact Us
  • Call Now (only for video ads)
  • Download
  • Subscribe
Canvas Story Ads – AKA Instant Experiences

If a story image or video doesn’t seem like quite enough of a punch, you can upgrade to Instant Experience story ads. Previously known as Canvas ads, these ads are known for their exceptional ability to immerse the viewer in the ad.

instagram-story-ads

Your digital marketing agency will use the Facebook Instant Experiences ad developing tool and templates to design an ad that’s totally immersive — either an image or a video — and the ad will be deployed through Instagram Stories. You can also use Instant Experience ads for your Facebook account, or in Instagram feed placement, but many marketers have seen the best results in Instagram stories.

To create a truly effective ad, your digital marketing agency will develop immersive content that is customized to fit Instagram, and optimized for a seamless, quick-loading experience that’s sure to drive traffic and conversions.

Is My Product Right for Instagram?

It’s true that all products might not be perfect for Instagram. That said — if any aspect of your company or product is visually appealing, and if your ideal buyer skews below the age of 45-50, you’re likely to do well on Instagram.

If you’re struggling to understand what your target market might be on Instagram, or how you can frame your product or service for the youthful platform, you might consider talking to a digital marketing agency.

Digital marketing agencies live to identify target audiences across platforms, and will be able to help you determine if Instagram is right for your marketing strategy.

How Digital Marketing Agencies Optimize Instagram Ads

While there are certainly products that aren’t well suited to Instagram, if your digital marketing agency can develop an Instagram campaign that incorporates the following best practices, you’re likely to see quality engagement:

Visual

We’ve said it before, but quality visuals are kind of Instagram’s schtick.

If your ad is going to do well on the platform, it has to look good. And really, it’s not as hard as you think. Most images just need to be clear and incorporate a lot of natural light.

Your digital marketing agency will be able to help you develop an Instagram ad that makes use of quality visuals.

Engaging

This is where video typically comes in.

If you have images that are intriguing or invite followers to engage with them, that’s great. If not, video is usually your best bet. It’s engaging without trying to be.

When most social media audiences see a video, they’ll at least stop to watch the first few seconds. And if your company name is in the first few seconds, you’re golden.

Authentic

Above all, Instagram ads have to be authentic. The platform is dominated by millennials who are proven to respond most positively to brands with purpose and authenticity.

Any quality digital marketing agency knows that advertisements do a lot more than just show off your product — they make a statement about your brand, and can make or break new relationships with potential clients.

If you’re looking for long-term success, your Instagram ads need to make a great impression, and they have to be authentic to your brand. That’s one of the absolute best ways to make certain that your ads will do well.

Instagram Ads and Strategic Growth

Quality digital marketing agencies use Instagram ads to generate qualified leads likely to invest in your product, service, or brand.

After deploying a few different types of Instagram ads —  image, video, and story ads — your digital marketing company will be able to identify which are working best for your target audience. From there, they can optimize and improve future Instagram campaigns to generate more leads, create greater awareness for your brand in target demographics, and ultimately help contribute to overall company growth.

LinkedIn Ads

As a digital marketing agency that works with B2Bs and industrial manufacturers on the reg, we’ve used LinkedIn frequently as both an inbound and outbound marketing tool. Though it’s often forgotten as a social media platform, LinkedIn is a powerful social media platform for companies who understand its advertising and targeting capabilities.

Who Should Advertise on Linkedin?

LinkedIn is another platform that many companies worry they won’t be a fit for. And it’s true that LinkedIn advertising isn’t for everyone. As a general rule, B2Bs do well on LinkedIn (we’ve written a lot about that), as do professional companies made up of career seekers and employed adults. If you’re selling GoGurt for kids, Linkedin probably isn’t going to be super useful for you.

If you’re a more professional industry player, however, with a product or service that’s relevant to working adults, LinkedIn can offer some powerful benefits.

The best way to determine if your company is a good fit for LinkedIn advertising is to first look at who the platform attracts: people looking to advance their careers, improve in their industry, or take a quick 5 minute break from work without logging into Facebook. Do you think your service or product would resonate with any of those working professionals?

If you answered yes, then LinkedIn is probably a great fit for you!

Let’s take a look at the different ads LinkedIn offers:

Types of Linkedin Ads

Text and Display Ads

LinkedIn’s text and display ads function much like a Google PPC ad would, except that each ad gets an image. You’ll see these ads pop up just about everywhere but in news feeds. They’ll display in people’s inboxes, as well as on the side and bottom of the LinkedIn homepage.  

For B2B’s, LinkedIn’s targeting can’t be beat. You can target ads to display to the key decision makers you need on board to close a sale, and you can even target the specific companies you’re trying to sell to.

linkedin-sponsored-content
Sponsored Content

We mentioned above that LinkedIn text ads won’t display in news feeds. If you want to change that, sponsored content is what you’re looking for. LinkedIn sponsored content functions much like a boosted or sponsored post on Facebook. You choose which audience you’d like that post to display to, and it’ll show up in their feed with a small sponsored label under the title.

This ad from Adacado is a good example of a standard sponsored ad. It looks just like any other post on LinkedIn, except for the Learn More CTA, and the small “promoted” tag right under their company name.

Premium Display Advertising

You can also opt for LinkedIn’s premium display advertising if you need a little more real estate. These also make good opportunities if your digital marketing agency is experienced with LinkedIn advertising, and knows exactly what to do to get you the best ROI on these ads.

Since Premium Display ads cost a little more, you’ll want to be sure your targeting is hyper-specific. Premium display ads will show up in full color (like this one from Northeastern) on either of LinkedIn’s side banners, or in the long horizontal banners at the top and bottom of LinkedIn’s home page.

linkedin-premium-display-ads
InMail Ads

InMail advertising is another of LinkedIn’s offerings, and it’s a powerful tool for B2Bs who actively work and engage with others on the platform. This intuitive LinkedIn ad type lets you email any of LinkedIn’s 500 million users directly.

These ads look like actual emails, which puts a personal touch when connecting you with your target audience. Just look at this one from LinkedIn themselves, letting me know about the platform’s job post capabilities.

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There are a few catches to LinkedIn’s InMail Ads. Your ad can be just about anything you want, but LinkedIn puts limits on the number of InMail ads a user can receive — one every 60 days.

That’s actually good news, because it means when your ad is deployed to someone’s InMail box, they won’t be fatigued by hundreds of InMail ads, and are more likely to focus on your offer.

Follow Company Ads

If your company is new to LinkedIn, and you’re hoping to build up your organic following, you can also invest in Follow Company ads. Similar to like campaigns on Facebook, these ads show up in users’ news feeds, encouraging targeted audiences to follow your company. This USPS Business ad shows what that looks like.

It’s imperative to have quality content for follow company ads, otherwise people won’t be inclined to follow you. If you’re new to LinkedIn, your digital marketing agency can help you bulk up your platform with quality articles, posts, and shares before you begin that follow company ad.

The more helpful your company looks on LinkedIn, the more people who are likely to follow you.

promoted-post-ad

How Digital Marketing Agencies Use LinkedIn Ads to Your Advantage

Linkedin Advertising is unique because the platform is unique. With LinkedIn, you have the built-in advantage of a platform that’s already been partially segmented for you, because it’s made up of only working professionals. Where other social media platforms have no true or specific function, LinkedIn is by professionals, for professionals.

This gives digital marketing agencies a leg up when it comes to developing advertising campaigns. With LinkedIn Advertising, your digital marketing agency has the opportunity to narrow your ad sets to target users by:

  • Company Industry
  • Company Size
  • Company Name
  • Job Title
  • Job Seniority
  • Job Function
  • Fields of Study
  • Groups
  • Gender
  • Skills
  • Degrees
  • Years Experience
  • Age

This makes LinkedIn a powerful tool, especially for B2Bs who often must speak to a person in the same role or job title across the industry.

For example: let’s say you sell machinery to steel manufacturers.

There are likely one or two job titles that you talk to on a regular basis to make a pitch and get a final decision. Whether that’s a senior mechanical engineer, plant manager, or even VP, LinkedIn allows your digital marketing agency to target those job titles in the industry of steel manufacturing to create ads that are specific to those people you need to get ahold of the most.

Depending on your goals for LinkedIn Advertising, your digital marketing agency can take advantage of LinkedIn’s whole host of targeting demographics to create a microtargeted ad that speaks directly to your buyer personas.

This is how your digital marketing agency can minimize your ad spend, while maximizing your performance. By targeting only the most qualified potential buyers, your ads see maximum ROI.

Like Instagram, LinkedIn isn’t the platform for every company. But, if your target buyer is the type to use LinkedIn, the platform offers some sophisticated ad campaign opportunities, especially if you have the outbound marketing team or digital marketing agency to help you create quality ad sets.

With that, we’re moving on from paid social, and into targeted email campaigns!

Targeted Email Campaigns

One aspect of outbound marketing that many forget to consider is targeted email.

Email is often wrapped into inbound marketing, but since you’re sending messaging out, rather than waiting for leads to come in, it’s also a key outbound marketing tool for digital marketing agencies.

This is not to say that your digital marketing agency should be email blasting your subscribers every day.

Just the opposite, in fact.

A digital marketing agency who knows what they’re doing can help you strategically develop targeted email campaigns that boost your brand awareness and draw in qualified leads. This is also known as lead nurturing. 

What is Targeted Email

Unlike some of the more common inbound marketing email tactics like newsletters, targeted email campaigns rely on delivering a specific message to a specific person or group of people.

Targeted email campaigns that fall into the outbound marketing category are campaigns that offer something and push an action that will bring a consumer into your sales cycle.

Developing a Targeted Email Campaign With Your Digital Marketing Agency

While it’s true that outbound email campaigns work to push your product or brand to a specific group of people, it’s good to remember that as long as you’re speaking to people who have a genuine need or desire for your product or service, you can develop a targeted email campaign that is minimally disruptive.

The first step comes in deciding what you’re offering.

Let’s say you’re a custom home builder hoping to sell more homes. If you’re working with a digital marketing agency to develop a targeted email campaign, you’ll first have to decide how you’re going to entice those new homeowners.

You’ll work with your digital marketing agency to define an offer. Maybe it’s a free design consultation to those interested in building a new home, or maybe it’s a discount to first-time homeowners looking to build their dream home.

Your digital marketing agency will help you develop an offer that’s clear, specific, and relevant to your company.

With an offer in mind, it’s time to figure out exactly who that email will go to.

How Your Digital Marketing Agency Will Properly Segment Your Email List

We’ve talked a lot about email segmentation in the past and nowhere is this more important than your targeted email campaign.

Your digital marketing agency knows that the key to a successful targeted email campaign is a quality list of targets who will be interested in what you’re offering, and who won’t feel that your offer is irrelevant or disruptive to them.

How do they do that? By managing and segmenting your email list. (More about email segmentation here.)

It’s your digital marketing agency’s job to manage and monitor your company’s email list. If you’ve been working with them a while, they’ll have collected a decent amount of data about your contacts, based on their past interactions with your website and with your previous emails.

Let’s say you decide to offer that discount for first-time homebuilders. Your digital marketing agency will start by identifying key contacts who fit that description. They’ll choose contacts under a certain age, and contacts who have downloaded offers like, “what to know about building a home for the first time” from your site.

By sending your discount to only those people who you know are first-time homebuilders, your digital marketing agency is ensuring that the message is targeted and relevant.

This will garner a better response, and is likely to produce the most leads for that segment of your email list.

From there, it’s time to either develop and send out that email discount, or incorporate it into an email campaign workflow.

Establishing Email Workflows

An email workflow is the next step past a single, targeted email. If your company uses a CRM like HubSpot, it’s easy for your digital marketing agency to develop a workflow that can generate the highest number of qualified leads.

What is an email workflow?

An email workflow is a series of emails, usually automated, that your digital marketing agency sets up to draw in more leads for your company.

Let’s take a look at a workflow created for an HA Digital Marketing custom homebuilding client.

Our client had a goal to work more directly with area realtors, and were hoping to grow their database of realtor partners who register clients interested in their custom homes.  

We set up an email workflow to address these goals. Listen to our president, John Heritage, explain a little bit more about this workflow: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1X23Dq0IdqBqIDnvibhF-_guuN2MTwn2Y

This realtor workflow is made up of three emails.

The workflow is set to begin when a visitor to our client’s site identifies themselves as a realtor, either through a dropdown form or by registering themselves as a realtor.

When that identification is made, the prospect is sent Email 1, which is a welcome email that thanks the prospect for checking out the site, and offers a bit more information about the homebuilder’s partnership with realtors.

If the realtor prospect opens the email and clicks the link that offers more information, but have still not registered a client, they’ll receive another email three days later.

Email 2 delivers a content offer explaining how realtor partners are paid and receive commission for referring clients. If the prospect downloads the content offer, but still doesn’t register a client, they’ll receive a final email three days later.

Email 3 thanks the prospect for taking the time to read the content offer, and asks if they have any additional questions or if they’d like to schedule a time for their client to meet to discuss a potential new home.

example-of-email-sequence

At this point, we are able to determine if the prospect is a qualified lead. If they are, our client is able to reach out to them for a direct interaction.

If the prospect does not qualify yet as a lead, they’ll remain on the list to receive regular communication relevant to realtors, but they won’t receive more targeted email workflows for some time. At this point, the realtor either isn’t yet interested in a partnership, or doesn’t have a client to register for a new custom home.

Those realtors who did convert through the targeted email workflow, however, are now actively engaged with our client.

They register interested homeowners through our client’s website, offering up qualified leads who are ready to buy. In return, those realtors receive a commission for their referrals, while our clients are able to get started building dream homes for those qualified leads who were sent right to them.

How Digital Marketing Agencies Use Targeted Email Workflows To Nurture Qualified Leads Through the Buyer’s Funnel

Workflows like these, developed by digital marketing agencies with a clear understanding of your audience, work well to help you reach ideal leads, and pull them further through the buyer’s funnel.

When done properly, in a way that doesn’t antagonize or annoy your potential clients, these workflows can work wonders. Since your digital marketing agency can automate them, they also cost your team very little in time or resources once employed.

Over time, your digital marketing agency can also track, monitor, and optimize these workflows based on the data each new prospect returns.

Email workflows, especially when automated, are a great way to combine inbound and outbound strategies for optimal results.

While you are reaching out to prospects, you’re reaching out in a targeted, deliberate way that offers potential clients something useful and helpful to their buyer’s journey. This shortens your sales cycle, while simultaneously providing your leads with exceptional customer service that encourages them to work with you.

Why Do You Need a Digital Marketing Agency?

Now that you know just about all there is to know about outbound marketing, and what a digital marketing agency does to implement and improve outbound marketing strategies, let’s talk about why a digital marketing agency is important for many companies.

Outbound marketing is most often paid marketing. That means you need someone who knows what they’re doing, and has your best interests at heart to effectively implement outbound marketing tactics.

The last thing you want is to just start spending money on paid advertisements and boosted social media posts, only to find that your agency isn’t exactly sure how to do it, and has blown your budget. (If you don’t know what your outbound marketing budget is, this ROI model can help.)

Outbound marketing can take a lot of time, and the fact is, it’s just one aspect of your entire digital marketing strategy.

If you want to implement outbound marketing tactics that actually work, and return your investment, they need to work together with the rest of your digital marketing strategy, not against it.

That’s why it’s so important to hire a digital marketing agency who understands the full scope of both inbound and outbound marketing strategies, and who can work with you to develop an entire strategy that will work in every facet to grow your company.

A Growth-Focused Digital Marketing Agency

HA Digital Marketing is proud to call ourselves a growth agency. That means that every strategy we develop, and every advertisement we build is done with the intent to help grow your business. As a growth agency, we don’t have to choose between inbound or outbound marketing tactics. We do it all.

We’re seriously good at inbound marketing (we’re a HubSpot Gold Agency Partner, nbd) and we also know quality outbound marketing tactics like the back of our hands. We won’t scare your clients and prospects away, but we will develop advertisements and paid search campaigns strategically, to deploy to and entice your ideal customers. Because when advertising and outbound marketing is done right, it helps grow your business.  

Get in touch with us if you’re interested in using inbound and outbound marketing strategies to expand your business.

Thanks for sticking with us for this complete look at all things outbound marketing!  

We hope we’ve cleared up any questions you might’ve had on outbound marketing, but if not, be sure to check out our FAQ section below. You can also find more info on our blog, or drop us a line in the comments or on our contact us page. Don’t be shy, let us know how we can help!

Outbound Marketing FAQs

I’ve heard a lot about inbound marketing, and I’m worried outbound marketing will push my clients away.

We hear you. There are plenty of digital marketing agencies who do it wrong. (Telemarketers, anyone?)

At HA Digital Marketing, everything we do, even outbound marketing techniques, are founded on the inbound marketing principle of drawing in qualified buyers who are interested in what you have to say.

So yes, we’re still using advertising techniques that push your brand or company name out to consumers, but we do so strategically and deliberately.

We’re not going to set you up with a billboard or blast an ad to all of Facebook’s 1.5 billion users.

Instead, we hand pick the audience that will see your ads and outbound marketing campaigns. This ensures we’re only marketing you to qualified potential buyers who you’d like to work with, and who would like to work with you.

Doesn’t outbound marketing cost a lot of money?

It all depends on you. You have the power to decide your own budget, and no good outbound agency will make you spend more than you’re comfortable with.

Yes, pay-per-click and social media advertising campaigns cost money, but they cost significantly less than any other advertising method out there.

You also get the added bonus of being able to control who sees your ad campaigns and who doesn’t, which means you can target more qualified leads, for less money than any other traditional advertising methods. Best of all, you set your own budget. When your ad campaign runs out of money, it stops deploying. There are no hidden fees or unexpected expenses.

Can you really advertise on Facebook and see results?

Yes. Whether you’re familiar with social media or not, 1.5 billion people use Facebook and it’s been proven one of the most effective advertising methods of all time.

At this point in time, Facebook can’t be beat for targeting demographics or overall ROI. It’s low-cost, and you can direct your ads to go only to the audience you’re most interested in.  

I’m a manufacturer. I’m not sure if Facebook or Instagram advertising will work for my company?

We get it. Industrial steel doesn’t always seem like the hippest product on the market. That said, manufacturing’s next generation of laborers are all over social media. Millennials are content consumers, and they live on both Facebook and Instagram. When they’re the engineers, and plant and facility managers you’re selling to, social media advertising will make a lot of sense.

And if you’re just not ready to test out that market yet, no worries. LinkedIn Advertising is proven to deliver exceptional results for industrial manufacturers and construction companies alike. Let’s start there.

Do you only do paid advertising?

Nope. We’re a full-service digital marketing and growth agency. That means we do everything from inbound marketing to outbound marketing to website design, all with your company’s overall growth in mind.

If you’re not sure about paid advertising yet, but know you need a new website or a new marketing strategy, let’s talk. We’re more than happy to help you out in any way you need. Get in touch with the team today.