For a service-based business, inbound marketing should only represent a third of your marketing mix.

Relying too much on inbound marketing puts you at the mercy of the platforms you use:

  • The cost of advertising is only increasing. Facebook advertising is effective, but the cost will continue to increase. It’s simple supply and demand. More Facebook users = more businesses advertising. More businesses advertising = more competition over clicks and impressions. The same goes for advertising on AdWords, Instagram, or any other PPC platform.
  • Algorithms change. SEO is an important long term play, but just keep in mind that Google makes substantial changes to their algorithm on a regular basis. Facebook changed their newsfeed algorithm, and now businesses struggle to get more that 1–3% of their organic posts to show up on their audience’s news feeds.

You need a balanced approach to your marketing mix. I suggest a three-way split between:

  1. Inbound marketing (content, SEO, paid advertising, etc.)
  2. Referrals and word of mouth
  3. Outbound marketing

I’m not saying that you should stop inbound marketing, and I’m DEFINITELY not saying you shouldn’t focus on doing a tremendous job for your customers to earn word of mouth and referrals.

But I am saying this: You need a solid outbound strategy as well.

Here’s why:

  1. You can control your effort. Once you get a solid outbound strategy to work, you can create consistency and predictability in your lead flow each week. You can control how many prospects you reach out to.
  2. You have a back up plan. What would you do right now if your Facebook ads stopped working? Or the phone stopped ringing? Having a solid outbound strategy will GUARANTEE that no matter what happens in the marketplace, you have a strategy you can rely on to grow your business.
  3. You build relationships. You learn the most about your customers by having conversations with them. Knowing the specific verbiage your prospects use when talking about your service will improve your inbound marketing efforts by giving you the better sales copy than you could come up with on your own.
  4. It’s extremely cost effective. You can spend half the money you would on paid advertising to achieve similar results. It’s just man power that’s needed, and much of the leg work on the front end can be outsourced for less than $10 / hour.
  5. You’ll always be able to do it. In the business world, phones and email won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. People will continue to use them to communicate on a daily basis. No matter what happens, reaching out to people in a highly personalized way on the devices they use for daily communication will always be effective.

Here’s a quick way to get started with this approach:

  • Identify your ideal prospect. What types of businesses do you serve? What industry? How big are they? What are their pain points in relation to your service? What needs are not being fulfilled?
  • Build a list of 100–1,000 (depends on the size of your company and industry) companies to connect with over the next 6 months using a platform like LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
  • Connect with every one of those prospects on LinkedIn, and mine their email address with a program like Email Hunter.
  • Send a highly personalized email explaining who you are and why you think it makes sense to chat.
  • Follow up, follow up, follow up. You should follow up until you get an answer yes or no.

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