There are a couple of reasons why businesses are moving away from direct outreach towards more passive, yet highly effective, inbound marketing strategies. Firstly, direct outreach is invasive – you could be reaching out to a prospect while they are busy. You are not only likely to get an unfavorable response in this scenario, but are also likely to come across as a spammer. Secondly, direct outreach is bound by a number of FTC regulations and laws like CAN-SPAM and a tiny slip up could mean fines worth thousands of dollars.
But direct outreach works. There are a number of statistics online that claim that cold calling is dead. While true in a general sense, this does not give the complete picture. A vast majority of SDRs today rely on purchased lists to call their prospects and treat cold calling as a numbers game. Not surprisingly, the overall conversion rate does not justify the investments. This is why cold calling should not be treated as a numbers game and it is important to personalize every call based on the prospects’ unique characteristics and needs. When this is done, the conversion rates can shoot up quite dramatically.
Direct outreach is not all about cold emails and cold calls. Another strategy that works absolutely well is direct mail. According to a report from Valpak, nearly 73% of prospects who receive their direct mail coupons look at each and every offer. In other words, the visibility and exposure that a business could receive through direct mail can be substantial.
In short, direct outreach works if you stay within the legal limits and are selective in your approach. But if the points above alone do not convince you to take up direct marketing campaigns, here are a few other reasons that may change your view.
Sales vs. Purchase cycle
At any point in time, there are only a small fraction of your target prospects that are in the market for your product. Relying solely on inbound leads could seriously bring down the number of sales you can accomplish in a month. Also, the time it takes for a prospect to make a purchasing decision is significantly lower than the time it takes for a business to successfully execute a sales cycle. Direct outreach helps your business reach out to a prospect before they are in the market and can help to create a sale when they are in the market.
A poll among decision makers in organizations found that nearly 78% of these participants had scheduled an appointment or attended an event that was organized through a cold call or an email. In other words, such direct outreach strategies help bring a significantly large volume of prospects that were not in your pipeline in your sales cycle.
There are several reasons why your recipients may not respond to your direct outreach. Despite this, direct outreach provides one of the most effective ways to build visibility. For example, of the 150 million direct mail promotions that were sent out in 2015, nearly 42% were scanned or read by the recipients. Similarly, it is not uncommon to have open rates of over 45% for cold emails. The bottom line is that the lack of response to your direct outreach may be due to the lack of connection with your marketing communication rather than the ineffectiveness of the medium itself.
That being said, the trouble with direct mail is that you could run afoul of the laws and regulations in the place in your jurisdiction. It should be acknowledged that direct outreach has been abused by spammers. But as long as you follow the law and keep your message relevant to your recipients, direct mail could turn out to be the most effective channel of marketing communication for your business.