Content Marketing
How to Combine Outbound & Inbound Marketing [Examples & Ideas]

How to Combine Outbound & Inbound Marketing [Examples & Ideas]

April 25, 2019
4 min read

All marketers do it differently. From in-house departments and big-box firms to HubSpot agencies and boutique operations, all marketers have the freedom to enact their own approach and execute their favorite tactics. New trends are constantly emerging in attempt to keep up with changing customer preferences, and as marketers, we have creative freedom to satisfy those demands in our own way.

In this inbound-obsessed era, it can seem like there’s no room for traditional “outbound” marketing. However, focusing all marketing dollars on inbound causes us to miss opportunities to make meaningful connections through traditional tactics. As a result, more marketers are employing an integrated marketing approach that combines inbound, through platforms like HubSpot, with outbound tactics.

Not sold yet? Let’s look at the advantages these tried-and-true outbound tactics bring to modern marketers, as well as how to execute them. Then, we’ll show you how outbound tactics integrate with inbound strategies to generate a higher return on marketing investment (ROMI).

1. Event Marketing

When it comes to event marketing, it’s a classic case of “you had to be there.” Special events and tradeshows occupy a specific marketing niche that new technologies and internet content simply can’t touch. The live demonstrations and in-person interactions of a tradeshow allow for a special kind of engagement where prospects can really get to know, and understand, what a company has to offer.

Tradeshows play an even larger role in B2B marketing, where businesses can connect with companies and establish a personal relationship with the decision-maker before a purchase. In fact, 46% of B2B marketers place tradeshows and events in their top sources of sales and marketing leads.

To be successful with event marketing, companies need:

  • design and marketing help so that their tradeshow materials (banners, business cards, leave-behinds and promotional items) look attractive, on-brand and cohesive
  • to frequently refresh their materials so they’re in-step with changes to brand appearance and contain up-to-date information
  • to develop new, engaging ways of obtaining leads, such as by having QR codes on tradeshow materials that allow prospects to use their own phones or tablets to open a lead-capture form
  • to follow up quickly with leads, ideally within 24 hours, while event momentum is still buzzing

Tradeshows are an outbound tactic that complements inbound marketing because it allows a sort of “in-person version of the inbound methodology” (attract, engage, delight):

  • prospects are attracted by a company’s booth because the materials are informative, on-brand and well-designed
  • prospects engage with the company’s representatives and find that they would like to sign up for an email list and learn more about the company
  • prospects are delighted when the company promptly reaches out and follows up with them using the contact information they exchanged at the tradeshow

2. Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Digital tactics are so thoroughly engrained in the modern marketing mindset that even the most inbound-obsessed marketers lump online display and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising in with their accepted set of tools, thinking of them as part of inbound.


In fact, because they’re paid advertisements meant to catch the attention of prospects, these ads are actually an outbound method, just with the inbound twist of being targeted towards certain prospects based upon keywords.

For success in pay-per-click and display advertising, companies need to:

  • bid on the right keywords in search engines so their PPC ads appear in relevant searches
  • use location, age and interests to target audiences
  • develop clear, concise copy for text ads so that the clicks they pay for come from interested leads who clicked with intention

Thanks to automated retargeting that finds prospects who didn’t convert to sales upon their last visit to the company’s website, targeting is easy with display ads, but display ads have a design component, which means companies need to get creative. These ads need to be compelling with a clear call-to-action and aesthetically pleasing while aligning with brand image and messaging.

PPC ads in particular tie in with inbound content marketing in a very important way. Promoting gated content through PPC search ads extends the reach of your content and brings form fills (lead conversions) that represent new opportunities to engage and delight.

3. Print Advertisements

Though print advertisements don’t generate a huge number of qualified leads, every lead has the potential to turn into a satisfied customer who then passes on the good word about your company. Print advertisements can be a great opportunity to combine important details with eye-catching design.

Print ads tend to share more detail than PPC or display ads that prospects might encounter and speak to what sets your company apart. That’s why companies need to place print advertisements in specialized publications like trade papers and industry journals. The beauty is, you can repurpose copy and creative from display ads for print advertisements and add more to make your print ads informative and detailed.

4. Outbound Emails

Email marketing tends to fall on both sides of the line between inbound and outbound. Inbound emails are those that are sent to prospects who have already indicated their interest in your company by filling out a form or chatting with a representative or chatbot on your website.

Outbound emails are those sent to contacts that didn’t fill out a form or otherwise directly submit their email address to your company; usually these contacts are obtained by purchasing a contact list.

Outbound email is important because email is the most widely-used and frequently-checked communication channel. Email has the most engagement of any communication channel, with almost all customers checking their inbox at least once per day.

So, whether you’re doing inbound or outbound lead generation, you need to create emails that:

  • are conversational and relevant
  • have compelling subject lines and preview text
  • create relationships with contacts by providing helpful, human content
  • introduce the company to the contact in a personal way
  • are as personalized as possible

Here’s an example email sent to a prospect who’s evaluating your product:

As with PPC ads, outbound emails area great way to share inbound content. They’re also a great way to promote tradeshows and events.

Wrapping Up: Take an Integrated Approach

Inbound may be at the forefront in marketing right now, but that doesn’t mean that outbound can’t play an important role. When you complement inbound content with outbound tactics, you’re leveraging the power of integrated marketing (you can find more on this in the Whitepaper: The Case for Integrated Marketing) and taking advantage of every opportunity available to build meaningful relationships, maximize brand exposure and gain marketing return on investment.

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Mark Schmukler

Mark Schmukler, CEO and Co-founder of Sagefrog Marketing Group, brings more than 30 years of global marketing and consulting experience to the agency, leveraging his B2B background to lead brand strategy and business development. Headquartered in Doylestown, PA with offices in Philadelphia, Princeton, Boston and Washington, DC, Sagefrog is a top-ranked B2B marketing agency with specialties in healthcare, technology, industrial, and business services. Founded in 2002, Sagefrog’s mission is to accelerate client success through branding and strategy, websites and digital, content and inbound, and traditional marketing services. Visit or call 215.230.9024.

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