Outbound Marketing Strategies That Don’t Work Any More (and What to Do Instead)


The marketing landscape is ever-evolving, and marketers are always trying to find new ways to connect with their target audiences. From social media to search engine optimization to finding new ways to pitch your idea, we are looking at a wide variety of ways to renew our marketing approach.


As we move into the new year and consider our strategies for 2021 and beyond, it is time to retire some outbound marketing ideas that no longer work. This article will look at some outbound marketing techniques that you need to remove from your marketing playbook and how you can replace them with more effective forms of outreach.

What is outbound marketing?

Outbound marketing tactics are those in which a business reaches out to customers to tell them about a product or service and attempt to generate interest. Examples include advertisements on television, radio, and in the newspaper. This is opposed to inbound marketing, which is built around attracting the customer to you through providing something of value. 


Most marketers spend a large part of their budgets on outbound marketing but don’t always see a satisfactory return. However, a few switches from outbound to inbound strategies can help you maximize your return on investment and create far more successful campaigns.

5 strategies that don’t work anymore (and what to do instead)

As the advertising landscape gets ever more personalized and data-driven, your old marketing strategies need an upgrade. In this section, we will look at the strategies you should retire and what you can do instead. Let’s get started! 

1. Cold calling

Cold calling is exactly what it sounds like: calling potential customers who have not expressed an interest in your products or services before. With “do not disturb” modes, telephone preference lists, and “unknown number” filters, it’s increasingly difficult to even get hold of your customers through cold calling. Even if you do, unsolicited calls are a nuisance that would put off most people.

This is because cold calling is a non-personalized, scattergun approach. Customers don’t want to feel like they are just one of hundreds or thousands of people you’ve called this week. 

Do this instead: content marketing 

Instead, use content marketing to create valuable content to attract and retain consumers. Blog content, educational tutorials, webinars, and white papers are just some of the ways you can attract your target audience. 

At Form Design, my custom B2B web design company, we publish practical articles about web design trends and digital marketing on our blog. Our leads derive value from this content regardless of whether they ever buy from us. That’s the secret of content marketing. 

Take content marketing one step further by serving up personalized content based on your consumers’ online activity. Create buyer personas and tailor different content to each segment, creating messages that address their pain points. 

2. Cold messaging on LinkedIn

Another variant of cold calling that should get the boot is cold messaging on LinkedIn. Marketers often seek out people in decision-making positions and send a message to pitch their product. Most of these messages go unnoticed or ignored. That’s because LinkedIn users are busy professionals and don’t have time to read a cold sales pitch from someone they don’t know. 

Do this instead: use LinkedIn to build genuine relationships

LinkedIn is a great platform for marketers, but cold pitching means you’re wasting its potential. Today, business relies heavily on building relationships. Use LinkedIn to connect with people in your target demographic, build a rapport, and get to know them and their needs. Comment thoughtfully on their content, congratulate them on achievements, and post useful and insightful content on your own page. 

Your marketing strategy should not be solely about making a quick sale, and networking with your potential customers on LinkedIn will help them trust you and your business.


Business relationships are an essential ingredient for any brand, so make the time to build and nurture them. 

3. Generic email blasts

Sending the same email blast to everyone on your list should also be crossed off your list of outbound marketing strategies. Think about the last time you received a generic marketing email. Chances are you get many of them every week – I know I do! Do you even open them?

Customers are inundated with emails. If you want them to take the time to read yours and take action, you need to give them a good reason to do so. 

Do this instead: targeted email marketing

Segmentation and email personalization are considered best email marketing practices for good reason: because they work. Just check out these results from a Lyris, Inc. study: 

Source: Hubspot

Segment your email list based on demographics, interests, or behaviors, and offer content and offers that are tailored to each group’s needs. To give you a simple example, Nike segments its email list by gender, and users can also opt to receive emails on their chosen product category.

4. Pop-up ads

Pop-up ads are another outbound marketing technique that you should retire. These small windows that appear suddenly on users’ screens are often a cause for annoyance and rarely translate into quality leads. 


Pop-up ads force the target audience to view the promotional message (or take additional action to get rid of it). In other words, they’re intrusive. 

Do this instead: supercharge your search engine optimization (SEO)

Businesses should leverage the very first place a customer turns to when looking for a product, service, or piece of information: search engines. Search engine optimization (SEO) techniques mean people can find you at the right time. 

Source: Finances Online

With good SEO, you can climb up the search results ranking and appear on the coveted first page. At Form marketing landscape Design, we help businesses get the most out of SEO by creating websites that drive traffic and conversions. Target long-tail keywords, use descriptive meta tags and post high-quality, long-form content to drive traffic to your site. You should also take steps to build external links back to your site. 

5. Print ads 

With more people shifting to social media platforms to engage and get their daily dose of news marketing landscape and information, print advertising is another outbound strategy that doesn’t work. Instead, you should tap into social media ads to create an audience for your product. These help you attract a wider audience and drive engagement. 

Do this instead: targeted social media ads 

According to Statista, social media marketing will grow to surpass $30 billion by 2022, and the marketing landscape-19 pandemic has further tipped the scales in its favor. Social media marketing goes far beyond simply seeking likes, comments, and retweets. Done right, it can help you deliver targeted messages to the right consumer at the right time.


Source: Statista

Different user groups and demographics favor different social media platforms. So if you creatively marketing landscape and reimagine your content across platforms, you can deliver appropriate messaging to audience segments whether they’re on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or LinkedIn. 

You can also take things a step further with highly targeted audience segments. This means you can choose to show your paid ads to specific users based on demographic data, past behavior, and areas of interest. 

Then there’s retargeted advertising, which serves ads based on user behaviors such as visiting your website, making a purchase, or abandoning a shopping cart. Facebook’s dynamic product ads even allow you to display specific products that customers have expressed an interest in. 

In Closing

The business environment is changing, and some marketing strategies no longer yield the return they once did. The online world is moving more and more towards targeted and personalized initiatives. 

Now is the time to look critically at your marketing practices, ditch anything that isn’t working, and transition to the strategies that get real results. Doing this will help you gain quality leads and reach the right people at the right time.


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