It’s been almost 20 years since I wrote my MBA thesis on customer relationship marketing. Social media and blogging sites had only been around for a year or so and were definitely not part of any marketing plans. However, looking back, the essence of outreach marketing, or relationship marketing, is much the same today as it was then – it’s just that we’re using different tools now, and the speed of influence is much faster.
First – a definition
So, what is outreach marketing? And why do you need it? What about the different terminologies, such as SEO outreach and digital marketing outreach?
Essentially, outreach strategies are all about building relationships with influencers, whether they’re individuals or organisations, who can help you to promote your solutions, services and brand. They can include existing satisfied customers (advocates), non-competing organisations in the same industry or even bloggers and press.
There are many ways of reaching these influencers through SEO, social media, online research, digital audits and online publishers.
Then and now
In my thesis, I studied the work of Geoffrey Moore (Crossing the Chasm and Inside the Tornado), where he looked at how the majority of people are pragmatists or followers. These pragmatists want to know that you understand their needs and that your solution or service will benefit them. They will ask other people and won’t make a purchase decision until they’ve consulted like-minded customers.
We see the same thing happening in the digital world. Many marketers use social media in their marketing communications strategy simply due to the power of online ‘word of mouth’. We see the rise of bloggers and vloggers with the ultimate power to influence thousands of followers. We see large, well-known organisations seeking them out just to get their brand in front of that audience.
So what do you need to include in your outreach programme? Here are some outreach marketing ideas for you.
Keep in touch with them, ask them to be brand advocates in return for something such as discounts, early access to new products or free training courses – whatever works for your business and industry. It’s tempting to always focus on getting new customers, but it costs a lot more to attract new customers than to keep your existing ones. And unhappy customers will tell approximately 10 other people of their poor experience and roughly three others about their good experience – so keep them sweet.
Who is currently writing about your industry, creating videos or content such as infographics? Can you link to their website? If you can guest blog, this is a great way to get them to link to your site as well. The objective is to build a true relationship with them. But check their domain authority to make sure you aren’t linking to a ‘junk’ site.
You may still be wondering, “what is outreach in SEO?” Well, the more popular you are with key and relevant influencers, the better this is for your brand. This leads to more awareness with people or organisations linking to your website (backlinks). In turn, the more high authority backlinks you generate, the higher your search engine ranking. And we all want to be on the first page and ahead of our competitors, right?
If it’s awareness and a growing business that you’re after, then a well-defined outreach marketing programme needs to be a part of your go-to-market strategy. With about 60-70% of the buyer’s journey being completed online before approaching potential suppliers, it’s critical to ensure those buyers see your content. Links from quality websites, exceptional social media coverage and securing the support of key influencers are just some of the ways you can make this happen.