An outbound marketing strategy refers to any technique on the Internet that is pro-active
and takes you to the consumer, rather than being inactive, waiting for the consumer to come to you.

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Outbound internet marketing

Make money with Ads by Google

by Tom Vassos

An outbound marketing strategy refers to any technique on the Internet that is pro-active and takes you to the consumer, rather than being inactive, waiting for the consumer to come to you.

The problem with too many Internet marketing strategies is that they depend on visitors voluntarily coming back to a Web site. I call this an "Inbound Marketing Strategy" (sm). I contend that no Internet marketing strategy is complete unless it incorporates both an inbound and an "Outbound Marketing Strategy". Good examples of "Outbound Marketing Strategies" include:

  • Reminder Notices
  • Profiled Information Streams
  • E-mailed Newsletters
  • Discussion List Participation
  • On-line Conferences

Reminder Notices

Reminder notices typically highlight activities about the company, new announcements, highlights of additions to their Web site, specific URLs where detailed information can be found, etc.

For example, C|Net and HotWired both use reminder notices to maintain visibility with their readers. C|Net has over 250,000 people on their mailing list, and HotWired probably has over 150,000 people on their distribution list. I personally subscribe to both lists, but never visit the Web site unless there is something specific in their reminder notice that is of interest to me. I'm certain these distribution lists have a major impact on driving traffic to their respective Web sites.

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Profiled Information Streams "Profiled information streams" refers to customized information which is sent to each subscriber, based on their own personal information needs. Each customer creates a "profile" of the kind of information they seek. Then, on an ongoing basis, they receive any information which meets their specific profile.

This approach is most relevant when a company has a wide range of offerings, and customers require a great deal of information on an ongoing basis. At IBM we have implemented this type of profiling capability where customers can subscribe to information regarding specific products, services and technologies.


Newsletters can also have an impact, acting as an extension to the Web site with the objectives of strengthening the brand image, increasing sales, and creating a sense of community with their readers.

For example, almost a year ago, I found a Web site that sells lobster called "Lobster Direct". (They're at and I'm not affiliated with them in any way.) Since it was an interesting site, I added it to my QuickList/Bookmark List. However, I have never been back to the site. (Who has the time?) While at the site however, I subscribed to their free newsletter.

I have now received several issues of their newsletter, and although I have not yet placed an order, I have been positively influenced by the company, and will likely place an order in the new year.

The newsletter has kept my interest for a number of reasons. They have a "Jokes of the Month" section where they poke fun at themselves (i.e., Canadian Maritimers). They have a draw every month for free lobster (which keeps me from unsubscribing). They try to interact with their customers through lobster-related fun-filled surveys. They provide lobster recipes, and of course they try to sell me some lobster.

Discussion Group Participation

For this technique to be successful, obviously the list members must be part of your target market. You must add value to the list through direct participation with the group. Your signature file must be relevant and appropriate for the type of group you are participating in.

This approach will keep your name/company name in front of your target market on a regular basis. This can be a powerful tool for building your brand image.

On-line Conferences

By becoming a speaker in an online conference, you get a chance to show people what you know and how it can help them and to promote your business. If you have some expertise thay may be of interest to lots of online subscribers, you may be able to schedule a special online conference. Such conferences are usually promoted in the opening or closing screen of a service, such as America Online. If your expertise is subject-specific, you may be able to schedule a conference on a particular forum or special interest group and promote it just within that group.

You can leverage your on-line conference by selecting a few questions and answers from the text record of the conference proceedings and publishing them as a Q&A document.


One major advantage of outbound strategies via e-mail is that almost 100% of Internet users have e-mail access. However, probably only about 50% of users have access to the Web, which is the backbone to most Internet inbound strategies.

Of course, the key to a viable outbound strategy is that it must be totally based on the customer's desire to receive this type of information.

It's unfortunate that most companies base their total Internet strategy on inbound approaches without considering the use of outbound approaches. An Internet outbound marketing strategy is an ideal way to keep your product in front of customers, rather than counting on them to come back to your Web site.

This article first appeared as a contribution by Tom Vassos to the the Internet Marketing Discussion list with an addition on On-line Conferences by Colleen Turner

You can visit Tom's web site at:

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