Cold calling – that is the soliciting for business with customers who don’t have previous contact or even knowledge of the salesperson – is entering its twilight years in this digital era. While some salespeople will swear by cold calling to getting sales results, many businesses don’t have the workforce or budgets to have a sales team to make day after day of phone calls or visit businesses unannounced – as the term cold calling is often extended to door-to-door sales. Let’s look at why it shouldn’t be your first option for marketing and sales and what you can replace cold calling with.
People Don’t Have the Time for Cold Calls
People don’t like cold calls. And while this reaction isn’t new, there are many factors at play that makes making or receiving them even less appealing than before:
- People Do More with Their Phones: Phones are no longer just for sending and receiving calls. As their utility expands beyond calls and preferences changes, people become more hostile to unfamiliar calls or phone calls in general, especially on personal devices.
- Robo-Callers are Everywhere: A big increase to this hostility is the rise of robocalls. According to recent reports, we’re looking at roughly 200 million robocalls each day in the United States, many of which are misleading or outright scams. People are more likely than ever to avoid or hang up if they see a number they don’t know.
- Business Phone Lines are Less Important: Many modern businesses are changing with the times and preferences of their clients (or avoiding having to employ staff to answer phones). As such, phone numbers are listed less, and remaining lines are used for customers or trusted vendors.
- Businesses Have Put Up Barriers: For companies that continue to list their numbers, many are employing systems that stop or stall cold calling, such as automated receptionists or using call centers that put more barriers between salespeople and potentially interested parties.
Marketing and Advertising That Can Replace Cold Calling
As we mentioned above, there are many salespeople who will swear by cold calling – mostly because they started training when it was the most effective strategy. Below we’re going to look at some of the ways you can repurpose the same time and money you’d use for cold calls into more effective methods.
Focus on Inbound Marketing
Cold calling falls into the category of “outbound marketing,” where you’re actively pursuing customers. While the rise of the digital age and tools like search engines and social media, focusing marketing on making customers come to you is possible as “inbound marketing.”
This usually includes:
- Website and app (mobile and desktop) presence
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Blogs, particularly about topical events
- Social media posts and video
- Branded marketing (keychains, t-shirt, etc.)
Learn more in our blog, Comparing Outbound and Inbound Marketing.
Advertising Digitally on Search and Social Media
The bar for entry to advertising is lower than it’s ever been, with platforms like Facebook and Google Search allow not only thousands to see your ads but to actually target who sees them through demographics and keywords and only to pay when they perform.
Both Facebook Ads and Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) can allow you to target interested parties, instead of cold calling where you’re potentially unwanted and only damaging your brand with the call. Note that the digital ad scape is always changing, so it’s important to do your industry research before you start.
Building Your Online Presence with Content
While we touched on this above with inbound marketing, the best way of often attracting new customers and businesses is by making them interested. Content, such as social media, blogs, and video can entertain, inform, or intrigue potential customers. Especially on social media platforms, the return is exponential as more users follow your account increase your visibility on the platform. Learn more about how blogs translate into more web traffic and finding your voice on social media.
We want to close with that this isn’t a hit piece on cold calling, but it’s important to look at the time, money, and staff you have to sink into the process. For those looking to automate, to build their brand instead of annoying those who pick up, to find a new way they should integrate phones into their marketing, try these. If you have any questions or are looking for a marketing plan or managed marketing to assist, contact us at Vision Advertising.