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What Is Telemarketing?

Telemarketing is the practice of directly marketing your goods or services to potential clients over the phone, Internet, email and fax. It's important to note that face-to-face interactions are not considered telemarketing.

Traditionally, telemarketing is carried out by telemarketers, but recent technological developments have allowed for the rise of automated telephone calls, sometimes known as “robocalls”. This change in the industry has contributed heavily to the “bad rap” telemarketing has due to frequent poor customer experiences and scam attempts.

The 3 Types of Telemarketing

There are 3 types of telemarketing: outbound, inbound and lead-gen. In this section, we'll discuss the particularities of each one a little more in-depth.

Inbound telemarketing.

The main goal of inbound telemarketing is to prompt customers to contact you without you ever having to make a phone call yourself. Inbound support centers achieve this via advertising across multiple channels, including your company website, social media, email, etc.

The benefit of inbound telemarketing lies in not having to deal with people who aren't interested in your product. Potential clients take the first step and your only job from there on is to give them the final push necessary for becoming paying customers.

Outbound telemarketing/sales.

Commonly also known as “cold calling,” outbound telemarketing relies on your call center agents contacting potential customers first. This approach tends to be less expensive than inbound telemarketing but is more stressful for your employees.

They have to call a lead unprompted and try to educate and upsell them on your products and services. It is also the type of telemarketing most responsible for people's distaste for the practice as a whole.

Lead generation.

Lead-Gen is an essential aspect of telemarketing, despite not leading to a sale directly. Instead, it focuses on collecting demographic, persona and professional information about your clientele to create leads, offer insight into your customer base and inform future decisions.

This process utilizes a variety of channels, including advertisements, your company page, social media, events and business expos, questionnaires, phone calls and email.

Telemarketing Advantages and Disadvantages

As you've seen, telemarketing can offer companies a lot of benefits. But as with everything, there are downsides as well. Here's a handy little overview to help you understand better.



Can be cheaper than direct sales, since you can address many people in less time.

Requires skilled and qualified employees, so focusing on training and hiring is necessary.

Enables you to get immediate feedback from your customers and potential leads.

Laws related to telemarketing are strict, so you have to be confident in your potential leads if you don't want to end up on a block list.

Allows you to educate and upsell customers more efficiently than other marketing methods.

Lead generation is a complex and time-consuming task, and purchasing lead lists can be very expensive.

Easy to achieve measurable results.

Poor telemarketing techniques can frustrate customers and earn you a bad reputation.

The Final Word

Telemarketing can be a powerful marketing tool if you wield it right. It provides you with a first line of communication with both your current and (hopefully) future customers, allowing you to get a better understanding of how they think.

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