If you are a frequent visitor to this website, you probably already know that email is king. Not only does it have the highest ROI of any form of digital marketing on the planet, but it can also create strong relationships with your loyal customers. But how can email marketing fuel your overall inbound strategy?
Chances are you have a lot of different external platforms you’re trying to maximize, but understanding the relationship between email and those other areas is essential.
Take care of one, and the others will follow.
What is inbound marketing?
Different from outbound marketing, where you reach out directly to the customer, inbound marketing makes potential clients come to you. It’s much less intrusive and, in turn, more of a long-term strategy.
That being said, the real strength of inbound marketing is that you can create long-lasting relationships that are deep and meaningful. They won’t just buy from you one or two times; they’ll see you as somebody who empowers them to help reach their goals.
The primary benefit to an effective inbound marketing strategy is that you’re interacting with people who have already expressed interest in who you are and what you do.
They may reach out to you because they’ve read some of your blogs or watched one of your videos.
Regardless, by reaching out to you, they’re indicating a level of trust in your brand.
The Three Stages of Inbound Marketing
Most marketers see inbound marketing in three stages.
- Attract. In the first stage, the target audience comes to your doorstep because they consumed some of your helpful content. You may have already defined them as part of your target audience, which explains how they stumbled onto your website or social media platforms in the first place. Either way, you’ve managed to lure them in.
- Engage. Through digital formats like surveys and chatbots or in-person marketing, the engagement stage is about nurturing those leads to make the customers feel cared for. This might be the longest stage of them all because you’re constantly cultivating these relationships through emails, events, or content.
- Delight. Once you’ve given your customers the information and support, they become happy customers and eventually brand ambassadors. Not only are they willing to return after they’ve purchased from you, but they also bring other people with them. As your customer list grows, you can use this data to define your target audience further and attract more potential clients.
What is email marketing?
Email marketing is a form of digital marketing communication that engages solely with people on an email list that you’ve built. This can be either a part of your inbound marketing strategy or if you’re cold emailing individuals, it could also be a form of outbound marketing.
Generally speaking, these are warmer leads that are familiar with who you are and your product or service. You may nurture them over time with product announcements and discounts, or you could send relevant information about your brand. Educational content that is useful to everyone in your niche is also valuable.
The best part about email marketing is that you own this list. You’re not beholden to some social media platform that can cancel your account tomorrow or an algorithm that may decide to rank you lower. It’s 100% your property. You earned it.
And since email is the number one communication channel on the planet — 99% of people check their email daily — that’s a valuable asset.
So what do you do with this email list? You can generate greater brand awareness and cultivate relationships during the buying journey or sell advertising space to other organizations.
Be careful with the frequency and email content, though. You may see your spam complaints and unsubscribe rate increase if you get sloppy.
How can email marketing fuel your overall inbound strategy?
No marketing strategy only has one component, even when you have one as powerful as email marketing. It takes all forms — driving organic traffic, using paid advertising, referrals, and more — to create a well-rounded strategy.
That being said, email marketing absolutely has the power to take your business to the next level. So how can email marketing fuel your overall inbound strategy?
Well, here are a few advantages:
High return on investment (ROI)
With some of your other internet marketing strategies, you’ll be lucky if you get a 200% to 300% ROI. Those aren’t bad numbers either; doubling or tripling your money on any strategy is something to celebrate.
But with email marketing, the average ROI is 4400%.
You read that right – 4400%.
That means for every dollar you spend on a successful email marketing strategy, you get around $44 back in return.
How is that even possible? The answer lies in both the nature of your list and the fees associated with email.
As mentioned above, your email list – if managed correctly — is already warm. They’re ready and waiting for you to send them information on your products or services.
That doesn’t mean that everyone will click on your links and buy. It means that with an average click-through rate of 3%, even a modest email list of a few thousand people can produce good revenue numbers.
On top of that, the cost associated with email lists is relatively tiny. Most of your emails are probably repurposed content that’s already on other platforms, so you don’t have to pay hundreds of dollars for a freelancer.
And even if you do have to pay for a copywriter and a graphic designer; since these emails are intentionally small, both of those costs — even if you pay for top talent — shouldn’t be astronomical.
Mix all that together, and you’ve got a recipe for a fantastic return on your investment.
Generate high-quality leads
Never forget that the people in your email list are already aware of who you are. You’ve nurtured that relationship, given them resources to be on that list, and they’ve stayed on your list for a reason.
Your job is to develop those leads further, so they’re ready to click when it comes time to buy. So, how can email marketing fuel your overall inbound strategy?
Well, with outbound marketing, you’re most likely ‘cold-calling’ people you think may have an interest in your brand. Even if those sales teams have done a significant amount of audience market research, you still have to get past the initial interaction.
With email marketing, that initial interaction is behind you. They’ve already expressed interest in your brand, which makes these leads higher quality than a typical cold audience.
It also frees up time for your sales staff to go after potential clients since your periodic drip campaigns have done most of the legwork for you.
Increase website traffic
I’m not saying that SEO is worthless, but the fact is that once you get past a certain level on your email list, you can almost manipulate the search engines to favor your valuable content.
Think about it. If you have a list of 100,000 people, with an average click-through rate of 3%, it means every time send out an email, your site immediately receives 3000 additional hits.
Google notices this, and even though they don’t weigh referral traffic as highly as organic traffic, it still sends a ranking signal to their algorithm. That’s not even counting the traffic you get from people forwarding your emails or sharing on social media. Your potential reach is exponential.
When you have that amount of traffic that comes to your website, you can glean more insight into what kind of content your audience craves. If the unsubscribe rates are lower after a particular subject line, you can adjust accordingly to see if it makes a difference. If you notice your click-through rate is higher in videos, create more video-based content.
There’s no limit to the amount of relevant information you can gain from a healthy email list, whether you send that traffic directly to the website or not. It’s a distinct competitive advantage that not many brands have.
While having an email list is great, proper segmentation is what takes your list to the next level.
This is when you divide your contacts by how they reached you, what content they clicked on, or what actions they’ve taken on your emails.
Ideally, you would have multiple segments inside your master list, consisting of people who have just been added to your list and repeat buyers. Your content can be distributed differently to each one of those audiences, rather than a generic email that they may or may not respond to.
Part of segmentation also includes responding to customer triggers. If a reader clicks on a link inside your email, it can automatically deliver a sequence that takes them towards a different cross-sell.
Those are targeted emails you won’t want to send to everybody – just people you know may be interested.
Most email service providers have this functionality, but some provide more robust features than others. It’s worth checking into different providers to see which one works best for you.
Rekindle inactive subscribers
You spent a lot of time building your email list. Why let any of them get away?
Sure, you’re bound to find a few stragglers that are only on your list for the initial freebie, but that’s not to say they won’t engage again. Send a quick “Are We Breaking Up?” email that strikes a personalized, emotional cord and see if they’ll reengage.
Not all unsubscribes happen because people have chosen not to listen to you anymore. Some email service providers inadvertently mark emails as “unopened,” even if all they’ve read is a preview. That doesn’t mean they’re not interested. It just means that what they read didn’t interest them.
To remedy this, once they have reengaged, send them hyper-relevant content that you know works well with your customers. If they click through, you’ve won them back. If they ignore it, purge them from your list.
This is another reason why email lists are not very expensive to maintain, relatively speaking. You can remove people from your list to keep your plan at lower-priced tiers, only keeping those you know want your content.
Make sure they don’t want your content before you remove them.
Just like an email list can help drive organic traffic to your website, it can also increase engagement on other platforms. Links to your social media (if you post there) can send a stream of interested readers who will engage with your timely content. That social proof can be precious if you’re building up a presence elsewhere.
But social media isn’t the only type of engagement that we want. Ultimately, you want to create a relationship with them so that when the time comes for them to need your product or service, you’re already on their mind.
A drip campaign is incredibly convenient for this. Sporadic, automated emails that send your readers relevant content increases their trust in you. Then, when you have a product launch, they’re excited and ready to buy.
Increasing engagement also helps to build your brand authority not just where you live but worldwide. Email doesn’t recognize country borders, so you can craft a global authority for your brand more efficiently than ever before.
What are the disadvantages of inbound marketing?
Even though there are numerous advantages to email marketing when it comes to your inbound email marketing strategy, there are some potential downsides.
First, it has to be understood that this is a slow, drawn-out process. With inbound marketing — especially building up your email list — you’re playing the long game. You must develop that trust with your audience, which won’t happen overnight. Be prepared to spend several months or even years initially.
Second, it will take a lot of trial and error to determine your target audience. You’ll make several adjustments to your content and target audience.
You’re never done. There will always be something to do.
So How Can Email Marketing Fuel Your Overall Inbound Strategy today?
It’s been said that the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is today.
If you haven’t taken the time to create an email list, what are you waiting for? It’s one of the most powerful tools in your tool belt (if adequately deployed) and can take your inbound marketing strategy to the next level. Just make sure to check out the best email marketing software to help!