Do you love receiving cold calls or emails you never signed up for? What about when TV commercials invade your latest binge-watch? We’re going to guess you answered “definitely not.” Chances are that if you don’t like disruptive outbound strategies, your email marketing audience probably doesn’t, either.
If you’re looking to find (and retain) engaged customers who are interested in your brand and messaging, you need to develop an inbound marketing strategy. Inbound marketing focuses on a more natural and organic approach to earn new customers instead of more aggressive, in-your-face sales tactics. By leveraging inbound marketing, you’re able to connect with customers on a more personal level and solve problems they already have.
So, how can you develop an inbound marketing strategy, and how does email marketing fit into the inbound equation? In this blog, we’ll be answering these questions and more. Let’s dive into the world of inbound marketing and authentic engagement!
What’s an Inbound Marketing Strategy?
Inbound marketing is a business methodology that attracts consumers by developing personalized experiences and content targeted to their needs. Through content development and segmentation, you build long-lasting relationships with consumers that’ll ultimately boost your bottom line and increase your conversion longevity.
There are three essential elements within a successful inbound marketing strategy:
1. Attract: Draw your target audience in with quality content that establishes your brand as a trusted thought leader.
2. Engage: Present solutions that align with your audience’s pain points, so they’re more likely to buy from you.
3. Delight: Provide support that empowers your customers to enjoy their purchase(s) and continue engaging with your brand.
Think of an inbound marketing strategy as an ongoing user journey. When customers are pleased with your products or services, they’ll share that success with more people to create a self-sustaining lead generation loop. Above all, inbound marketing is useful for marketers because it gives you a clear view of your lead funnel and has the potential to boost your ROI with more engaged customers.
What Inbound Marketing Tactics Should you Focus On?
Are you convinced that inbound marketing is a smart strategy for your brand, yet? While there are a lot of different channels you can focus your efforts on, it’s essential to meet your audience on their preferred platforms and consider their needs. Are they savvy social media scrollers or are they more likely to convert from their email inboxes? Figure out where they spend the most time and develop content around those channels.
To help you get started, consider the following marketing tactics:
■ SEO: Optimize your website’s content and structure to appear in organic search engine result pages.
■ PPC: Utilize paid search to rank for keywords that are actively searched for and show audience intent.
■ Content Marketing: Nurture your leads with quality content like blogs, videos, case studies, and other downloadable content.
■ Social Media: Attract new and current readers by promoting your stellar content on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and more.
■ Email Marketing: Grow a loyal subscriber base and deliver personalized content to drive brand awareness and sales for your brand.
How to Integrate Email Into your Inbound Marketing Strategy
A successful inbound marketing strategy has a lot of moving parts. However, many marketers underestimate the power that email marketing has to contact opted-in leads, nurture their user experience, and drive final conversions.
While email can be used for both outbound and inbound marketing, it plays a crucial role in engaging users who’ve already shown interest in your company. Consider the following statistics behind the power of using email within your inbound marketing strategy:
■ 92% of adults use email, and 61% use it at least once a day (OptInMonster).
■ Email marketing drives more conversions than any other digital channel (MailMunch).
■ 72% of people prefer to receive promotional brand content through email (Snov.io).
■ 74% of digital marketers agree that personalization increases email engagement (InstaPage).
■ Email is 40 times more effective at lead generation than Twitter or Facebook (MailMunch).
■ For every $1 spent, email generates $36 in ROI (Constant Contact).
Step-by-Step Guide to Integrating Email Into your Inbound Strategy
To start building an inbound marketing approach for your email campaigns, it’s vital to follow email marketing best practices to ensure you maximize performance. If you want subscribers to find value in your emails, you need to develop relevant messaging, design, and an automation flow that keeps your audience engaged. Here’s the best way we’ve found to develop an email inbound marketing campaign.
1. Determine your Target Audience and Goals
Understanding your audience demographics and pain points is critical in creating successful email campaigns. What prospects are likely to purchase your services or products, and why? Consider the following questions when narrowing down your audience:
How does your brand solve challenges, and what challenges do they solve?
What does your audience like and dislike?
What is your audience’s age and where do they live?
What is your audience’s occupation and how does that drive their purchase decisions?
By answering these questions and taking the time to discover customer personas, you can create more targeted and relevant messaging that’ll drive sales from your subscriber list.
2. Grow a Quality Subscriber List Organically
To grow a robust inbound marketing strategy, you need to have a large list of email subscribers to message. However, quantity doesn’t always mean quality. Your email list needs to consist of subscribers who opted into your list and have expressed interest in your brand.
If you’re starting from scratch, building an email list can take time, and you’ll need to strategize ways to entice potential subscribers. While a simple “join our list!” message in your website’s footer may have done the job in the past, modern consumers will consider your value proposition before willingly giving up their information.
Strong value propositions include:
■ Dedicated landing pages full of information about your brand and service(s).
■ Gated content that educates your user beyond what’s available on your website.
■ Incentives to persuade your user to make a purchase, like free shipping or coupons.
While these are just a few suggestions to grow a quality list, you need to focus on fulfilling your user’s needs and offering value in return to gather contacts that are meaningful and committed.
3. Segment Subscribers Into More Relevant Groupings
Now that you have a subscriber list full of qualified leads, you need to segment like-minded persona categories to deliver more targeted messages. A good place to start is by dividing your list by intent: prospects, past customers, leads close to a purchase, undecided, etc. Understanding the different buying stages will help you communicate more effectively and target your subscriber’s needs.
For example, if you know your subscriber is close to making a purchase, you can send coupons to incentivize their actions. If they’re new to your brand, send an integrated welcome series that introduces them to your value and shares onboarding information.
Beyond categorizing by your lead funnel, you can also segment your audience by demographics, location, buying history, website activity, and more.
4. Determine the Type of Email you Plan on Sending
There are several types of inbound marketing emails you can send your subscribers to engage and convert them. While this will depend on how your audience is segmented, consider the following email types to get started:
■ Transactional emails send an automatic email when a subscriber buys a product or the order is shipped, so they’re kept in the loop for important updates.
■ Welcome emails help the subscriber get to know you better and set expectations for future email campaigns.
■ Newsletter emails update your subscribers on current events, product updates, or news to build brand awareness.
Once you strategize your email type, you’ll need to start designing your emails to earn open and click rates. Pay special attention to your subject lines, design aesthetic, and messaging to keep your subscribers coming back for more.
5. Measure Your Performance
After each campaign, it’s crucial to monitor the final performance results. Email metrics not only help you measure the success of your campaign, but they also help you derive insights to improve future communications.
Here are a few metrics you should measure:
■ Open Rate: the total number of emails that were opened.
■ Click-Through Rate: the total number of clicks that happened once your email was opened.
■ Bounce Rate: the average number of subscribers you were unable to reach.
■ Delivery Rate: the percentage of emails delivered divided by the number of emails sent.
If you’re looking to test performance, try A/B testing different elements within your email to understand what your subscribers react to. You can test subject lines, headlines, images, layouts, and more. If you notice your segment responds strongly to one message over another, send the higher-performing email to the rest of your subscribers.
Now that you know what an inbound marketing strategy is and how email marketing plays a critical role, it’s time to start developing your own. However, a successful strategy won’t happen over time. You need to put in the time, patience, and resources to start seeing the fruits of your labor.