Despite being considered “old” when compared to social media and other channels, email remains one of the most valuable digital marketing channels available to virtually any type of organization. Research confirms that email marketing still yields a strong return-on-investment regardless of your audience’s age group.
That’s not to say every email marketing strategy yields the same results. For instance, while outbound email marketing is certainly valuable, and should play a role in your overall strategy, you’re limiting your campaigns’ potential if you don’t also consider the value of inbound email marketing.
Don’t worry if you’re not thoroughly familiar with this topic just yet. The following points will clarify it, helping you better understand why your email campaigns need to include an inbound marketing strategy.
What is Inbound Email Marketing?
Outbound email marketing is fairly straightforward. When a lead demonstrates an interest in your brand, you send them a marketing email (or several) in hopes of turning this new lead into a loyal customer. You’re essentially reaching out to them directly.
Inbound marketing is different. It involves sending emails to people who have already provided an email address and given some form of consent to receive your emails. Unlike outbound marketing, in which you’re the one reaching out to a lead, with inbound email marketing, your leads come to you first.
Why is Inbound Marketing Valuable?
All marketers understand the importance of defining their target customers. There are virtually no products and services in the world that appeal to all people. By knowing what types of people are most likely to be interested in your brand, you can develop marketing content tailored to their preferences. You’ll also avoid wasting time and money on marketing campaigns targeting people without an interest in your brand.
That’s much easier to do with inbound email marketing. Because you’re sending emails to people who have already demonstrated an interest in receiving them, you can be sure you’re sending content to people who may genuinely become loyal customers.
It’s also worth noting that inbound email campaigns allow you to reach leads when they aren’t visiting your site or engaging with your brand on social media. This is, in fact, one of the key reasons email remains such a useful and valuable marketing channel. According to research, the average person checks their inbox approximately 15 times every day. That means every single day, you have 15 opportunities to reach leads.
It’s easy to see how this improves your overall email marketing strategy. With an inbound approach, you can spend time developing content you know your audience will find relevant, sharing it via a channel your audience checks often. This is key to staying efficient and under budget.
That said, you obviously need to convince people to give you their email addresses in order to take full advantage of an inbound email strategy. The following tips explain how you may go about doing so:
Publish Strong Content on Your Site
Writing strong content and publishing it on your website is a core principle of SEO and digital marketing. Why? Because it doesn’t matter how much work you put into an SEO strategy, if the content on your site doesn’t provide value to your audience, it will struggle to maintain a consistent audience.
That’s why you always need to consider how your content could benefit leads when developing it. For instance, perhaps you’re handling marketing for a dental clinic. The types of customers you want to attract are the types of people interested in dental health information and advice. Therefore, you might regularly post blog entries (or videos, or podcasts, etc.) covering these topics in detail and providing readers with actionable advice when necessary.
Just remember to ask people to provide their email address to sign up for your list in the content. Let them know they’ll receive similar content if they do so. By posting strong content on your site, you’ll give your leads a genuine reason to provide their email addresses. They’ll want to receive more of your valuable content in their inboxes.
Share Your Content on Social Media
Don’t limit yourself by only posting content on your site. Your social media followers also represent potential inbound marketing opportunities. If they’re willing to follow your brand on social media, there’s a good chance they’ll also be willing to provide their email addresses to receive your content. To enhance the value of your site’s content, it’s important to also share it consistently via social media. Doing so helps you easily and affordably cast a wider net.
Offer an Incentive
Inboxes can get crowded. In fact, the average office worker will receive approximately 121 emails a day. Very few people are looking for ways to further crowd their inboxes. They’re only going to provide email addresses to brands if those brands give them a good reason to do so.
Because of this, you may want to go beyond merely posting strong content on your site. It’s also a good idea to offer some form of incentive for providing an email address. For instance, if a website visitor signs up for your email list, you might reward them with a free piece of premium content (such as an eBook). Or, you could offer a discount on a product or service in exchange for providing an email address.
Make Providing an Email Address Easy
Even website visitors or social followers who are willing to provide their email addresses still may not do so if the process is complicated. While you may want to ask people what types of content they would like to receive when they sign up for your email list (this allows you to segment your list, which boosts open rates), asking too many questions on the signup form can deter potential leads. Sometimes they are unwilling to provide too much information. Sometimes they simply don’t have the time to fill out a lengthy form. Review your email list signup process to determine if there are any ways you can simplify it.
Taking such steps is worth your time. Remember, inbound email marketing represents a significant opportunity. The information here will help you take advantage of it.