Email marketing is one of the most effective digital marketing channels. With billions of active email accounts worldwide, email provides a direct line of communication to connect with your audience. But email is just one piece of the inbound marketing puzzle. Integrating email into your overall inbound strategy can help you attract, engage, and delight customers. So how exactly can you use email to support your inbound efforts? Let’s take a look.
Setting Goals and Objectives
Before diving into email marketing, it’s important to align on goals and objectives. Email campaigns should always ladder up to your overall inbound strategy.
Some examples of email goals that support inbound objectives include:
- Generate leads and increase conversions
- Nurture subscriber relationships
- Promote content and drive website traffic
- Engage current customers and upsell/cross-sell
- Build brand awareness and affinity
Having clearly defined goals will inform the types of emails you send, your target audience, email content, and success metrics.
|Generate Leads||Increase email subscription signups by 25% quarter-over-quarter|
|Nurture Subscribers||Send relevant content emails to subscribers at least 2x per month|
|Promote Content||Achieve email click-through rates of 15%+ to drive traffic to newest blog posts|
|Engage Customers||Survey customers quarterly via email to gauge satisfaction|
|Build Awareness||Highlight new products, services, and company news through a monthly newsletter|
Keep your goals front-of-mind as you build out your email marketing program.
Identifying Your Target Audience
Your subscribers are the lifeblood of any effective email marketing initiative. That’s why taking the time to understand your audience is key.
Start by developing detailed buyer personas based on market research and customer data. Identify:
- Demographic information
- Goals and challenges
- Common objections
- Content and messaging preferences
Then, segment your email lists based on attributes like:
- Job title/role
- Past engagement
Email marketing allows you to craft hyper-targeted messages. Make sure you know exactly who you’re talking to.
|Segment||Example Persona||Email Focus|
|Owners of SMBs||Jennifer, Founder of a 10-person marketing agency struggling with lead gen||Educational content on inbound marketing|
|Marketing Managers||Michael, Marketing Manager at a 200-person software company focused on retention||Content and offers related to lifecycle marketing|
|IT Directors||David, IT Director at a 500-person financial services firm concerned with security||Thought leadership on digital transformation in regulated industries|
Get clear on who you’re communicating with, and your emails will drive better results.
Creating Effective Email Content
Now that you know who you’re talking to, it’s time to figure out what to say.
Your email content should align to subscriber preferences and support campaign goals. Here are some best practices:
- Lead with value – Offer practical, useful advice or information readers want
- Keep it brief – Get to the point quickly and avoid lengthy blocks of text
- Personalize content – Use merge tags to add relevant customization
- Make it scannable – Break up content with subheaders, bullets, and bolding
- Use visuals – Images, gifs, and video help reinforce key messages
- Link to resources – Include links to downloads, blog posts, and more
- Focus on benefits – Communicate how your solution helps customers
|Email Type||Example Content Approach|
|Educational||Anatomy of a Great Landing Page – with header tips, gif, and link to ebook download|
|Promotional||Check out our new guide to lifecycle marketing! Use it to reduce churn. [CTA button]|
|Newsworthy||We’re proud to be named a Leader in Gartner’s 2023 MQ for Marketing Automation!|
Provide subscribers with your best ideas, advice, news, and offers.
Designing and Building Effective Emails
Creating awesome content is just the first step. You also need to design emails that engage subscribers and get results.
- Mobile-optimized – Over 50% of emails are opened on mobile. Use responsive templates.
- Clear calls-to-action – Tell readers exactly what you want them to do.
- Scannable layout – Use white space, dividers, and visual hierarchy to direct eyes.
- Compelling subject lines – Get opens with specificity, personalization, urgency
|Button CTAs||Tiny text links|
|Reader-focused subject lines||Overly salesy subject lines|
With email design, simplify and optimize for the inbox.
Automating Effective Email Sequences
Individual email blasts have their purpose. But for sustained inbound results, you need a strategic sequence.
Here are some of the most common types of automated email flows to consider:
- Welcome series – Onboard new subscribers
- Lead nurturing – Engage prospects with relevant content
- Cart abandonment – Win back shoppers who left items in cart
- Customer re-engagement – Bring inactive contacts back into the fold
- Customer surveys – Proactively request feedback
Email sequences allow you to continue providing value long after the initial send. Just don’t forget the set-it-and-forget it mindset. Monitor results and optimize flows over time.
|Email Type||Goal||Example Triggers|
|Welcome Series||Introduce new contacts to your brand||New email sign-up, content download|
|Lead Nurturing||Move prospects down the funnel with useful info||No recent site activity, opened but didn’t click recent email|
|Re-engagement||Reconnect with inactive contacts||No email opens for 60+ days, inactive account user|
Work automation into the fabric of your email program for round-the-clock results.
Measuring and Analyzing Email Performance
How will you know if your email marketing program is achieving your inbound goals? Measurement and analysis.
Start by tracking metrics like:
- Open rate
- Click-through rate
- Bounce and unsubscribe rate
- Sales attributed to email
- Website traffic from email
Then dig into the data segment by segment and campaign by campaign. Look for trends and opportunities to improve results.
Tools like Google Analytics and dedicated email platforms provide robust reporting. Take advantage of built-in dashboards and custom reports to stay on top of email KPIs.
Make email measurement a priority to inform your ongoing optimization efforts.
Integrating Email with Your Inbound Strategy
Email doesn’t exist in a vacuum. To maximize impact, align your email marketing with other key inbound channels and programs.
Here are some powerful combinations:
- Email + Content: Promote new blog posts and guides via email. Include links to drive traffic.
- Email + Social: Share blog post links, offers, and other resources across social.
- Email + Paid Ads: Use emails to nurture leads generated from pay-per-click ads.
- Email + Events: Promote upcoming webinars and conferences to email lists.
The synergies across inbound increase when channels work together. Make this a core part of your approach.
Bringing It All Together
Email remains one of the highest ROI inbound channels. By setting goals, segmenting your lists, creating value-driven content, automating sequences, and measuring performance, you can ensure email marketing fuels your overall inbound strategy.
Focus on providing real value to subscribers in every send. Build trust and nurture relationships over time. With a thoughtful approach, email can become an invaluable component of your inbound machine.
What email marketing tactics have you found most effective for supporting inbound results? Let me know in the comments!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How can email marketing fuel your overall inbound strategy?
A: Email marketing provides a one-to-one channel of communication.
Q: What is the importance of segmentation in inbound email marketing?
A: Segmentation helps send the right message to the right person at the right time.
Q: What is a buyer persona in email marketing?
A: A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer.
Q: What are the benefits of email marketing for online course sales?
A: Email marketing can help inform, educate, build customer loyalty, trust, brand awareness, and gain and nurture new leads.
Q: How does email marketing help establish a relationship with prospects?
A: Email marketing gives businesses access to a prospect’s inbox and allows them to establish a relationship with them.
Q: What are some common topics for business emails?
A: Most emails that businesses send have topics such as newsletters, promotions, event invitations, and follow-ups.
Q: How can businesses create engaging email content?
A: Businesses can create engaging email content by personalizing their emails and using unique content that subscribers will want to see.
Q: What is the most important part of creating high-performing emails?
A: Setting a goal is the most important part of creating high-performing emails.
Q: What is the significance of integrating email marketing with other inbound strategies?
A: Integrating email marketing with other inbound strategies can help businesses achieve their marketing goals and drive revenue growth.
Q: What are some tips for measuring and analyzing email marketing results?
A: Businesses should track and analyze metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates, and use email marketing analytics tools.