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How Email Marketing Can Fuel Your Overall Inbound Strategy

Can email marketing fuel your inbound strategy in 2024? The majority of marketers think so. In a recent survey, nearly 75% said that it was the best option for lead nurturing. By adding email to your inbound marketing mix, you can minimize the impact of social media algorithm changes and keep the conversation going with your target audience – based on consent, not hard selling.

So, email marketing can fuel your inbound marketing strategy to new heights. But how?

In this blog post, you’ll learn how to align your email marketing with your inbound funnel to drive engagement and revenue. 

 

What Does it Mean to Create an Inbound Email Marketing Strategy?

Inbound email marketing delivers targeted messages to people who have shown interest in your product or service. For example, they may have opted into your email list. An inbound email campaign can drive conversions throughout the funnel. The key is to send the right email to the right audience at the right time.

This is where an inbound email marketing strategy comes in. It can help you map your audience’s needs to your sales funnel to deliver value and drive conversions. With email, you can increase the effectiveness of other inbound strategies, such as content marketing and SEO. This means better reach, lower costs, and higher revenues. 

Benefits of Inbound Marketing Email Campaigns

Inbound email marketing has something to offer at every stage of the sales funnel. Let’s take a closer look.

1. Create a connection in the attract stage

This is the top of the inbound funnel. In this stage, the goal is to create a compelling reason for new leads to engage with your brand. A welcome sequence can introduce your brand, share useful resources, and show them around the website. Once the sequence ends, you can share snippets from ebooks, reports, blogs, webinars, etc., building on their interests and preferences. 

2. Build authority in the consideration stage

Drip emails are best suited to showing mid-funnel leads how you can meet their needs. These emails can be used to promote key content pieces, answer frequently asked questions, and share invites for webinars and events. This will deepen the engagement and position you as an expert.

3. Differentiate your brand in the consideration stage

By now, subscribers are actively considering buying from you – and a few others. This is where lead nurturing campaigns come in. You can use them to highlight key features and offers that make your product the best choice. If you’re in B2B, share case studies and reports that reinforce your value proposition and move them toward a purchase. 

4. Streamline the purchase stage

If you have a subscription product, emails are ideal for sending free-trial reminders, FAQs, and customer testimonials. These can be used to cover the last mile to the actual purchase. When the purchase is made, you can trigger automatic order confirmations, and if it fails, follow up immediately with cart recovery emails. Inbound email marketing can engage customers who forget to check out.              

5. Revive relationships in the retention stage

Re-engagement emails are the perfect option for reconnecting with customers. It can remind them of the value that brought them to you in the first place. You can also use them to share feedback forms so you for real-time insights into the customer experience. 

By integrating email marketing into your inbound strategy, you can personalize your value proposition to different customer personas, guide them through their journey, and find opportunities to drive repeat sales and retention.

Read also: Inbound Marketing Guide: Definition, Stages, and Strategy

Inbound Email Marketing vs Outbound Email Marketing: What’s the Difference?

Inbound email marketing nurtures leads by providing value and driving them toward a purchase. Outbound emails help you reach and promote your products to a wider audience. They reach out to the customer wherever they may be.

Inbound emails are consent-based, as recipients themselves opt-in to receive emails. Outbound emails are unsolicited, which means recipients are more likely to disengage or report them as spam. You get a much higher engagement rate with inbound emails compared to outbound.

However, outbound emails can generate faster results than inbound. This is because they focus on discounts and offers. In comparison, inbound emails take longer to show results as they are mainly geared toward brand awareness and engagement.

As part of your inbound email marketing strategy, emails can be paired with blogs, ebooks, social media, pay-per-click ads, etc. On the other hand, outbound marketing includes cold calling, TV ads, display ads, etc.  

Read also: CRM Functionality — 12 CRM Features That Fuel Growth Hacking

Best Practices for Brilliant Inbound Marketing Email Campaigns

Good email marketing comes with certain ‘rules of engagement’. They are as follows.

1. Segment your audience

If you want your audience to take action, you need to know who they are and what they need. To do that, segment the audience based on their age, income, location, purchase history, and communication preferences. Then, categorize the top 20% as highly engaged, the remaining 30% as engaged, and the rest as somewhat engaged or disengaged.

This will help you create targeted emails to drive loyalty with loyal customers and re-engage with inactive ones.

2. Write compelling subject lines

A compelling subject line can determine how successful your email campaign turns out to be. This also includes the preview that appears alongside the subject line. The key is to keep it short and relevant – no more than 60 characters long. If that’s difficult to do, you are probably better off creating an email sequence.

This lets you focus on one selling point at a time and appeal to different buying motives. Whether you decide to go with a single email or sequence, make sure that the subject lines connect to the campaign’s overall goals.

3. Optimize your email send times

If your email open rate is bad, chances are you’re sending them at the wrong time of day or week. According to data, the best time to send emails is between 9 am and 12 pm on weekdays. Also, make sure you stagger the sending schedule for customers living in other time zones – both local and international. Use automation workflows to sync email send times across campaigns automatically.

4. Test the visuals and layouts

Attractive visual images can reinforce your copy and make it easier for readers to understand. This is because they break up blocks of text into bite-sized sections. With the right combination of colors, images, and white space, you can also direct the reader’s attention to specific areas of your email – like the CTA, for example.

Email tools like EngageBay come with pre-built email templates that can be customized with text and design elements in minutes, and tested for performance. 

5. Leverage performance analytics

Based on your campaign goals and KPIs, you must measure the performance of every email campaign you send. The key email marketing metrics are open rate, click-through rate, unsubscribe rate, and conversion rate. To that, you should probably add an email deliverability rate, too.

This metric tracks how many of your emails are bouncing. Analyzing these KPIs will help you get to the bottom of any issues – be it content, formatting, design, or authentication and fix them quickly. 

6. Respect user consent and preferences

The law requires that subscribers explicitly ‘opt-in’ or sign up to receive emails before you can put them on your list. Doing this tells email clients that you’re a legitimate sender. Not only that, you must make sure subscribers can choose what emails get sent to them.

For example, opting out of promotions or newsletter emails. Include a link to an ‘email preference center’ page in every email. Also, make sure a confirmation message is displayed as soon as the user hits submit – it shows that you play by the rules.

Read also: Maximizing Inbound Marketing Automation for Exponential Growth

Inbound Email Examples For Your Strategy

Here are the basic inbound email types every marketer needs.

1. Welcome emails

welcome email example
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Welcome emails enable you to introduce your brand and share links to useful content. This allows subscribers to learn more about who you are and what you do. An effective welcome email should have double opt-in verification and provide links to customer support.

2. Nurturing emails

These emails are meant to guide prospects through the buyer journey. They should address specific pain points and connect them to product features. With email marketing automation, you can build triggered email sequences to move prospects toward a purchase.

3. Onboarding emails

onboarding email example
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Onboarding emails give new users a guided tour of your website and encourage them to complete their profiles, join communities, etc.

4. Product recommendation emails

product recommendation example
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Product recommendations suggest products to buy based on transaction history and online activity.

5. Abandoned cart emails

Abandoned cart email example
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Abandoned cart emails retarget users who have items left in their shopping carts and encourage them to complete their purchases.

Read also: 18 Trending Email Marketing Campaign Ideas [+ Templates]

How Can Email Marketing Fuel Your Overall Inbound Strategy?

You need to take a bottom-up approach when aligning email content with your inbound strategy. Here’s the step-by-step process: 

1. Begin with the customer journey in mind

Map your email strategy to each stage of the inbound marketing funnel. This will help you identify the best topics to use across the customer journey – from awareness to consideration and consideration to conversion. You can also leverage your existing ICP data to fine-tune your email strategy.

The goal is to make each email relevant and engaging. On the back end, sync your email and content calendars so that you can seamlessly promote lead magnets, guides, e-books, webinars, and events before launching them.

With EngageBay’s customer journey builder, you can plan complete marketing sequences, integrating content, email, social media, etc., across every touch point. 

2. Personalize and add value

Look for ways to add value based on specific interests, preferences, purchase history, and online engagement. This makes your product recommendations far more contextual and engaging. You can also use inbound marketing analytics to identify what topics are most popular with a particular segment.

This should give you plenty of talking points beyond the usual promotions. Make templates out of the best ones and optimize them based on performance and any customer feedback. You’ll soon have options for every possible situation.

3. Use automation to nurture leads

Between your customer journey map and segmentation data, you should have everything you need to create nurturing emails based on specific activities and preferences. The next step is to set up triggers for each touchpoint – be it webinar registration, e-book download, website activity, abandoned cart, and so on.

This will enable you to automate emails and maximize engagement on landing pages, lead magnets, webinars, etc. By connecting your CRM and email platform, you can create automated nurturing workflows with dynamic email templates to target leads at various funnel stages.

Not only that, you can focus on the prospects closest to conversion with automated lead scoring. 

4. Optimize timing and frequency

There’s no substitute for data if you want to determine the best send time and frequency. Start by looking at the average open rate, click-through rate, and unsubscribe rate for your industry. This should give you a baseline to work with. Compare it to the email preference data in your CRM. The right answer may vary based on customer demographics and location. 

Next, segment your list by time zone so you can identify when they are most likely to check their inboxes. Run A/B tests and compare the results to confirm. You want to find a cadence that works for all customer personas. Analyze reporting data weekly to maintain steady engagement.

You may have to adjust send frequencies for a few weeks until you find the right one.

5. Track user activity to improve targeting

Let’s say you wanted to run abandoned cart emails to recover sales. You’d need real-time tracking to identify users that didn’t complete checkout. This could be a trigger for the first follow-up email. Based on whether the user opens it, you can then trigger follow-up emails.

By analyzing behavioral data, you can differentiate between first-time and repeat buyers. This data enables you to create effective recovery sequences with targeted offers that drive urgency and increase the odds of conversion.

Also, real-time engagement data lets you identify the best time to trigger retargeting ads – be it alongside the cart recovery email sequence or immediately after it. 

6. Use the right email marketing KPIs to track campaign effectiveness

Keep an eye on email marketing KPIs like open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and unsubscribe rates. Correlating these KPIs can provide vital insights into the performance of inbound campaigns on the whole.

For example, if your goal is lead generation, a high open rate means good engagement at the top of the funnel.

That translates into more traffic and brand awareness. Similarly, a decent click-through rate can indicate higher ebook downloads and webinar registrations. Analyzing email marketing KPIs can also reveal problems with content strategy or social media targeting.

For example, if you have a high unsubscribe rate, it’s possible that your offers aren’t attractive enough to the target audience.

7. Integrate email data with overall inbound analytics

You can confirm all of your performance-related hypotheses by adding email data to your weekly inbound marketing reports. This gives you a complete picture of how each campaign is contributing toward marketing goals.

For example, you’ll be able to see the correlation between email open rates and website engagement.

You can then identify the next steps to take, like optimizing your site for high-intent search terms while fine-tuning subject lines and CTAs to increase the click-through rate. 

8. Keep tweaking based on performance insights

Ultimately, high engagement rates must translate into tangible revenue for your inbound email marketing campaigns to succeed. That’s not always the case.

For example, if your cost per acquisition (CPA) is high even when your emails are getting enough engagement, there could be an underlying issue elsewhere. It could be that your landing page is taking too long to load, resulting in a high bounce rate.

You must leverage additional tools like Google Analytics and email analytics to pinpoint the exact issue. Marketing automation tools come with built-in reporting and analytics that deliver actionable performance insights across campaigns – like EngageBay. It also fuses all the data into a dashboard with real-time updates.

Read also: Email Marketing vs Marketing Automation: A Marketer’s Guide

Conclusion

So, there you have it – email marketing can fuel your overall inbound strategy. However, your marketing team can only send so many emails a day. By leveraging email automation, you can scale your email campaigns rapidly while improving performance.

EngageBay provides small businesses with a ready-to-use inbound marketing solution that can automate routine tasks and enable them to innovate. 

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