Inbound marketing is the future of lead generation. Gone are the days of cold calls and pushing flyers at bypassers- consumers want (and have really always wanted) relevant content on their watch! The businesses that use strategic timing to provide them with the most valuable and educational content earn the leads.
When used correctly, email marketing can help you nurture leads, strengthen relationships with current customers, and boost your overall inbound strategy. In this post, I’ll discuss how email marketing can fuel your overall inbound strategy and provide tips on how to get started! We’ll go over what inbound marketing and email marketing are, how they work together, and what types of emails you could be using as part of your inbound strategy.
If you want to nurture your leads and engage with your current customers, read on!
What are Inbound Marketing and Email Marketing?
To further understand how inbound marketing and email marketing can be used together, we first need to understand what each of them is.
Inbound marketing, or the inbound methodology, was first coined by HubSpot as a method to grow your sales and business by meeting customers in each stage of their buyer’s journey. The incentive is to empower your customers to succeed, and by doing so, you succeed too!
There are three main stages in inbound marketing:
“You don’t want just anyone coming to your website. You want people who are most likely to become leads and, ultimately, happy customers. How do you get them there? You attract more of the right customers with relevant content at the right time.” – HubSpot
Connecting with the right person at the right time creates the right conditions for a business relationship. We see this in our personal relationships- why wouldn’t this be similar with our customers? By conducting industry research and creating buyer personas, you can make sure you’re tailoring your content to attract the right customers.
“Presenting insights and solutions that align with customer pain points and goals increase the chances of them buying from you.” – Hubspot
In inbound marketing, you should offer solutions that solve customer pain points or help customers achieve their goals. For example, a small business owner’s pain point could be posting across social media channels at once to save time. Software companies like Later,AgoraPulse, and Hootsuite address this pain point through their social media scheduling software.
“Create memorable content your prospects can share with their friends and family by using a variety of content formats.” – Hubspot
The process shouldn’t stop once your lead has been converted into a customer. Continued education pieces, referral programs, segmented newsletters, and attribution reporting can all continue to provide your customer with valuable, delightful content that they can share with others.
According to SemRush, word-of-mouth is even more effective than paid ads, resulting in five times more sales. 78% of people rave about their favorite recent experiences to people they know at least once per week. By keeping your brand fresh in your customer’s minds, you’re encouraging word-of-mouth marketing paired with delightful, sharable content.
Email marketing is one of the greatest tools in the digital marketing toolbox. Through lead generation and nurturing, email marketing can help you convert your leads into customers! It can also be used to communicate with past customers.
Here are some of the biggest perks of email marketing:
- Reach the right audience at the right time
- Share memorable “sharable” content with leads and past customers
- Automate messages for timely delivery (welcome, thanks for shopping with us, your order is on its way, etc.)>
- Create cost-friendly campaigns
- Repurpose the content that you already have
“None of us enjoy getting hundreds of spammy emails delivered to our inboxes. Email marketing is a tool that should be used strategically without pushing random content.”
As I’ve mentioned before, you want to make sure to deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time! With this in mind, you might already be able to see how inbound marketing and email marketing fit together.
How Do Inbound Marketing and Email Marketing Fit Together?
Let’s revisit the HubSpot inbound marketing flywheel.
In the attract stage, we’re focused on being visible to users who are searching for content that addresses their goals or pain points. This can be in the form of targeted ads, videos, keyword-researched blog posts, and social media targeting.
We see email marketing being used as a tool in the engage and delight stages.
Email Marketing in the Engage Stage
In this stage, you have leads that have already been attracted to your brand through your content strategy that are trying to address their pain points and goals. Engaging with them at this point is critical to converting them into customers.
To continue to move your lead forward through the sales funnel, you should implement lead nurturing campaigns. Triggers that send timely emails based on website actions or activities will help your customers feel more confident in purchasing a product or service.
For example, I spend a lot of time shopping on Prana. I continuously move throughout their sales funnel! They have my email address and can see my shopping activity and clicks on their website. Recently I abandoned my shopping cart and received a lead nurturing email to get me back on their site.
As you can see, this is a successful lead nurturing campaign that they probably have automated for all of their customers with subscribed email addresses. It did draw me back to their site and I used this opportunity to save and receive free shipping on my order!
Email Marketing in the Delight Stage
In the delight stage, a lead has already been turned into a customer. They may have an incentive to shop with you again (such as regularly purchasing clothes with Prana and moving through the sales funnel), or maybe they made a one-time purchase. An example of a one-time purchase might be upgrading to Spotify premium from a free account. Spotify wants you to continue your premium subscription and tell others about it.
Keeping your brand at the front in customers’ minds in the delight stage can help them come back for more and share your brand through word-of-mouth marketing. You accomplish this in part through email marketing!
Continued Education Pieces
You can send out continuous education material through an email marketing campaign. In this example below, REI has sent me an email post-purchase to provide me updates on their current events and classes.
Emails like this help build trust with a brand- they’re offering relevant, informative, and timely content “without anything in return”.
While I know that REI isn’t only doing this out of the goodness of their heart, it feels like they care about me as a customer by providing me with free professional advice and guidance that is relevant to my interests. I perceive them as trusted experts in the outdoor recreation industry.
Segmented Customer Newsletters
Sending out newsletters to customers based on their purchase history and/or demographics can help them stay engaged with your brand. Similar to sharing educational content, this helps build trust with a brand. It’s also a great way to share product releases, announcements, and current industry news.
A referral program incentivizes customers to share your brand with others through a benefit for themselves. It has a much higher potential for retention and follow-through. The email below is one from Vivo Barefoot, providing a 25% off coupon for the referrer and the referral recipient.
Referrals can be a win-win for you and your customers! They get a reward, their friends or family are happy, and you build both brand loyalty and word-of-mouth marketing for your business.
Email marketing is a powerful tool that should be used as part of your inbound marketing strategy. It’s great for lead nurturing, and can also be used to provide educational materials to customers, promote referral programs, and keep customers up-to-date on company news.
If you want to learn more about how email marketing can help your business grow, contact us today! We offer a variety of services that will help you get the most out of email marketing to support your inbound marketing goals.
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