Why is Email Marketing an Important Part of Inbound Marketing?

Emails have always been a swift way of communication in marketing way before other e-socializing platforms gained popularity. But the introduction of other platforms has made inbound marketers think that the influence of email marketing is over! 

No!! That’s not true. New platforms, though great, carry multiple limitations with them which can be fulfilled by the all-in-one email marketing. If you are an inbound marketer, you need to be aware of facts which prove that email marketing is here to stay for many more years to come:

  • Email marketing carries the potential to provide up to 3200% Return on Investment (ROI).
  • As per the discussions in the Email Evolution conference 2017, the impact of email marketing is showing positive growth each year.
  • Email is considered as the 3rd most influential source of information among B2B audiences.
  • Recent surveys have shown customers prefer personalized informative emails over other sources of inbound marketing.

Before we go on comparing the most popular inbound sources, let’s have a brief over inbound marketing.

Inbound marketing is a fresh strategy where marketers focus on developing content in different forms like blog posts, emails, podcasts, social media posts, etc. The motive is to attract buyers or potential buyers toward their brand rather than going out there with a standard course of actions like cold calling or advertising. The topmost requirement of inbound marketing is creating valuable content that attracts them to you rather than the other way round. It is gaining popularity amongst e-marketers as it is evergreen, for example, if you develop a blog, you are going to get organic traffic for that post for a long time!! There are multiple sources of inbound marketing with their own benefits and limitations. Let’s see how emails cover-up for the limitations of other sources and continue to be an inseparable part of inbound marketing.

Email marketing & blogging

Shew! It’s difficult to make a comparison here as blogs and email add-on to each other. A blog is a content section maintained on the website available for everyone to see. It keeps the website dynamic and it is a good way to educate customers. It can even help in improving the ranking on search engines. But the difficulties that come along with it include the following:

  • A prospect may get lost in a crowd of blogs, might not be able to locate the right one in time and close the website, remaining deprived of the beautiful blogs created with a lot of hard work.  The result – loss of a prospect.

If you would have reached out to this prospect with an email introducing your product, the prospect might have responded back. The result – prospect converted into a user.

  • Some people are not in the habit of reading long stuff. They just want direct answers to their question without any ‘if’ and ‘but’. This is what emails are for, short, to-the-point and can take the conversation ahead.
  • If you have a well-established blog, well and good as you will have a solid idea of what your audience expects from you. However, blogs that are just starting need to make a good decision on their niche and begin creating content that resonates.

So, what is the best strategy here? As mentioned earlier, blogs and emails add-on to each other, so combine them to frame a much bigger eco-system to attract traffic to your website. This traffic can be converted into leads that can ultimately be nurtured into customers.

Email marketing & social media marketing

Thanks to smartphones and the telecom industries, now we have a majority of the population present, connected and consistently active on social media.

If planned efficiently, social media is a blessing, otherwise, one wrong move (or maybe no move at all) can take your competitor way ahead of you in no time. The most-used social media platforms are – Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Let’s talk about how each of them is incomplete without email marketing.

Twitter – A global phenomenon and a great way to reach a worldwide audience by use of hashtags or joining conversations. Its limitations for a business looking for leads include the following:

  • 128 characters are not enough to convey a convincing message to prospects (that too including the hashtags)
  • It’s a noisy place, with an average of 6000 tweets sent per second. With low followers and fewer retweets, your tweet can disappear faster than it appeared on the screen of the user.
  • Building a good following can be hard, and remaining continuously active is not the solution. Believe me, I have tried. One needs to spend a lot of time, experimentation and multiple efforts to build a decent strategy. It’s no wonder so many billion Twitter accounts have no followers at all, and the average number of followers per Twitter user stands at about 700.
  • Interacting with clients urges you to always remain online and you easily get caught up in the stream of interesting tweets and spend a huge chunk of your valuable time in scrolling and refreshing your feed.

Emails provide one-on-one interaction with an individual, with no limit on characters (keeping it short and sweet help), design it the way you want, sending updates and customized offers to the customers is easy and addiction is not in the picture here.

Facebook – It is highly recommended when it comes to paid marketing but losing its charm in inbound marketing since the claims against Facebook mishandling user data were made. Other facts that make email marketing stand stronger –

  • Negative reviews from one person, who may not even be your customer, can cause a huge and immediate impact on the business reputation and you may lose many of your existing customers. This calls for a lot of maintenance of your FB page/profile.
  • Your brand could be reduced to less professional and your message can seem ineffective if users flood your Facebook page with spam.
  • The popularity of business groups is low. Creating a business group is a great idea for growing business without spending a penny but the truth is Facebook users tend to join groups that affect their home or social lives rather than for business purposes.

Email Marketing, being a one-on-one interaction, has no risk of losing multiple customers or getting irreparable damage to reputation due to the aggression or feedback from some users. Issues like landing into the spam folder, or damage to sender reputation exist in case of email marketing too, but they can be easily fought back by using an email verification and validation tool.

LinkedIn – A platform with a large and high-value audiences and users beyond 500 million is considered the world’s largest professional network. But it may not fulfill the needs of all business for the following reasons:

  • It is a B2B platform, results for B2C may not be as expected.
  • A learning phase is involved before one becomes a power-user on LinkedIn.
  • Building up a professional network can be time-consuming, expecting instant results will not be wise.

Email marketing serves the purpose for both, B2B companies and B2C companies, does not require any learning phase, c’mon who doesn’t know how to send emails.

Email marketing & search engine optimization

Heard the story of the Rabbit and Tortoise? I can very well compare Search Engine Optimization (SEO) with the tortoise in that story as it is slow but assures victory. SEO forms a foundational and critical part of the online presence of any business. Business owners look forward to SEO to spread awareness amongst users and make their company rank higher on search engines like Google. 

Though SEO has multiple advantages and should be considered a foundational element of inbound marketing strategy, it lacks the following:

  • Delivering quick results, as it is a slow process! Some well-known industry experts have stated that it may take up to 3-6 months for a new page to be crawled and even a properly changed domain name can have ramifications for years.
  • Ineffective in promoting a one-time event. Example – you are offering a major discount on your product for a week. Will you go for SEO considering the speed of delivering results? Wise!

Email marketing too does not provide instant results, but much quicker when compared to SEO. In fact, email marketing is considered the best to spread out the message of one-time events, offers, and discounts among your existing customers and the verified prospects.

Distinctive benefits of email marketing

Till now, I have been blabbing about what certain inbound techniques lack and how that can be fulfilled using email marketing. Going forward, I will highlight the goodies of Email marketing that make it the right hand of inbound marketing. First point being – THE CUSTOMERS PREFER IT! In fact, one study from Marketing Sherpa reports that 72% of consumers prefer to receive promotional messages through email.

  1. Specific targeting – Purchasing an email list, creating an email and then shooting it out to all users is history. Smart marketers use far more precise methods, like with the use of Customer Relationship Management (CRM), the user database can be segmented based on factors like location, growth potential, industry, job position, etc. The open rates will zoom up if you consider crafting the messages to meet their requirements.
  2. Personalization – A buyer likes to get addresses by their name in an email otherwise the feel is ‘to whomsoever it may concern’. Will you like that? My impulsive reaction will be closing the email then & there. So why do that? Once the data has been segmented, you are free to personalize each email. Not just the name, go ahead personalizing every bit of text, use different graphics, different content, tailored videos meeting their needs. This makes email marketing such a cost-effective and powerful inbound marketing tool. 
  3. Easily measurable effects – With exact figures of delivery rates, open rates, which recipients have clicked through and when, how many people have subscribed or unsubscribed, a precise success rate can be calculated. With such an in-depth analysis, the required changes can be made in future email marketing campaigns.
  4. Easy to start – Some inbound marketing require a learning curve, some require time to develop a strong network and some require strategies to attract an audience to provide the best ROI, but email marketing is much easier. To begin with, one can start with email marketing without being a professional marketer and need not require any fancy videos, templates, images, and logos. Studies have shown that most successful email campaigns utilize simple plain text as the content is the most valuable asset of an email.

Tips for creating an effective email

While email marketing campaigns can fetch great ROIs, you need to ensure taking an extra step ensuring the content is perfect. Here are a few tips you should consider:

  • Attention-grabbing headline: Do you read every promotional email in your inbox? Of course not, you just scroll and scroll and click on something that’s different and raises your curiosity. Right? Apply the same formula on your email marketing campaigns as the subject line is the face of your email.
  • Keep messages clear, brief and to the point: Concise and clear emails are the best. A full-fledged long email means rejection, which can be after reading just two lines or just by seeing the size of the email. Even if you need to communicate the same user about different topics, try using different emails and avoid over-communicating.
  • Mobile-friendly emails: More than half of the emails are opened on mobile. Ensure your emails look good on both mobile and desktop, otherwise, the existing subscribers may disengage new ones will retaliate.
  • Check the tone: Pay special attention to the choice of words, sentence length, grammar, and punctuation marks as they can be easily misinterpreted without visual and auditory cues.

When it comes to inbound marketing, emails play the tool that you really cannot afford to ignore it. It is a method that has been used for more than a decade, still stands strong with significant additions to spread brand awareness and share content. It keeps your business at the forefront of your prospect’s attention, and makes it more likely that they’ll convert into leads.

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