Why your email marketing campaign doesn’t need inbound marketing
So you send out emails on a regular basis. But you’ve heard that inbound marketing may well be able to boost the results it’s bringing your business. Here are three reasons why your email marketing doesn’t need inbound marketing:
1. If you’re happy with one-off blasts that get patchy results
Can you measure the exact return on investment you’re getting from those email blasts? No? No problem if you don’t need a return from your marketing. But if you do, add inbound marketing to your email marketing approach.
2. If you’re OK not knowing who you’re sending emails to
It’s easy to buy an email list and send out a huge volume of emails. But are those email marketing campaigns creating a response - or just something to tick off your marketing ‘to do’ list? It’s worth sticking with that, unless you’d like to use marketing automation technology like Eloqua to view and manage the recipients of your emails and get a better rate of response.
3. If you don’t need to build up customer loyalty and interest
If you’re happy sending out emails into the unknown and getting little response, your email marketing campaign all on its own should be enough. But if you like the idea of building up long-term customer buy-in, inbound marketing could power up your email marketing.
SOOOO Is email marketing old news?
Newsletters, updates, sales offers...email marketing has become a familiar aspect of the everyday email inbox. That’s no surprise when you consider how quick and relatively easy it is to blanket email a huge number of potential customers. Plus, with the number of worldwide email accounts projected to increase to over 3.8 billion by 2014 (Source: The Email Statistics Report, 2010, The Radicanti Group), companies are seeing even more opportunities to use email to reach new prospects.
Yet only 18% of companies know what percentage of their email budget is lost through non-delivery( Source: Econsultancy Email Marketing Industry Census).
Other research has found that 21% of email recipients report email as spam, even if they know it isn't (Source: Buzzle.com). While recognition of the potential value of email is increasing, the strategy for many businesses for their emarketing is - not to have a strategy.
This is creating a world of confused and inconsistent email marketing messages that are creating confusing and inconsistent returns. It’s also contributing to a world where people are desensitised to the high volume of untargeted email newsletters and other content that they receive. So the question remains - is email marketing old news?
How to put the power back into email marketing
The reality is that email marketing has a great deal of potential. But it is not being used as effectively as it could be and creating disappointing returns for many businesses and a more cynical and resistant audience. So what can companies do to put the power back into their email marketing?
Don’t email without a strategy
Strategy is the core of every successful email marketing campaign. This goes well beyond thinking about your core message. It is about fitting your entire email approach around the pains and interests of your target audience. We’ve all received those emails that tell rather than sell – the ones that inform us about the company, but very little about what they can do for us. Design your email marketing strategy to answer the needs of your audience and create emails that people actually want to open. Apply email marketing as part of a wider inbound marketing strategy along with content marketing, social media and lead nurturing.
Match your content to their cycle
Blasting emails off and expecting an instantaneous result is a thing of the past. Instead, ensure that each email you send fits within a wider approach of matching each stage of the receiver’s interest - whether that is first touch, repeat customer or another stage. Construct your email marketing within an inbound marketing approach to build more powerful and profitable relationships with potential customers. Nurtured leads have been found to have a 23% shorter sales cycle - and are worth on average 9% more than a lead that is not nurtured (Source: Market2Lead). To achieve these kinds of returns, you need to keep a content-focused approach in consistently in mind - encourage readers to download content and drive them to a landing page, nurturing them towards the right kind of content. Use lead nurturing emails - automated emails with the content based specifically on each individual user - to guide your potential customer through each stage towards buying into your product or service.
Join it up
A recent ExactTarget study suggests that social networks have contributed to increased email use (Source: Econsultancy). The days of the isolated email delivering real marketing payback are long gone. Join up your email marketing with all the other channels. Never miss an opportunity to connect and build loyalty and interest. This connectivity can create powerful results. In recent research, businesses with 301 to 1000 Twitter followers were found to have over 4 times more leads than those with 1 to 25 Twitter followers while companies with 501 to 1000 Facebook fans were shown to have 4 times more leads than those with 1 to 25 fans (Source: Hubspot). Use email marketing as a core part of an inbound marketing approach and combine it with content marketing, social media and lead nurturing for better results. For example, you can also use clever lead nurturing and behavioural marketing to send automated and targeted tweets to a lead if they mention your competitors or specific keywords on Twitter - or send a targeted email to visitors who come to your website and download a document, but don’t come back to your website within three days.
Target, target, target
The ease of email makes it tempting to blast off a load of marketing messages to everyone you’ve ever met (and plenty that you haven’t). But this is the best way to create poor returns and a flagging email marketing approach. Did you know that segmented emails get 50% more clicks than emails that have not been segmented? (Source: MarketingSherpa). So think about who you’re targeting. Don’t just rely on databases to do the work for you. Carefully segment your email audience according to industries, types and sizes of companies and ensure that your content matches their interests. Use this information to fit your email marketing within a wider inbound marketing strategy for more impact. Use heat mapping technology to fully understand what will work best for your audience – and what will gain the best response. Make sure you know about the where, when and why of your potential email audience. Think about the timing. There is an ongoing discussion about the optimum time and day to send out email marketing. This will vary again according to your target market so think carefully before you click Send. Finally, don’t rely on occasional one-off email blasts to create results. Instead, carefully test with A/B testing to see what works and what doesn’t and continuously review your results and refresh your strategy accordingly.
Is email marketing a dying asset?Email marketing done poorly is indeed a dying marketing asset for businesses. But, done right, it can be great news for companies. The secret? Put your strategy first. Build your email marketing strategy within a wider inbound marketing approach to create and nurture leads and convert them into business. Make your email approach a strategy rather than a one-off and you can turn their inbox into your lead generating machine.
Learn more about what being different can do for your marketing strategy by downloading our report Dare to be different: the state of B2B content differentiation in 2017