Inbound Email Marketing
What is an Inbound Email Marketing?
A financial investment company keeps calling you every now and then to tell you about their ‘awesome’ plans, whether you are interested in them or not. Urgh!
On the other hand, you have been watching advertisements of a specific investment company, considered them interesting, and signed up to receive emails from them to know them better.
So, when it’s actually time to invest your money, which one would pop up in your mind? Pretty sure, the second.
The first type of approach can be termed as outbound marketing.
The second and more expedient one is inbound marketing.
Basically, the major difference between the two is that inbound believes in earning attention and outbound is interrupting.
Inbound marketing educates, informs, and keeps the readers engaged with your brand by providing valuable, relevant content. It is thus an important element of an effective marketing campaign.
Readers now expect their favorite brands to know what they like and dislike, and communicate with them not just limiting the personalization to first name. Today’s generation demands a personalized experience from brands; that is one of the reasons why inbound works.
Inbound Email Marketing has 4 stages- Attract, Convert, Close, Delight. And the channels via which marketers can cross each stage, without interrupting the subscribers, include blogging, social media, SEO, word of mouth publicity, and email marketing among others.
5 key attributes that makes Inbound Email Marketing success
1. Opted-In Contacts
First things first. If you're still buying and forging lists of email contacts from industry conferences or sponsorships, it's time to stop. These contacts have not opted-in to receive email communications from you, and you're setting the wrong tone for nurturing and closing the leads from the start. Instead, start building your list of email contacts organically and with a true opt-in approach. This can be achieved through:
- Offering valuable downloadable content (where their email is required to download)
- Creating a regular, content-packed newsletter and encouraging email subscription through your blog and social media
By building your email campaigns around these true opt-in contacts, you'll see a much higher engagement rate as far as email opens, emails clicks and additional conversions. You'll also protect the reputation of your IP address by not getting flagged as spam.
2. Targeted Content
It's still quite common for B2B companies to do a blanket email campaign that goes out to all their contacts, whether they are prospects or current customers. But with a little segmentation in Excel, you can quickly start to create more targeted lists of contacts based on their prospect/client status, industry type, product area interest, etc.
For example, lets say your company is a distributor of pumps and valves for a variety of industry types. An engineer/operator for a waste water treatment facility has different needs and interests than an engineer at a beverage manufacturing facility. Think about it; waste water and beverages shouldn't mix! By segmenting your lists and getting more targeted with your content, you're creating more appeal with your audience and providing more value based on their specific needs.
3. Value to the Recipient
Your first email in a campaign shouldn't go right for the sale. Especially if it's a list of newer opt-in contacts. Instead, start by providing content that helps them perform their job, answers common questions they have, or guides them through their decision-making process related to your product or service. This will begin to nurture the relationship and naturally move them closer to sale, without turning them off with the first email they receive.
Another big difference with an inbound email marketing is the frequency and timing of your email communications. Every industry has a different sales cycle and you should build your email campaigns based on this schedule. Sending six emails over a two week period when your typical sales cycle is 12 months isn't recommended.
- Structure your email frequency so they're consistent without being too regular. For most B2B companies, this is once every two-to-four weeks.
- Also be mindful what day and time you send your emails. Tuesdays through Thursdays during normal business hours seem to be the most widely recommended, and most successful in our experience. But don't be afraid to experiment and do some A/B testing.
5. Ability to Change Subscription Options
Last but not least, with EVERY email you send be sure the recipient has the option to easily unsubscribe or change their subscription options. Most email platforms are required to have this feature based on CAN-SPAM regulations, but I personally still receive spam emails with no option to unsubscribe. Your subscribers will appreciate the ease of being able to unsubscribe, or better yet, being able to change the frequency of when they receive emails.
As buyers continue to evolve and filter out the noise of unwanted marketing emails, it's up to you as a marketer to make the most of your own email marketing efforts. You can continue to focus on the quantity of non-opt-in email contacts and achieve little to no response. Or, focus on building and cultivating an organic list of opted-in contacts who look forward to what you'll email them next. I know which one I would choose!
If you or your organisation have any challenges with email marketing, reach us at stayintouch. We start by providing content that helps them perform your job, answers common queries you have, or guide you through your decision-making process related to your product or services.