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  • Chris Mellor-Dolman

'At One' with Inbound Email Marketing

Email has not died. Far from it...

‘On the go’ usage has resulted in email marketing becoming more popular now than ever, with 53% of all emails being opened on mobile devices*. It continues to grow amongst companies as a key revenue driver, with some 82% of B2B and B2C companies using email marketing as part of their strategy.

The real success of email however, is being driven by the targeted ‘to one’ inbound email marketing approach, as opposed to the ‘to many’ outbound email marketing method that used to prevail.

Why inbound?

Inbound email marketing is a really powerful commercial channel that can be used to deliver ads, offers, education and other relevant marketing content directly to an interested user's inbox, where it will be found by users looking for information on a relevant topic.

When done correctly inbound email marketing is highly effective. As a segment of digital marketing it works incredibly well in conjunction with other marketing channels as part of a 360 campaign that covers key customer touchpoints. Cross-channel marketing itself is very potent, and this is what you should be aiming for in terms of inbound marketing. Integrating across channels delivers flexibility, and as a result it can involve email crossing paths with social media, display and retargeting, SMS, mobile app, direct mail, in-store, website, and geo-location tracking.

The key advantages of deploying inbound email marketing include:

1. It’s permission-based and focuses on creating quality content, pulling people towards your company, brand and product. By creating quality content that your customer is interested in you will naturally attract inbound traffic.

2. It targets specific buyers through customer relationship management, versus the ‘fire & forget’ outbound approach of an email blast.

3. It’s easier to personalise to a specific targeted audience. You can tailor each email using segmentation specifics such as age, income, interests, device usage and viewing habits to deliver a unique experience.

4. It’s a low cost, high return channel for all types of business, which is why it’s a preferred option for most conducting acquisition and retention campaigns.

5. It’s a very efficient channel as return-on-investment is based on competing for the most relevant targeted users. Because email marketing isn't ‘pay-to-play’ it results in a much cheaper cost per lead and cost per acquisition.

6. You can get measurable data that helps you to monitor your campaign statistics in real time and watch how your customers respond.

Effective email strategy

Many businesses approach email tactically, sending random emails on a whim and often reactively to a sudden change - adverse weather is one such knee-jerk reaction. Conversely, if you develop an email strategy, it will help you to market your products and services more effectively by taking into consideration who your target customers are, what they are looking for, and when the best time is to provide the right information to them.

For an inbound email marketing strategy to be effective, you need to take the following into consideration:

Segment: group together similar users and provide relevant information to each user category. Avoid sending the same email to everyone.

Personalise: tailor your message for each user. For example, include their name and provide suggestions and recommendations that are just for them, based on behaviours you have captured them taking. This is where merge fields come into play from your database.

Time it right: ensure that your email arrives at the time that best suits the recipient.

Engage: optimise your email content to keep your subscribers interested, and contact them regularly – but at their chosen preference pace.

Analyse: review every email marketing campaign in detail to measure performance and use insights to improve your future campaigns.

Cross-channel integration

So now you know the reasons why inbound email marketing is so useful, here’s how you can make the most of cross-channel integration:

Social media: use social media and email to fulfil each other; you can use social media to improve your subscriber list, and you can use email marketing to increase your social media following through social media share and follow icons.

Display and retargeting: you can include a line of code in your emails to understand who's engaging with your email and then issue display ads to them.

SMS marketing: you can integrate text messaging with your email to provide your customers or potential users with updates, and then follow up based on their behaviour with email marketing campaigns.

Mobile apps: based on behaviours you can trigger email sends designed around actions taken.

POS systems: a person shopping within a store or passing by can trigger an automated email campaign based on their shopping and buying behaviour.

Website: based on all of your marketing automation activities such as abandoned cart, downloaded content and similar. Follow up with them, understand what they need, and issue an email that delivers their potential solution.

As you can see, done well, inbound email marketing is a versatile digital marketing tool for delivering your messaging and covers many types of communication. Attracting highly qualified leads organically it’s where progressive businesses focus their efforts to create unique, personalised experiences for time-starved customers who want (and expect!) to be treated as individuals.

Is this where your email marketing is right now? If not, it’s time to get personal.

As always, this is an open invitation to drop me a line to share your thoughts about this blog, and indeed any other marketing topic that you want to discuss.

True Blue Marketing provides affordable outsourced marketing services to SME’s. For more information call 07900 812391, email or follow @TrueBlueMarketing on LinkedIn and Facebook.

*Source: Digital Marketing Institute


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