Why Email is (Still) Your Single Greatest Determinant for Inbound Marketing Success

Historically, email as a marketing tactic has enjoyed significant highs and significant lows. People, and marketers, in particular, have used and abused email as a way to communicate with their perceived target audience.  But, for marketers practicing inbound marketing campaigns, email can be one of your best tools.

Why Email is (Still) Your Single Greatest Determinant for Inbound Marketing Success

Those who employ bad marketing tactics send mass emails with vague, impersonal messages and little to no value.  Seasoned, more experienced marketing teams, however, know that a well-crafted email and its success in delivering a message and creating some follow-on action only depends on two things: 1) the message is tailored specifically for the individual who will receive it, and 2) the individual receiving the message is expecting it and is extremely likely to open it.

How Is Email Used in Successful Marketing?

Email, as an inbound marketing tool, primarily serves three purposes:

  •      Routinely engage your contacts through your CRM
  •      Promote new content, ideas, and offers
  •      Act as a process reminder for follow-up actions

Email Within Your Client Relationship Management (CRM) Tool

When using email in your CRM, like Hubspot, Marketo, or Pardot, it’s important to take advantage of these CRM tools’ automation and workflow features. BUT, do so carefully. Forcing every contact into loosely-gathered database groups or all-for-one workflows is only going to alienate your contacts. When people receive emails that don’t offer value directly to them, they become actively disengaged. With mass messaging you run the risk of self-imploding your database with a lot of unhappy users and unsubscribers.

Instead, this is where you should spend the majority of your time planning and actively managing users and email campaigns. Carefully vet each contact you have to put them into automated emails, workflow lists, and campaigns that will be valuable to them.

Additionally, this is where Marketing and Sales teams need to align. When a Sales team member updates a contact’s status, what does that mean for Marketing efforts? Should a change in lead status trigger an automated Marketing response of some sort, or will Sales manage that 1-1? In a well-aligned organization, these types of processes are clearly defined so that the two teams can work together and achieve optimal results as a whole.

Email as a Promotional Tool

An integral, but often overlooked, component of inbound marketing success is the promotion of new, repurposed, or aggregated content. A lot of great inbound marketing teams spend so much time focusing on content ideation, content creation, and content publishing, that they forget that all of those marketing efforts are fruitless if they’re never received.

Much to the dismay of skeptics, email is still the simplest and fastest way to promote new content to highly targeted groups and individual contacts. So, don’t overlook it. If email isn’t part of your inbound marketing promotion, you’re missing a vital contributor to your campaign’s success.

According to Hubspot, 86% of consumers want to receive promotional emails from their preferred brands at least monthly. So, make your consumers happy. Send them emails.

Promotional emails are especially effective for providers of consumers goods, such as retailers and e-commerce sites.

Email as a Reminder of Follow-up

To be fair, using email within your CRM and using email as a promotional tool are pretty basic tenets of a marketing plan. You can find evidence of this in various forms and forums all over the internet. But one under-discussed and underutilized strength of email is simply to act as a reminder to you about the next steps needed with individual contacts. Not only can you become part of your own CRM and send yourself automated reminders of the next deliverables, deadlines, and next steps, but you can also set up email trackers that notify you when an email you’ve sent has been opened, read or acted upon.

For example, I like to use the Hubspot Gmail plugin. And, in the year or so that I’ve been using this integration, I’ve found it far more useful than I could have imagined. Thanks to Hubspot’s Gmail sidebar, I know immediately when someone has opened an email I’ve just sent, but I also know if someone is currently reading an email I may have sent weeks or months prior. And, when that happens, it reminds me to follow up on long outstanding questions or needs. I know that doing it right then is the most likely time to get an answer or resolution because the email message is top-of-mind.

Emails utilized for reminders are especially effective for service providers, like cable or communications companies, electric companies, or domestic cleaning or lawn care servicers.

Additional Email Facts and Stats

With every changing year, more and more data is being collected and mined in order to prove the effectiveness of various marketing tactics. Here are a few new findings from 2016 that prove just how necessary and ever-present email still is:

At A Glance

  1. Email marketing ROI remains around 4300%. Tweet this.
  2. There are 2.6 billion email users worldwide. Tweet this.
  3. Total worldwide email traffic (including business and consumer emails) is estimated to be over 215 billion emails/day by year-end 2016. Tweet this.
  4. The annual growth rate of business and consumer emails is estimated to be an average of 4.6%. Tweet this.

Consumer Preferences

  1. Nearly half of the worldwide population will be using email by year-end 2020. Tweet this.
  2. 7 in 10 adults prefer email as their primary marketing communications channel. Tweet this.
  3. 91% of B2B customers indicate that they like to receive promotional emails from companies they do business with. Tweet this.

Traffic and Frequency

  1. Email traffic is up 16% year-over-year. Tweet this.
  2. 86% of consumers would like monthly emails. Tweet this.
  3. 61% of consumers would like weekly emails. Tweet this.

Wondering if you’re using email as an effective marketing tool, or interested in getting some new ideas? Contact Runner to see how you can capitalize on email and inbound marketing.

Caitlin McNeely

Caitlin McNeely

Sr. Digital Marketing Strategist

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