Marketing has evolved and become more dynamic with time. We can attribute this to technology trends as well as the growing awareness among the customers.
Email marketing happens to be one of the most strategic ways to communicate with your customers and pull them towards your brand. Despite having a good ROI, email marketing is still associated with spam marketing communication by most people.
However, times are changing, and with inbound marketing techniques, email marketing has grown into a more personalized tool for communication.
Inbound marketing consists of four stages- attract, delight, close and convert. Except for the attract stage, email marketing is essential for all the other three stages if you want to get quality leads and convert them into customers.
When we talk about inbound email marketing, it is all about connecting with the customers where they are, with a message that attracts them and makes them want to pursue.
Your email marketing will need to be supported by content marketing, search engine optimization, and social media if you want to gain maximum conversions.
Here we will talk about inbound marketing using email marketing strategies, and how to go about it.
Step #1 Determine your target audience
What if you put the efforts in the wrong direction? Your entire email marketing strategy would go in vain, right? That’s why the first step to inbound marketing is determining the correct target audience. Answer the question – “What kind of prospects are most likely to purchase from you?” and try to discover their pain points. Doing so will help you in getting subscribers with a higher possibility of conversion.
Step#2 Build a Quality List Organically
Nothing can be accomplished from your email marketing strategy if you don’t have a quality list to go by. Considering, people no longer sign up for ads and are no longer interested in the traditional medium of operations, you need to strategize ways to build your list.
The most important consideration at this time is that you need to work on a strong value proposition that you can offer to the customers.
In the past, a simple “join our list” would have done the job. However, times have changed, and people need to know what they will get against joining your list.
Some of the value propositions that you can offer include:
- A whitepaper or some form of gated content that aims to educate the customer about a topic that is relevant to them. For instance, “101 ways to build your email list” is definitely relevant to you right now.
- You could offer discount coupons, vouchers or some benefit against shopping on your site.
These are just examples of how you can improve the quality of your list. The bottom line is if you offer something that is relevant to the customer and fulfills their immediate needs, then you would get their email address in return.
It seems like a lucrative idea to purchase email lists but, you should ideally avoid that. It will add more spam email addresses to your list than the genuine ones, lowering your sender reputation.
Step#3 Segment into Smaller & Relevant Clusters
You now have a complete list of potential customers. However, not all the potential leads have the same needs. You need to work on understanding whether they are new on your site, old customers, people with buying intent, curious yet not sure and accordingly divide your list into various segments.
Each segment or cluster will contain like-minded people. You will know what stage of buying they are in, and it will ease your communications with them.
For instance, if the buying intent of consumers is clear, you would send them discount coupons that will make them complete the purchase.
Moreover, you could also send out newsletters or deliver your customized message with the help of Mailchimp newsletter templates to reach out to your audience which is responsive and easy to use.
If they are aware and curious, then you need to educate them more about your brand. A newsletter with some details about what your mail does, and how you proceed with it, will help the leads know you better. You can also educate them further about the services you offer, and how they are likely to help the lead.
If they are new-on-the-block, then welcome them, and help them with onboarding. You can also offer something of value to these people, and get them to walk through your website.
If someone from your list has been idle for a while, re-engage with them, and get them to buy something or at least talk about your product.
Segmenting, as you can see, is very important if you want the right message to reach the right customer at the right time.
For best segmentation, you ought to use progressive profiling that includes some parts of demographics, past browsing history, order value, etc. This will help you create smaller and better lists, and improve personalization techniques.
Step#4 Knowing the Email Type
There are several emails that you can send to your lead and get them to convert. You need to know which email will perform the task better. That’s why you need to know the different types of marketing emails available.
- Welcome Emails: This is an email series that is sent to the lead when they join your subscription list. You will connect with them via this email, set the frequency, and offer them value at the start. This helps the customer know the brand better.
- Transactional Emails: Whenever a subscriber buys a product from your website, you should send an email confirming the purchase. Also, send a notification email when the product is shipped and delivered.
- Email Newsletters: They help improve brand’s awareness, and educate the customers about the brand as well as the services. It is an essential monthly email that your business should send for better recall.
- Lead Nurturing Emails: In case your customer has a buying intent but he or she is still not sure, then these emails will help. These emails are sent when a particular behavior trigger condition is met.
- Cart Abandonment Emails: When your leads abandon the cart midway, you can recover them with cart abandonment emails. In case, they were stuck while checking out, these emails will help regain their trust and get you the conversion.
Step#5 Measure the Right Metrics
When you run a campaign, it is important to check the results of the campaign as well. You want to know whether the campaign was successful or not so that you can redefine it and meet the customer’s requirements.
Here are a few metrics that are important to understand the success of the campaign.
The most important metric is the list growth rate and click-through rate, both of which tell you a lot about the performance of your email campaigns.
A Case Study by EmailMonks
One of our clients approached EmailMonks to revive their email marketing strategy. In order to test the effectiveness of their email templates, we designed an email that adhered to all the inbound practices and pitched it against their original one.
Take a look at their original email template.
It is quite clear that the template follows a standard design layout with product image and description accompanied by an announcement for their clearance sale. Nonetheless, the layout is heavily dependent on the wall of text.
Even the images hardly provide any value to the email recipient. The subscriber might just skim through the text and switch to the next email without engaging much with the email.
EmailMonks organized the content and images in the email according to the inbound best practices to make it easily readable and accessible. The most important message was conveyed in the first fold of the email.
The recipient will get a clear idea about the product name, how it looks, its price, CTA button to avail the offer, the product USPs and the link to view the video of the product in use.
In the next fold, we have highlighted the key features of the product followed by another CTA button, for the subscribers who were not convinced at the outset.
The last section includes a personalized copy of the product and the email address and the subscriber ID.
While the original email campaign recorded 497 clicks and 54 order placements with an overall conversion rate of 10.87%, the emails following inbound methodology cracked a conversion rate of 17.44% with 602 clicks and 105 order placements.
Doesn’t that sound awesome?
Inbound marketing is all about combining SEO, content marketing and email efforts to build a 360-degree marketing strategy that can win you maximum and profitable conversions. Email plays an important role in education, persuading, and even converting these people.
It is the best way to ensure the customers are engaged with the brand. The brand’s recall is effective as a result of proper and defining email strategies.
If you follow all the above-mentioned steps, you should get your well-nurtured and loyal customers, thus increasing customer lifetime value.
This article is contributed by Kevin George from EmailMonks.
Kevin is the Head of Marketing at EmailMonks – one of the fastest growing Email design and coding companies, specializes in crafting templates, PSD to HTML email conversion and provides free email templates. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz, and breathes ’email marketing.’ Get the latest updates on email marketing trends at his EmailMonks blog.
Updated: 28 June 2020