As I mentioned before, Inbound Marketing is the term for the types of marketing efforts where you are being found by consumers when they are researching information. With that said I have seen more than a few ears perk up when I mention email marketing as a part of one’s Inbound Marketing strategy. “But email is actually going OUT how is it a part of INbound marketing?”.
A few things:
- How did you build your email list?
If someone is searching for an answer, solution or product online and they stumble across your website (due to your website’s original content and Search Engine Optimization), decide you are a thought leader in this field and sign up for your newsletter using the user conversion piece on said landing page – then that is Inbound Marketing.If you build your list at conferences, meetings, your show room etc. with genuine people who are interested in receiving more information about your products and value those emails from you, that is also Inbound Marketing.
- Do you segment your lists? Are your loyal customers in one group, prospects in another, those who have previously forwarded your email to a friend in yet another? If so, you show that you care about each group and the specific things they bring to your business. For example 5-10% of Lego’s are sold to adults or AFOLs (adult fans of Legos). As a company, Lego’s has segmented information for this group and promoted brand evangelists to spread the message of this group. How would this group feel if they were lumped in with the millions of generic Legos fans? Probably not as passionate as they are now.
By segmenting your lists you can tailor your content to reach each group accordingly promoting that conversational tone of each email piece.
- What content do you deliver in your email marketing campaign?
Are your newsletters strictly about your products and maybe a few sales and specials you are offering? Then maybe that isn’t Inbound Marketing. But, if you are delivering engaging content on content that your subscriber is looking for and pushing that lead back to your website, that is considered Inbound Marketing.
- What results do you want from an email marketing campaign?
If you are hoping your emails will start a conversation, provoke a question or a follow up email then you are participating in Inbound Marketing. If you just hope to shout out your latest and greatest product and you feel burdened by any responses to your email then perhaps this isn’t a part of an Inbound Marketing initiative.
Those are a few examples of how email marketing is a part of your overall Inbound Marketing plan. The main thing is that it isn’t about the tool (Twitter, email, Facebook, LinkedIn) as much is it is about the tone, the content, the relationship and how that information is shared with your audience. Inbound Marketing is producing good quality content that consumers will be able to find when they are looking for more information, products, services etc.