Email is a major aspect of inbound marketing. It is essential to any automated workflow and it gives you the opportunity to promote your offer to a highly-targeted audience.

I can sense raised eyebrows as I write this, so let me qualify what I've said. There is a lot of debate around whether email marketing is inbound or outbound. It really depends on how it's being used. When you use email to target people that have found your company, opted-in/subscribed, or already have an established relationship with you, it's generally considered inbound. If you've purchased lists and are sending unsolicited emails, it's outbound.

What makes email essential as a component of an inbound campaign is the way it's employed; it's not a "push", it's a "pull". Inbound marketing uses precise, relevant emails to provide prospects with content and information that is useful. It's more refined and effective than outbound email methods.

Are You Using Email Effectively?

According to Hubspot, relevant emails drive 18 times more revenue than broadcast emails. Furthermore, untargeted messages sent to purchased or rented email lists can actually do the opposite of what you want them to; they reduce your marketing effectiveness and erode your brand credibility. Are your email tactics helping or hurting you?

  • Segmentation: Recall our last post on developing workflows for you inbound marketing campaign. A key aspect of workflows is segmentation. Have you segmented your contact lists? Are your leads being sent content that's relevant to them? They've asked you to email them; send them something they can use.
  • Promotion: The purpose of email marketing in an inbound campaign is to promote the offer you're making. As we discussed in our earlier post, Making an Offer, you want to offer high-quality content that will pull prospects in and engage them as they travel through the sales funnel. This means promoting the right type of content via email to the right contacts; once again, relevancy and precision are key.
  • Quality: Producing emails that are worthy of sharing can help attract more leads. The more that your existing contacts share your content, the higher the chance that new prospects will find you. According to Joel Book of ExactTarget, social media has extended the long tail of email by expanding the ability to share email messages to broader networks.

If you properly implement email into your strategy, it can be a critical component of your inbound marketing campaign. Giving leads highly-relevant information that they find useful will increase the impact of your emails and can quicken the pace of your sales cycle.

How are you using email marketing? Do you approach it as an inbound or outbound tactic? Let us know in the comments.

This is part 6 of 9 in our series, The Key Elements of an Inbound Marketing Campaign. Check out the next one on blogging and inbound marketing.