How Can Email Marketing Fuel Your Overall Inbound Strategy?

Nobody reads emails anymore. You should be on TikTok or Instagram.

If that’s true, I shouldn’t have been able to 3x my monthly revenue. But I did, and it wouldn't have been possible without email marketing.

Email is key to a successful inbound marketing strategy. While social media posts, lead magnets, and SEO blog articles are necessary for attracting your ideal audience, email is where you'll get to know your prospects, build those all-important relationships and convert them into customers.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Let’s start by unpacking what inbound marketing is. If you already know, skip ahead.

What is inbound marketing?

We marketers love to throw around terms like inbound marketing, but for most business owners starting their marketing journey, we might as well be speaking gibberish.

Inbound marketing is the process of creating content that attracts your ideal business lead and delivering tailored experiences that convert them into life-long customers. It focuses on building trust and forming connections with people searching for solutions to a specific problem that only you can fix.

On the other hand, outbound marketing interrupts your customers with content they didn’t ask to see, for example, a television commercial. This can be met favorably (if the advertisement entertains or offers an incredible deal) or with frustration.

Why email marketing?

  1. It’s trackable. CRMs compile data on all your subscribers and the emails you send. You can see which email marketing campaigns performed well, which subject lines tanked, and what content your readers want more of. Knowing your numbers will guide your email strategy.
  2. It’s instantaneous. As 46% of smartphone owners prefer to receive email communications from businesses, you can touch base with a customer quickly.
  3. You can automate your email marketing. You’re no longer location-based. Now you can serve customers around the world without having to invest more time.
  4. You can personalize your emails.
  5. You control it. Unlike social media and advertising, no one can tell you what you can and can’t say via email. Your account can’t be banned. As long as you have your customers' contact details, you’ll always be in touch.
  6. A/B testing allows you to routinely improve your marketing message. You might find video outperforms text. Or that short-form emails outperform long-form. But you’ll only know if you test your theories.

These are just six ways that email can fuel your overall inbound strategy. But why inbound email marketing and not outbound?

Inbound email marketing vs Outbound email marketing

Personally, I prefer inbound email marketing because I know that everyone on my email list is a qualified lead and potential customer. Whether they read my book, heard me on a podcast or at a speaker event, or typed into Google, “marketing plan for small businesses,” they were actively looking for ways to improve marketing their business.

By opting into my email list, I can confidently send them information about my products and services.

In contrast, outbound email marketing targets cold leads. This happens when you buy email lists. You’re actively connecting with people who haven’t expressed interest in your products or services.

By sending unsolicited mail, you run the risk of upsetting these leads, which could negatively impact your business reputation.

There are other reasons why inbound marketing is superior and I’ve broken it down for you in the table below:

Inbound email marketing Outbound email marketing Targets a small group of qualified leads (subscribers). Targets everyone (mass marketing). Greater engagement as you’re dealing with subscribers that trust you and look to you for advice and help. Less engagement as you’re dealing with people who don’t know you or how you got their details. Takes longer to build because it relies on customers finding you. Occurs more rapidly because you’re not targeting a specific group, and you’ve likely brought an email list. Costs less because you’re emailing a smaller list of high-value leads that actively want to hear from you. Costs more because you’re mass emailing a large group of people. Increased return on investment (ROI) because you’re not spending as much on acquiring leads. Lower return on investment (ROI) because the upfront marketing costs exceed the potential conversions.

So, how can email marketing fuel your overall inbound strategy?


Something like 80% of small businesses think targeting everyone will lead to more sales. It won’t because everyone is not your target audience.

Inbound marketing zeroes in on your niche audience without costing you a kidney on the black market. All you need to do is solve your customers' problems better than your competitors, and you’ll attract an invested lead. Someone who will eventually buy.

I like to use a cornerstone piece of content to get my ideal customer to self-identify. I have a book, but you can use a series of webinars or Youtube videos, blog posts, infographics, a podcast, an ebook, or a course.

Educate and provide value in advance, and you’ve already established your authority. Because they know you can help them, you’re someone they want to keep hearing from. By adding a prospect to your newsletter, you can keep in touch and nurture that relationship.

That’s why email needs to form part of your marketing strategy

Make sure every piece of content you produce includes a call to action. It can be to

  • opt-in to your newsletter
  • download a free template
  • join a webinar session

Gate it so you can capture their details.

Need help dominating your niche. Check out this 8-step process to niching down.

2. Inbound email marketing guarantees an engaged audience

Remember, an inbound strategy isn’t about coercing leads into joining your email list. These are organic leads that found you as a result of your content marketing strategy.

You answered their questions, and they believe you can help them.

Use your email marketing to get to know them better and share your story. I use an email welcome sequence.

  • Introduce yourself. Keep it brief.
  • Ask your prospective customer a question. Mention that you’re genuinely interested in learning more about them. I’ve had great feedback from email subscribers.
  • Link to a free resource to cement their goodwill.  

Humans like to do business with people they like. By actively showing interest in your audience, you open a two-way conversation. To enhance your emails

  • Share anecdotes your readers can relate to. You decide how personal you get, but don’t be scared to own your failures and celebrate your successes.
  • Add personality to your writing. I know of a writer who’s blunt and borderline rude, but his writing is compelling. He won’t appeal to everyone, but for some customers, he’s just what they need.
  • Stick to plain text. Forget about fancy templates for your email marketing. People want to feel like they’re getting a text message from a close friend.
  • Use an email super signature to promote some of your products and encourages readers to respond to you.

3. A solid inbound strategy delivers value and builds trust

There’s that word again: value. Let’s make it your intention word for 2024. Your email marketing needs to educate, entertain, and above all, deliver value.

There will always be people who just want to tap the source for free. But there are many more that need you to demonstrate your expertise. They want to put your advice into action. And if they get a result before they buy, you’ll have earned their trust.

Offer something free that can improve their business or life.

4. It allows you to segment your audience

Why segmentation? Well, how many products do you have?

Say you’re a software company. You might have an entry-level product, a premium, and an unlimited version. Big businesses with bigger budgets won’t be interested in the entry-level package. That’s designed for solopreneurs and small businesses. Corporations would probably purchase the unlimited version.

That’s why you need to segment your emails.

According to the Barilliance, segmented emails generated one-third of all email revenue. It is the most effective strategy for email marketing campaigns. But, if you’re not speaking to each segment's pain points, you’ll lose their interest.

Segmented emails improve engagement, increase sales, and deliver a higher ROI and a better click rate.

5. Inbound marketing delivers personalized content

Every day, over 306 billion emails are sent to customers across the globe. Inboxes are flooded with messages from brands, business coaches, retail companies, and service providers trying to convince consumers to purchase their products or services.

Many will land up in SPAM filters. Others will be binned due to a sucky subject line or marketing offer. But a select few will cut through the noise and be opened.

It may be because they used the reader’s name or made a controversial opinion. Success comes down to knowing your audience and delivering personalized experiences.

In fact, a report from McKinsey&Co found that 71% of customers expect personalized experiences, and three-quarters of customers get angry when you don’t personalize.

Being likable starts by giving a damn. And email marketing is one of the best mediums for building personalized relationships with prospective customers. It easily allows you to get to know your subscribers.

  • What business they’re in?
  • What challenges they’re facing?
  • What products do they like?
  • How do they make their purchasing decisions? For example, do they like to read customer reviews or ask questions?
  • Their goals
  • Name, age, physical location, marital status.

With this information, you can segment your list in a CRM and tailor your content to your prospect. You can also use past purchases to personalize future emails.

This will improve customer retention, increase goodwill and referrals, and ensure customer loyalty.

If you want your customers to see your name and open your email, you need to invest time into getting to know them and delivering tailored experiences.

Try using your subscribers name in the preview text or opening sentence of your email

6. Emails are great for reactivating or re-engaging dormant customers

So many businesses are stuck in a cycle of only trying to acquire new leads. It’s costly and time-consuming. What about your existing customer base?

When last did you engage your past customers?

There’s a boatload that stopped buying and just need a gentle nudge to part with their hard-earned cash. But if you don’t give them any attention, why would they give you their money?

As long as you’ve built a customer database, you owe it to yourself to reactivate dormant customers.

A successful email marketing strategy includes a reactivation campaign at least once or twice a year.

Track your email data long enough, and you'll notice that open rates and click-through rates vary. Drill down to an individual level, and you'll find that a subscriber who actively engaged with your emails for the first few months now only opens one in 12 emails.

Why? Perhaps they joined another list, and suddenly they couldn't keep up with all the emails in their inbox. Or circumstances in their lives have changed. Maybe they're in financial difficulty. Or they began a new job.

Either way, your email marketing won't always resonate with your customers.

Re-engaging dormant customers with email

  • kick-starts a two-way conversation.
  • helps you cull your email list so you can keep costs down.

7. Respond to abandoned carts

According to stats from the Baymard Institute, the average cart abandonment is roughly 70%.

7 out of 10 consumers don't complete their purchase.

Perhaps they received a client phone call they had to take. Or their kid needed help on a school project. Maybe they wanted to get free shipping and needed to spend a little more to qualify.

Whatever the reason, they were interrupted during the purchasing process, and if they're not 100% committed, they'll forget all about it.

But you can rekindle their interest with a simple reactivation email campaign. It could be a gentle reminder that they've still got products sitting in their basket. Or a brief email asking if they're still interested in the product or service they were reviewing.

Using this email marketing strategy is an excellent way to get customers to reconsider their decision.

8. You can use email to launch and sell new products

Each year, people wait in queues for hours to be the first to get their hands on the new Samsung phone or iMac computer. They do this because they already trust the brand and know the quality they deliver. That's the power of an invested customer base.

Think back to the last time you bought something from a brand you've never tried.

I bet you spent a lot more time researching it, reading reviews, speaking to the salespeople, and mulling over whether or not to buy. It was a much harder decision.

But, with email marketing, your subscribers already know and like you. They're invested in what you're selling. And they trust you not to screw them.

So even if you're in the beta phase of a product build, they're more willing to take a chance on it.

As a bonus:

  • You get sales very quickly.
  • You can use the beta product launch as a chance to get valuable customer feedback and optimize your product before you take it to market.

Once a week, I send two emails that educate or engage and one that sells. According to SaleCycle, 50% of people buy from marketing emails once a month. Now I get roughly 1500 new email subscribers each month. So if half buy, I’m generating a solid return on investment. And you can too.

When finalizing your email strategy

  • make sure you’re providing more value than hard-sell emails. If every email sells, you’ll quickly irritate your readers and they’ll unsubscribe.
  • decide how many emails you’ll send a week and set a time, so your customers know when to expect hearing from you. For example, I email my list on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10am.
  • repurpose content as much as possible. If you had an email that performed really well, think about how you can change it up. Remember, most people won’t remember reading something that you sent three to six months ago.

9. Email is a great way to increase web traffic

There's no point in creating content if you don't have a distribution strategy, and email forms a key element of that plan.

You can use email to update your subscribers on a blog post you recently wrote, a webinar you're hosting, or a podcast you've released.

You're actively driving traffic to your website. This surge of interest in that piece of content can lead to content shares on social sites, which encourages backlinks from relevant websites.

It opens other opportunities for your business. For example, you may be asked to contribute thought-leadership pieces to other publications or be invited to speak on an industry podcast.

Grow your web traffic with inbound email marketing, and you can scale your business quicker.

Start building your inbound marketing strategy

Email should fuel your inbound strategy. It's not going away. And while you can sink more of your marketing budget into platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or TikTok, you don't own them.

At least once a month, I hear of an influencer complaining about their account being hacked or blocked because of something they said. Literally, overnight they have lost access to their target audience. The people they've spent months, maybe years, building a trusted relationship with. Now they have to start from scratch.

Email guarantees that everyone sees your marketing message. Not just a small percentage. Unlike Facebook, you don’t have to pay to reach more people on your email list.  

So do the smart thing and prioritize email marketing in 2023. If you need help crafting better emails, check out this link.

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