Inbound marketing attracts, engages, and delights consumers through tailored experiences and content. Think of it as a continuous user journey. It stands in opposition to outbound marketing, which pushes messaging onto prospects through tactics like cold calling.

Content creation, including email, within an inbound marketing strategy, aims to build brand awareness, spark potential customers’ interest, address pain points, develop trust, and strengthen the brand-consumer relationship. In addition to sales, you get a warm audience that you can then qualify for follow-up marketing initiatives.

Where does email fit into an inbound marketing and sales strategy?

Inbound marketing is multi-faceted, with moving parts and interdependencies. Email plays an integral role within this ecosystem, providing a direct and personalized line of communication with your audience. You can experiment with many different email marketing ideas, but in most cases, your emails will shoot for one of two targets:

  • Nurture opted-in leads
  • Trigger conversions

Email can also be used within an outbound marketing context. However, its true power lies in delivering personalized experiences to individuals who have already shown interest in your product, service, or company. Personalization is the number one tactic used by email marketers to boost engagement rates, and it works. Nine in 10 US consumers find personalized marketing to be somewhat or very appealing. The leading online channel for personalized communication? Email.

Email marketing essentials

Email can improve your inbound marketing and sales strategy through personalized messaging. Let’s break down four email marketing essentials critical to driving ROI.

Your audience

You can’t personalize your approach to email marketing without knowing who you are speaking to, their expectations, and how your product can solve their problem.

Imagine your audience is thinking, ‘What’s in it for me?’ How would you answer that question? How can you deliver a worthwhile, value-added user experience that sees your emails open and read — not sent directly to the trash?

How can you build a meaningful audience persona? Start with research. Talk to your customers. Investigate the brands, messaging, and values they align with. Determine basic information like demographics. What is their goal?

If you have run email marketing campaigns in the past, evaluate your results. What can you learn about your audience from your successes and failures?

Then, segment your audience. This step is vital because it empowers you to send the right message to the right people at the right time. Email segmentation involves dividing your subscribers into smaller groups using specific criteria. Here are some examples:

  • Subscribers who opted-in via your upcoming webinar registration form
  • Subscribers who have purchased in the last three months
  • Subscribers who downloaded your whitepaper

Segmentation powers relevance and relevance is what engages an audience. The quality of your content means nothing if the people reading it don’t care about the topic in the first place.

B2C vs. B2B tactics

What works in a B2C setting rarely succeeds when marketing B2B. Understanding the differences between these two contexts is key to unlocking maximum ROI — especially if you have audience segments on both sides of the coin.

Here are three differences between B2C and B2B email marketing tactics:

  • Purchasing behavior – Someone purchasing a new software solution for their enterprise is in a different mindset than someone looking to buy an outfit for an upcoming wedding. Consider their mindset. One is logical. It requires time and potential buy-in from higher-ups. The other is emotional. They want to look good in something that doesn’t break their budget. Crucially, it must arrive before the big day. Use these distinctive mindsets to shape your messaging.
  • Different length buying cycles – A B2B customer will take more time to make purchasing decisions and will likely conduct deeper research. In contrast, a 20 percent off coupon code might be enough to push an often-impulsive B2C shopper over the edge.
  • Email timing – A B2B campaign should be scheduled for work hours, whereas a weekend or late-night email targeting B2C subscribers might be effective.

Lead nurturing

Lead nurturing is fundamental to inbound marketing. An email nurture campaign is a personalized, automated email campaign that engages users with value-added content.

Automated lead nurturing emails are sent to users following a specific action or after a pre-determined amount of time has passed. They are also tailored to meet the needs and expectations of their audience. Marketers leverage data, past campaign metrics, and user behavior to shape engaging content that compels qualified leads to move to the next phase of the buyer’s journey.

Types of automated email marketing

HubSpot is a leader in inbound marketing solutions. It offers two email automation tools: HubSpot Sequences and HubSpot Workflows. Wrapping your head around the differences between the two can help you choose and utilize the best email platform for your needs.

In short, Sequences is a sales tool, and Workflows is a marketing tool.

  • Sequences send emails from a connected inbox to audience segments as sales emails. They are targeted and straightforward — they look like any other email you’d send directly from your email platform. This email automation system is not ideal for bulk communication or metric reporting.
  • Workflows send marketing emails that have been saved for automation through HubSpot. They have triggered automatically, offer success metrics, and have flexible appearances you can customize to fit your brand’s identity.

Generally, you use Workflows for lead nurturing, promotions, and other B2C communications. Sequences are primarily for sales reps.

Success metrics

Marketing without metrics is like driving blind. When you send an email campaign, make a point of evaluating the data and analytics. Here are four performance metrics to pay attention to:

  • Delivery rate – How many emails were successfully delivered? This will help you gauge the strength and legitimacy of your list.
  • Open rate – How many people opened the email? This can help you understand how engaged your subscribers are.
  • Click-through rate – How many people clicked a link in your email? This helps you determine how relevant and compelling your content is.
  • Conversion rate – How many people took action (e.g., made a purchase)? This can help you calculate ROI and compare the effectiveness of email in contrast to other marketing channels.

Ready to get started?

Get in contact if you are ready to reimagine your marketing approach by leveraging email. We get to know you, your business, and your goals, helping you build a robust inbound marketing ecosystem that eliminates manual work, drive efficiencies, and wins customers.