How Inbound Marketing Can Amplify Your Email Marketing Strategy

Melanie Balke
October 31, 2022

It’s obvious that marketing is a massive industry. Businesses rely on us — as marketers — to promote their products and sing their praises. We need to understand everything about the process, and that includes the theory and strategic terminology.

That’s why I’m excited to post about marketing. I love spreading knowledge, and that includes the theories and definitions behind some of the biggest marketing trends.

For today’s blog post, I’ll be focusing on something that’s as revolutionary as it is commonplace: inbound marketing!

Keep scrolling to learn more, and don’t forget to pass this page around if it helped you understand more about the amazing world of digital marketing.

What Is Inbound Marketing?

A photo of a circus features overlaid text reading, “The Basics: What Is Inbound Marketing?”

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ve probably gotten the hang of things! As always, I’ll start with the basics, and we’ll build from there.

On the most basic level, an inbound marketing strategy aims to bring customers to you rather than showing yourself to the customer. While it first rose to prominence in the early 2000s, inbound marketing has become the de facto digital strategy.

If There’s Inbound Marketing, Won’t There Also Be Outbound Marketing?

Okay. I know that definition was confusing, so let me elaborate: An inbound marketing strategy aims to engage potential customers through organic discovery.

SEO webpages, social media, and even this blog post are some quintessential examples of inbound marketing. The strategy is all about finding and catering to your target audience, and it’s often framed as the counter to traditional outbound marketing.

What’s the Difference Between Inbound and Outbound Marketing?

Comparatively, outbound marketing focuses on projecting a brand outward. Most “classic” advertising channels are outbound, including newspapers and television ads. Banners, pay-per-click links, and sponsored posts are the digital marketing equivalents.

Obviously, both focus on delivering valuable content to viewers. However, that same viewership is the key difference!

A photo of old-fashioned weighing scales. Overlaid header text reads, “Comparisons: Inbound Versus Outbound Marketing.” Smaller body text reads, “Outbound marketing excels at forming long-term relationships with customers. Compared to traditional marketing, an inbound methodology attracts customers and qualified leads by combining compelling content with subtle sales tactics.” Information retrieved from a blog post on the Adobe Creative Cloud.

Let me explain with an example of a classic outbound strategy.

Those ubiquitous insurance commercials are examples of outbound marketing. Often cooked up by an internal marketing team, these advertisements promote the brand to a massive audience. There’s no real targeting because everyone and anyone can access the video content.

Now, what about an inbound marketing strategy?

An equivalent inbound strategy would be an informative blog post about the benefits of insurance. Said post might include examples of insurance claims, different situations in which it could be used, and a chart comparing the prices of different brands.

See the difference?

It’s all about customer acquisition.

An inbound strategy focuses on creating valuable content for people who are already interested in a product. Conversely, traditional marketing aims to make a brand known to everyone and anyone.

What Are the Benefits of an Inbound Marketing Strategy?

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Now that we know what inbound marketing focuses on, it’s time to see how it can impact your business.

As an expansive marketing methodology, an inbound approach covers plenty of individual tactics. Blog posts, opt-in email marketing, search engine optimization, and social media posts are just some of the strategies under the inbound umbrella.

It’s an Affordable Way for Small Businesses to Grow

Thanks to its inherently focused nature, an inbound strategy is remarkably affordable, and a successful inbound marketing campaign costs a fraction of an equivalent outbound campaign. Low initial investment requirements also make inbound marketing an accessible way for any business to nurture leads and attract new customers.

Some inbound strategies (i.e., blogs and SEO rankings) will continue to exist and attract buyers indefinitely (or until you delete the page). With one marketing push, you can have an eternal fountain of lead nurturing if you maintain these pages and refresh them with compelling content semi-regularly.

Businesses may also use inbound marketing to produce educational content. These posts or videos will frequently cover common questions and usage concerns, reducing strain on the brand’s customer service department.

Avoid the Digital Marketing Clutter

At this point, it’s obvious that people are getting sick of advertisements. Sales pitches are everywhere, — in radio ads, TV ads, and video streaming services — and digital marketing is no different.

If you want to grow your business, you must find a way to bypass this glut of information overload.

This is where inbound marketing shines.

Because you’re focusing on educating pre-qualified target audiences, you lower your competition. You’re no longer vying for attention in a world of clutter and ad blockers; now, you’re aiming to dethrone other sites.

Build Trust and Maintain Customer Relationships at the Same Time

In many cases, how well your website performs on search engine results pages determines how well your inbound marketing works. (Email marketing is the exception, and I’ll get to that in a moment!)

The goal of an inbound marketer is thought leadership and lead nurturing. Essentially, you’re creating content that is so fantastic and informative that people come to think of your brand as an authority. Potential customers should come to your brand with a built-in sense of trust, imbuing your customer relationships with plenty of goodwill by default.

How Does Inbound Marketing Impact Emails?

A header image features a photo of leaves and overlaid text: “Email 101: Inbound Marketing and Emails.”

At The Email Marketers, everyone cares about emails. It’s part of our name!

So, how does all of this information impact email marketing?

Well, I’ll start by saying that many modern email marketing campaigns are inbound marketing. In fact, if you’ve ever signed up for an email list, you already have plenty of examples of inbound email marketing in your inbox.

Every opt-in subscription list is an inbound strategy, which means that you can improve your email marketing by following the three-step method: attract, engage, and delight.

Attracting Customers

Before you can engage potential customers, you must attract them.

Attraction revolves around clever manipulation of sales funnels, search engines, unique lead magnets, and a bit of networking.

You’ll need to invest time into your strategy to make inbound marketing work for you, but the payoff is worth it! In addition to knowing the ins and outs of email marketing, you’ll want to learn about:

  • Buyer Personas for optimizing and refining your target audience
  • General Content Marketing, including blog posts and social media posts
  • Marketing Automation makes your life easier
  • Personalization to help your sales team deliver relevant content
  • Search Engine Optimization to boost your brand’s discoverability
  • Segmentation to refine your content marketing strategy
  • Social Media Marketing to supplement on-site list growth

If you want to amplify your inbound strategy, you’ll also want to engage in cross-channel marketing. While a purely inbound plan may be extremely cheap, it often fails to produce the best results. Instead, you’ll want to do some mixing and matching. In other words, your inbound marketing methodology can include references to blogs in your emails and vice versa.

Engage With Your Audience

The second phase of an inbound marketing plan is engagement.

A header image features a photo of leaves. The overlaid text reads, “Engagement: How to Attract Attention and Garner Interactions.”

This is when your inbound efforts can get complicated. You’ll dig into your data, segment, and sort customers like clockwork, which is why I recommend using a marketing automation platform! You’ll also run into plenty of inbound marketing FAQs during this phase, and the answers are far from simple.

For emails, inbound marketing’s engagement stage centers around a mix of customized or dynamic content, drip campaigns, and retention. At this point, your subscribers are likely current customers. They understand your brand and know what you sell, moving your marketing goalpost.

You can’t rely on generic press releases and formulaic email marketing; you need a definite retention strategy that provides valuable content and urges consumers into the sales process.

Many of the same targeting strategies used to attract customers will also be applied to the engagement phase. However, there are also a few new concepts, including:

  • Appealing to an increasingly narrow target market
  • Encouraging customers to re-enter the buying process
  • Focusing on critical pain points
  • Focusing on the right customers
  • Nurturing customer relationships
  • Producing high-quality content marketing

Delight Your Target Audience and Build Relationships

A photo of a cash register with overlaid text reading, “Delighting: How to Cultivate An Environment of Enthusiastic Support.”

Finally, you want to maintain an open line of communication.

A repeat customer is a valuable asset! To maintain loyalty, you’ll need to apply everything from the first and second stages to optimize the buying journey. At the same time, you’ll want to introduce ways for loyal consumers to help your business grow. Referrals, reviews, and user-generated content are crucial pieces of the digital marketing tapestry. These avenues may also increase your lead generation potential.

Customer service should also be streamlined.

A marketing automation platform will help you craft responsive service emails and SMS helplines. Within the context of an inbound methodology, these assets will reduce the stress placed on your customer service team, freeing them to work on more complex issues.

Remember: Amazing service leads to excellent results. When you treat your customers well, they become lead-generation machines! When their brother’s friend’s uncle’s stepfather needs what you sell, they’ll remember you, and their referrals are free content marketing.

Tips to Master Your Inbound Marketing Methodology

A header image features a photo of a leaf. “Tips & Tricks: How to Master Inbound Marketing” is overlaid on the photo.

All of that theory is useful to know, but how is it practiced?

Inbound marketing is a bit of a conundrum for marketers. It’s as easy as it is complex, and a successful inbound marketing campaign will often cross the boundaries between marketing and sales.

These tips may help your business grow, but they are far from absolute. Every company is different, and no marketing strategy is one-size-fits-all!

Don’t Sleep on Your Cross-Channel Marketing and Search Engine Optimization

Let me start with the biggest tip possible: Inbound marketing strategies work, but they need the support of your other channels! Fortunately, there are plenty of complementary methods (i.e., email and SMS).

Spend time refining and optimizing your other inbound and outbound channels before you get too deep into your inbound strategy plan. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself in the middle of a massive mess! Your content marketing should complement your emails; search engine optimization should work with your paid media and vice versa.

Every channel is another opportunity for potential buyers to find your brand, so don’t ignore those fantastic chances to grab people’s attention!

Learn About Targeting

Inbound marketing efforts also need a bit of finesse, some je ne sais quoi. Well, actually, I do know what it is!

A truly successful inbound marketing strategy is built on data. You’ll want to have so much data (but not too much) to make sure your message reaches the best target audience possible.

An infographic features a photo of a cash register. The header text reads, “Statistics: The Efficacy of Using Target Audiences.” The main text reads, “Digital marketing is at its best when it reaches the right customer. Every good marketing strategy remembers this fact and uses plenty of targeting data. Advertisements with a target audience fare better than generalized untargeted ads.”

To demonstrate this concept, take a look at my blog post about The Email Marketers’ success and growth in 2021. While many of my other blogs are dedicated to educating beginner and intermediate marketers, this post is aimed at a different segment (seasoned professionals and industry insiders).

This is the basis of all inbound marketing strategies.

You’re trying to attract attention, but you want that attention to come from a specific audience.

In addition to sales funnels, marketers can define segments using buyer personas and customer profiles. Integrating a customer relationship management (CRM) platform into your email software will automate the process, making it easier and faster.

The Bottom Line on Inbound Marketing Strategies

A header image with a photo of a leaf. The text reads, “In Conclusion: The TL;DR of Inbound Marketing.

For all of its usefulness, an inbound strategy is a tricky beast. It’s fickle and cunning, and proper implementation requires constant monitoring and tweaking.

My team at The Email Marketers is comprised of seasoned experts with plenty of insight. We can handle anything, and we’re always happy to help another business succeed.

If you’ve been struggling with your marketing or find that you no longer have enough time to manage everything, let us support you!

Call me for a free consultation. We can discuss your business needs and determine the best course of action to make your business thrive.

You can also browse the rest of my blog for more marketing news and tips.