Search engine marketing (SEM), content marketing, social media marketing, and of course, email marketing is just some of the ways to market a product or service. The concept of inbound and outbound applies to most of them, but how to does it apply to emails?
Email marketing can be inbound or outbound. In order to make the distinction, let's first define each term.
Inbound Email Marketing
Inbound email marketing attracts customers by creating valuable content and experiences tailored to them. It’s about pulling people toward your company and product, rather than pushing your message out.
Some email marketing platforms will call this “email automation.” It can be a way to nurture leads with targeted content and move them further down your sales funnel. The idea is that you’re attracting customers who are already interested in what you have to say. Inbound emails are sent to leads that have already expressed interest in your product or service or have subscribed to your email list.
An email list is a group of email addresses that have been collected from leads who have given you permission to contact them. In order for inbound email marketing to be effective, email lists must be carefully cultivated. Email list subscribers should be engaged with valuable content on a regular basis in order to nurture the relationship and keep them interested in what you have to offer.
Outbound Email Marketing
Outbound email marketing, on the other hand, is the process of sending emails to customers and prospects who have not yet subscribed to your email list. These are cold contacts that you reach out to in an attempt to generate new leads or sell your product or service. It involves reaching out to prospects who haven’t opted into communication with you. In other words, outbound emails are unsolicited and can be considered disruptive because it mainly involves reaching out to an audience regardless of whether the audience sought you out or not.
Because outbound email marketing involves contacting people who have not yet expressed interest in your business, it can be perceived as more intrusive and less personal than inbound email marketing. As a result, outbound email campaigns must be carefully crafted in order to avoid coming across as spam.
What’s the difference?
To find the perfect email strategy for your business, it is important to understand their differences.
- Audience & Engagement
Inbound email marketing targets a small list of interested subscribers, while outbound email marketing targets anyone it can send a message to.
- Reach & Speed
Inbound email marketing lists are typically slower to build and much smaller to start. Outbound email marketing lists are larger, and usually not built from scratch, especially if you purchased an email list. Some marketing agencies in Miami offer this kind of service, so you don’t need to build up your list.
Inbound email marketing generally costs less on average due to a smaller subscriber count and increased ROI. Outbound email marketing costs more because the more emails you send, the larger your costs. Most recipients will most likely not become customers, making the ROI significantly lower.
If you have decided what path you take, here are some examples of inbound and outbound email marketing strategies that you try.
Inbound email marketing examples
- Welcome email – this is the first line of communication for email marketing. The users opt-in to receive emails, and in a few minutes, they receive a welcome message from the company. It usually includes thanking the subscriber, introducing them to the company, setting expectations, and creating a call to action.
- Curated email – these emails combine the best content your company has to offer. The content is gathered over a specific time or covers a particular topic. It can also include articles, images, links, and any other content that suits your subscribers.
Outbound email marketing examples
- The AIDA formula – AIDA stands for attention, interest, desire, and action. The logic is simple, first, get their attention. You may ask a question or state a fact. Second, build their interest by telling a story to get them invested. Third, create the desire to buy from you. You can purposely leave out a crucial piece of information. It will then lead you to the fourth step which is taking action.
- The bridge – Bridging the gap is the goal of this marketing strategy. Bridging the gap is one common tactic of an outbound email. Start by describing the current reality of your potential customer. You can then present them with a depiction of how their situation would change if you solved the problem. The last step is giving them the bridge. Pose your solution as a reward.
The Bottom Line
Inbound email marketing is all about creating valuable content and experiences for customers that have already expressed interest in your product or service. Outbound email marketing, on the other hand, is the process of sending emails to customers and prospects who have not yet subscribed to your email list.
Both inbound and outbound email marketing can be effective ways to reach your target audience. The key is to craft well-thought-out campaigns that align with your overall marketing strategy.
Inbound email marketing is when you use email to attract customers or clients to your business. This could be done through a number of means, such as providing valuable content (e.g. an e-book or white paper) in exchange for an email address or offering a discount for signing up for your email list.
Outbound email marketing, on the other hand, is when you use email to reach out to potential or current customers with the goal of selling them something. This could be a product, service, or just general information about your company. Outbound email marketing is generally more “sales-y” in nature and can be seen as more intrusive than inbound email marketing.
Which type of email marketing is right for you? It depends on your goals and your audience. If you’re trying to build relationships with potential customers or clients, then inbound email marketing might be a better fit. If you’re trying to sell something, then outbound email marketing could be more effective.
At the end of the day, both inbound and outbound email marketing can be effective ways to reach your target audience. The key is to craft well-thought-out campaigns that align with your overall marketing strategy.
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