When asking whether email marketing is inbound or outbound, it’s essential to start with a clear distinction between the two.
First, let’s address the definition of email: Email marketing is the practice of sending promotional content via email. Now, onto inbound v. outbound.
Is email marketing inbound or outbound, and what’s the difference?
Outbound marketing has a very specific list of tactics, including advertising, direct mail, affiliate marketing, etc. Email should not be considered outbound, as the base of email marketing is formed by a subscriber willingly giving you their data. Their contact info is coming in to your organization.
Inbound marketing aims at generating organic customer interest, then sending emails with promotional content after a prospect has subscribed. It heavily employs unpaid avenues like social media, search, and content channels to grow interest.
How to take advantage of inbound email marketing
Making the most of inbound email marketing is an art form. One of the most important things for you to remember is that your content should be designed with the subscriber in mind. That means your email marketing content should be informational, as opposed to promotional.
The art of inbound marketing is in generating customer interest organically by creating content they want to see. Finding ways to link your brand to information that your customers are looking for is key.
How to measure the benefits of inbound and outbound marketing
You can see how much more advantageous inbound marketing can be by looking at a comparison of the costs. Leads generated through inbound marketing cost 62% less than through outbound efforts.
On the other hand, outbound email marketing contrasts sharply with inbound methods in terms of time to yield an ROI. While you can see more immediate conversions when using the outbound variety of marketing strategy, inbound methods can take substantially longer to come full-circle.
The division of pros and cons leaves inbound email marketing superior, as far as cost, but not as urgent or pressing. The disparity shouldn’t lead you to endorse one more than the other. Instead, you should aim to leverage the selling points of both outbound and inbound to maximize their respective potentials.
Does it really matter?
When it comes to email marketing, knowing the difference between inbound and outbound can have a significant impact on the success of your promotions. More important yet, mastering the art of inbound marketing is integral to reaching your goals.
Getting attention drawn towards your brand is how you bring in customers, and there’s no way to do that like inbound email marketing strategies. To take full advantage of it, however, you should implement a sense of urgency in your newsletters.
Adding a sense of urgency, such as the final hours of a sale (as demonstrated below), can bolster engagement. Another highly effective approach you can take is to present the content of the newsletter as a solution to a problem the reader is likely to have.
While the virtues of inbound email marketing cannot be discounted, outbound methods are not to fall out of use entirely. Rather the symbiotic relationship between inbound and outbound should be studied and utilized for the best results.
For example, organic content that generates inbound-based interest should be followed up with targeted outbound promotional efforts to drive the maximum awareness and interest.
The ideal ratio of inbound and outbound will depend on the nature of your business and customer base. However, the general principle that email marketing should be primarily inbound and complemented by more traditional outbound efforts applies universally.