Inbound Marketing with Email – The Ultimate ROI
Email marketing is as old as dirt... or pixels. It’s been around since before the Internet (if you can imagine such a thing). In fact, the first email was created in 1972! Jimmy Carter was using it to plan his campaign in 1976. Even Queen Elizabeth sent an email that year (you go girl)! But just because something is old doesn’t mean it’s out-dated. Case and point – Bruce Springsteen.
Email marketing is still one of the most profitable marketing channels in terms of ROI. We’re talking about $40.56 returned on every dollar invested. That’s a lot of jack! But to reap the Benjamins, you’ve got to understand how to properly care for the precious email addresses you collect. Here are the 6 basic steps to inbound email marketing success:
1. Define the Goal
Every email you send should inspire a specific action from the recipient. Do you want them to subscribe to your blogs? Download an offer? Take a survey? Read a product update? – The ultimate goal being to purchase your product or service. The challenge is making sure the action you wish your recipient to take is one they want or need to take. Aligning your goals with their goals is going to take some work.
2. Segment Your Email List
Drill this concept into your brain – not all contacts are equal. Your collection of emails likely consists of acquaintances, friends, potential leads, hot leads or current customers. Here is where traditional email marketing fails.
Outbound email marketing encourages marketers to blast generic emails to every contact on the rolodex (rolo-wha?) believing that the more people their message reaches – the greater the odds of hooking a sales quality lead. The problem with this ideology is, people swat generic emails away like flies – wack! The result is high opt-out rates and blacklisting because the information doesn’t specifically apply to the recipient. They see it as cyber trash!
With Inbound email marketing, contact lists are segmented to help you hyper-target individuals based on facts about them. Where are they from? What is their position? What phase of the sales cycle are they in? The point is to understand who your contacts are and what they are doing so that you can provide them with valuable information that they want or need. The key to successful segmenting is to keep it simple. Possible categories for contact grouping include:
When done correctly, inbound email marketing sees increased open rates, larger volumes of sales leads, greater customer retention, improved word of mouth, lower unsubscribe rates AND an impressive return on investment. Pretty cool, huh?
3. Build Relationships
You know the action you wish to inspire and you’ve organized your contacts. Now it’s time to build relationships. The only way you will be successful at this is by providing your recipients with information and offers that they find relevant and valuable. This is where tracking and analytics are going to give you a major advantage. If you know what content or downloads your contacts have been drawn to, you’ll have a better idea where they are in the sales funnel. Their position within the sales funnel will indicate what type of information you should be providing to them.
Whitepapers, guides, ebooks and other kits are perfect for prospects that know they have a problem that needs solved (top of the sales funnel). Free webinars, case studies, sample offerings and FAQs are ideal for prospects that know they need a solution like yours (mid-sales funnel). Supply your email recipients with an answer to the current questions they have.
4. Construct Using the Necessary Components
With each email, you always want to include a few key components.
1. Clear Compelling Subject Line: In just a handful of words, you need to convince your recipient that the email you’ve sent is worth their time. Make the subject line short, enticing and accurately encompassing of what’s to come.
2. Call-to-Action (CTA): A click-inspiring button that guides the email recipient to their next step. Request a free demo, schedule a consultation, download this awesome thing we’re offering. Whatever the next step, make it clear and concise with an eye-catching button that will take the reader to a landing page on your site.
3. 2nd Person Voice: You want to be as personal as possible in each email correspondence. Make sure your message is written in the 2nd person (you, your, yours).
4. Consistent Signature & Reply Email: In maintaining a personal touch, always make sure the sent email address matches the signature on the email. Have emails come from an actual person, not a name like “staff” or “noreply”.
5. Thank You Message: If you provide a downloadable item, have a follow up email that thanks the reader for their participation and offers a next step (CTA).
5. Nourish Relationships
The work isn’t finished once you successfully snag attention. Actually, it’s just beginning. Very little is keeping your investment from getting filed away in a spam folder. You need to continue nourishing the relationships you’ve built by avidly tracking what information resonates with contacts. Even if you successfully guide a contact through the sales funnel, don’t stop providing valuable information. This is your opportunity to up-sell or convert customers into brand advocates!
6. Track ROI
With the right CMS/CRM solution, your email marketing activity will kick back useful information about the effectiveness of your efforts. Every email campaign you initiate should be scrutinized. Who opened what? Who clicked through? Who forwarded your email message to someone else? Over time, you’ll understand what information resonates best with whom and which campaigns need refining.
One more crazy important statistic for you to remember – your contact lists depreciate at a rate of 25% per year. Point being, these are valuable contacts with a shelf life, not Twinkies! If you want to be as timeless as Bruce, don’t let your inbound email marketing skills collect dust. Consider enlisting the help of a digital agency with web designers, developers, marketing experts and professional writers. They will have the tools and experience to help you create a rock star presence within your industry.