Email is an essential part of your inbound marketing journey and allows you to deliver a message directly to your audience. When done properly, email marketing can help your inbound marketing strategy succeed.
The benefit of email is that it lets you connect directly with your audience, which helps you build the trust factor. And email marketing doesn’t rely on algorithms, which means your message can actually reach its intended audience.
Where Does Email Marketing Fit in Your Inbound Marketing Journey?
Traditional digital marketing strategists, especially those who sell products instead of knowledge, consider email marketing a closing or conversion channel to make sales. Unfortunately, many knowledge brands have also adopted this method because they learned email marketing from copywriters who came from a conversion-focused background.
Conversion copywriters are experts in writing copy that will convince people to take action, specifically to buy. They’re focused on transactions—getting a person to click or make a purchase.
Meanwhile, funnel strategists are focused on direct response marketing. They want to get people to move to the next step in the funnel. Their emails are filled with upsells, and their primary objective is to get people to buy.
But the problem is that for knowledge brands, email marketing shouldn’t be primarily considered a closing channel. Its purpose goes beyond selling. Email marketing also fits in connection content, consideration content, and conversion content.
Email marketing is the next step after your audience has acknowledged that they have a problem. They already consider you a thought leader, someone who has the answer they’re looking for, the person who can help them with their journey. These are the people who have signed up to be on your email list.
That means you want to focus on using email to continue your audience’s journey. You want to take them from identifying their problem to looking to you for a possible answer to helping them find the solution and ultimately to buying from you.
Email helps you connect with your audience and build your trust factor. It’s where you can help people see why they should buy from you instead of your competitors. It’s where you can highlight how you’re different from other brands.
Email marketing also helps you convert leads into buyers. You can use email as part of your promotions or when launching a product or service. Emails allow you to directly reach people who already know you and may potentially purchase from you.
Email Marketing Is A Journey, Not A Destination
In the online world, marketing is often mistaken as either selling or direct response marketing. Keep in mind that marketing and selling aren’t the same.
Marketing goes beyond just sending a message and getting a direct response from your audience. It’s about creating the right product and delivering the right message. One way to do that is through email marketing.
In the past, marketers went for the direct response marketing strategy where they tailor a message to a particular person or group of people based on their interest and send them a message through advertising. It’s a method that brings in cold leads, which they try to convert to buyers.
Today, advertising based on interests has become harder because of consumers’ rising interest in privacy. For example, Firefox and Safari no longer allow third-party cookies, which means advertisers will find it harder to track the online activities of their audience. Then there’s the recent iOS update, which protects users of Apple devices from having their online activities tracked.
These changes are slowly making targeted outbound marketing or direct response marketing a thing of the past. Targeting will still be possible when people click on actionable items. But you can use email marketing to find out what your audience’s interests are.
Email Is More Than Selling
One of the biggest mistakes that online entrepreneurs make is considering email only as a way to sell. From a knowledge brand perspective, it’s counterproductive to treat email that way.
Two things will happen if you hit the people on your email list with upsells from the get-go. You will make sales in the beginning, but because you’ll bombard them with emails that ask them to make purchases, your audience will most likely be annoyed and stop opening.
The people on your email list won’t see an upside as a subscriber. They’ll come to think that your only goal is to sell to them and not to help them. So they’ll eventually reach a point when they’ll decide to unsubscribe from your list.
This won’t be the case if you take the time to build a connection and help your audience determine if you’re the right person to help them. When they finally decide that they want your product or service, then you can sell. You’ll get more return on investment if you do it this way.
When you’re sending emails, you also need to make sure that you do so regularly. When your audience likes your content, they’ll want to hear from you again. You can use emails to build connections, and that involves reaching out to them regularly.
If you stop for several months and then send another email out of the blue, they’ll think that you need something from them or that you just want to sell to them and won’t pay attention. So it’s better to think of email as a journey.
The journey is divided into five parts. You need to go through all these steps before you start selling.
Step 1: CATCH Email
The CATCH email is a structure:
- Congratulate them
- Acknowledge the pain
- This tells me about you
- Credibility boost
- Hook them into your next email
This is your lead magnet delivery email. It’s what you send to the people who subscribed to your list to get your freebie. It allows you to share value, build credibility, and establish trust.
Step 2: Nurture Sequence
Your nurture sequence helps your audience get value from your freebie. It also allows you to continue to build trust by establishing that you’re a thought leader or a person they should listen to.
The nurture sequence is generally one to five emails, depending on the kind of freebie that you’re offering.
Step 3: Welcome Sequence
This sequence orients your audience to your world. It’s when you form a deeper connection with your audience and help them decide whether they like you or not.
Step 4: Weekly Emails
At this point, you’ve built the trust factor and have started sending weekly story-based emails to your audience.
Step 5: Promotional Emails
After the first few weekly emails, you can start sending them promotional emails. It’s when you promote your products.
The Right Way to Approach Email Marketing
Email marketing isn’t just about selling. Let me say that again: email marketing isn’t just about selling. If you only show up during promotions, people aren’t likely to pay attention to your emails.
Be a Friend
Think of emails as a chance to build a friendship with your audience. You want them to think of you as a friend rather than as a marketer. This doesn’t mean that they’ll forget that you’re marketing to them. But you also don’t want to remind them in every single email that you’re a marketer.
In short, you’ll want to put in the effort to establish a friendly connection with your audience. If you manage to do this, people are more likely to buy from you.
Keep in mind that you have to do this consistently. You need to be willing to sacrifice potential sales and tell the truth to people like they’re your friends.
Add Your Personality
You’re not doing justice to your emails if they look like something that anybody could have written. Your emails should show your personality.
Try to write your emails the same way you talk. Share stories about your life and tell them things about you. You don’t have to go into intimate details about your life, but you need to let your readers in, so they can feel like they know you.
Connect With Your Audience
Now you know where email marketing fits in your inbound marketing journey. Don’t forget to think of it as a journey and not as a destination. Treat your audience as your friend. Build connections and establish trust.
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