Email marketing is a very popular form of marketing communication today. Why? Because it’s 40 times more effective than marketing on Facebook and Twitter combined, and for every $1 spent, email marketing earns, on average, $44.25. Those are some pretty impressive stats! But why is this? Social media marketing has become so popular with businesses today. Why is email so effective? The CEO of BrightWave Marketing, Simms Jenkins, notes:
“On email people want offers. On Facebook they want to be more touchy-feely with the brand. On Twitter they want breaking news and updates.”
This suggests, that although social media is great at engaging customers and interacting with them, it isn’t nearly as effective as email at driving actual sales. The main reason for this seems to be because prospects that receive periodic emails have shown enough interest in what the company has to offer, by providing their email address, that they are more likely to take advantage of these offers. It mostly has to do with purpose and relevance. The purpose of email marketing is more about making offers and selling than social media channels are. The messages sent through email marketing are also likely very relevant to their audience because that audience is already interested in the offers and making purchases from the company. Therefore, this naturally results in more sales generated from email marketing than from social media marketing. So, I don’t think email marketing will be going away anytime soon. If done right, it can be a formidable asset to any inbound marketing campaign.
Speaking of inbound marketing, let’s take a look at the concept of inbound sales. Inbound sales is a relatively new concept and it is an attempt to integrate a sales force with an inbound strategy. A traditional sales force is the personification of an outbound marketing strategy. It’s about interrupting people in their daily lives, knocking on doors, pushing a hard sell, and cold calling as prospects walk by. Inbound sales take a much different approach. Instead of cold calling, an inbound sales force seeks to inform and pursue prospects that have already shown a relatively high level of interest in the company. For example, an inbound sales person may only contact a prospect once that prospect has subscribed to a weekly newsletter and spent a lot of time on the company website. In many cases, nowadays, because we live in a world where information is at the population’s fingertips, prospects will educate themselves and then contact a sales representative for more information. This means that the role of sales is changing dramatically and it seems to be transforming into a position that is focused more on the prospect and less on selling. Mark Roberge, the Chief Revenue Officer of HubSpot’s inbound sales division, describes the idea of inbound sales well, when he writes:
“You know you’re successful… when selling feels more like the relationship between a doctor and a patient and less like a relationship between a salesperson and a prospect”
Inbound sales isn’t about interrupting the prospect, it’s about nurturing that prospect’s interest, informing, and helping them. Why is this new strategy necessary? Well, as I mentioned above, with the advent of easily accessible public information, a traditional sales role is becoming less relevant. Also, inbound sales is much more effective than traditional sales. Why? Because it targets prospects that are already interested in the offerings of the company.
So, What Do We Have Here?
You may be wondering how email marketing and inbound sales are related. Why combine these two topics together in a blog? I was asking myself the same question until I began to think about the role that each of these components play in the process of inbound marketing. At their core, each of these communication strategies pursue prospects that have already shown an interest in the company and what it has to offer. That is why these strategies are so effective. If executed correctly, they cut through the clutter to deliver the right message to the right audience—one that cares.
One important takeaway to keep in mind, is that the delivering to the “right” audience isn’t the only component that makes successful campaigns what they are. It’s also about delivering the right message. This means that, whether it be email marketing or inbound sales, true success comes when you understand your prospect well enough to best communicate to them based on their needs. It’s important do do research on your different prospects, so that you can cater each message to them. This definitely looks different for inbound sales than it does for email, but the concept remains. A one-size-fits-all approach will not allow you to maximize your success.