Inbound vs Outbound email marketing

Sep 4

Are your emails annoying or lovable?

Remember those emails that asked you to ‘buy their stuff’ over and over until you either created a filter, marked it as spam or jumped the hurdles of unsubscribing?

Those emails never worked, I mean would you go into a bar and walk up to the first person you meet and ask them really loudly to ‘BUY MY STUFF!’ ?

The technical term for that is Outbound Marketing, it’s interruptive and whilst there are people out there still using it their success is eclipsed by the world of Inbound Marketing.

Welcome to the world of inbound marketing

But we thought you were going to tell us how we can use inbound practices with our email marketing? We are but first a bit of useful stuff about Inbound.


Inbound marketing is customer-centric marketing focussing on getting found by customers

The primary goal of inbound is to draw customers towards your product or service through social media marketing, content marketing and SEO.

It creates a greatly enhanced user experience by providing the information your customers actually want through the various marketing channels.

Email marketing augments the user journey by sharing valuable content that’s relevant to the target audience or segment.

Like any long lasting relationship it begins from being perfect strangers to acquaintances to friends and then besties!

Inbound marketing has four stages

Attract – Strangers into visitors – Blogging, articles, SEO, Social, Paid Ads

Convert – Visitors into leads – emails/blog posts, ebooks, tip sheets, gated content

Close – Leads to customers – Email workflow/automation, Customer Relationship Management,  Customer Support Delivery

Surprise & Delight – Customers to evangelists / brand amassadors – Feedback, reviews, emails, social


Analyse Analyse Analyse

From attract to surprise and delight, every strategy should be analysed throughout the process.

The attract stage tends to work as the foundation for email marketing, the fuller role of emails is in the final three stages, Convert, Close, Surprise & Delight.

Inbound vs Outbound

Pleasant > Pushy

Inbound email marketing is all about being right were your customers are. Finding the right customers and converting strangers to evangelists.

Outbound email marketing is like standing in the street and yelling ‘buy my stuff’ in the vain hope that someone will!

Email growing not fading

The number of email users worldwide is forecasted to rise to 3bn by 2020 according to analytics gurus Radicati.

Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin all have their own unique limitations. Twitter has 140 characters, Facebook has the issue of post ‘reach’ and Linkedin doesn’t feature interactive elements.

Emails allow you to deliver your message in the most engaging manner possible with both personalisation and interactivity.

Never discount the power of email marketing, old is gold when it comes to email’s role in inbound marketing.


Top Tips for Inbound email marketing

Know your audience

If content is king then in email marketing context of that copy is the emperor! The combination of quality content delivered with context to your subscriber base is what inbound email is all about. Once your audience is defined, the next step is to segment your subscribers with similar preferences into groups.

Knowing your audience is an ongoing process that continues through all stages of inbound email marketing.

Segment your contacts

Segment your audience based on Buyer Personas. Buyer personas are representations of an ideal customer based on real data and some educated speculation around demographics, behaviour, motivations and goals. Buyer personals help you to know who your email audience is and give you an idea about the recipient of the email.

The key to all inbound marketing is data!

The right email at the right time

To create the right user experience it’s all about saying the right thing at the right time. Inbound marketing from convert and close through to surprise and delight should follow the same basic principles to create the perfect user experience.

By understanding the customer journey you will enhance your ability to get optimal conversions.

Turn your leads into customers

B2B leads are rarely sales-ready. By ensuring your emails contain value added content you will begin to drive conversions. Often leads are looking for information rather than to directly make a purchase and by offering that information in your emails you’ll be the first brand that comes to mind when the decision to purchase arrives.

Surprise and delight

How do you feel when someone goes above and beyond what you expected? It’s the same with marketing, you can use your emails to surprise and delight your customers and transform them into evangelists for your brand.

As an example send out ‘thankyou’ emails after a purchase, if you store dates of birth send happy birthday emails. Basically think beyond the standard ‘thanks for your order’ and think about what you’d like to receive and what would surprise and delight you!

What next?

If you’ve been sat there with your email marketing software wondering what to do with it, or even if you haven’t considered using email marketing and would like to know more give us a call or pop in for a coffee and a chat (we have cake!).

Contact us today on 01992 667740 or email me at


This post was written by Matt Purser