Is Email Inbound or Outbound Marketing?
Email marketing is one of the most useful strategies of digital marketing. 89% of marketers use email marketing as their primary channel for generating leads. Which means it has a great impact on lead generation.
But the confusion arises with the question, Is Email Inbound or Outbound Marketing? Businesses want to adopt this marketing strategy but do not know which technique will work.
This debate between marketers continues as they overlook the fact that email marketing is both inbound and outbound. The key difference between email inbound and outbound marketing is the approach.
Today, we will discuss how email marketing is both inbound and outbound marketing, its benefits, and real-life examples with key differences.
In the end, you will come to know which marketing strategy can better work for you or if you should go with both.
Inbound Email Marketing Vs Outbound Email Marketing: Definition
The number of email users hit 4.37 billion in 2023 worldwide, making it one of the inseparable digital marketing tools. The statistics are way too impressive for marketers, and the growth is rising to its peak.
This results in creating a storm between inbounders and outbounders that Is, Email Inbound or Outbound Marketing. While it is both, let’s start with a simple definition.
Inbound Email Marketing
Inbound email marketing is part of a digital marketing strategy that works seamlessly to convert existing subscribers into leads through email communication in a permission-based manner.
The main goal is to turn subscribers into prospects by providing inbound emails. In return, this increases brand awareness, builds solid relationships for future purchases, and helps increase the business revenue.
The main benefit of inbound email marketing is it does not forcefully send emails. If the customer gets interested somehow in your product, gets contact within your business, and gives permission, then you get the chance to send personalized messages.
This method may seem a bit slower, but proper email marketing can fuel your inbound marketing strategy.
Outbound Email Marketing
Outbound email marketing refers to the method where the ultimate goal is reaching out to a large audience, often without prior consent, through outbound mail to generate leads and sell more products.
58% of users check their email inbox first when starting their day. This gives the high opportunity to grab the attention of consumers and make them purchasers.
Though, by nature, outbound email marketing is disruptive, it is not spammy. It maintains authority and privacy that differentiate it from spam mail. If practiced properly, the chance is high of getting more CTR.
Also, outbound emails are more professional; thus, for B2C or B2B outbound email marketing can be impactful on immediate sales. It may include email blasts, cold emailing, or purchased email lists.
Email Inbound or Outbound Marketing?
Email marketing is both inbound and outbound, depending on how marketers implement the strategy. Though the ultimate goal is generating more leads, the approach is different, like the nature of your email list and how you engage with your recipients.
Outbound email marketing follows more traditional methods, while inbound email relies on personalized and custom content. But email marketing counts for both categories.
Many businesses prefer inbound email marketing as it tends to be more effective in building relationships and delivering value to a receptive audience.
Still, email marketing is one of the most powerful, proven outbound marketing strategies for B2B and B2C businesses. 64% of small businesses use email marketing, whereas outbound email is the only way to reach wide customers.
So, the confusion about email inbound or outbound marketing is clear, with it being both marketing.
Inbound Email Marketing Vs Outbound Email Marketing: Key Differences
Email is both inbound and outbound marketing, but some factors make the two approaches different.
50% of people tend to purchase from email marketing at least once a month. So, to know which one can best work for you, it is crucial to know the key difference.
|Aspects||Inbound Email Marketing||Outbound Email Marketing|
|Targeting||Segmented and Personalized||Less segmentation, more mass emailing|
|Focus||Building relationships, nurturing leads||Immediate sales or lead generation|
|Relationship Building||Emphasized, long-term focus||Short-term, transactional focus|
|Opt-in Requirement||Subscribers willingly opt-in||May not require opt-in or consent|
|Long-term Value||Higher potential for long-term customer retention||Limited potential for long-term relationships|
|Compliance and Privacy||Compliant with privacy regulations, less risk of spam||Higher risk of spam and privacy issues|
|Brand Reputation||Fosters a positive brand reputation||Can damage brand reputation if not handled carefully|
Specific Vs Wider Audience
The most significant difference between email inbound and outbound marketing is audience segmentation.
Inbound emails in local inbound marketing are targeted at intimate audiences, while outbound emails are geared toward larger audiences.
Inbound email marketing goes step by step with the marketing funnel. Here, every step of the buyer journey is utilized properly.
Outbound marketing depends on a broader email list.
Permissive Vs Disruptive
Inbound marketing flows naturally into consumers’ lives, but outbound marketing is intrusive.
When you send emails to subscribers who have willingly provided their email addresses and permitted you to send them emails, it falls under the category of inbound email marketing.
On the other hand, sending emails to a broader audience may include purchased email lists or recipients who have yet to specifically opt-in to receive emails from you. It is under outbound email marketing.
According to statistics, 96% of recipients unsubscribed for not receiving emails, and most of them (76%) said it was because the emails were disruptive.
Quality Vs Quantity
Inbound email marketing is a slower process since it works with a specific audience. First, it needs to collect data only about people who have interacted somehow. Then, send them inbound emails.
Once it is done in the right manner, you will surely get quality prospects that will positively affect your business in the future.
But with outbound email marketing, the quantity matters. The possibility is high to reach broader customers by broadcasting outbound mail.
Two Ways Vs One Way Communication
Two-way conversion is one of the most powerful tools of inbound marketing.
Marketers make personalized messages by addressing several friendly tones and appealing subject lines and also try to solve their problems. The interaction here is maximum.
According to ZIPPIA, 47% of email recipients are more influenced by a compelling subject line.
But, outbound marketing does not facilitate two-way conversation; rather, it prefers professionalism.
Customer-Driven Vs Market-Driven
Inbound email marketing is customer-driven. Here, the customer shows interest first and seeks more information. People more often check email to see if they recognize the sender.
In return, you ask for the email to provide the necessary information. The whole process is customer-centric.
Outbound email marketing is driven by the market and business. For increasing business revenue, reach people as much as possible.
Cost Efficient Vs Costly
In outbound marketing, the target is to reach more users. These tactics drive more outbound costs. The more people you need to reach, the more cost added to your budget.
But this is different in inbound email marketing, as only some customers exist. The ROI is also higher compared to outbound.
In inbound marketing, customers go through the sales funnel process. The plan is from being strangers to getting interaction and then turning into prospects. The purchase may continue in the future.
In contrast, outbound usually is a short-term and immediate process. There is no customer buyer journey nor any sales funnel.
Example Of Inbound Email Marketing
Inbound email marketing first establishes a connection with the target audience and then enters into their inbox. Here are some examples which you may have witnessed.
Newsletters are an excellent option for continuing genuine relationships with loyal customers.
These types of emails include articles, tips, product updates, trendy topics, or some information.
For example, NIKE cleverly and effectively uses email marketing in their business. The Nike users can relate to newsletter marketing.
A well-crafted welcome series is important for building a strong connection with new subscribers. This is the phase where you need to grab the most attention; otherwise, it can end up in spam.
Start with a warm and concise welcome email. Then, introduce your brand’s values, showcase your best content, and encourage them to make a purchase.
For B2B inbound marketing, welcome mail can be a good approach to starting a business.
MAC, a cosmetic brand, uses loud welcome emails with an eye-catching CTA.
Stock email is a clever way to interact with customers and promote products. This facilitates the opportunity to notify customers if a particular product is restocked.
Consumers often seek a specific product, and if it is out of stock, they get disappointed. With stock emails, these customers also get excited and wait for future emails.
E-commerce companies especially use this mail frequently.
Personalization is the key to inbound marketing, hence in inbound email marketing. Only if your visitors feel comfortable with your service will they definitely stick with you.
For this, first, analyze your buyer’s persona, then recommend their product or service according to that. Use friendly message emojis and maintain their native tone.
Example Of Outbound Email Marketing
With these examples of outbound mail, you will be able to differentiate whether email is inbound or outbound marketing.
Cold emails and cold calls are most important in B2B outbound marketing. Even for B2C businesses, cold emails are working quite well.
A cold email is a type of unsolicited email sent to a recipient without prior interest or contact with the company. With outbound cold mail, people get to discover products they may have never known before.
This mostly works like traditional TV ads, billboards, or other outbound promotional content.
Appointment setting email
Appointment setting service is crucial for business, especially B2B outbound. To grow a business, marketers first need to contact other businesses and then make appointments for further inquiries.
You may have encountered several appointment-setting emails if you have your own company.
You can follow the pattern below if you are new to this.
Sample of Appointment Setting Email
Subject: Schedule a Demo and Unlock Efficiency!
Hi [Recipient’s Name],
Hope this email finds you well. I wanted to introduce you to our cutting-edge [product/service] that has been helping businesses like yours.
I believe a personalized demo would be the best way to showcase how our solution can benefit your company. Are you available for a quick demo next week? Please let me know your preferred date and time, and I’ll schedule it accordingly.
Looking forward to the opportunity to demonstrate how we can help you achieve your goals.
[Your Contact Information]
The main idea in problem-solving emails is first your need to present your readers’ problem as the worst. Then, giving them the solution will gain their trust.
Show them how your product can particularly solve their problem so they urge you to buy your product. Mention the problem and solution in the subject line.
Sample of Problem-Solving Email
Subject: Solve [Specific Problem] with [Your Solution]
Hi [Recipient’s Name],
Are you struggling with [specific problem]? We understand the challenges you’re facing, and we have a proven solution to help you overcome them.
Our [product/service] has successfully addressed [similar problems] for many businesses in your industry. We’d love to discuss how our expertise can benefit you and provide a tailored solution.
[Your Contact Information]
Product announcement emails are likely to be inbound stock emails. Here, the companies announce their product launch, restock products, or the upcoming services.
This kind of mail can easily be confused with email inbound or outbound marketing.
Subject: Exciting News: Introducing [New Product/Feature]!
Promotional emails are attention grabbers for the customers. Most often, these types of outbound mail include exclusive offers, referrals, discounts, updates about new products, and so on.
Here, try to give an attention-seeking subject line so the reader can first know about your intent.
The subject line can be like this,
Subject: Exclusive Offer: 20% Off Your Next Purchase!
Which One Should You Choose?
Now, you can successfully differentiate which emails act like inbound or outbound. Also, know their nature and how these approaches work.
But what the clarification of is email inbound or outbound marketing, another question arose which to choose.
Here are four factors you can consider before starting your email marketing plans. It will give you a clear vision about which strategy can work for you.
Consider your target audience’s preferences. Some may prefer receiving informative content (inbound). While others may respond better to promotional emails (outbound). To do this, deep research on buyers’ persona is needed.
Define your marketing goals clearly. Are you looking to build brand awareness, nurture leads, or make immediate sales? Both techniques vary depending on the goal setting. Your goals will influence your choice.
Data-driven marketing plans are the most effective. Collect data about your available resources, including time, budget, and email list quality. Inbound marketing requires time and patience, but outbound needs an email list.
For small businesses, the main target is to get visitors, whereas outbound email marketing only can help. However, large businesses or successful businesses can rely on inbound marketing.
When You Should Use Inbound & Outbound Email Marketing Together
To witness a successful business, it would be the wisest decision to integrate both inbound and outbound email marketing instead of debating whether it is email inbound or outbound marketing.
According to some statistics, email marketing generates leads (85%), sales (84%), lead nurturing (78%), and customer retention (74%). Also, for every $1 spent, email generates $36, meaning the ROI is 3600%. Many reputed Software outsourcing companies use inbound & outbound Email Marketing together to generate leads & turn them into potential clients.
Utilizing only one marketing strategy is not enough. To experience significant benefits, try employing multiple strategies such as cold calling and social media marketing. The reason can be many, and you might have figured out the answer by now.
- With inbound email marketing, you can only reach a small community, but integration of outbound can make the list broader.
- Though outbound prefers irrelevancy, inbound can help study buyer persona and reach them accordingly.
- Again, using problem-solving emails or appointment setting inbound can be helpful. The same is true for outbound, where you will send personalized emails, welcome mail, and so on.
If you want to boost your email marketing efforts, you should use inbound and outbound email marketing together.
Key Takeaways: Email Marketing Is Inbound And Outbound
Is email inbound or outbound marketing? The answer is way too simple that it is both. And to utilize email marketing properly, it is better to integrate these strategies.
Both approaches have their own benefits and drawbacks. To know that, first, you need to know the differences.
We have tried to cover the deep difference between inbound and outbound email marketing, their definition, and real-life examples.
Inbound email marketing needs consent before sending emails, but outbound email marketing directly contacts the users.
At the end, a small guidance about which you should choose or how you can use both methods.