Email marketing is the best strategy to turn people into prospective customers and convert them into buying customers. It still has the best returns because the inbox is the most personal connection you can have with your prospect or customer regardless of what you've heard about Social Media. According to a 2018 study by the Radicati Group, the number of email users worldwide tops 3.8 billion. This number is expected to grow to 4.2 billion by the end of 2022.
In this article, you won't find anything about cold emails.
Instead, you will find out how to improve an inbound strategy and how to nurture and develop a lead until they become customers. It can take up to a few weeks to close a deal. Still, every company can set up a system to ensure their prospects are guided throughout their buying journey until they become paying customers.
Turn curiosity into buying intent with an email marketing strategy
Email marketing as a strategy when used effectively, will let you build a relationship with customers who are interested in your business by sharing tailored-content. You will be able to share the right information, at the right time to the right person.
Nowadays, personalisation doesn't come down to including a person' name in the greeting or subject line. Through behavioural data and users' real activity (or inactivity), we can accurately target recipients who will be most receptive to a message. Personalising your emails allows you to deliver a specific message to one particular type of customer. Spoiler alert: not all customers are the same.
Also, carrying out an actual conversation with prospects can convert them into buying costumers. Implementing a new strategy can take time, but they deliver results in the long term, not hacks. It's not as time-consuming as one may think because new software was created to automate this process. Using a marketing automation software saves you a significant amount of time you can put into creating high-value content and focusing on other aspects of your business.
Once you've collected an email, you will have the opportunity to:
- Automate a workflow of emails
- Follow-up with them in a segmented and targeted manner
- Move your leads through your funnel based on detailed analytics (i.e. behavioural and demographic)
- Convert them into paying customers or active users
Before starting to send emails, there are a few things which need to be set up. Here are the questions you need to answer:
- Where are people signing up to receive these emails? (eg. Website form? landing page?)
- What kind of content are they expecting? (eg. blog posts, case studies, white papers?)
- What are the signals you can identify which moves leads down the funnel? (eg. downloaded a resource, came back to your website 3 times?)
- What dialogue will you create for your different types of customers? (eg. prospects and buying customers?)
Once you've mapped out your clients' journey, there will be different scenarios depending on where they are coming from. You must adapt your communication for each of these scenarios. A prospect who subscribes to your newsletter from your website will have different expectations than someone who signups for an e-book. Setting up these different scenarios will help you create different funnels for each chain of events.
Best platforms for email marketing strategy
The success of an inbound strategy relies on the ability to develop a relationship with the right customers.
Therefore, choosing the right platform is an important decision to make. We have selected the best ones on the market to guide you. We will compare the following platforms: user.com, ActiveCampaign, customer.io and Autopilot.
Suppose you are now looking to explore how emails can be a fundamental part of your marketing strategy. In that case, these softwares will allow you to interact in the most effective ways with leads or active users/existing customers.
You've probably also heard of platforms such as Mailchimp and MailerLite. Suppose you're not interested in using emails as necessary means of communicating with your customers. In that case, they are probably the right ones for you. If you're planning to send newsletters once in a while with updates, these platforms with a free tier will allow you to start with a small audience. But if you're looking to grow your email marketing strategy further, paying to use such platforms isn't a fruitful investment.
We have rounded up the best platforms with their pros and cons and the different businesses each is most suited for.
This platform is best for:
- Low-ticket B2B companies.
- Sales-oriented B2C companies.
Pros: If you're already paying for Intercom and would be happy to switch to a cheaper alternative, user.com is great. Their live chat product is at the core of their offering. They also have good reporting capabilities if you're looking to align the sales and marketing teams. It is also an interesting one to use if you have a unique process and are not doing too much segmentation.
Cons: To be able to fully enjoy the benefits of their product, it will cost you $249. Otherwise, you can only do 5 automation and you will be stuck rapidly.
This platform is best for:
- Companies that want to merge transactional and marketing emails into a single platform.
- Companies that have a web app, marketplace or a mobile app.
Pros: This is the most powerful and comprehensive API. If you're already using Segment, they have the best native integration which can be set up in only 1 click. Your communication is based on first-party events which can be very useful for any company where clients use a web app or mobile app.
Cons: You will need existing experience in marketing automation or workflows if you want to use their API. It can seem expensive at first, but you're paying for up to 10K contacts so pricing remains stable.
This platform is best for companies:
- Who wants to do a lot of segmentation, D2C companies (thanks to native Shopify and WordPress integrations) and want to have basic functionalities.
Pros: It's the most affordable software with enough features to help any business move forward with their inbound and email marketing strategy. The possibilities are endless when it comes to segmentation. You can create a first-party data on it as it's able to connect your CRM to your website traffic to act in real-time. It's one of the oldest platforms (2003).
Cons: Their UI is a bit old fashioned and it can seem tough to handle at first sight.
This platform is best for:
- B2B companies wanting to align sales and marketing teams through excellent CRM integrations.
Pros: It’s the easiest UI to visualise the automation and workflow you are building. They have great integrations and partnerships with all the big software companies you will use at some point (Pipedrive, Hubspot, Intercom, Twillio…)
Cons: Although they have similar features, they are more expensive than ActiveCampaign. They can make you pay a lot for add-ons including one for salesforce.
Conclusion on email marketing:
Once you've established the pillars of your email marketing strategy, and you have mapped out the different use cases and scenarios, choose the platform accordingly. Customers communication always needs to be adapted to different types of content. You may have more extended conversations with prospects compared to buying customers.
But with any strategy, experimenting is key. So continue to test new material. When you'll have your strategy set up, and in motion, refine your approach and your message by analysing collected data, as you go along and obviously, increase your revenues.Every business is always trying to discover new and innovative ways to create a dialogue with their customers. Sometimes, the new tools are not always the ones delivering the best results but rather the older tools which can be rediscovered.