Email Marketing: Isn't Email for Cavemen?

How Email Marketing Leads to an Influx of Inbound Sales

Written by Dylan Langei

Ha! Email marketing leading to more inbound sales? What a ludicrous statement, right? Isn't email for old people and cavemen? This is definitely a common misconception, but I'm not twisting anybody's arm here. As strange as it may sound, my promise to you, is that after reading this blog post you will also be a believer in email marketing. 

 I understand your skepticism, as I was also cynical to the idea that email marketing was still a powerful tool. With all the advanced technology around us today, how could email still be one of the most effective, untapped, and cheapest way to gain more customers? 

First, let's define email marketing and inbound sales, and then dive right into how you can leverage effective email marketing tactics to optimize inbound sales.

What is Email Marketing? 

Yes, email marketing is fairly self-explanatory as it is essentially directly marketing a message to a targeted group of people using email. However, there are integral components that you must consider before sending off an email for marketing purposes. Why is this so important? Well, every $1 spent on email marketing averages a return of $44.25. Email marketing also acquires 40x the customers than that of Facebook and Twitter. Now you're interested.

How to Market via Email:

When deciding to read an email or not, there is a common evaluation process that occurs in the recipients head. You must tailor your message with this process in mind, and put yourself in the recipients shoes.

Evaluation Process

  1. Who is emailing me (and is this spam)?

  2. What do they want?

  3. How long will it take? If you want to get yourself heard, make sure to know the following.

This is where it is essential to have your buyer persona nailed down. You must target your audience and construe your email appropriate to that audience base. 

Crafting the Perfect Message

  • Begin with a subject line that is specific and to the point. Make sure the subject line is neither false nor misleading. It should summarize the message in the email and set expectations properly.

  • Get right to the point in about six to eight words. No need to fluff around here, an email needs to be short, succinct, yet descriptive. No one wants to read a lengthy cluttered email. Think of an email as the executive summary to a business plan. It should summarize key points, capture the readers attention, and propose something worth them investigating further. If it can't do those three things, that email is going straight to the trash bin. 

  • Providing localization however, such as including a city name, does improve open rates. Remember, the subject is the most crucial string in the email since the opening rate of the message depends so much on it.
  • Be able to answer the question "what do you want" from the recipient in three seconds after opening. This means your message must be clear, to the point, and relevant. 

What Are Inbound Sales?

Inbound sales are not as self-explanatory as email marketing. Inbound sales is the process of crafting a sales approach that is personalized to the individual buyers needs, points of pain, frustrations, and/or goals. This then institutes an increase in communication and collaboration between potential customers and your company. 

How Email Marketing Can Lead to Inbound Sales:

To start out, the sales team and the marketing team need to get on the same page. At a lot of companies, they're in different books. Each team blames the other for not creating leads, and it creates this vicious cycle of deflecting blame. To fix this, HubSpot created a term called Smarketing, which aims to align sales and marketing around the same goals and personas. Together, these two departments build an alignment around a buyer persona which drives how the emails are constructed (reference How to Market via Email above). When marketing and sales can work together to construct the ultimate buyer persona, the content embedded in the email is relevant and therefore more likely to drive inbound sales. 

A Company That Kills the Email Marketing Game:

Charity: Water


Charity: Water is a non-profit organization that aims to bring clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. Not only do they stand for a great cause, but they have AMAZING email marketing. This is not your traditional sales focused email marketing, because their conversion does not have to do with selling a product. Rather, they are searching for donations. So check this email out:

Not only is this email attractively designed and succinct, but it tells a story (in very few words). The purpose of this email is very clear, Charity: Water would like donations. But it is very personal in the sense that the person donating feels like they are helping a specific girl, Caroline in this case, have access to drinking water. This email puts off the message that you are not just donating for any old cause, but you are providing an underprivileged child hope. A very moving message. 

Now here's another email that is more suited towards targeting an existing customer:

As you can see, Charity: Water has "followed up" with the person who donated via an emailed progress update. This is a phenomenal use of email marketing. Since this person has already donated, Charity: Water knows that they are already emotionally and financially invested in helping this cause. So Charity: Water makes it more personal and shows exactly where that donation has gone, and how much progress has been made. The donator is now more inclined to become a reoccurring customer, due to the personalized message and gratitude that is received after a donation. 

To check out more great email marketing examples visit the HubSpot Blog.