The Best Ways to Use Inbound vs. Outbound Emails

Inbound vs. Outbound Email Campaigns: When to Use Each

There’s a big debate around inbound vs. outbound email, especially since most don’t fully understand the differences between the two. But mainly, because inbound is so popular and outbound messaging — which is not spam — has gotten a bad rap. Yet, for successful marketing, you need both.

Each type of email plays a highly different role in how it serves and connects with your customers. You likely won’t have a successful business by solely relying on one over the other. Once you do understand the differences and how they benefit your customers, you’ll never focus on just one type again. Generally speaking, inbound is great for nurturing customers who are already within your funnel, but outbound emails are what get them into said funnel.

Learn more about the differences between these two opposing types of email practices, and most importantly, how you can use both in your own marketing efforts. 

When to Use Inbound vs. Outbound Email Marketing

Inbound Email Marketing

Inbound focuses on attracting the right people organically. Through your website and content, the goal is to bring in prospects that resonate with your content, meaning they have self-evaluated and decided they need your product. While these emails can capture leads, they are better used to nurture subscribers who have opted in.

Individuals interested in your content are prospects who have filled out a form or current customers. As you can imagine, these email subscribers are highly-engaged and are looking for emails that provide pricing updates, service news, fresh features, and so on. 

Outbound Email Marketing

The purpose of outbound emails is to find your untapped audiences and introduce your brand to prospects who aren’t coming across your inbound efforts. Truth be told, your content can’t engage everyone, so it is wise to establish a relationship with them instead. Here is where cold outreach can make connections where the opportunity wasn’t before. 

Note that outbound emails are not spam. Outbound campaigns are professional marketing initiatives meant to build relationships. A traditional spam email is sent from an unknown source asking for your personal information. The intentions are never good nor professional, and we don’t recommend responding or engaging with these types of unsolicited emails.

How to Use Both Types of Emails in Your Marketing Strategy

Below is a simple breakdown of where you can incorporate inbound vs. outbound emails into your current marketing efforts.

Inbound: Newsletter opt-in form

There are multiple ways to include an email subscriber opt-in form of your website, the most popular being in the footer or as some type of pop-up. A well-timed pop-up placed only on relevant pages (such as a blog post or pillar page) can boost your number of engaged subscribers. 

Additionally, you should always have the option in your footer, preferably as an integrated form that doesn’t move the user to a new page upon signup. As users scroll through your site’s pages, an anchored form at the very bottom may catch their eye. If they like what they see so far, they will be more than willing to subscribe. 

Inbound: CTA within all types of content

Offering your email opt-in form as a CTA in your content can be very effective. Content readers that make it to the end of the content are likely engaged with that piece of information, and are therefore more willing to sign up. 

To ensure a personalized experience, offer options on the type of content they can look forward to. Once you know what users want, you can segment contacts and only send messaging that relates to their interests. 

Inbound: Welcome message

Once a recipient has signed up for your communications it’s best practice to send a welcome email. Not only does this prime their inbox so your communication doesn’t get sent to spam, it’s a good way to introduce your brand and your offerings. 

A welcome email is also a great time to let subscribers choose the type of topics or content they want from you. Common examples include product or service updates, brand news, in-depth product information, and specials or promotions. 

Outbound: A personalized cold email

It's frustrating when you have a product that you know would be perfect for a particular company, but you don't have a relationship or they don't engage with your content organically. Cold emails are ideal for making a connection with these types of prospects. 

Now you can personally send them an email telling them who you are and why you’d like to connect. Tell them how you think your product can help them, and how it was made for companies just like theirs. This is the opportunity to introduce them to your brand and tell them you have the solution they've been looking for — it’s you. 

Learn more about inbound vs. outbound email: How to write the perfect outbound email, step by step.

Outbound: Test your audience with email blasts

If you want to understand your potential audience more deeply, email blasts are an effective tool in discovering more about who they are. Similar to a personalized cold email, these mass communications are a bit more broad, while still extremely valuable. Email blasts are a great way to get your name out among your industry, to find out what your untapped audiences like and dislike, if your product is useful to certain markets, etc.

These are a great form of testing the waters, yet in a professional and resonating manner. If audiences respond with “no, thank you”, you can adjust your approach for next time. Maybe it’s your email copy, maybe it’s the industry you're targeting in general, but you will never know unless you try. 

Outbound: Strategic LinkedIn messaging

Not an email per se, but still an important form of outbound communication that can assist you in finding better leads. Many professionals spend a lot of time on LinkedIn, so now is your time to network with them and make contacts.

By researching individuals on LinkedIn, you can send them a message similar to what you would use in an outbound email. Explain who you are, what you do, and most importantly, how you believe you can help them. From there, you can ask if they want to receive your inbound emails, take a look at your website, download a piece of content, schedule a meeting, and so on.

Supplement Your Current Inbound Efforts with Strategic Outbound Campaigns

You likely have an inbound strategy in place, but if you want to help your sales teams schedule more appointments, outbound emails are powerful. With just one email sequence of five to seven emails, we can get you several new, warm leads in a matter of days. By creating an outreach campaign around your TAM, we can target your untapped audiences with the message that you are out there and ready to help. 

If your current inbound efforts are only nurturing — but not bringing in new leads — it might be time to consider an outbound campaign. Schedule a time to talk with us if you’re interested in learning more about how outbound emails can help you grow your company.