Do you know that email has an ROI of 4,300%?1 As of 2014, 182.9 billion emails are sent/received per day, worldwide. 2

As a marketer, in verticals like Higher Education or Political, harnessing the power of email and combining it with Inbound Marketing practices allows you to guide your audience to specific, relevant content. Segmenting your audience based on demographic or behavioral data allows you to tailor your content so that it educates and nurtures them as they move from one stage to the next in their Buyer’s Journey.

If you aren’t familiar with the concept of Inbound Marketing, it’s a highly effective method used to promote “a company through blogs, whitepapers, SEO, social media marketing and other forms of content marketing, which serve to bring customers in closer to the brand.” 3 Content is meant to engage, educate and inform—without being ‘salesy’. No one wants to be sold to. This brand of email engagement adds value, focusing on attracting quality visitors and converting those visitors into leads.

Let’s take a look at one way you can use email to increase your inbound reach through a reengagement campaign. For illustrative purposes, I am using Mass. Atlantic College, a fictitious higher educational institution.

Reengagement Campaign

Imagine you have an alumni database that includes graduates who have been courted for fund-raising drives in the past but have never responded or made any sort of donation to the college. Your fall campaign is about to get underway and you would like to reach out to this segment with a specific message designed especially with them in mind. This is a great opportunity to implement a reengagement campaign.

If you already use an email marketing or marketing automation tool, you would build a segment based on specific behavioral data. In this case, the data you are basing the segment on is their lack of response to any previous fund-raising campaigns. In the days before Inbound Marketing, it is very likely you would have sent the alumni an email that said something like this:

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The problem with this email is that you are asking for a lot when nothing has been received in the past. You are not offering any incentive to the alumni as to why they should support the college. No reminders of the good things the school offers or flashbacks to the alumni’s college days are included. The likelihood of Ann making such a large donation is pretty slim. You are likely not to get any donation now or in the future.

The email below is an example that uses the principles of Inbound Marketing:

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From the beginning it is much more engaging and speaks to the true value the alum’s contribution makes to the college. By giving them guidance and a connection back to the college, the offer of relevant content empowers alumni by providing them the opportunity to decide for themselves to donate or not. This guidance leads to trust and trust leads to stronger relationships. People want to support causes and businesses they truly believe are looking out for their best interest.

Providing content that speaks directly to the alumni’s needs will drive up their response rate and increase their engagement—now and in the future.

As a marketer, using Inbound Marketing principles as part of an integrated strategy will give you better analytics and reporting. You will know which of your campaigns are working best and what content your contacts are drawn to as they travel along the Buyer’s Journey. Reengagement campaigns are just one example of how email marketing is Inbound Marketing’s secret weapon. Graduating from traditional email marketing to incorporating email into an overall Inbound Marketing strategy will greatly improve your prospect and customer relationships as well as your conversion rates.

So much for the “email is dead” prediction made by Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg in 2011. 4

Watch for future blog posts for more examples of how you can integrate your marketing strategies.