You may have noticed that we don't often blog about email marketing here on the HubSpot blog. Part of the reason for this is that it has been debated whether email marketing is inbound (and thus fits the focus of the blog) or outbound . I got a chance to pose this exact question to folks at the MarketingSherpa Email Summit last week in Miami and a good range of answers came out.

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#SherpaEmail Interview: Is Email Marketing Inbound or Outbound?

Interview Highlights

  • Create share-worthy emails so that your contacts share that content, helping new prospects find you. - Nikki Schiavone & DJ Waldow, Blue Sky Factory Email Marketing
  • Most marketers approach email marketing from an outbound perspective today. - Kara Trivunovic, StrongMail
  • If you're doing email marketing right, it's inbound. Otherwise you risk spam and deliverability issues. - Justin Premick, AWeber Communications
  • Email marketing is about engaging in a dialogue, which is both inbound and outbound.   - Melanie Attia, Campaigner/Protus
  • Email is a conversation - where people sign up to hear from you and you respond with timely and targeted emails. - Brandon Wilkins, Bronto
  • Email is inbound when it used to attract highly qualified leads organically, and outbound when used to reach out to targeted prospects. - Katie Martell, Netprospex
  • A good marketing mix includes both inbound and outbound messages. - Jess Best, Emfluence
  • Social media extends the long tail of email by expanding the shareability of email messages to broader networks. - Joel Book, ExactTarget

I would agree with a lot of our interviewees that email marketing, when done right, is inbound. Email is just one means of communicating with your prospects and customers who have opted into a conversation with you. The key is to send relevant and valuable content to your subscribers and also open up that two-way communication, whether it be by email or social media or other channels.

What do you think? Is email marketing inbound or outbound? Would you like to see more email marketing content on the blog?


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Originally published Jan 26, 2010 2:15:00 PM, updated June 10 2021


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