Go ahead and try to pump water out of a dry well. Any dunderhead knows it won’t happen because there’s nothing to draw out of there in the first place.
It’s the same thing with lead generation. You won’t have customers if you don’t generate quality leads, first. Email marketing is one of the several ways to do that–one of the best, for that matter.
It’s not just an inexpensive lead generation tool anyone can master. It’s also the most effective way of connecting with your customers, sending exclusive content, offers, and driving sales that way.
It helps if you ask yourself why you’re doing email marketing in the first place. It’s not because it’s fun. It’s because you want to earn more subscribers you can nurture and convert to customers in the future.
Your mind must be all over the place at this point. How to attract leads? How to prioritize them? How to increase their chances of buying? Gaaaaah!
Don’t fret. You’ll learn these and other mysteries of the lead universe in just a minute. But as a rule, we’ll go with the most important questions first.
(Feel free to scroll down, we don’t mind.)
Why Lead Generation is the #1 Thing You Want to Get Out of Your Email Marketing Efforts.
Emails can be ideal lead generation tools for a myriad reasons.
Quick facts you’ve already seen (but repeating them won’t hurt anyone):
Email marketing is inexpensive, offers an average ROI of $44, and connects well with audiences through personalized content. Oh, and you can make it a breeze with automation, too. Phew.
Here’s some proof, in case you were wondering.
When asked about email marketing, 81% of B2B fellas say they rely on it for lead generation.
It’s easy to see why. Instead of blasting customers with information they’ll ignore, lead gen gives them a chance to come to you, sit down, and consider the offer. If you’re successful, congratulations. You’ve got customers.
Still Not Convinced? Here’s Something Else That Might Change Your Mind
Back in the day, CEO of QuickSprout Lars Lofgren, (who has one hell of a cool name), led the marketing team of I Will Teach You to Be Rich. If you don’t know what it is, it’s financial advisor Ramit Sethi’s website. He’s also written a book of the same name, by the way.
You might recognize Ramit from the following subscription confirmation:
This collaboration resulted in a little case study titled “How to Get 40,000 Leads Per Month”, and email was a big part of it.
Tweaks to their double opt-in page (the funny one above) increased conversion rates from 63% to 82%. That means there was an increase in email opt-in rates, thus generating more leads he could nurture via email. It’s a double confirmation, so the folks who subscribed were positive about receiving his business tips on their inbox.
Moral of the story–frowny Ramit disappeared, but leads filed in. All it took were a few simple changes. Here’s how the new subscription page turned out:
But, Lead Generation Alone Isn’t Enough.
Nothing’s ever enough, is it?
Listen. People don’t do email marketing with the purpose of…doing marketing.
Sure, a percentage of their revenue goes to marketing tools and marketing research, but you get the point. Doing marketing for the sake of marketing would be like walking in circles and never going anywhere.
“The most effective lead generation strategies don’t just optimize around generating more leads. They optimize around generating the leads that are most likely to convert to valuable customers”, Kelly Farrell wrote in a LinkedIn lead generation case study.
That said, not all leads are prospect material. Plus, they’re not in their final form yet. There’s still an extra mile to go if you want them to convert into paying, happy customers.
That doesn’t happen overnight, though. Generating leads still means you’ve got to nurture them so they turn into quality leads, then prospects, and then, hopefully, customers.
Without proper nurturing and great content, leads won’t grow. And the only thing that’s good for you if it doesn’t grow is a sprout salad. Right?
So, we’ve got two questions here:
1- How do you generate leads?
2- Most importantly, how do you generate qualified leads?
Let’s answer them below. Take note.
Make Your Lead Magnets Irresistible
Remember in older cartoons when a hand-shaped smoke scent would swirl up in the air and drag characters towards the big ol’ roast chicken?
That’s what your lead magnets should do. Only, they should drag leads toward your email list, where the goodies are at.
Lead magnets can be checklists, PDFs, ebooks, cheat sheets, guides, templates…people love those when they’re free and easy to put their hands on.
Still, a lead magnet has to be worth being added to yet another email list. It has to be enticing, to-the-point, and offer something people will remember you for.
DigitalMarketer did this well by including a few fascinations on what potential subscribers will get from their offer. It’s much easier to accept gifts from strangers when you know what’s to come.
Take a look:
Now these are some swipe-worthy fascinations. They’re short enough to skim through, yet detailed enough to perk up a few ears. Nice.
Keep Your Email List Updated
Sometimes you just need to let go of some people like you did to most of your high school friends.
Wanna hear a sad truth?
Those inactive subscribers lingering in your email list aren’t there because they’re such fans they won’t unsubscribe. They’re there because they have nothing better to do. Sorry to break it to you, but if any of your nurturing sequences or offers were of interest to them, they would’ve taken action long ago.
Keeping your email list updated is an act of love, you know. If someone isn’t interested, nothing in the world can help you win them back. So move on and clean that sh*t up, already.
Cold as it may sound, deleting disengaged contacts from your email list will do wonders for your lead generation strategy. After all, you’ll only keep active subscribers. The subscribers are known as those who are more likely to read your newsletters, click your calls-to-action, and buy your products. Those are the ones you want to keep around. And you’ll definitely want to remove invalid email addresses with a good email verification solution.
Pro tip: just going out with the old and in with the new is the wrong strategy if your email content isn’t engaging enough. Maybe you’re the problem. You may not be segmenting your list or applying email marketing best practices. Just a little something for you to think about.
Perform Lead Scoring
Again, not all leads are created equal. You’ve got the ready-to-buy leads, as well as the not-quite-there-yet leads. You can tell one from another by performing lead scoring.
Lead scoring is all about, you guessed it, ranking your leads and discovering where they stand in the sales funnel. To determine a lead’s score, you should consider and track the following:
- Lead demographics (age, location, job title, etc.).
- Their behavioral criteria (or the way they browse your website. Is it through forms? Lead magnets? Email? Social media?).
- The products they look at.
And then segment them. That way you can easily tell leads that have a long nurturing journey ahead of them from those who are ripe to buy something.
Wait, are we treating leads like cattle now? That’s rude.
Although it may sound like leads are just numbers, this is just a simple way to organize them and cater to what they’re more likely to respond to.
An example. Say a prospect is checking out one of your products, but never buying it or adding it to their shopping cart. You could use email to shoot a discount at them: 20% off of that and related products. How about that?
We’re not going to dive extra deep into lead scoring–that’s a chat for another post. But hopefully, you now know how important it is to rank your leads so please segment your email subscribers accordingly.
Introduce Subscribers to Your Other Channels
Your newsletters are the ideal place to show off by linking to your social media, articles, podcast episodes, landing pages, and more. Everyone can agree that, if it wasn’t for email, no one would ever know what any business is up to.
Here’s how Bonusly encourages subscribers to read their articles:
The chunk of text leading to a cliffhanger is enough to entice the targeted subscriber’s curiosity. If they wish to read the article, they can go ahead and click that bright and juicy CTA.
Now, if they’re interested in something else, Bonusly doesn’t leave them hanging. They offer a few more options, giving another chance for readers to move further down the funnel. Pretty interesting.
The “let’s get social” type of email is also a nice way to go about it. Here’s Nordstrom doing its thing:
There you have it. Each of their socials lined up, followed by every blog where they can get insider tips. Plus, an encouraging footer bonus: free shipping and free returns.
Considered that this type of email should go out to fresh subscribers, an increase in traffic wouldn’t be surprising.
Or, you can do it the other way around. Intercom went straight to Twitter to promote their email newsletter:
40,000 is a big number. If that many people are reading that newsletter, it has to be good.
And that’s on successfully increasing your email list using social media.
Email Marketing Lead Generation is the Heavyweight Securing Your Business. Or At Least, It Should Be.
In short conclusion, reaching your desired lead count will depend on a few key points:
- How seductively you grab your leads through magnets.
- Making sure you’ve only got raving fans in your email list.
- Rating leads from hot to not (yet).
- Last but not least, taking leads where the interesting conversations happen.
Got it? Good.
Let’s close this out with something inspirational.
Another guy with a really cool name, Colin Nederkoorn (aka the founder of Customer.io) said something you should repeat to yourself every morning:
“If you’re running a real business, email is still the most effective way to universally reach people who have expressed interest in your product or site. For that, it really can’t be beat.”
How has email marketing helped your lead gen efforts? Drop a comment below.