Digital Marketing

Email Lead Generation: How to Build Your Pipeline

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Leads (hopefully) mean sales. It’s essential in today’s digital business world for companies to have an effective strategy for reaching and developing relationships with their most likely customers. But many customers won’t be convinced just by hearing about how great your products or services are.

You need to build trust with them — present a problem and give them something of value. Your lead generation strategy should include engaging and informative content that gives customers a glimpse into what you’re offering. Email lead generation campaigns can help you reach new customers and cultivate closer relationships with those interested in your offerings, driving qualified leads and increasing the chances that your sales team can close deals.

Email lead generation is the process of drawing in and nurturing leads for your sales team using concise, creative and compelling email campaigns to generate interest in your brand. Email lead generation is among the most effective ways to drive sales leads, and it stands out as one of the key components of an effective content marketing strategy.

Do the following to make sure you’re getting the most out of your email marketing campaigns:

  • Understand your goals: Identify your goals from the outset. Whether you’re trying to drive traffic to a landing page, get users to download an asset, or get potential customers to start a conversation, your goals will help you shape the types of campaigns you run.
  • Target the right audience: Make sure you identify exactly the personas that you want to target, and write compelling copy that clearly and directly addresses the problem (or series of problems) they’re trying to solve.
  • Keep your audience engaged: Produce content that adds tangible value and periodically distribute this content to your email subscribers to help nurture leads. This helps them stay engaged and keeps your organization front of mind even when they’re not quite ready to buy.
  • Personalize content: Personalization is key in today’s customer service-focused economy, so it’s important to write copy that makes your customers feel like you’re addressing them and their needs directly.
  • Create a specific call to action: This one will mostly depend on what your goals are. Maybe you’re trying to keep subscribers engaged by directing them to a piece of content. Or you might want to encourage subscribers to reach out to one of your reps. Whatever it is, your email campaigns should get your subscribers to do something.

Why’s It Important?

You need an effective lead generation strategy or else your organization will struggle to gather leads and convert them to sales. Email reigns supreme as one of the most effective means of generating sales leads, so it’s vital that your company develops an email campaign strategy and incorporates it into your wider content marketing efforts.

Email marketing can have powerful benefits for your business. Some of the most common include:

  • Improving brand awareness and recognition.
  • Nurturing existing subscribers.
  • Developing new relationships.
  • Driving traffic to your website.
  • Cutting down on marketing costs.
  • Boosting conversion rates.
  • Increasing sales.

When you’re ready to get started, here are a few of the key steps to follow to develop a lead generation marketing strategy that works for you:

  1. Do your research: Without knowing who you’re targeting and what they need, your lead generation strategies won’t get very far. Start by figuring out who your audience is. Was there a major shift in the market that created new problems/opportunities for a segment of the industry? Or maybe a new technology emerged that created new challenges for certain businesses? Understanding who you’re after and what they’re trying to solve will shape every part of your strategy.
  2. Craft a message: OK, you’ve identified who you’re targeting, but now you need the right message to get them interested. You know the problem they’re facing, so start with that. Present the problem in a way that’s relatable and familiar, helping you build rapport with customers and developing a certain level of trust. From there, turn the problem into an opportunity that your organization can capitalize on.
  3. Segment your email lists: Each of your subscribers will have a different level of interest in and knowledge of your brand. That means you’ll need to put together different, specific messages to make sure you’re targeting the right audience for the right reasons. Segment your email lists to make sure you’re on top of who’s who.
  4. Produce something valuable: Maybe your email subscribers aren’t ready to buy, and that’s OK. But what isn’t OK is if you just let them slip through the cracks without nurturing them over time. Produce content that’s valuable and relates directly to their business and use your email campaigns to nudge them toward that content.
  5. Send them somewhere useful: On top of creating valuable content, you eventually want to send subscribers to a landing page on your website to expose them directly to your product or service offerings. Creating content is great, but at the end of the day you want to convert leads to sales, and you can only do that by encouraging customers to reach out directly and get a conversation started.
  6. Track your results: Your email campaigns shouldn’t end after the last email goes out. In lots of ways, your campaigns are really just the beginning of your marketing strategy. Have a way to track the performance of your campaigns so you can adjust future ones and make them more effective at targeting the right personas and generating interest in your brand. That might mean changing the type of content you produce, revisiting your personas or even revamping your messaging.

Here are a few of the ways you can optimize your lead generation strategies and create real results:

Use Gated Content

Gated content is one of the best ways to generate leads. You can exchange high-quality information that’s exclusive to your organization in exchange for potential customers’ personal information. Common pieces of gated content include white papers, eBooks, videos, animations and case studies. When you gate your content, not only do you get the information needed to start sales conversations, you also take the first step toward providing value for new customers, demonstrating early on what you can do for them.

Write a Newsletter

Circulating a newsletter can help keep your subscribers engaged and give them new information they might find valuable. That might mean pointing them to new posts on your blog, informing them about new product or service offerings, recommending relevant readings and so much more. By sending out a regular newsletter, you’re giving them value while at the same time keeping your company top of mind. That’s a major boost to your brand recognition.

Optimize Your Website

Most business today happens online, and your website is the digital representation of who you are as a company. It’s important to make sure that your website is easy to use and clearly conveys exactly what you do as a company. But it’s more than that. Your pages also need to be optimized for SEO to ensure Google and other top search engines are pushing them to the top for specific keywords. Getting this right will attract the right customers from the start.

Invest in an Email Drip Campaign

Use email drip campaigns to contact customers with varying levels of interest or activity over an extended period of time. You can do this by firing off an email to a customer who just contacted you and is eager to learn more, and another who’s on the fence and just needs a little nudge. Prewrite email copy and design a schedule for timed email sends. Drip campaigns are targeted and personalized, so they’re better able to match your customers’ exact circumstances.

Don’t Forget Top of Funnel…

When crafting marketing strategies, many businesses make the mistake of focusing too narrowly on the product or service they offer. They forget that many of their clients might not even realize yet what the problem they need solved is. Figure out what it is your target personas are actually searching for, and then design content that captures that audience and leads them on a journey to your product or service.

…or Middle of Funnel

You’ve gotten them interested. They’re on your website and they’re taking a dive. Now what? Unless you offer a piece of content that gives them more in-depth analysis of the problem and details the potential solutions (or gives a practical application of your offering), you may have trouble closing. Create content for every part of the funnel to keep leads engaged and drive conversions.

Automation is a powerful tool that can help you optimize your marketing strategy and deliver better leads to your sales team that are more likely to convert. Here are some of the ways automation can help you improve the quality of your campaigns:

  • Personalize your emails: Automated marketing can help you send personalized emails to users based on their experience. You can set up your campaign to send new subscribers automatic emails welcoming them to the list and giving them some information on what they can expect. Or maybe you have some subscribers that haven’t been in touch for a while. Send them emails encouraging them to reengage! Automation allows you to do all this easily and without having to put in any extra time and effort.
  • Provide back-end analytics: The data analytics you gather from an automated marketing campaign is extremely useful, especially when it comes to planning out long-term strategies. Analytics can help you quantify exactly how your campaigns are performing, giving you insights into which personas you need to focus on and which strategies need to be retooled. All of this helps you get the most out of your marketing spend and direct your resources to where they have the biggest impact.
  • Save time and reduce costs: All of this helps your marketing team save time by keeping them from focusing too much on tinkering with the specifics of your email campaigns and allowing them to get back to other tasks. This makes them more efficient and productive, which perfectly complements the cost savings opportunities of the campaigns themselves. When you run campaigns that are better able to generate leads, you drive down the costs associated with capturing each lead.
  • Cut down on errors: Mistakes can bring down even the best, most well-crafted emails. Sending an email too early, sending the wrong email or — worst of all — misspelling a recipient’s name can kill any interest a potential customer might have had in your organization. Automation helps prevent the worst from happening by autofilling receiver information, sending emails on time and ensuring they send to the right recipients.

Don’t listen to the naysayers who try to tell you that email is dead. Not only is it alive and well, but email marketing campaigns are vital to the success of your business and should form an integral part of your broader marketing strategies.

Email helps you reach your customers and subscribers directly. By pinpointing your targeted audience, providing relevant and useful content and personalizing your messages, email campaigns can help you generate new leads and drive sales.