Everybody wants more leads. In fact, a quick Google search will deliver more than 700 million results, all dedicated to telling you how to get more leads.
The problem is most of that advice is too obvious to be useful — create a lead magnet, install an email sign up form on your website, engage with leads on social media.
If only it were that easy.
The truth is, the best way to generate leads is to focus on one strategy and do it really, really well.
Rather than jumping around and giving you 50 different lead gen strategies, today we’re going to dive into eight strategies brands can use to maximize email lead generation.
Why email? With more than 4 million email users worldwide, email has a wider reach than just about any other type of marketing. And, in my experience, it tends to be one of the most effective marketing channels out there.
Ready? Let’s talk about how to turn your email list into a lead generation machine.
Keep It Personal
Unlike PPC and social media, email marketing gives you a more direct line to connect with your leads. They signed up for your list; they want to hear from you. Honor that connection by working to create a personalized email experience.
Start by including their name in the email intro, which can increase open rates and conversions. Then, segment your list so you can send emails that make sense for each subscriber. For example, if someone purchases a children’s toy from your ecommerce store, it might make sense to prioritize kid and family-related purchases.
The best way to create a more personal experience is to simply ask your leads what type of content they care about in a survey. Then you can send more of the type that they are likely to engage with.
For example, if you have a business-related email list, you might ask if subscribers are more interested in B2B, B2C, or start-up business information.
Use Triggered Emails
Trigger emails are automated messages that allow brands to send timely, personalized emails based on a user’s behavior, rather than blasting your entire email list with the same bland content.
And they are incredibly effective.
Zoma Sleep, for example, sends users a cart reminder email if a user adds an item to their cart but fails to check out. These trigger emails can reduce email abandonment rates considerably.
Other email triggers you can use to increase lead conversions include reactivation emails, transaction complete emails, shipping reminders, and birthday messages. These types of emails show you are paying attention and help drive actions.
Add Videos to Emails
Videos help users establish an emotional connection with your brand, show how your product or service can solve their problem, and highlight your brand’s unique selling proposition. And they are incredibly popular.
Consider using video in your emails to highlight the benefits you have to offer and showcase your product or service’s most important features.
As an added bonus, videos can be useful no matter where your lead is in the sales funnel. For top of the funnel leads, you can send educational content, while bottom of the funnel leads are more likely to respond to product videos with more detailed information.
Here are a few suggestions for videos to consider including in your next email campaign:
- Product videos that showcase features and benefits (bottom of the funnel)
- Industry news and resources (top of the funnel)
- New product/service launch (bottom of the funnel)
- Training or webinar clips (top to middle of the funnel)
- Customer reviews and case studies (middle of the funnel)
Video can communicate faster and more effectively than words, ebooks, or even pictures. By allowing users to immerse themselves in a video, you can increase conversion rates and better educate your leads — and turn them into customers.
A word of caution: Keep videos in emails short and make sure they load easily on mobile. If you need to share a longer video, consider adding a link to YouTube. Embedding a longer video in email can result in long load times.
Highlight Your Podcast
Podcasts aren’t new, but they are gaining in popularity in recent years. In fact, more than half of all Americans say they have listened to a podcast in the last few months.
If you have a podcast, or are considering starting one, make sure to share your podcast episodes with your email list. Podcast marketing can help build a strong, dedicated fan base that cares deeply about a topic related to your brand — and those fans are much easier to convert than unengaged, casual audience members.
To draw your email users in, consider including a partial transcription or list of topics the episode covers.
And keep in mind that podcasts tend to be better for top of the funnel marketing, where they can educate and engage users and move them towards the bottom of your sales funnel.
Include a Strong CTA
One of the most significant mistakes brands make in email marketing is failing to tell their audience what the next step is.
Don’t just send an email with a list of resources — tell them what to do with those resources.
Don’t send a product video and tell your audience to check it out — tell them how you can help them reach their goals and what their next step should be.
Here’s an example from Blueland, an eco-friendly cleaning supply company. They sent this email announcing their new powder dish soap and dishwater tablets.
But they don’t just announce the new product — they use a strong CTA to drive email leads to actually make a purchase using a strong CTA to drive actual purchases.
Make Emails Shareable
People trust their friends and colleagues more than they trust brands. Which is one of the reasons why making your emails more shareable can help attract more leads.
Say you were looking for a new pillow to help with neck pain — would you trust a brand that touted their $150 pillow as the perfect solution — or a friend who told you how that same pillow helped cure her neck pain?
Most of us would trust our friend because she has nothing to gain by sharing her experience.
Making emails shareable (and encouraging users to do so) is a tiny change that can reap big rewards. Simply add a short line at the beginning or end of your email, asking users to share.
Skimm, a news email list, has used this strategy to grow its email list to several million subscribers in just a few years.
Optimize Your Email for SEO
What does email have to do with SEO, you might be wondering. Fair enough.
Email won’t directly impact your website’s SEO. Search engines don’t crawl email, after all. However, optimizing your email for SEO has several benefits. By using similar language in email and on your landing page, for example, you create a seamless experience for users so they know they are in the right place.
Don’t assume email won’t impact your SEO at all — it can impact your audience’s trust and help drive valuable traffic to high ranking content.
Using an SEO copywriter to create emails can help drive users from your email list to optimized blog posts or landing pages. And higher traffic correlates to higher search engine ranking.
“If you’re not good at SEO copywriting (there’s no tool for that), your best bet is working with people who know what they are doing to deliver the results you need.”
Testing, Testing, Testing
If you want to generate more leads through email, there is one step you simply can’t afford to skip — testing. Email generates a higher ROI than just about any other marketing channel, but only if you figure out what drives your audience to convert.
Take the time to test every part of your email. In fact, you should never stop testing. Test your email headings, the placement of your sharing button, the color of your CTA image — everything.
And once you find out what works, keep testing the winning design against new versions. You might be surprised to find out that something simple — such as where you place your CTA — can have a huge impact on conversions.
In addition to testing features of your email messages, test which strategies drive higher quality leads. For example, are email leads gathered from research paper downloads more likely to convert? If so, you know to spend more time working those leads through the funnel.
Email marketing is still one of the most effective strategies you can use to drive leads — and conversions. If done right, it can be one of the most powerful tools in your marketing toolbox.
However, effective email lead generation is not a “set it and forget it” strategy. It requires constantly trying new things, testing, and sharing a wide range of content, including podcasts and videos.
The tips above will help you generate more leads — but don’t stop there. Once you’ve increased leads, the next step is to turn those leads into conversions.
****This is a guest post from Anna Crowe. Over the last 10+ years, Anna has developed SEO and content strategies for major brands like Brother, Marriott, IHG, Hearst Magazine, PMI, Mailboat Records, Dollar Thrifty Rental, to name a few. Anna is the Assistant Editor at Search Engine Journal. She enjoys burritos and puppies (in that order).****