When done right, email marketing is an effective way to generate leads, making it a vital component of the sales funnel. In fact, 59% of marketers say email marketing generates the most ROI of any channel. And not only is email lead generation effective, it’s also cheaper and simpler to get right than many other lead gen tactics.
But whether you’re sending out newsletters, special offers and discounts, or composing tailored emails to specific segments of your audience, it’s essential to comply with best practices. Failure to do so could not only negatively impact the results of your strategy, it could also mean breaking the law.
In this guide we’ll take you through the major best practices of email lead generation, and offer vital tips to ensure your campaign is as effective as possible.
Only use contacts you’ve earned
Under the 2003 CAN SPAM Act, it’s illegal to buy email addresses in the U.S, so purchasing lists of emails is a complete no-no. While it’s not illegal to rent email lists, using unearned email addresses will lead to lower open rates and a drop in performance, and can damage IP reputation. (Spam-like campaigns can, of course, also harm your brand reputation.) Most reputable email marketing services prohibit the use of rented lists, and many email service providers penalize their use.
So, how should you be gathering contacts? There are a variety of tactics you can use to build a strong email list, from putting value-add content behind data capture forms, to offering discounts and offers in exchange for email addresses.
Ensure the sender seems genuine
Sending emails that appear to be from a human rather than a faceless corporation is much more likely to engage the recipient. A/B testing from Hubspot revealed that emails containing a person’s name as the sender had a 0.53% higher open rate, as well as a 0.23% better click-through rate. While this may not sound like a huge difference, it resulted in 131 more leads. And this one goes without saying, but you should always personalize email with the recipient’s name, at minimum.
The CAN SPAM legislation stipulates that companies are banned from sending emails from addresses containing the phrase ‘no reply’ or similar. Doing so prevents recipients from unsubscribing from further emails, an option that all marketing emails must contain.
Regularly clean your mailing list
In order to accurately report results of email lead gen campaigns – and to avoid spamming – it’s essential to regularly clean your mailing list. Failure to do so can result in skewed metrics; for example, you might be targeting inactive email addresses.
Setting a calendar reminder to clean your mailing list once a quarter or more should lead to lower marketing costs, reduced spam complaints, and a rise in open and click-through rates. This all adds up to increased ROI.
And what to do with those inactive subscribers? If it seems like a waste to delete them, try a re-engagement campaign.
Automate your email marketing
Marketing automation unifies the process of lead generation and nurturing. Some companies have avoided it, concerned that it will make their marketing seem less personal, but it doesn’t have to. Automation simply takes part of what marketers and sales teams already do, and replicates it on a larger scale, using data analysis to make decisions. This leads to much more effective lead generation.
Segment your lists
As consumers increasingly become used to the sort of tailored digital journeys offered by the likes of Amazon and Netflix, personalized marketing is becoming the status quo. This means it’s vital to tailor email marketing content to the recipient, going beyond just a name.
With the exception of account-based marketing targeting key accounts, it’s simply not efficient to craft individual emails for different recipients. This is why segmentation is king. Segmenting your email list based on user data, such as previously purchased items, provides a way to successfully tailor content to appeal to different personas, while using automation for efficiency.
Look at what competitors are doing, and do it better
Sign up for your competitors’ email marketing lists. Of course you don’t want to exactly copy what they’re doing, but by monitoring their activities, you can work to make your email marketing surpass theirs. Are they offering a free template as a lead magnet? Make yours an ebook, a toolkit, or a video marketing guide for example.
Try an incentive in the subject line
According to Hubspot, including an incentive in the email subject line can increase open rates by up to 50%. Are there any discounts or deals you can offer your subscribers? If not, why not advertise your lead magnet in the subject line?
A/B test subject lines, send times, and CTAs
You might assume you know what sort of subject lines, CTAs, and send times hook your target personas and boost open rates, but collecting data on these elements means you’re no longer having to guess.
A/B testing two different subject lines, CTAs, and send times will demonstrate which ones work better for your audience, offering a quick win and helping you to effectively optimize your email campaigns.
Employ an email finder tool
If you have a lead but not their email address, use an email finder. Using simply a name and a company domain to find the correct email address, you can shrink hours of research to just seconds. Email finder tools are perfect for getting the contact details of people you’re scoping out on LinkedIn, for example.
Keep the CTA above the fold
CTAs in email marketing can be tricky; it’s a serious balancing act to present your proposition without seeming too pushy or sales-focused. But once you’ve crafted that perfect CTA, you need to make sure your recipients are going to see it. This is best done by placing your CTA above the fold, so readers won’t need to scroll to find it. You should also repeat the CTA several times throughout the body of the email in different formats.
Remember, no matter how strong your email marketing campaigns are, you can always improve them. Track your open and click-through rates for every campaign, and set aside time to interpret and analyze the data. By considering your most and least effective emails, you can then adapt and improve them in time for your next email lead gen campaign.
What’s your best email lead generation tip? Share in the comments below: