Having a strategy that includes email marketing practices for lead generation can result in business growth.
Numerous studies suggest that email as a marketing channel still delivers the best return on investment. We see the development of new marketing channels every now and then – from content to website to social media to digital advertising; but email will, in the foreseeable future, remain as an integral part of the marketing plan.
The strategic use of email marketing can be used to inform leads of new products, promotions, resources, services, and company growth. Sending regular emails regarding desirable offerings can encourage inactive leads to transition into live prospects. While helping to cultivate relationships with customers, email also delivers credibility.
If email marketing is integral in your lead generation activity, this post will help with the components of setting up a quality email campaign for lead generation by following the four practices below:
1. Build a High-Quality List
Building your email list is very important in ensuring your email campaign delivers desirable ROI. Today, everyone knows that you should only send to people who have opted in to your list. The days of buying email lists are long over. Not only could this possibly affect your website’s reputation (since many of your emails could be marked as spam), but it would seriously damage your email deliverability rate in the long term.
Instead, gather a list of leads using the below process:
- Use email campaigns to collect contacts – Surprised? Not really. Your content needs to be amazing if you want people to stay subscribed and forward your emails to their friends, family, and colleagues that aren’t already on your email list. Encourage your current email subscribers to share and forward your emails by including social sharing buttons and an “Email to a Friend” button in your marketing emails. Include a “subscribe” call-to-action too so that those receiving the forwarded emails can easily opt in.
- Rerun a campaign with a stale email list – like an opt-in campaign. For example, create an engaging opt-in message and send it to your old list encouraging contacts who wish to re-opt in and promising to remove all contacts who don’t respond. Getting engaged contacts could improve your deliverability and increase the odds of your email getting shared with those outside your current contacts database.
- Promote an offer on your website and social media – such as an online contest or a free giveaway. Have entrants sign up or submit using their email address. One method which has worked for us is to add a link (campaign link or blog subscription link,) to the employees’ signatures that leads people to a landing page where they can sign up for your mailing list.
- Create a new lead gen offer – like a free ebook or whitepaper or even a new blog asking visitors to provide their email address in order to download it. Promote it on your website and social media with a lead capture form.
Remember not to make people dig around your site to stumble across subscription options. Keep your offers up front, and include calls to action on just about every page of your website. Key places to consider are your website’s home page, the main page of your blog, your “About Us” page, and your “Contact Us” page.
What better way to get emails than to host an online webinar and collect email addresses at the registration. By doing this, you’ll get quality emails, making it easy for you to make new contacts and build business relationships.
Setting up an ESP (Email service provider)
There are so many ESPs with a wide range of services and numerous pricing options. ESPs send out regular email campaigns and newsletters from their servers. The servers at ESPs are optimized for that very purpose. Benefits of ESPs are:
- Ensuring your emails are legally compliant with CAN-SPAM Act regulations
- Authenticating your emails as being from your organization, while taking into consideration the latest anti-phishing systems
- Managing your email database by updating it based on unsubscribes, bounces, and spam complaints
- Offering the functionality to manage and segment your email list for targeted campaigns
- Ensuring your email lists are secure from stealing or hacking
- Offering detailed metrics and reports of your email campaign results that can be used to set up tests to optimize your response rates
Set up your email campaign to deliver results
- Set up a schedule – decide on a time and date to send the campaign out. Think about the most optimal time for your recipients to read the email.
- Set up sender’s email – Statistics related to email open rates have found that trusting the sender is the single most important factor in whether an email is opened. That means it’s critical to choose an effective and consistent “From” name and email address. You need to choose a name or title that will be recognizable to your subscribers. Often that can be the company name, or perhaps a product or service that people have signed up to learn about. It can also be your sales person or another individual on your team.
When we send out emails to our blog subscribers, I make sure I have included the author’s email address as the sender so people can connect with him or her with any questions or comments.
You have about 35 characters to convince people to open your email. So it better be good. About one third of your subscribers will decide to open or not open an email just by reading the subject line.
What makes a good subject line?
This, will depend on what your campaign revolves around, but generally, the benefit should be stated upfront and the email summarized in as few characters as possible. The subject line should be explicit and enticing, and while it may seem obvious, it should make the recipient want to click.
Ask a question. If possible, create a sense of urgency in the subject line. Whatever you do, steer clear of excessive exclamation points, upper case letters or special characters.
2. Optimize the subject line
Here are some tips to optimize the subject line.
Keep Your Audience (and Your Goals) in Mind
The most important point to keep in mind when you’re drafting an email subject line is who your audience is, and what action you want them to take. Are you trying to make a sale? Offer a promotion? Or just reaching out to your subscribers? Your final goal will determine what information your subject line should include. Be clear about the value of your email, and what it means for your subscribers.
Here’s an example from UBER, promoting a new discounted price. Their subject line reads “Commute for up to 40% less with UBER”. Why will this work? Because, as a user of UBER, I know exactly what I’m getting in this email communication and how will it benefit me.
Personalize the subject line
Try a message addressed to the recipient by their first name. By adding the recipient’s name in the subject line, you build a feeling of rapport. For example: “Hey Arun, ready for the upcoming sale season?” Almost all the email service providers can add a recipient’s name by using a simple code in email campaigns.
Test Keywords and Phrases
Don’t be afraid to test certain words and phrases to see how your audience responds. If you’re comfortable with trying different subject lines, give A/B testing a shot.
Keep It Short and Sweet
Your subject line should be scannable at a glance. According to MailChimp, a popular email service provider, the “sweet spot” with the highest click rate in a study of 200 million emails is 28-to-39 characters.
Use Groups and Segments
Send targeted emails to selective groups, those that include people who are interested in a specific piece or type of information.
Convey a Sense of Urgency
Phrases such as “one day sale” or “24 hours left” encourage your readers to act immediately. For example, using “one day left for email marketing webinar masterclass – book your seats now.’
Use email to share something of value with your audience. This may be your new ebook or a discount promotion. Let your audience know that by opening your email, there’s something valuable waiting for them inside.
Just as numerical lists are effective in blog titles, numbers are effective in email subject lines. Using numbers in your email subject line sets your subject line apart in a sea of words. For example, “5 Reasons to Read this Email.”
Engage With Questions
Sometimes, asking a reader a question is a good way to get a response. For example, “Why is your product not selling?” or “What content marketing mistakes are you making?”
3. Attract Attention with Calls to Action
Think back over the emails you receive from the brands you support. How do they entice you to read further? Perhaps with captivating images and compelling copy, but they also almost certainly have a killer call-to-action button or link that shows you exactly where to click for more information, or to take action. Calls to action (CTAs) generally use bright colors and thoughtful placement, but the best ones use precise, actionable words to attract attention.
A few examples:
- Read the eBook
- Start my trial
- Register now
- Take 50% off
Just look at your mobile inbox and count how many times you have hit “Delete,” because you have no idea what the person wants and no time to sort through the long message. The truth is that people don’t have time for long emails, and they don’t have time to try to find out exactly what you want. You have to communicate your objective while being as brief as possible. Here are some tips to quickly communicate your message:
- Use a minimum amount of sentences. Identify the main points needed to communicate and craft the body of the email based on those.
- Make the email about one call to action. There have been numerous times when I read an email, saw the action needed, and went on by clicking it, only to find out that three other things also needed a response in that email. I’ve only responded to the first part of an email and not to others, just because I didn’t have enough time.
- Review for ambiguity, clarity. Once you’ve written an email, take a few seconds to read it over before pressing the Send button. Check for any ambiguous statements that could be interpreted the wrong way? If so, clarify.
- Revise for conciseness. As you review, also see if there is a way you can shorten the email, remove words or sentences or even paragraphs. Leave nothing but the essential message you’re trying to communicate.
4. Analyze your metrics
Keep track of the following metrics to determine how effective your campaign is and what changes you need to make in order to optimize your campaigns.
CTR (Click through rate)
The percentage of email recipients who clicked on one or more links contained in a given email.
The percentage of email recipients who clicked on a link within an email and completed a desired action, such as filling out a lead generation form or purchasing a product.
The percentage of your total emails sent that could not be successfully delivered to recipients’ inboxes.
List Growth Rate
The rate at which your email list is growing.
Email Sharing/Forwarding Rate
The percentage of email recipients who clicked on a “share this” button to post email content to a social network, and/or who clicked on a “forward to a friend” button.
By following the above practices you will begin to optimize your email campaigns. Let us know what worked for you.
Contact us with any questions.
You may also want to read :
- “Five Strategies to Build a Quality Email List,“
- “Five Tips for Better Results with Email Marketing.”
Post by Barbara Irias, senior manager, Wipfli Web Marketing