Without good leads, there are no sales. So, how do you get good leads?
I’ve written a general guide to lead generation, but today, we’re going to focus on something more specific:
Email lead generation.
Table of Contents
- What Is Email Lead Generation?
- Why Use Email Lead Generation?
- 11 Email Lead Generation Pro Tips
- 1. Build your email list organically.
- 2. Use a lead magnet to grow your email list.
- 3. Your email body is important, but your subject line is even more important.
- 4. Keep emails clean and concise.
- 5. Be persistent.
- 6. Use automated email drip campaigns.
- 7. Use a strong call to action (CTA).
- 8. Integrate email with social media.
- 9. Give away something valuable – for free.
- 10. Score your leads.
- 11. Conduct A/B tests.
- Related posts:
What Is Email Lead Generation?
Email lead generation is the process of using email to… well, generate leads.
Used correctly, email can introduce new people to your brand. It can “warm people up” to your brand, helping you build a relationship with prospects.
And it can even help you filter out “bad” leads and low-quality prospects, so you spend your efforts only on the most valuable leads in your pool.
The combination of these strategies is the heart of email lead generation. As part of your overall sales strategy, it can increase your close rates, increase your total sales, and best of all – make sure your awesome sales team members can realize their true potential.
Why Use Email Lead Generation?
Let’s take a look at some of the main reasons people use email lead generation:
- Cost-efficiency. Email is cheap. Super cheap. It costs next to nothing to send and receive messages. And yet, the action of sending and receiving messages can easily raise awareness of your brand. This makes email lead generation one of the most cost-efficient lead generation strategies around.
- Audience targeting. Email is also a great tool if you’re interested in audience targeting. You can build segmented lists, focusing on specific groups of people at once. And you can use emails to better understand your prospects as well.
- Integration with other strategies. So you start using email lead generation. Does that mean you abandon your other lead generation strategies? Nope! Email has great synergy with a variety of lead generation, marketing, and sales strategies. It’s one cog in an efficient lead-gen machine.
- Long-term nurturing. It’s not just about sending an email and hoping for the best. With email lead generation, you’ll get to nurture your prospects over the long term. You can gradually build their relationship with your brand, introduce them to new offers, and gently push them ever closer to a sale.
11 Email Lead Generation Pro Tips
Of course, that’s not to say that email lead generation is a guaranteed success.
There are right ways and wrong ways to go about it.
If you want to get the best results (i.e., the greatest number of high-quality leads for the least amount of money and effort), follow these important tips:
1. Build your email list organically.
You can probably find a service online that allows you to buy a list of email addresses outright. Maybe it’s even cheap. For pennies a lead, it might be tempting.
But in reality, this strategy seldom works. The list may be low quality, directing you to old or obsolete records. Even if it’s not, you’ll get a lot of unsubscribes and spam flags. And the people who do stick around may hold a grudge, knowing they never signed up for this.
Instead, it’s better to build your list organically. You can hand-pick your leads with social media strategies like LinkedIn outreach, or draw people through organic search by publishing great content on your blog. Whatever the case, your subscribers should start as a good fit.
2. Use a lead magnet to grow your email list.
What if you had a magical magnet that could just pull people into your brand?
That’s kind of what you’re doing when you create a piece of gated content.
Gated content is exceptional content hidden behind a “gate.” In order to get it, customers must give you their contact information (usually their name and email address). If the content is appealing enough, people will be willing to hand over their info – which you can then use as part of your email lead generation process.
The trick is to make your content desirable.
It needs to be detailed. It needs to be original. And most importantly, it needs to hold practical value; original research and how-to guides are common here.
3. Your email body is important, but your subject line is even more important.
Your email lead generation strategy may have fantastically written emails. But what good is that if people never open them?
Subject lines are everything if you want your strategy to succeed.
Good subject lines are short. They’re compelling. And they’re original – if you write the same things as all your competitors, nobody will want to open them.
It also helps if your subject lines include a kind of tease or promise. You need to convince your recipients that they have something to gain if they open this message.
We’ve written a thorough guide on writing a great sales subject line, so be sure to check it out for more elaboration here!
4. Keep emails clean and concise.
When you sit down to write an email to a new prospect, your head will be filled with things to say. You want to talk about your history. You want to dote on your product. You want to welcome them into your brand community.
But hold up.
Good emails aren’t an outpouring of thoughts and feelings. They’re short, concise, and to the point.
Your prospects are busy people. If you want a chance of persuading them or nurturing them through your sales funnel, you have to keep your emails clean and concise. Don’t include more than necessary at each step of the journey.
For more, see our article on the ideal email length, according to studies.
5. Be persistent.
You sent an email. But you didn’t get a response.
Do you give up and move on?
This isn’t a dating app. So the answer is no.
Following up may be the most important strategy for email-based sales. Why? Because most people don’t say “yes” the first time. They say “no” several times before eventually saying yes.
Wait a few days before sending your second message. And don’t bombard your recipients. But do follow up patiently and consistently if you want to increase your close rates eventually (and keep more leads in your lead pool).
We’ve got a great guide on how to write a follow-up email if you’re interested in more tips here.
6. Use automated email drip campaigns.
You know what’s better than sending multiple follow-up emails?
Having a robot send multiple follow-up emails so you don’t have to expend any extra energy.
That’s the idea behind automated email drip campaigns. You cultivate and fine-tune the algorithms. You write the core content. Then you flip the switch.
After that, your recipients will receive a steady “drip” of different email messages, alerting them to new deals, introducing them to the brand, and nurturing them through the earliest stages of your sales funnel.
Improve your team's email response time by 42.5% With EmailAnalytics
- 35-50% of sales go to the first-responding vendor.
- Following up within an hour increases your chances of success by 7x.
- The average professional spends 50% of their workday on email.
Automation saves you a lot of time and effort, but also makes your campaign even more objectively measurable – so you can improve over time.
See our guide to email drip campaigns, along with examples and templates to help you get started!
7. Use a strong call to action (CTA).
If your focus is on lead generation, the sale is a long-term goal.
However, it’s still a good idea to include strong CTAs in every message.
A CTA is a request for your recipient to take some kind of action, whether it’s clicking a link, watching a video, or purchasing a product.
In a best-case scenario, your CTA will result in a sale. In a worst-case scenario, you’ll learn a bit more information about your prospect – like whether or not they’re interested in a certain type of content.
Even if your CTAs don’t work very well, you can use these data to improve your CTAs and filter out low-quality leads. For help, check out this list of powerful call to action examples.
You don’t have to be a social selling guru to know that social media can be a powerful addition to your marketing and sales strategies.
With social media, you can create a dynamic company profile. You can cultivate an audience of loyal followers. You can engage with your industry and community in real time.
And best of all, you can gather up information on the people most likely to engage with your brand.
Plus, you can reverse the relationship; once subscribed, you can reach out to your email subscribers to get them to engage with your social media accounts.
It’s a synergistic relationship you can’t afford to ignore in your lead generation strategy.
9. Give away something valuable – for free.
Ever hear the saying “there’s no such thing as a free lunch?”
That’s because of a psychological principle called reciprocity.
It means that if you do something for someone, they’ll be much more likely to do something for you in return. It sounds intuitive, but most people don’t think this through as part of their lead generation strategy.
Prospects will be more likely to engage with you, and much more likely to buy from you, if you give them something valuable.
This “valuable” thing can be almost anything. It could be a whitepaper or a research report chock full of original research and vital statistics. It could be a free trial of your software. It could even be an entry to a drawing for a new gadget.
Whatever it is, if it’s valuable, it will keep your prospects engaged.
10. Score your leads.
I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather have a single, high-quality lead than a list of 100 questionable ones.
Quality is better than quantity in the realm of lead generation, and bad leads are rarely worth following up on.
But it’s not enough to depend on an abstract evaluation of “good” or “bad.” If you want better results, you have to score your leads objectively. How good of a fit is this particular lead for your brand, on a scale of 1 to 10?
This information will help your salespeople tremendously and will help you analyze and improve your strategy over time as well and transform your inbox into a steady source of leads.
11. Conduct A/B tests.
Want to make your email lead generation campaign even better?
You have to experiment. Try something new in one of your emails and compare it to a control group; if you do, you can compare an A version and a B version against each other in an appropriately named “A/B test.”
When done right, you can isolate variables and determine how they affect your bottom-line results. Does that new CTA really increase your conversion rate? Does your new lead scoring process help you find better leads?
An A/B test will tell you. It might even give you ideas for how to experiment in the future.
Remember, your email lead generation strategy will always be a work in progress. You have to keep tinkering if you want to inch toward perfection.
Intercom is another great option for A/B testing if you’re working with an established list of opted-in prospects.
Are you getting responses in your email lead generation strategy?
Are you having good conversations with the leads you’re generating?
Is your sales team turning all these meaningful leads into won deals?
Let me take a step back.
Do you have the tools you need to even answer these questions?
One of the best tools available is EmailAnalytics.
It’s an analytics tool designed for email. With one click, you can integrate your Gmail account and discover countless metrics about your past email performance and habits.
For example, how many emails do you get on each day of the week? How fast is your team’s average email response time?
Jayson is a long-time columnist for Forbes, Entrepreneur, BusinessInsider, Inc.com, and various other major media publications, where he has authored over 1,000 articles since 2012, covering technology, marketing, and entrepreneurship. He keynoted the 2013 MarketingProfs University, and won the “Entrepreneur Blogger of the Year” award in 2015 from the Oxford Center for Entrepreneurs. In 2010, he founded a marketing agency that appeared on the Inc. 5000 before selling it in January of 2019, and he is now the CEO of EmailAnalytics.