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How To Use Email Marketing Lead Generation To Boost Sales

Email marketing written in blue market on white paper

What’s the one thing most people do when they go online? Check their mail. In fact, according to an OptinMonster study, 99% of people check their mail every day. That means you can’t afford to leave out email marketing lead generation from your marketing strategy.

But how can you get started with email marketing?

In this guide, we’ll explore the basics of email marketing and provide you with steps on how you can create an effective email marketing strategy to boost sales and grow your business.

Table of Contents
What is email marketing?
Why is email marketing crucial for businesses?
4 steps to create an effective email marketing strategy
10 email marketing lead generation tips for businesses
Get started with email marketing

What is email marketing?

Email marketing is a type of digital marketing that involves using email to communicate with customers.

Businesses can send emails to build relationships with customers, create brand awareness, generate leads, drive sales, and more. 

Why is email marketing crucial for businesses?

Email marketing is lucrative. As of 2020, businesses earn $36 for every dollar spent on email marketing — higher than any other channel. Moreover, email marketing converts 3x more prospects into customers compared to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Furthermore, email marketing has a wide reach. According to a study, there were about 3.7 billion email users in 2017, and the study estimates the number of users will reach nearly 4.5 billion by 2025. 

Oftentimes email marketing is best at lead generation and these statistics show that businesses can’t afford to ignore or neglect email marketing despite the rise in popularity of other digital marketing channels like social media marketing, paid search marketing, and video marketing.

4 steps to create an effective email marketing strategy

Getting started with email marketing and lead generation may feel daunting if you’ve never used email to connect with your customers. But it’s pretty simple to get up and running with email marketing. 

Follow these four steps to quickly create an effective email marketing strategy for your business.

Identify your target audience

Before you start emailing customers, you need to define your target audience. When determining your audience, consider who will benefit most from your emails – that’s where your leads will come from.

Person writing the word audience with a marker on a whiteboard

You can define your audience using customer segmentation. When it comes to email marketing, customer segmentation involves dividing your subscribers into smaller groups based on their common traits.

Here are four common segmentation methods:

Demographic segmentation: Segments customers based on age, gender, relationship status, profession, and income.

Geographic segmentation: Segments customers based on location, language, and time zone.

Behavioral segmentation: Segments customers based on purchasing habits like email engagement and purchasing behavior. 

Psychographic segmentation: Segments customers based on psychological traits, such as values, hobbies, social status, lifestyle, and opinions.

Defining your audience based on these factors will help you send relevant emails to the right customers. For instance, if your business serves customers in different time zones, segmenting customers based on location can allow you to send emails at optimal times.

Establish your objectives

Next, determine what you want to accomplish with your emails. For instance, your key goal may be to increase brand awareness if you’re planning to launch a new product, or it may be to drive sales if you’re running a limited-time offer on a product.

Man making a presentation to three other people

No matter what you want to accomplish, determining your objectives will give you direction and help you work towards achieving your broader business goals.

Build your email list

Once you’ve identified your target audience and established your objectives, you’ll need to get people to sign up for your emails.

You can get people to sign up for your emails by adding opt-in forms on your website. Opt-in forms are forms you can place on various areas of your website to ask for consent to contact potential leads.

However, you shouldn’t just add opt-in forms on your website and stop at that. You’ll also need to give people an incentive to sign up for your emails.

Here’s how you can encourage people to sign up for your emails and grow your email list:

Use lead magnets

Most people won’t sign up to receive your emails unless you offer them something valuable in return. That’s where lead magnets come in. Lead magnets are valuable items you can give away to potential leads for free in exchange for their email addresses.

Some enticing lead magnets you could offer prospects include:

  • Ebooks
  • Whitepapers
  • Free trials
  • Free quotes or consultations
  • Coupons
  • Reports or studies
  • Infographics

These lead magnets are an excellent way to convince people to sign up for your emails. But for these lead magnets to be effective, they need to be:

  • Easy to digest: The lead magnet should be easy to consume. If it’s too long, it may overwhelm prospects.
  • Relevant: The lead magnet should provide prospects with useful information that helps them solve problems quickly.
  • Specific: The lead magnet should focus on a particular topic. The narrower its focus, the more likely it will convert customers.
  • Instantly available: Prospects should be able to receive the lead magnet right away. 
  • Valuable: While the lead magnet may be free, it shouldn’t look free. For instance, if you’re offering an ebook as a lead magnet, design a visually-appealing cover to give it high perceived value. 

Use content upgrades

Content upgrades are similar to lead magnets. But, unlike lead magnets — they are tailored to a particular blog post or page.

For instance, if your visitors are reading a blog post on 10 ways to create a successful TikTok marketing strategy, you could entice them to sign up for your emails by offering them a content upgrade with additional tips on how to boost their business on TikTok at the end of the post. 

Send emails

After you’ve built your email list, you can start sending emails to customers who have signed up for your emails.

Person typing on laptop with cup next to them

But, before you can start emailing customers, you’ll need to choose an email type. Let’s take a closer look at some common types of emails you can send to customers.

Types of emails

Your email campaigns won’t be effective if you’re sending out the wrong emails. That said, here are three common email types you can send to subscribers:

Newsletters: Newsletter emails are typically delivered on a consistent schedule, such as monthly or bi-monthly. They can include blog posts, the latest company news, and upcoming events. They often contain a roundup of events that have happened over a particular period.

Promotional emails: These emails are delivered to subscribers to drive product sales. For instance, product launches and special offer emails. This form of email advertising has proven to be very effective during holiday periods.

Informational emails: Informational emails typically convey a brief message to recipients. For instance, event reminders and holiday greetings.

10 email marketing lead generation tips for businesses

Now that you’re ready to start sending emails to your customers, here are some tips that can boost the success of your email campaign for lead generation.

Send personalized emails

People are more receptive to personalized emails. In fact, emails with personalized subject lines have a 26% higher open rate compared to generic emails.

That said, here’s how you can personalize your emails:

Use real names

Instead of referring to your customers by generic terms such as “Dear Customer” in the salutation, use their first names, for instance, “Dear John.”

Customers will also be more receptive to your emails if the addresses include a person’s name. For instance, instead of sending emails using an email address like sales@company.com, use john@company.com.

Finally, end your emails with a real name in the signature rather than just the company name. 

Send emails depending on the buyer’s journey

Prospects go through various stages before they become customers. Also known as the email marketing funnel, these stages include:

  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Conversion
  • Loyalty
  • Advocacy 

Ideally, you should send people emails relevant to their stage in the buyer’s journey.

For instance, if a prospect signs up to receive your emails, the prospect is at the awareness stage of the email marketing funnel. At the awareness stage, the prospect doesn’t know much about your business. 

Therefore, you shouldn’t start sending the prospect promotional content right away. Instead, you should build awareness about your business and cultivate a relationship with the prospect. For instance, you could send a new prospect an ebook describing how to tackle a particular challenge. Alternatively, you could send the prospect a simple thank you email for subscribing to your email list. This type of targeted email will come off as more personal and less generic.

Write strong subject lines

Customers won’t open your emails if you don’t use compelling subject lines and email marketing lead generation depends on your emails being read.

Here are some tips for writing a good email with engaging subject lines:

Stir curiosity

Use subject lines that will pique your subscribers’ interest and entice them to open your emails. For instance, if you run an apparel business, you could use the subject line, “One essential item you might be missing in your wardrobe,” to generate curiosity.

Convey a sense of urgency

People don’t like missing out on things like huge deals. You can create FOMO (fear of missing out) by using subject lines with a deadline to encourage subscribers to take immediate action.

For instance, if you sell furniture, you could use a subject line like, “Last chance to grab your discount on TV stands.”

Use numbers

Using numbers in your social media copy and blog post headlines can grab the attention of your readers. Numbers can also get your emails noticed. 

According to a study by Yesware, subject lines that include numbers receive a 45% higher open rate than those without. 

Send emails at optimal times

Subscribers won’t open your emails if you send them at inappropriate times, like late at night when they’re asleep. Additionally, if your business targets B2B clients, they may not receive your emails if you send them on the weekend.

Therefore, you’ll want to optimize your send times. According to an Optinmonster study, Tuesday and Thursday are the best days to send emails. Meanwhile, the best times to send emails are 8 am, 1 pm, 4 pm, and 6 pm. 

However, bear in mind that these send times may not work for your business. To determine the best times for your business, you’ll need to send emails at different times and measure which times get the best open rates. Email blasting is a great way to send multiple emails at once and will save you time.

Evaluate email performance

Performance analytics graph and chart on a laptop screen

Analyzing your emails will help you identify what you can do to improve your email marketing campaigns.

Some key metrics you should track include:

  • Open rate: This indicates the percentage of people who opened your emails.
  • Click-through rate: This indicates the percentage of people who clicked on the call to action (CTA) or links in your emails.
  • Bounce rate: This shows the percentage of emails that weren’t delivered to your subscribers.
  • Unsubscribes: This shows the number of people who opted out of receiving your emails.

Clean your email list

As your email list grows, you’ll discover some of your subscribers aren’t opening your emails. To make sure you’re only sending emails to subscribers interested in receiving your emails, remove any subscribers who haven’t opened your emails in the past 3 to 6 months from your email list.

While cleaning your email list may sound counterintuitive, it can help to improve your open and click-through rates. Plus, it could significantly lower your email marketing campaign costs. 

Optimize your emails for mobile

Nearly 50% of emails are opened on mobile. That means you could lose out on half your readers if you don’t optimize your emails for mobile devices. 

Smartphone screen showing mail icon in the centre

Here are some great ways to optimize emails for mobile devices:

  • Reduce image files by compressing your images using online tools like Optimizilla or TinyPNG.
  • Use a responsive email template. Many good email service providers (ESPs) usually provide a responsive email template out-of-the-box.
  • Enlarge your CTA buttons to be easily clickable. As a rule of thumb, use a font size of at least 16px and a button size of at least 44 by 44 pixels.

Observe the 80/20 rule

While the main goal of your email marketing campaign is to drive sales, don’t send your customers promotional emails only. Instead, focus on building a relationship with them. 

To build a relationship with your customers through email, follow the 80/20 rule. Ideally, 80% of your emails should provide customers with value, while 20% of them should be promotional. Email marketing lead generation is all about balance.

Follow email regulations

Nowadays, many people are concerned about their online privacy. According to a recent Pew Research Center Study of American internet users, 79% of respondents said that they were concerned about how companies used the data collected about them. To allay consumers’ fears about how you’re using the data you collect about them, you should adhere to email regulations.

Adhering to regulations like the GDPR and CAN-SPAM can protect your subscribers’ data and give them the right to choose how much information they want to disclose.

Besides adhering to these regulations, you’ll also want to prevent your emails from getting marked as spam. You can avoid getting your emails marked as spam by:

  • Ensuring all recipients have signed up to receive your emails. Avoid buying email lists as sending unsolicited emails could get your emails marked as spam.
  • Avoid using spam trigger words and phrases, such as “buy,” “free”, “order,” and “limited offer.” While using these words may not get your emails marked as spam, ensure you use them sparingly and within the right context.
  • Show new subscribers how to whitelist your emails. You can show them how to do this in your welcome email.  

Leverage email marketing automation

When you get started with email marketing, you may be able to send individual emails to all of your subscribers. But as your email list grows, doing so may become challenging. 

That’s where email marketing automation comes in. Using autoresponders, you can send automated emails to customers depending on their specific actions. For example, you can set up autoresponders to send cart abandonment emails to customers who don’t complete shopping orders on your website.

Use email marketing tools

To use email marketing automation, you’ll need to use an email marketing tool. Besides helping you to automate your emails, a robust email marketing tool can enable you to:

  • Easily create customer segments
  • Quickly send emails using customizable email templates
  • Track email performance
  • Comply with email regulations

When choosing an email marketing tool, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all option. While each email marketing tool provides similar features, the right one for you will depend on your budget, marketing goals, and the features that matter most to you.

That said, here’s a comparison of some of the most popular and effective email marketing tools:

Tool Pricing Free trial/plan Key features Support
Mailchimp From $11/month Yes (up to 2,000 subscribers). Email templates. Subject line helper. Email (essentials plan). Live chat (essentials plan). Phone (premium plan).
ConvertKit From $15/month Yes (up to 1,000 subscribers). Tagging and segmentation. Email (creator plan). Live chat (creator plan).
Constant Contact From $9.99/month Yes (30-day trial). Email templates. Real-time analytics. Live chat. Phone.
Aweber From $19.99/month Yes (up to 500 email subscribers). Email templates. Ecommerce integration. Email. Live chat. Phone.
ActiveCampaign From $15/month Yes (14-day trial). Automation and segmentation. Drag & drop email builder. Email. Live chat. Phone (enterprise plan).
Drip From $30/month Yes (14-day trial). Drag & drop email builder. Automation and segmentation. Ecommerce integration. Email. Live chat (for customers on the $99/month plan).
GetResponse From $19/month Yes (up to 500 subscribers). Email templates. Drag & drop email builder. Email (email marketing plan). Live chat (email marketing plan). Phone (for customers on custom plan). 
Sendinblue From $25/month Yes (up to 300 emails per day). Email templates. Real-time analytics. Email. Phone (premium plan).

Get started with email marketing

Email marketing is an excellent way to build relationships with customers and drive sales. It’s also one of the most cost-effective marketing channels, so it’s a perfect option if you’re looking for a low-risk channel to promote your business.

If you haven’t started using email marketing lead generation for your business, use the steps and tips in this guide to add email marketing to your broader marketing strategy

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