According to Forrester Research nearly 9 in 10 marketers say email is their primary channel for lead generation. Because of this, marketers are constantly on the lookout for new ways to optimize their email marketing campaigns. With this in mind, I’ve rounded up the following key ingredients for successful lead generation emails with actionable ideas that can be implemented immediately.
Key Ingredient #1: Database Segmentation
Before you even begin sending lead generation emails, it is important to segment your database in order to provide relevant content to your leads. This varies for each organization but often includes categories such as industry, role and stage in the buying cycle.
The more segmented your database is, the more likely it is that your content will resonate with your target audience. If you are missing information for contacts in your database, landing page forms with the missing information as required fields are a great way to collect this data. You can then bucket your leads into the appropriate lists based on their responses.
Ingredient #2: A Stellar Subject Line
There is a saying that goes “you never get a second chance to make a first impression,” and I like to think of a subject line as an email’s first impression.
Think of the last marketing email you opened. What was it that made you open it? It likely had a subject line that was relevant to you at the time, or implied a sense of urgency such as a “deal of the day” sale. Or, maybe it visually stood out in your inbox somehow. Many marketers are now implementing brackets and other unique characters in subject lines to drive higher open rates. Keep in mind that what works for one audience may not work for another, so it is a good idea to continually test different tactics to see what works best in your campaigns.
Ingredient #3: Captivating Content
Congrats! Your stellar subject line resulted in your email being opened…but now what? Here are some best practices to better your chances of your email content receiving a click-thru:
- Providing multiple links to your landing page – remember people skim.
- Sharing intriguing facts.Know a relevant industry statistic? Tell it.
- Offering exclusive content. Giving them something they can’t get elsewhere will help keep your unsubscribe rates low.
- Ensuring mobile-friendly content. Many people are now reading a majority of their emails on their cell phones.
And, on the other hand, here are some key things to avoid:
- Busy and overwhelming content.
- Super “salesy” messaging.
- Large images that take too long to download.
- Links that are hidden all the way at the bottom of your email.
- Providing content that isn’t relevant to your reader.
By following these guidelines, your emails will be more likely to engage your audience and less likely to be deleted or flagged as spam.
Ingredient #4: Split Testing
The importance of testing has been mentioned already, but it is so important it deserves to be included as an ingredient of its own.
Without testing you will not know if your email campaigns are performing their best. Subject line, content layout, text versus HTML format, and timing are just a few of the things you should split test. While these things may seem minor, by tweaking them slightly you could potentially see a big jump in open and click-thru rates, making your campaigns even more successful.
Ingredient #5: A Strategic Follow-Up Plan
Lead generation is an ongoing process, so it’s important to have a follow-up plan in place based on each lead activity. If leads request a quote or demo based off your email campaign, there needs to be a plan in place for them to be contacted in a timely manner. Or if they download an infographic based on your recent white paper, you could send them the full white paper as a next step. Establishing a strategic follow-up plan will ensure that your organization stays top of mind and that your lead generation efforts are not wasted.
Next Steps for Your Lead Generation Email Marketing Strategy
Now that you’ve learned the essential ingredients for a successful lead generation campaign, it is up to you to fine tune the recipe based on your database. By segmenting your database, utilizing a strong subject line and providing engaging content, your emails are more likely to be a welcome addition to your leads’ inboxes, and less likely to be unsubscribed from or deleted. Happy lead generating!
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