One of the most challenging things in business is finding new customers. There are hundreds of marketing tactics that companies use to attract new customers from direct mailers to social media advertising. One of the most common strategies to produce new leads is email marketing. Based on this study, 78% of businesses are using email to find more quality leads.
Common questions I often receive when a business is already using email marketing are: Why is my email open rate so low? Why aren’t my email campaigns producing any conversions? What am I doing wrong?
Below are some best practices to use when planning your next email campaign, as well as things to keep in mind when just starting out.
What Are Leads?
In effort to get on the same page, let's define what a lead is. As HubSpot explains it, a lead is a person who has indicated interest in your company’s product or service. Once you’ve identified your lead, it’s now up to you to nurture that lead over time. The hope is that you can convert that lead into a loyal customer.
Focus On Your Content
When planning out each individual email consider putting yourself in the reader's shoes (see how to develop buyer personas if you need help with this), as you formulate questions. Is what you're going to share with your reader: interesting, valuable to them, or helpful? Ask yourself: If I received this email in my inbox, would I actually open and read it? Or would I glance at it and delete it like all the other spam emails I get? Is it just a salesy email or promotional? If so, it might have the opposite effect than you are hoping for. Once you begin crafting your email, make sure you write in a conversational, personal way directly to your reader.
One of your main focuses should always be, searching through your contacts/leads and write based on topics that will be appealing to their interests and pain points. If you are not as familiar with the contract on your lists, then you may need to dig a little deeper into analytics for your website or social media properties to understand who your readers will be. It's always helpful to understand your target audience’s interests, and the pieces of marketing they interact with the most.
Put Some Thought Into Your Subject Lines
64% of people say that they open an email based on the subject line. To increase your email open rate, think about these two key elements:
- Shoot for around 50 characters in the subject line. Research says this is the best performing sweet spot. After all, most email service providers have a max cut off at 80 characters, and you always want to make sure you avoid the dreaded ellipses!
- Pay attention to the specific words you are using. Words that convey a sense of urgency or any “spam” words have negative impact. Research has shown that just the appearance of spam words like these can decrease click-through rate up to 59%.
Once a reader has opened your email, you now have to get them to engage with whatever you are asking them to do. A call-to-action or CTA is an image or line of text that prompts your visitors, leads, and customers to take action. It is, quite literally, a "call" to take an "action." The action you want people to take could be anything: download an ebook, sign up for a webinar, get a coupon, attend an event, etc.
In most cases you should only have one CTA in your emails. Having multiple CTAs will confuse the reader, a confused reader generally means you will lose them. Having one CTA per email will ensure that your users are following the path that you would like them to take.
Include An Image
Our human brains tend to comprehend images much faster, some say up to 60,000 times faster. I’d recommend using images to reinforce the content and message of your email, moving readers more quickly to the place you want them.
Make Sure to Add Social Media
It's always a great idea to incorporate social media integrations to your emails, encouraging people to share your content with their network should be a goal of your marketing teams. Most readers have their favorite social media network or platform so give them options to share on: Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or others.
Analyze and Repeat
This is one of the most important parts of any marketing campaign. Analyze the results of your campaign and gauge your success and areas you could improve. Many think the job is complete once the campaign has been sent. Make sure you are using a marketing email platform, like HubSpot, MailChimp, SendGrid, etc. as all of these platforms have great dashboards to measure the performance of your campaign. Checking back a week after you’ve sent your email to understand the way that your audience is interacting with your campaigns. Your analysis data will help you in future campaigns to create more engaging content and emails.
Creating a qualified list of leads from email campaigns is one of the best things you can do for your business. It may not be the fanciest marketing tactic out there, but it is still one of the most effective ones. Once you’ve generated this list, use your understanding of the customer buying process to send informational emails that eventually lead to a sale. Every business is different, so you’ll want to nurture leads in a way that works best for your audience.
Still looking for lead generation ideas? Check out these 25 Lead Generation With Case Studies for inspiration.