Even with all of the new marketing technologies and tactics available to us, it’s still the simplest--email marketing, that remains most effective. Research from Experian states that $1 invested in email marketing initiatives still yields roughly $44.25 return for marketers.
This fact illuminates consumers familiarity and comfort with email, and additionally the universality of this marketing medium. In this post I would like to uncover some of the dos and dont’s of email marketing and some best practices to utilize for generating and nurturing new leads.
Let me first address the way we should not use email marketing. The days of buying and email marketing list, loading it into your CRM and sending unsolicited emails are over. With legislation like CAN-SPAM and advances in email filtering, these antiquated tactics will most likely get your ISP blocked and prohibit you from sending email at all.
Instead, marketers need to be building an opt-in list of leads and prospects who anticipate the communication because of the high quality content that they know will be delivered to them.
Generating Leads With Email Marketing
When we talk about generating leads with email marketing it’s important that we first define a lead. Is a lead someone who fills out a form on our website, someone who downloads our e-book, or maybe someone who attends a company sponsored webinar?
Typically as business-to-business marketers this is how we define leads. However, the hard truth is the person who downloaded your ebook might have solely been interested in its contents. That individual may or may not have any real interest in your category of product or service.
Our job as marketers is to take that persons fledgling curiosity and nurture it over time until it evolves into full blown product interest. The way to accomplish this at scale is through email marketing.
So the real question becomes, how do we engage with thousands of individuals who are at very different stages of the buying cycle? Additionally, how do we deliver these individuals relevant content in a timely, yet non-invasive manner? The most efficient way to accomplish this is through utilizing functionality built into marketing automation software.
Nurturing Leads with Marketing Automation Software
Marketing automation software allows marketers to build out email marketing “tracks” from within the software. A marketing track is a collection of emails delivered over time for a specific type of buyer, or a distinct area of interest.
Let me illustrate by way of example. If you were a marketing manager at an IT consulting firm you might build out marketing tracks for individuals like: the technical buyer, the financial buyer, and the end user. Additionally, you might build out marketing tracks for topics like, data security, scalable infrastructure, and system backup.
As the marketer you're able to create and schedule these email in advance, allowing you to more efficiently craft cohesive communication that will be highly valuable to your audience. Then once your marketing tracks have been developed you can quickly and easily place people into these correspondence streams either manually or based on user behavior triggers.
This consistent and highly relevant email communication helps you build credibility and trust with leads. Additionally it keep your brand top-of-mind for when decision makers are ready to select a solution.
Designing Email For Lead Generation
When developing email marketing tracks geared at moving leads deeper into the sales funnel, there a a few design and copywriting elements that marketers should be mindful of. Below are a list of these tactics:
Subject Line: The subject line is how leads determine if they are going to read your email. So spend time on thinking about ways you can improve your subject line. Some ideas are: create subject lines that clearly address your leads business problems, personalize subject lines, and make subject lines actionable like: “attend our webinar” or “download our latest ebook”.
Brevity: Leads and prospects are bombarded with massive amounts of email everyday. So keep your email concise and engaging.
Imagery: To quote a fellow inbound marketer Amanda Sibley, the brain comprehends images 60,000 times faster than text. So by using images that reinforce your copy you more quickly deliver your message to your intended audience.
Social Integration: As marketers we want our readers to be sharing our content with their network and the best way to facilitate this is by incorporating social media sharing links into your emails. Additionally, each recipient of the email will have their own favorite social network so give them options to share on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin.
CTA: To effectively move leads further into the sales funnel you need educate them on your product or service. The way to educate them is to have them consume your content: whether that content be: ebooks, webinars, case studies, slideshares or videos. So in your email you need to effectively advertise your CTA. Use action words like: attend, download, register, read, and try now. Give them a next step to take after reading your email, like registering for an upcoming webinar.
Email marketing, while not the sexiest of marketing tactics, is still one of the most effective in moving leads efficiently through the sales funnel. If you manage a large database of leads at all different stages of the buying cycle implement a marketing automation software application for your business. Then build out marketing tracks and start engaging in relevant conversations at scale.
Finally, remember the basics of creating a great email: engaging subject line, concise, relevant images, integrated social links, and provide a next step for readers. Implement these tactics and you will see your lead engagement take off!
Originally published Feb 3, 2014 11:30:00 AM, updated February 01 2017