Your leads are your future customers!
In online marketing speak, leads are people who have come to your brand through your website, social media pages. Or your email newsletter.
Because they’ve expressed interest in your brand or interacted with your content in some way or the other, they are more likely to “convert” into paying customers in the future.
And even with all the new channels and technologies today’s marketers have at their disposal, email marketing continues to be one of the most effective, most cost-efficient ways to nurture warm prospects & create brand awareness to drive leads and sales. In fact, according to research by Campaign Monitor, for everyone $1.00 spent, email marketing will make $38. It’s the kind of ROI that small businesses should be excited about.
But setting up an email newsletter and getting people to sign up for that newsletter are two completely different things.
3 key pointers for Growing Your Leads Through Email Marketing
If growing and retaining your leads through email is important to you, apply these tried and proven tactics.
Create a Steady Stream of High-Quality Content
The best way to attract subscribers via email marketing is all about offering something of value. This is where great content comes in. Valuable content invokes confidence in a user and encourages them to subscribe for more.
Email is one of the best platforms to share high-quality, relevant content with your audience—content that they can consume right in their inbox. Not only does that keep you top of mind with your prospects and customers, but it also helps turn new leads into warmer leads, bringing them one step closer to becoming customers. This strategy also fosters brand loyalty and increases the likelihood of driving repeat sales. InVision offers a great example of what high-quality content looks like.
Match customer needs + your expertise!
But what kind of content should you be sharing? Here are a few ideas.
- A personal note/letter from the founder/CEO
- A piece about your company’s history or heritage that surprises or delights
- Innovations you’re working on and how they can help the customer
- Video tours or how-tos
- Personal stories that resonate
- Actionable tips and listicles
- Curated articles and content on topics they care about or that solve a problem
- Inspiring Stories about your partnerships, collaborations or experiences
What are some best practices on quality content that attract
Admittedly, content creation can be a complex subject requiring an entire discussion of its own. But there are a few best practices you can focus on to ensure you’re creating killer content.
Strategize your content: Having a content strategy ensures that you know which audience to target with your content and what themes, topics, and ideas you can share with them. Have a revolving list of content that in turn informs, delights or educates.
Do a keyword research: Keywords allow for content discoverability via SEO. You can also use keywords as hooks to magnetize your newsletter subscribe copy to directly address the customer pain point.
Create evergreen content: Tips that are relevant long after being first published, allow you to maximize the value of every content asset you create. It’s a good idea to avoid referencing specific events, dates, and trends in your content. However, if you are sharing something topical like style trends, beauty or even tech stuff, ensure that you review and update the info periodically.
Also read: 31 Amazing Content Ideas for your Email Newsletter
Win prospects with email marketing!
Create one (or more) Pieces of Gated Content
Another way to drive leads to your email list is to create assets like eBooks or Guides as gated offers. When you strategically place digital products across your website in exchange for their email address and/ or contact information, it grows your list, and helps you connect with your target audience too.
Read: Why your business needs to offer a free digital product
If you want to attract loyal subscribers via email marketing, keep a few rules in mind.
- Any gated content you publish must be super high-quality to warrant you asking for people’s contact information. If your content falls short, don’t be surprised if you feel the backlash.
The best content is always useful, shareable, and actionable!
- With most gated content, lead information is collected through a form on a landing page. This page must clearly indicate what value the content will provide to the lead.
Here’s an example of a landing page to a guide for 21 best free stock photo sites. Or make it easy with an offer to subscribe on-page like the example below.
Only ask for the most important information from people. The common norm for most small businesses is first name and email address only.
Types of content you can offer as a lead magnet
Focus on content assets that solve a niche problem or help you establish your thought leadership.
- You can publish the findings of your own research in the form of a report or case study. This is a strategy used by digital marketing and advertising agencies.
- Another option is eBook(s) containing your insights and opinions on industry practices, events, and trends. For example, a food service company can publish an eBook explaining restaurant trends or factors behind restaurant failures.
The idea behind using gated content for thought leadership is to show off your brand’s expertise and win the confidence of your potential customers. In fact, thought leadership is so powerful that according to a report by Edelman, 39 percent of C-suite execs and decision makers said that thought leadership content influenced their decision to request proposals from vendors, while 47 percent said it was directly tied to their decision to awarding their business.
Seth Godin’s micro blog newsletter is a great example of thought leadership.
The best content adds actionable value to the customer, reflects your expertise and helps with your business goals.
Invest in email automation and segmenting
Once you have your subscriber on board, triggered email campaigns involve sending emails depending on specific lead activity.
When automated, these campaigns offer better customer engagement and a better way of growing your leads through email. They also ensure that leads get targeted messages at the right time, all without you having to check your email marketing/newsletter program.
Campaigns you can automate
Here are a few examples of specific email campaigns you can automate for maximum results and efficiency.
People who have expressed an interest in your business by downloading a lead magnet or signing up as free trial user can feel engaged with a welcome email the moment they get onboard. According to Hive, welcome emails have an amazingly high open rate of 91.43 percent.
Abandoned shopping carts
If your business has an online store, you can make sure that customers that add an item to their cards without finalizing their purchase automatically receive an email reminding them of their unfinished purchase. According to Moosend, 45 percent of cart abandonment emails are opened. Of the opened emails, 21 percent are clicked and 50 percent of these clicks lead to a completed purchase.
Thank you email after a download
When a lead downloads a gated content offer or fills out a form, you should automatically send them an email thanking them for their interest in your content. You can and should also send follow-up messages so that leads maintain their interest in your brand.
Win-back emails to unresponsive subscribers
If you have a list of email subscribers that’s laden with repeat non-responders, don’t give up just yet. You can use a win-back campaign by using a great piece of content (like the thought leadership asset mentioned earlier).
Upsell and cross sell to lead magnet subscribers
The premise of this strategy is to offer something of value in exchange for a subscription. You can take this to a higher level by sending follow-up emails to subscribers offering content that interests them, such as a related or a complementary product to their initial purchase.
Subscriber segmenting & Re-targeting
For example, if 20% of your list opened your newsletter with content on How to grow your business through Instagram, then specifically target and send those subscribers a freebie, course or opt-in on Instagram Hacks in a follow up newsletter.
Email marketing is a powerful lead generation channel—one that doesn’t just bring in new potential customers to your brand, but also engages, converts and retains them. To get a good return on investment, however, you’ll need to invest thought and care from a users perspective. Use these tips as a launching point to create winning email marketing campaigns that drive leads and sales for your business.
Tabitha Jean Naylor is the owner of TabithaNaylor.com, a full-service marketing firm that delivers ‘big agency’ quality at rates that are affordable for startups and small businesses. She has over 15 years of sales and marketing experience working with businesses ranging from small mom-and-pop shops through publicly-traded, household names. Her intimate knowledge of how sales and marketing go hand-in-hand has resulted in a variety of successful branding and marketing campaigns for start-ups through NASDAQ traded companies.
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I’ve been creating freebies and asking for their email before they can access and it is helping my email list grow! Thank you for these tips!
I really like the strategy of interacting with your leads through automated emails. Really targets the audience based on their activity.
I am trying this “Thank you email after a download” email technique.
These are great tips, I do struggle with getting email subscribers and I am not very consistent in emailing as well. I am working on improving this.
What a difference these strategies can make! I would love to try these tips!
Thanks for these very usefull tips! We had no time so far to concentrate in email marketing but maybe in the near future we’ll do so!
I was just looking into many ways of trying to figure out how to grow my list. I totally can use some of these tricks.
When I first started my blog I focused on growing my email contacts but have been slacking. I should keep your tips in mind.