We all want more leads, right? It’s why you’re reading this article — and why you’re researching every possible best practice to boost those email collection numbers. Email lead generation takes time, but there are ways to get ahead of the curve.
Let’s dig into some of the core concepts behind email lead generation so you can grow your business faster.
Email Marketing Statistics and Curious Facts
I think we can all agree that email marketing is not only important, but essential, for business success. That explains why email marketing spend is expected to reach $350 million by 2019 in the United States alone.
That’s a ton of cash.
If you’re not devoting enough resources to email lead generation, you’re leaving money on the table. After all, smart marketers don’t spend money unless they expect a decent ROI on that spend.
In the U.S., there are around 233 million email users. Some of them are in your target market. But how do you convince them to fork over their addresses so you can reach out to them?
What Is Lead Generation?
The answer comes down to lead generation strategies. The more strategies you implement, the faster you can collect email addresses.
But what is lead generation?
It’s the process of collecting leads through digital marketing.
Lead Generation Meaning
When you ask your prospects to fill in a lead capture form in exchange for something of value, you’re participating in lead generation. B2B lead generation strategies differ somewhat from B2C best practices, but there’s also a lot of close alignment.
The goal is to convince your prospect to hand over their contact information.
In some cases, you’ll collect phone numbers. Let’s say you sell a high-end B2B product and you meet a prospective customer at a trade show. It’s probably more efficient to ask for his or her number so you can chat in a few days.
But in most cases, you want email addresses. Email marketing is a low-key, low-stress way to keep in contact with leads and to practice lead nurturing.
What Is a Lead Generation Strategy?
A lead generation strategy is a highly targeted and specific plan to attract and convert new leads. Each strategy you implement can have a positive impact on your revenue.
The steps involved in lead generation look something like this:
- Create content, promote your brand on social media, and guest blog on other websites to generate web traffic.
- Delight web visitors with amazing content.
- Invite prospects to give you their email addresses.
- Offer an incredible lead magnet to convince them to convert.
- Email your prospects regularly to stay in touch.
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Yet many businesses don’t bother with it.
Why Is Email Lead Generation Important?
Leads don’t automatically become customers. Many of your leads will never spend a dime on your business.
But wait! That’s not the end of the story.
It’s largely a numbers game.
Let’s say you have 500 leads in your email database and an average conversion rate of 5 percent on sales from emails.
That means you’ll convert 25 people into customers.
But let’s say you have 10,000 leads in your database. With that same conversion rate, you’ll convert an impressive 500 leads into customers. You’d rather sell 500 products than just 25, right?
How Can You Build an Email List?
The great thing about email marketing is that everyone starts in the same place. Even if you already have a following through another business, you don’t have a huge advantage over other marketers who are also starting at square one.
To wit: Everyone begins with a database of none.
That sounds discouraging, but it’s actually a good thing. That blank slate you’re staring at? It’s an opportunity.
You start by inviting people into your home — that is, your home on the web. Make them feel comfortable. Offer them a tasty morsel or two, such as blog posts that help them solve problems.
Then ask them to give you their contact information. Don’t be pushy about it. Just as you wouldn’t force a guest to do something in your home, you don’t want to force your email lead generation strategy down your website visitors’ throats.
13 Email Lead Generation Best Practices to Increase Revenue
Now that we’ve covered some of the basics, let’s dive into some of my best strategies for accelerating the email lead generation process. Implementing these best practices can make you rich in both leads and cash.
1. Monitor Your Competition
I don’t recommend copying your competitors when it comes to email lead generation. However, it’s healthy to know what they’re up to.
Let’s say that one of your competitors offers an e-book as a lead magnet. That’s great, but can you do better?
Maybe you create a video course instead. You’ll target members of your shared audience who would rather watch than read. Plus, if you’re more generous with your knowledge, your leads will appreciate it more.
Pay close attention to their visuals, copywriting, social media presence, and web design. Your goal is to provide a better user experience at every turn.
2. Use Email Drip Campaigns
You can’t just plant a garden and wait for vegetables, fruits, and herbs to spring forth from the earth. You have to nurture each plant based on its specific needs: sunlight, water, food, and so on.
The same goes for your email list. An email lead generation strategy doesn’t start and end with a lead capture page. It involves strategically nurturing your leads toward the ultimate conversion: a sale.
Email drip campaigns make this easier because you’re systematically guiding each of your leads toward that end goal. Each email builds on the last, engendering trust and delight, by serving up exactly the right content.
What is an Email Drip Campaign?
An email drip campaign is, at its most basic, a series of emails. You might send them out every other day or once per week — test to find the right schedule for your audience.
The first might be a welcome email. It thanks the lead for subscribing and sets expectations for future emails.
Next, you might send a roundup of your best blog posts or an article written specifically for your email list. Generously share your expertise to establish yourself as an authority in your niche.
Other emails in the campaign might offer discounts or other incentives, talk about product bundles, or share unique insights about your industry. Finally, offer the best incentive you possibly can and set a deadline for taking advantage of it.
Why Email Drip Campaigns Are Effective?
Human beings like patterns, predictability, and precision. You can deliver all three with your email drip campaign.
As I mentioned before, the first email should establish expectations for whatever will come next. Surprises are great it some instances, but not when it comes to email marketing. You want your subscriber to feel safe and comfortable in your hands.
Your leads will start to look for your emails. If you tease the next message in each email, they’ll also be less likely to send you to spam.
3. Automate Your Email Campaigns and Generate More Email leads
Automation offers several benefits for email lead generation. Chief among them, you’ll spend less time on marketing. That’s always a good thing.
Once you automate your email marketing, you won’t have to worry about sending emails at the preferred times or writing emails in a rush.
Think about the opposite of automation: manual labor. In other words, if you’re running your email lead generation strategy without automation, you have to manually type each email, add the addresses to which you want to send them, and send the emails. Automation eliminates that struggle.
What is Email Automation and Why It is Effective?
Email automation means using a software service to automatically send your emails to specific email segments at specific times. It’s a “set it and forget it” approach to email marketing.
This doesn’t mean you should never adjust your email marketing strategy. Test different copy, images, and other elements to see what works best.
Additionally, you’ll want to create emails for special promotions or other events you want your leads to know about.
However, email automation removes a lot of the heavy lifting, which makes you a more effective marketer.
Use the Right Triggers to Send The Right Emails At the Right Time
Triggers are events that cause an email to be sent to a specific lead. There are many potential triggers:
- Signing up for your email list
- Registering for your webinar
- Buying a product
- Subscribing to a service
When these triggers occur, a response email gets sent to the individual. It’s an automatic and highly targeted strategy that allows you to capitalize on a particular event.
4. Perform Lead Scoring to Qualify Your Leads
Lead scoring can work in a number of different ways, but it’s designed to help you prioritize your leads. That sounds cold — we’re talking about people, after all — but it isn’t. If someone isn’t qualified, they probably don’t want to hear from you frequently anyway.
That’s the balance in marketing. You want to reach the right people at the right time.
Lead scoring allows you to predict which of your leads are most likely to become customers. The highest priority leads are at the bottom of your sales funnel. In other words, they’re ready to convert.
What is Lead Scoring and How Can You Use it to Generate More Email Leads?
Let’s say that one of your leads visits a product page on your website. He or she looks over the specs, checks out your photos, watches a demo video, but ultimately decides to click away.
At that point, you show a page takeover — also called an exit popup — that offers a 20 percent discount on a future purchase.
That’s pretty tempting, right? The customer has already viewed the product and showed interest, which makes him or her a highly qualified potential lead.
After filling out the form, he or she receives the promised email with a 20 percent coupon code. Maybe the email even includes a link back to the page he or she was viewing.
You’re far more likely to generate a sale because of the offer you provided and the time you chose.
Using events like this to trigger emails and extend offers can vastly improve email lead generation.
5. Nurture Your Email List With Amazing Content
Content isn’t just for your website. It also belongs in your emails.
People are more likely to engage with your emails — and open them in the first place — if you deliver exceptional value in each message. This means surprising and delighting your customers with amazing content.
Maybe you share a little-known tip that can revolutionize the way your leads approach a specific problem. Perhaps you email an in-depth video that helps them reach a goal.
Whatever the case, don’t send emails just to send them. Make sure there’s a purpose behind every one.
6. Use Catchy and Interesting Email Subject Lines
The best email subject lines grab your leads’ interest immediately. They make it very difficult for people to click the “delete” button.
You can upgrade a boring subject line by changing just two things: verbs and adjectives.
Let’s say that I’m sending an email with a discount promotion. My original subject line says, “Get 20 percent off all products today.”
Not bad, right? But let’s make it better:
- Snag 20 percent off exceptional products today
- Want a fantastic [product]? Grab your 20 percent coupon!
- Read for amazing [result]? Take advantage of our most generous deal this year!
Notice the bold words? Those are verbs and adjectives that spice up a boring subject line.
7. Make Sure Your Emails Have a Clean Design and Are Easy on the Eyes To Generate More Leads
Email marketing doesn’t need to be flashy. In fact, it shouldn’t be. Focus on delivering clean, easy-to-read emails.
My business partner, Neil Patel, has a huge email list. He sends all of his emails in plain text and only includes links when they’re relevant to the email content.
8. Add One Clear and Strong Call To Action On All Your Emails To Increase Conversions
Your CTA is your moment. It’s the chance you’ve been waiting for. Will your leads click or not?
If you want them to click — and I know you do — make the CTA as unique and actionable as possible. Use creative language to attract leads’ attention and convince them to follow through.
9. Encourage Your Readers to Forward Your Emails to Get More Email Leads
Want more leads? Get them the old-fashioned way.
Word of mouth doesn’t have to go from lip to ear. In many cases, a forwarded email works just as well.
At the end of each email, say something like this:
“Did you enjoy this email? Feel free to pass it along to your friends!”
Many of them won’t. Those who do, however, might generate more leads for your business without your having to lift a finger. That’s just good marketing.
10. Offer Content Upgrades or Gated Content to Your Email List
Content upgrades and gated content are like freemium products. Instead of money, though, you want contact information.
Maybe you’ve published a huge article on your website. It has 30,000 words and tons of imagery and great data.
“Profit” from that article by putting most of it behind a “lead capture wall.” In other words, if people want to continue reading, they must give you their contact information and join your email list.
11. Promote Your Social Media Channels to Your Email List and Vice Versa
Growth hacking is one of my favorite marketing strategies. At its most basic, it involves taking advantage of existing assets to build your marketing empire.
Let’s say you have a website full of great content. You get web traffic from your SEO efforts when people search for keywords related to your content on Google.
That’s great, but what are you doing about that traffic?
Promote your social channels to feed more followers into those spheres. You can do so with a Hello Bar.
In your emails, include links to your social profiles. Similarly, promote your email list on your social platforms. This way, you’re taking advantage of traffic no matter where it moves.
12. Incentivize Current Email Subscribers to Refer Friends In Exchange For Discounts or Exclusive Benefits
You can also take advantage of existing email subscribers by incentivizing referrals. Instead of asking them to refer customers to buy products, ask them to refer email subscribers.
They might get a free download, a small discount off a future purchase, free shipping on a future order, or some other benefit. Make sure it’s worth the time and energy it takes for your subscribers to promote your email list to their friends and family members.
In other words, focus on value. When you ask someone to give of their time, you need an excellent reason for them to donate it.
13. Create a Sense of Urgency and Scarcity in Your Offers, Discounts and Exclusive Benefits
Urgency and scarcity are two of the most powerful marketing tactics. We don’t want to miss out on a great opportunity, and we hate the idea that something might not be available at a later date.
See how important it is for marketers to understand human psychology?
When you’re promoting your email list, create urgency and scarcity through the wording on your CTAs. The phrases “limited quantities available” and “limited time only” are tried-and-true options.
Just make sure you’re transparent and honest with your CTAs. If there aren’t limited quantities available, don’t say there are. And if you plan to run the promotion indefinitely, don’t say that it will close soon.
Want to Grow Your Email List? Use Hello Bar to Transform Website Visitors Into Email Leads
Email lead generation should be seamless. You want your prospects to visit your site and encounter numerous opportunities to convert.
That’s exactly what Hello Bar provides.
You can create as many bars as you want, from top bars and sliders to exit popups and alerts. If you select email collection as your goal, users can sign up directly on the page.
You’ve likely seen these before. The above screenshot is a typical top bar. It appears at the top of the visitor’s screen so he or she can sign up at any time.
Meanwhile, an exit popup takes over the visitor’s entire screen. It’s a great way to capture visitors’ attention before they leave your site for good.
Using Hello Bar, you can accelerate the email lead generation process and take advantage of existing web traffic. If people are already visiting your site, you might as well capitalize on their presence and invite them to become leads.
Email lead generation isn’t a one-and-done process. It takes time to figure out exactly what your website visitors want and need.
Using a tool like Hello Bar can help you refine your strategy. Use our built-in A/B testing to compare different versions of your offers, then test again.
Perfect your headline writing skills, focus on delivering quality over quantity, and never forget the importance of value. If you’re generous with your audience, they’ll be generous with you.
If you want to refer back, here’s a handy checklist of my email lead generation best practices:
- Segment your email list
- Use email drip campaigns
- Send the right message to the right people
- Perform lead scoring
- Nurture your email list with amazing content
- Use catch and interesting email subject lines
- Make sure your emails feature clean design
- Add one compelling call to action
- Encourage your readers to forward your emails to friends
- Offer content upgrades or gated content
- Promote your social media channels
- Incentivize current email subscribers to refer friends
- Create a sense of urgency
What’s your favorite email lead generation hack?