Email is one of the oldest digital marketing channels available—and it’s still going strong.
In fact, 80% of small and medium-sized businesses still rely on email as their customer acquisition channel. This is probably due to the fact that you can expect an average ROI of $40 for every $1 you spend on email marketing.
When it comes to lead generation, email is the number one choice for online businesses. Once you’re invited into someone’s inbox you have the chance to nurture a relationship with them, build trust, and provide them with the information they need to become a customer or client.
So, how can you use email in your own business to generate qualified leads? Here are 17 email lead generation strategies that will boost your conversion rate.
What is email lead generation?
Email lead generation is the process of collecting leads by having people submit their email addresses. This is generally done through an opt-in form on a landing page.
The reason so many businesses rely on email to keep in touch with their leads is because it strikes the perfect balance between immediacy and not being too intrusive. Direct mail can still be an effective tactic in some situations, but for many it’s far too slow. And while a phone call can work well lower down in your funnel, for someone who’s just been introduced to your brand it can be a little off-putting.
Email allows you to reach out right away after someone expresses interest, while also giving them the flexibility to respond on their own time. It can also be automated, allowing you to reach out to hundreds or even thousands of leads a day.
But email lead generation doesn’t end when you collect someone’s email address. To make the most of your leads, you need effective email communications that guide them toward making a purchase.
With that out of the way, let’s dive into our best lead generation strategies, from the very beginning of the process all the way to converting your leads into customers.
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17 email lead generation strategies
Follow the strategies below to unlock the power of email and start growing your leads.
Identify your ideal customer
Before you create your landing page or write your first email, you need to know who you’re targeting. This will influence all your messaging and every step of your funnel, so it’s important to figure this out first before doing anything else.
If you run an existing business, dig into your data to see who’s buying your products and services. Are there any trends when it comes to age, gender, location, etc.?
If your business is brand new, you’ll have to use your best judgment. Do some research to see who’s talking about similar products and who’s engaging with your competitors.
Use all this information to come up with your ideal customer, and keep this person in mind when utilizing every other strategy on this list.
Create a killer lead magnet
Most potential leads won’t just hand over their email address—you’ll need to offer them some incentive. This is where your lead magnet comes in.
A lead magnet is a piece of gated content that requires users to submit their email addresses in order to access it.
Some examples of lead magnets include:
The best lead magnets solve an urgent problem your audience is struggling with. So, think about your ideal customer and identify an issue they’re having, then create a lead magnet that provides them with a quick win.
Not only will this allow you to collect their email address, but it will also build trust and introduce leads to your brand.
Optimize your landing page
Once your lead magnet is ready you’ll need a landing page to host it on. Your lead magnet might be super valuable, but you won’t get any email sign-ups unless your landing page conveys that value properly.
Because your lead magnet is a free offer, visitors shouldn’t need a lot of convincing. Keep the page short and get to the point. Highlight the primary benefit and the problem you’re solving, and tell them the outcome they can expect if they take you up on your offer.
Here are a few more tips:
- Include customer testimonials.
- Throw in some bonus items to heighten the value.
- Use a strong call to action that tells users exactly what you want them to do.
When it comes to actually building your landing page, Leadpages makes it easy. Simply choose one of over 200 professionally-designed templates and then use the Drag & Drop Builder to customize it for your brand.
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Promote your lead magnet
Of course, no one will know about your lead magnet if you don’t promote it. You’ll need to find a way to drive traffic to your landing page to get those conversions.
Unfortunately, landing pages aren’t ideal for SEO, so it might be difficult to send organic traffic directly to them. However, you can use pop-ups and alert bars to send users from your other web pages to your landing pages.
You can also use paid ads. Google and Facebook ads are the most popular choices. You can create campaigns for new users or target people who have previously visited your website.
Make it easy to opt-in
One of the keys to email lead generation is making it as easy as possible for visitors to sign up for your email list. This means using a short form that doesn’t take too long to fill out.
Ideally, you’ll just ask for their email and maybe their name if that’s absolutely necessary. Try not to add any more form fields than that, as asking for too much information adds time to the process and can turn off potential leads.
If you’re using Leadpages, just drag and drop the form widget into place and add your desired fields. You can also integrate with your preferred email marketing platform so addresses are sent directly there once they’re collected.
Use email automation
In an ideal world, you’ll have a steady stream of leads rolling into your email list. However, manually emailing everyone the signs up isn’t realistic, especially if you’re getting dozens of leads each day.
This is why email automation is so important. Setting up an automated email sequence that’s triggered every time someone submits their email address doesn’t just save you time—it also ensures you’re able to reach out to your leads in a timely manner so your brand stays top of mind.
Start with a sequence that’s four to six emails long, then depending on the actions the person performs you can move them to a different sequence that suits their needs.
Segment your email list
If you want to convert as many leads to customers as possible, you shouldn’t just send out generic emails to everyone. Instead, you’ll need messaging that’s uniquely tailored to each lead. This involves creating multiple mailing lists for your leads that each have different automated email sequences.
You see, not all leads are the same. For example, someone who signed up for your webinar on business accounting might have different needs than the person who downloaded your free guide on how to create a business plan.
Segmenting your list based on how you acquired their email address allows you to send more targeted content and personalize the experience for them. This will give you a better chance of building a relationship and winning their business.
Write click-worthy subject lines
The success of your emails hinges on the effectiveness of your subject lines.
If you’re able to capture people’s attention and convince them to open your messages you’ll likely generate positive results. But if your subject lines fail to entice your leads, your emails will go unopened and all that valuable content you’ve created will go to waste.
Need some help crafting click-worthy subject lines? Here are some tips:
- Clear is better than creative: Metaphors and similes are fun but often muddle your message. Keep your subjects clear and direct so nothing is misunderstood.
- Keep them short and punchy: Any more than 60 characters and you’ll risk your text getting cut off.
- Put important information in [ ]: Lead with the most important information, and put it in square brackets to draw attention to it. For example: [50% Off], [Important Update], [New Feature], etc.
- Use emojis: Don’t feel like you have to be super formal. In fact, studies show that using emojis actually improves open rates. Just try to keep it to one emoji per subject line.
Experiment with different subject line styles and variations to determine what works best for your audience.
Keep your emails short
If someone has submitted their email address to you they want to hear from you. However, that doesn’t mean they want to read a novel. People are busy, so you’re better off keeping your emails short and to the point.
There’s a bunch of research out there around the ideal length of an email. However, the general consensus is to keep your emails under 200 words. This is long enough to quickly explain a concept or make your pitch, but short enough that it can be consumed in a couple of minutes.
If you feel 200 words isn’t enough for a particular topic you can simply tease it in your email and then link to a longer article on your website (this has the dual benefit of keeping your emails short while also driving people to your website, which is what you’re trying to do anyways).
Use a clean and attractive email design
While the text of your email is certainly important, don’t overlook the design. A good-looking email goes a long way toward generating a conversion.
Most email marketing platforms offer a variety of templates for you to use. Choose templates with a clean and simple design, as they’re easy on the eyes, don’t distract from your message, and will usually load faster.
You should also give some thought to the font you use. Make sure it’s easy to read, even on smaller screens.
Make your emails mobile-friendly
Mobile use is growing rapidly, and it’s not slowing down any time soon. While many still prefer to view their emails on a desktop, 47% of people use a mobile app to open their emails. So, you’ll want to ensure your emails display properly across all devices.
Most of the templates provided to you will be mobile-friendly, but you should still test your emails on both desktop and mobile to ensure everything looks the way it should. This is especially true if you change or customize your templates, as this could alter how it’s displayed on certain devices.
Send valuable content
It might seem obvious to some, but if your emails don’t offer anything of value people will stop opening them. This is why you should pack every message with useful information.
A common mistake entrepreneurs make with email lead generation is trying to make the sale right away. If your first email is just a sales pitch you’ll be hard-pressed to get people to open any of your messages after that. Instead, offer a helpful hint or a lesson learned from your life experience. This might not earn you their business right away, but it will build trust and make them more likely to become your customer down the road.
Even when it gets to your sales pitch, position your offer as a solution to a problem they’re having. If you come across as someone that’s trying to help them, rather than just sell them something, they’ll be much more likely to make a purchase.
Finally, don’t just make your welcome email… a welcome email. These messages have an average open rate of 68.6%, so try to include something valuable there as well instead of just a greeting. That way, they’ll be more likely to keep opening your emails.
Personalize your emails
Most people know that when they’re subscribed to an email list the messages are automated. But they don’t want them to feel automated. This is why you should personalize your emails as much as possible.
- Adding their name to the email.
- Sending them personalized information based on how they’ve interacted with your brand.
- Sending them personalized offers based on previous interactions or purchases.
Anything you can do to make your leads feel like they’re not just a name on a page will help you build a relationship with them and eventually earn their business.
Don’t use no-reply or generic email addresses
Just like you want to send emails that seem like they’re written specifically for your leads, you also want to send emails that appear to be sent by you and not a robot.
That’s why it’s best to not use emails like “firstname.lastname@example.org” or “email@example.com.” It just comes across as a little impersonal and your leads might be less likely to trust you. You also want them to feel like if they have a question or comment they can email you back.
Send emails frequently, but not too frequently
When it comes to email cadence, you don’t want to overdo it—but you also don’t want your leads to forget about you.
Based on research, two to three emails per week seems to produce the best results. However, this might change depending on your audience and industry. Feel free to experiment with more or fewer sends and track how this impacts open rates and engagement.
Always include a CTA with your emails
Just because you’re not actively selling something in an email doesn’t mean you shouldn’t include a call to action (CTA).
For example, if you’re providing advice on how to create a webinar you could link to one of your blog articles on the subject or a free resource you have that walks people through the process. The point is to get people to engage with your emails and your brand. The more they do this the better chance that you will convert them into a customer.
Always finish your email with a CTA button. You can also include CTAs in the body of your email or a P.S. to increase your odds of getting a click.
Keep testing to improve your results
The truth is, even the most experienced and successful email marketers don’t know for sure what will work best. The only way you can be certain that everything is optimized for your audience is to split test and see what actually drives results.
When you perform a split test, you create two different variations of a marketing asset and test them against each other. There are plenty of things you can split test, such as:
- Subject lines
- Landing page/email length
Just remember to only test one of these elements at a time. For example, if you test different headlines, images, and CTAs all at once you won’t know which one is causing a difference in your conversion rate.
Most email marketing platforms offer some kind of split testing feature. If you want to split test your landing page you can use Leadpages’ A/B testing tool.
Ready to build your own email lead generation funnel?
Email lead generation starts with a high-converting landing page, and Leadpages makes building and publishing your page easy. Simply choose a template, add your text and images, click “Publish,” and you’re done.
Try Leadpages free for 14 days and start collecting qualified leads for your business.
Try Leadpages free for 14 days
Easily create your website and landing pages with the only platform engineered by marketing nerds.
Wondering what to read next?
Here’s what we suggest:
→ What is a Qualified Lead and How Do You Get One?
→ How to Choose the Best Email Marketing Platform
→ The 11 Best Ways to Build an Email List for Your Small Business