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How to Create Executive-level Leads with Email Lead Generation

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While not the sexiest of marketing tactics, Email Marketing is still one of the most effective lead generation tools, particularly for B2B marketers.

Social media platforms might be sexier lead generation techniques but over the years, email has proven itself time and again to be one of the most effective means of communicating with and reaching a targeted audience particularly in the business world.

Why Email Lead Generation?

According to a MarketingSherpa survey, 72 percent of all adults in the U.S. prefer to receive communication from companies through email compared to only 17 percent on social media channels.

As the numbers prove, email is the number one way to communicate with your audience. Today it isn’t just a best practice, it is necessary for a successful marketing strategy.

And, as we have said before in other blogs, email lead generation is the most effective tool to capture executive leads, even with all the new marketing technologies and tactics available.

Every $1 invested in email marketing initiatives still yields roughly $44.25 return for marketers according to research from Experian.

Before we get into the fundamentals and best practices of email lead generation, let me first define a lead. 

What is a Lead?

A lead refers to a person or company you are hoping to transform into a paying customer. A lead should be a person or business that is a good fit for your product or service and who could benefit from the solution you are offering.

The qualification and categorization of leads vary greatly from company to company, but most will use a scale ranging from cold to hot.

B2B companies rely on email marketing within their lead generation strategies because email consistently produces results

However, despite being a tried and true marketing technique, you can’t just wing it and inundate your targets with useless information. There are some guidelines and common-sense approaches you must follow.

In this blog post, I will highlight some of the dos and don’ts and some best practices of email lead generation to utilize for generating and nurturing B2B opportunities.

1.   Designing Email For Lead Generation

In order to capture the attention of executives, who are always busy, there are a few design and copywriting elements that marketers should be mindful of. Below are a list of these tactics:

* Create compelling subject lines: they say “don’t judge a book by its cover” but in email marketing, the subject line is how leads determine if they are going to read your email. In fact, 64 percent of people saying that they open an email based on the subject line. So make sure your email is worth reading.

– Length: create subject lines that clearly address your leads business problems. Most email service providers have a limit of        80 characters, making headlines with around 50 characters is the best performing sweet spot for length.

Verbiage: avoid words that convey a sense of urgency or any spammy words like “FREE” “magic” “secret” etc. Research has shown that just the appearance of spammy words like these can decrease click-through rate up to 59 percent.

Brevity: prospects are bombarded with a lot of emails daily. The average user receives an average of 121 emails per day. So try to keep your emails as concise and engaging as possible.

Imagery: the brain comprehends images 60,000 times faster than text. So by using images that reinforce your copy you more quickly and effectively deliver your message to your target audience. This can also help to make your emails more concise.

2.   Make your Emails Mobile-first

Smartphones are key to a smarter email marketing. One thing that all executives do every day – is check their emails. The majority of the time they are doing so on the go, via their mobile phones.

How to Create Executive-level Leads with Email Lead Generation

The growth of mobile as a means of email communication has been tremendous. The Radicati Group “Email Statistics Report, 2014–2018 reveals that by the end of 2018, worldwide mobile email users are expected to total over 2.2 billion”.

So, if you don’t have a clear mobile-first strategy for email marketing, you will likely miss out on a lot of leads.

Mobile-friendly emails creates better experiences ensuring consistent communication across devices.

3.   Personalize and Segment

Email Personalization and Segmentation is critical to your lead generating email marketing strategy because each prospect is different with different problems.

Businesses that personalize email report a 14 percent uplift in sales. However, only 5 percent of companies are personalizing their emails – Econsultancy

In the era of email over-saturation, segmented and personalized emails help companies stand out.

Personalization is all about defining your audience based on certain parameters. It goes beyond personalize subject lines, and make subject lines actionable like: “attend our webinar” or “download our latest ebook” in the email body and subject.

Customized Messages for “D” Personas            

 You can run different email marketing campaigns for each of your buyer personas. Focus on grouping buyer personas into common interests of two or three categories. 

Try to make your campaigns as specific as possible. Use it as an opportunity to produce focused content for each persona.

Nurturing Leads with Marketing Automation Software

Marketing automation software allows marketers to build out email marketing ‘tracks’ – a collection of emails delivered over time for a specific type of buyer, or a distinct area of interest.

You’ll be able to create and schedule these emails in advance, allowing you to more efficiently craft cohesive communication that will be highly valuable to your audience.

After developing your marketing tracks, you can quickly and easily place people into these correspondence streams either manually or based on user behaviour triggers.

This will help you to build credibility and trust with leads as well as place your company at the top of the consideration list whenever decision makers are ready to select a solution.

4. Calls-to-Action (CTA)

Getting your email opened is just half the battle. The other half is getting engagement.

Whenever an additional step of engagement is required from the reader to gain access to more information, a Call-to-action (CTA) is a great tool to use.

This usually leads to a landing page that has more information to complete or access to an offer.

Don’t let your message get muddled, try to keep it to one CTA per email.

One of the biggest mistakes that email marketers make is having multiple CTAs within an email. This creates confusion as it makes it difficult for the end user to know exactly what path they should take.

Having one CTA per email will ensure that your users are following the path that you would like them to take. Give them a next step to take after reading your email – use action words such as click here, download, sign up, and try now. 

5.   Set up triggered emails

Lead nurturing on autopilot, Triggered emails (“autoresponders” or “drip campaigns”) automatically activate when someone takes a specific action such as placing an order, downloading a whitepaper or filling out a contact form.

Your email marketing system will automatically send out a series of emails when the trigger of events happens. The emails will have content tailored to persons who would take that particular action basically allowing you to automate your follow-ups.

6.   Analyze

Email marketers usually make the mistake of thinking that once the campaign is sent that their job is complete. 

You will need to analyze the results of your campaign and gauge how your audience are interacting with your campaigns.

If you plan to run a big email marketing campaign, data analytics will be critical to your strategy.

These are the metrics you should measure and analyze in your email lead generation campaign:

  • Click Through Rate: is a measurement of whether or not your email sparked interest in your target audience. Before making optimization decisions, it’s important to factor in the various parameters that affect CTR.
  • Conversion Rate: usually is an indication of how relevant the overall offer is. After someone clicks on an email, the next goal is for them to perform a desired action whether its purchasing a product or filling up a lead.

If you are consistently seeing a poor conversion rate, it is important to optimize the strategy.

  • ROI: the ultimate measurement on your investment. Depending on what you want to achieve from your business, there are many ways to calculate ROI.

Measurement and analytics of your email lead generation strategy leads to smarter decision making, which in turn increase the overall ROI based on optimizations and changes.

7.   Landing Pages 

Users will usually be directed to a landing page after clicking on a CTA. Your landing page should provide a way for your reader to register or sign up for an offer.

Having users complete this registration form is a crucial step for your email marketing success, so making it as simple as possible for them to get what they expect to receive is vital.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Reiterate the value of the offer you are providing in a clear and concise way.
  • Remove all distractions – your landing page should be solely dedicated to getting readers to complete the CTA and nothing else.
  • Make sure that the landing page mirrors the offer presented in the email. 

8. Create Anticipation 

Try creating anticipation and excitement amongst your customers by giving them the opportunity to join a rewards program.

Give your customers a reason to be loyal. Providing customers with an incentive to click will increase your campaigns email open and conversion rates. 

9. Make Each Campaign an Event 

Never give a stale message. Make every email campaign an event with attention-grabbing headlines, well-written content pieces and exclusive offers.

10.   Don’t Force the Issue

Great email marketing is about users opting-in, not opting-out. It’s about them buying into your message(s) and not being force-fed something they’re not interested in.

At the end, of the day your users must want to receive your emails. 

Create emails your customers will want to read and then track conversion rates, click-through-rates (CTR) and the overall performance of each campaign.

Make sure all the links work properly by checking whether they send users to the right landing pages and offers. Also, ensure your subject lines are engaging, images are concise and relevant, social links are integrated, and there’s a next step for readers to take.

Thoroughly checking these elements prior to launch ensures you’re never caught off-guard and your customers are never let down. 

In the B2B space, a solid email lead generation strategy is a critical component for a successful marketing strategy.

By implementing these tactics and utilizing these best practices you’ll see your lead engagement take off.

So the next time you send an email, make sure your business stands out by practising smarter and intelligent email marketing.