Email marketing has a mixed reputation. Some people think it is great as a CRM or loyalty tool, others think it is effective as a lead nurturing channel, while others believe it is simply archaic, obsolete in the continually changing world of digital marketing.
I believe there is a time and place for everything. And, email is no exception.
Today, I have chosen to concentrate on the email marketing channel as it relates to lead generation: the first stage in the customer conversion cycle. Here are some tips to optimize your lead generation efforts using the email channel:
+ Use incentives in your subject line to increase open rates. For example, “Free shipping when you spend $25 or more.”
+ Keep your email copy concise and to the point. I recommend keeping you copy to under 100 words, or three short paragraphs.
+ Keep your call-to-action (CTA) and key message above the fold.
+ Keep your email width to 500-650 pixels, any wider and people will gave to scroll horizontally to read your message. Don’t do it!
+ Keep your subject lines short – no more than 40 characters. Also, make sure your subject line creates urgency and is related to the core message or offering in your email.
+ Use auto-responders for email opt-ins. Let’s face it, people forget when they opt-in for emails. According to Hubspot, auto-repsonder emails should be sent out at 1 day, 5 days and 10 days after the person registers. Each auto-responder email should be unique, and offer bonus material to reward those that opted in. Most ESPs allow you to set up triggered email campaigns.
+ Always tie emails to custom landing pages. This is a big one when it comes to conversions. Email headline, copy and content should match the landing page. It is important to track which combinations perform the best and equate to the most conversions.
+ People should be able to open your email and “get it” within 5 seconds, any longer and you aren;t being concise enough, or your value proposition is not clear.
+ NEVER try to sell anything in your first email contact. The purpose of the first lead email contact is to leave the reader wanting to know more. An inquisitive click is essentially a warm lead. If people don’t want to know more, they wouldn’t have bought from you in the first place.
+ Incorporate a content strategy centered around educational value. If you can demonstrate thought leadership early on the buying cycle you will have that much more influence and credibility when it comes to the conversion stage.
+ Include Alt and Title text. This text should contain a CTA, as well as a link to a landing page.
+ Avoid legal action by making sure that you are following all CAN-SPAM laws. Include a physical mailing address, notification that the communication is an advertisement, and an unsubscribe link.
+ “Cash” and “sale” are examples of SPAM-sensitive words and should be avoided as much as possible in email copy.
+ Personalize communications with variable merge tags that populate personal data in the email body, such as *|FNAME|*. This is particularly important for retention purposes.
+ Always include links to your social media, blog, website and any other owned sources that may derive value for your readers and/or enhance your credibility.
+ Sharing icons can be valuable in terms of building reach. But, be careful with the content you choose to amplify.
+ Try and repeat your CTA 3 times throughout the body of the email.
+ Try writing your email before the subject line to improve the relevance of your subject line.
Lead generation is a delicate practice. Follow best practices, and implement a solid content strategy and you’ll be converting in no time!