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Email Marketing 101: How do I use email marketing to generate leads?

How to ensure your email marketing campaigns to lead to conversion.

As an email marketing consultant, businesses regularly ask me how to create emails that lead to real sales or leads for a business. Email marketing is all about relationship; building a relationship with your customers so that they learn to trust you and look for you first as their brand of choice. It is a crucial component in any marketing funnel, and often comprises the “nurture” stage of the funnel. Your contacts may stay in this part of your marketing funnel or process for quite some time, and each time you send them an email that they open, browse, read or click a link on, you are strengthening the relationship that you have with your customer. 

When you view email marketing processes and plan as a relationship, it makes it easier to have realistic expectations about conversions and sales goals for each of your emails. 

Start with a healthy email list

A healthy mailing list is the first and most critical part of email marketing – make sure you use a healthy email list. It is a point that I can not labour enough; there is a direct correlation between the health of your email database and the likelihood of success with email marketing.

We all know the frustration that comes from marketing emails that arrive in your inbox, and you have no recollection of signing up to receive them. New laws and guidelines around email marketing have gone a long way to changing preventing email inbox clutter; however, this is a double-edged sword for email marketers. As an email marketer if you send an email that does not exhibit a clear correlation between the sign-up process and the marketing email, you are highly likely that your contact will report the email as spam or junk. The more of your emails that are marked as junk or spam, the more likely you are to have future deliverability issues which limit the success of both your current campaign and your future email marketing activities. It is essential that you understand email deliverability and the consequences of poor practice; there are plenty of tools to assist with deliverability here

Best practice in establishing an email marketing database is to create an “email list” of those who have shown interest in your product. Interested contacts may include previous customers, lead magnet responder, those who have opted in through social media or visitors to your website. The closer the connection to the brand and the more intentional the connection, the better the base for your email list. Some locations require a “double opt-in” process for email collection, so you must be aware if this is a requirement for your region.

To maintain a healthy email mailing list and best email marketing practice, it is imperative that on every email you provide an opportunity for your contacts to unsubscribe. In real life you don’t want to be hounded by someone trying to get your attention every few days, the same thing applies to your inbox – if you don’t want the contact your contact has the power to say no. Best practice in email marketing lists is an essential topic for all email marketers, and I recommend this article for more study on the subject.

Be conversational with email automations

If we consider that email marketing is about a relationship, it makes working out what emails to send and when to send them so much easier. Recently I stayed at a hotel in a city close to my home; the concierge showed exemplary customer service. When I arrived, he noticed that I had brought some drinks and asked if I wanted an ice bucket in my room; when we were chatting he inquired how he could assist with our stay and recommended some local restaurants; he then called the room once we had arrived and had made a tentative booking at a local restaurant that we had expressed interest in. When I accepted the reservation, he arranged a taxi and organised our favourite wine to be ready when we arrived at the restaurant. The level of customer service that he showed was incredible, and what made it so great was that he took cues from me, and he anticipated my needs. What if you could do this with email marketing?  Well, you absolutely can – and you should.

If your customer purchases from you, set up an email automation with the following emails;

  • – send them an email to say thank you,
  • – follow up in a few days to see how they are enjoying the product, 
  • – suggest additional ways to get value from the product or other products that would also suit their needs. 

When you are creating regular emails, make sure that the content is going to be relevant and helpful to your customer and values their time—base further automations on the way that they engage with your content. Don’t send emails that have no or little value with he hope you may get a few sales; this strategy does not value the relationship you are building with your customer. The opportunities for this level of engagement are endless and vary depending on the type of product or service that you offer – but the critical element is always valuing your connection with the customer.

Differentiate the content 

In face to face retail there is an advantage of being able to read the customer; a good salesperson will respond to the customers body language and browsing behaviour and modify the sales experience based on these observations. In the digital world, we can’t read body language, but we can use analytics and email automations to make sure that the right email reaches the right person. I have used differentiated content in the past to engage users of different product groups, different demographics and different marketing stages in ways that best connect with them, either by using different content within the one email or by sending completely different emails. The technical side of this differentiation will be determined by the email marketing system that you are using and the level of automation and differentiation that is available. 

Analyse and Learn

Analytics are your ear to the ground; just like when you have a face to face conversation with a customer you listen to their responses, as an email marketer, analytics are how you listen to your customer. Watch the type of content your customer clicks on in your emails, what subject lines get the best open rates, how many leads and what sort of quality of lead you get from what type of email. All of these things add up, and once you have identified trends, you can customise emails that respond in a meaningful and engaging way for your contacts. 

Email marketing is not just a technological science; it is a relationship. What most email marketers fail to realise is that the relationship is not only one way where you sell to your customer, but a two-way relationship. The contact gets to benefit from your email correspondence if you treat them with respect, are sensitive to their needs and anticipate what they may require at the right time; this is always a winning formula for successful email marketing.

Email Expert is the home of email marketing advice, solutions and options. Take some time to look around our website and learn more about email marketing software and solutions that could help you connect and convert your contacts.

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