Ask a marketer to list their priorities in 2017 and most of them would put driving traffic and lead generation at the top. Hubspot’s State of Inbound report reveals just that with more than 60% of them listing generating traffic and leads as their top priorities in all regions.
Capturing a lead — someone who has a potential of providing revenue to your business — however, isn’t an easy job. In fact, for modern day marketers, lead generation is one of the biggest challenges in 2017.
According to BrightTalk, 80% of them report that their efforts are only slightly or somewhat effective.
While an increase in social media penetration and its familiarity has contributed to quality leads and helped sooth down a marketers’ anxiety, it still isn’t close to the oldest and the most effective medium for lead generation: e-mail marketing.
Email has come a long way. According to the Radicati group, we are nearing a worldwide user base of 3 Billion by 2020.
In 2014, McKinsey released a now widely cited study. It highlights that email is almost 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined in helping your business acquire new customers.
These numbers are huge. However, they don’t just put light onto a bigger market to tap in for lead generation, but also an alarming call to get intelligent and smarter with email marketing.
In this article, we explore 4 ways you can use email to generate and close leads – the smarter way.
1) PERSONALIZE AND SEGMENT
At each instant, every person is in a different buying cycle. Moreover, they don’t necessarily have the same root cause backing their decision to purchase from you.
This is where email Personalization & Segmentation become critical to your lead generating email marketing strategy.
Econsultancy reports that businesses who personalize email report a 14% uplift in sales. However, while the commercial case is strong here, only 5% of companies are personalizing their emails.
In an age where an average user receives an average of 121 emails per day, segmented and personalized emails help companies stand out. So how do you do it right?
At the core, it is all about defining your audience based on certain parameters. An important thing to remember is that personalization goes beyond calling people by their names in the email body and subject.
In the e-mail below, Hubspot has segmented me:
- As someone who has an interest in the courses offered by the Hubspot Academy;
- Personalized the e-mail with my name;
- Personalized the email with the content that I’d like to consume;
- Provided a human face to their business. Notice, I have received this email from Justin Lee and not HubSpot Asia. An important point to note here is that people do business with people.
Read: Infographic: The Future of Email Content — Alive and Personal
2) USE EMAIL AUTOMATION
Email automation is one of the most important (and smartest) aspects of email marketing today.
In fact, in a report by Marketo and Ascend2, 91% of the most successful users agreed that marketing automation is “very important”.
Here’s an example:
A user visits your e-commerce website, checks out your product, adds it to the cart and bounces off.
In traditional marketing, the user will still receive emails but they will not be relevant, targeted and personalized. Moreover, these emails are manually driven.
Where marketing automation excels is by triggering emails based on user activity. These emails are part of a marketing automation or drip marketing campaign.
In our example above, the user will receive a triggered email informing them about an item in their cart. Few days later, they will get a 25% discount on the product.
Marketing automation enables trigger-driven, behavior-based emails that you create in advance — saving you time, energy, and heaps of money. This makes an email more personal, relevant, and timely — which is at the core of email marketing.
3) KNOW YOUR NUMBERS
If you plan to run email marketing at scale, data will be the crux of your strategy.
Measurement and analytics of your email marketing strategy leads to smarter decision — which in turn increase the overall ROI based on optimizations and changes. So, what are the metrics you should you measure and analyze for intelligent email marketing?
- Click Through Rate: Click through rate is a measure of whether or not your email sparked interest in your target audience. It’s important to factor in the various parameters that affect CTR before making optimization decisions.
- Conversion Rate: After someone has clicked on your email, the next goal is for them to perform a desired action. This can be purchasing a product or filling up a lead. Whatever the end goal may be, conversion rate tells the story of how relevant is the overall offer. If you are consistently seeing a poor conversion rate, it is important to optimize the strategy.
- Forwarding rate: It is vital to keep an eye on the email sharing rate or forwarding rate metric. Forwarding rate determines the relevancy of your email and also the number of new users you can generate. Hence, it becomes one of the important metrics to track.
- ROI: There are many ways to calculate ROI and it depends what you want to achieve from your business. On a simpler level, it is a factor of all your investments and the profit you made from it.
Measurement and analytics is critical for an intelligent email marketing strategy. Data driven decisions hardly go wrong.
4) MAKE IT MOBILE FIRST
Smartphones are key to a smarter email marketing.
Source: Radicati Group
“By the end of 2018, worldwide mobile email users are expected to total over 2.2 billion”. — The Radicati Group “Email Statistics Report, 2014–2018″
The growth of mobile as a means of email communication has been nothing short of tremendous.
According to Emailmonday, Mobile email opens have grown by 180%. So, if you are a modern day marketer without a clear mobile first strategy for email marketing, then you are missing out on a lot of leads, customers and added ROI.
With a mobile-friendly email, you ensure consistent communication across devices. A mobile friendly email is tailored to mobile and has elements stacked up in a manner that creates better experiences.
Some of the key elements include shorter copy, using a larger font size and having a distinct call to action .
Here’s a great infographic by Salesforce that highlights key mobile-friendly elements that should be part of your next email.
In an age where Social Media dominates the ad spend pie, email marketing has been a clear outlier. Slowly and steadily, it has become a disruptive channel in terms of return on investment.
Marketers have taken notice and actioned this. Which is why an average user receives about 121 emails per day. So the next time you send an email, make sure your business stands out by practicing smarter and intelligent email marketing. Today it isn’t just a best practice, it is necessary for a successful marketing strategy.
Prateek is a Digital Marketer based out of New Delhi, India. In his free time, he likes to experiment with design, photography, and video editing. Connect with him on Twitter or read his blog on Medium.