If you listen to the uninitiated, they’ll tell you that email marketing is a thing of the past. But more experienced marketers will tell you that email marketing isn’t just important but a critical element to becoming a successful business.
It is so effective that businesses and marketers have been pouring money into their email marketing campaigns. In fact, spending on email advertising is expected to reach $350 million this year.
That being said, it’s not wise to simply invest in a campaign without a proper plan or tactics in place.
Before we dive into the crux of the matter, let’s take a closer look at what lead generation actually is and why it matters so much.
What is Lead Generation?
Lead generation is the process of collecting and gathering leads by means of digital marketing.
If you’re asking your prospects to fill out a lead capture form by offering them something valuable in exchange, then you’re generating email leads for yourself.
The objective is to get your prospect to willingly give you their contact information.
That information could be their phone number or their email address. The latter is email lead generation.
Email marketing is a less stressful and more low-key means of getting in touch with your leads and nurturing them.
A good email lead generation strategy is highly targeted and involves a specific plan to generate and convert fresh leads.
Typically, email lead generation campaigns involve the following steps:
- Create quality content to promote your business on social media, and guest blog to generate site traffic.
- Impress your site visitors with insightful content and entice them to give you their email addresses.
- Incentivize them with a lead magnet to convert them into paying customers.
- Interact with your prospects on a regular basis, and send them relevant emails.
The question is, how can you grow your email leads and subsequently convert them?
How to Get Email Leads
Let’s take a close look at how you can get more email leads for your business.
1. Display Pop-ups
One of the more obvious reasons why you’re not getting enough email leads is that you’re not asking your visitors at the right time. But what is the right time to ask site visitors for their contact information?
One such opportunity would be at the end of your content when you’ve provided your readers with some valuable information. They’re more likely to subscribe to your newsletter after you’ve satisfied their content needs.
If you trigger a pop-up when your readers reach the bottom of your content page, you prompt them to make a decision instantly. This can help increase your conversion rate. And it can help convert people who might have otherwise been averse to subscribing.
Given that this pop-up will be triggered at the end of your content, it acts as a call-to-action that gives your visitors direction.
Here’s an example from Klaviyo. You can use WordPress plugins to enable these.
Image via Klaviyo
You should also present pop-ups when a user shows intent to exit your website. Exit intent is a relatively new technology which can be used to determine if a user intends to leave your site.
Essentially, if someone is about to close their browser or leave the tab, a pop-up will appear and prompt them to enter their email address.
It works on the principle of urgency, and if someone found your content to be useful, they’re likely to subscribe.
OptinMonster is a great tool you can leverage for such pop-up services. As a demonstration, they run an exit-intent pop-up on their own website.
Image via OptinMonster
2. Track Your Competition
Now, this may seem like a trivial point but nonetheless, it’s important. There’s some valuable insights that can be gained on creating email leads by keeping tabs on your competition.
You can even draw inspiration from other companies in adjacent industries.
Don’t get me wrong, in no way am I suggesting that you should outright copy others. But it doesn’t hurt to know what they’re up to.
For example, if your competitor is offering a whitepaper as a lead magnet, can you do them one better?
Good alternatives would be an ebook or perhaps a video course talking about your product or how people can leverage it.
That way you can target a wider audience of people considering most people are visual learners. Being generous with your knowledge can get you more email leads.
3. Run Email Drip Campaigns
Think of email drip campaigns as a gardening project. You need to nurture your plants before reaping any vegetables, fruit, or herbs.
The same principle applies here. No email lead capture strategy starts and ends with a landing page. You need to strategically nurture each email lead to convert them into a sale.
Basically, an email drip campaign is a series of emails you send your prospects. You could send them one each week or one daily. Experiment with your schedule to see what works for your audience.
You could start off with a simple welcome email. Thank the leads for subscribing to your newsletter and set expectations for future contact.
Follow that up with a roundup of your best articles or one specifically tailored towards their content needs. Work on establishing your expertise and authority in your niche.
At the end of the day, we all crave predictability, precision, and patterns.
Using an email drip campaign allows you to deliver all three elements to your leads. The secret to generating email leads is to make your readers feel safe and tease them with each message.
You want them to look forward to your emails in their inboxes every week.
4. Offer Gated Content and Content Upgrades
Gated content and content upgrades can be good sources for email leads. They’re like freemium products which you can use to entice your target audience into subscribing to your newsletter.
For instance, you can use one of your meatier, longer pieces of content as a lead magnet. Leverage the article by putting it behind a lead capture wall. Then people will have to give you their contact information in order to continue reading further.
To give you an example of how this might work, say you have a post on, “5 Surefire Ways to Influencer Marketing Success.”
But you also have a comprehensive ebook detailing the ins and outs of influencer marketing. You should offer your audience the opportunity to download your resource from within the post by opting-in, i.e. giving you their email address.
Content upgrades like these have proven to be very useful when it comes to generating email leads. B2B businesses like Wishpond rely on free email-gated content to fetch new email leads for themselves.
They have a variety of ebooks on social media marketing that they offer in exchange for a reader’s email address.
Image via Wishpond
Building on what we’ve just discussed regarding gated content, you should also consider having a gated homepage. Your homepage is not only the most visited page but also the most authoritative one on your website. You can leverage it to get more email leads.
It can be used to give your site visitors a warm welcome and attract them right away by offering a juicy piece of free content.
Statistically speaking, with more traffic on your homepage, you’re likely to source more email leads that way.
Jeff Bullas has a terrific home gate which I’m sure he’s benefited a lot from.
Image via Jeff Bullas
5. Sidebars, Sticky Top Bars, and Slide-Ins
Sidebars provide your site visitors additional options to navigate your site. Most blogs use them these days.
Often, they include a subscriber form as well. A visually appealing subscribe box can work wonders for your email lead generation.
Here’s an example from Audience Bloom.
Image via Audience Bloom
Alternatively, you could use a sticky top bar for the same purpose. It’s simple, noticeable, and scrolls with the page so your readers are always aware of its presence.
Speaking from personal experience, it really does help with your conversions. Tools like Hello Bar can help you set this up.
Another easy and effective way to attract email leads is to slide into their attention. It’s also one of the more subtler ways to do so.
Once a reader has scrolled through a certain fraction of your page, a subscribe box can slide into view from the bottom corner. The effect is gentle and eye-catching.
Tools like MailOptin can help you set this up.
Image via MailOptin
6. Leverage Social Posts and Ads
Building on what we’ve already covered about gated content on your website, you can also leverage social media to offer the same.
Whether it’s a webinar, an ebook, or some other resource, you should tell your social media followers about it in your posts.
Direct them to the landing page on your website via your Facebook page. Your posts could be as simple as the title of your post, an image, and a link to it.
If it’s dated content, then you can revive it by pulling excerpts from it to peak the interest of your followers.
Additionally, you can use social media ads to promote your gated content to your target customers. I recommend opting for an ad on the right column that clicks through to your landing page.
The targeting capabilities on tools like Facebook and Instagram are an easy way to connect with targeted markets. You could go so far as targeting people who follow your competitors or other pages that offer content similar to your own.
It’s also helpful that you can keep track of the number of people clicking through your ads.
7. Score Your Leads
As I’m sure you’re aware, lead scoring helps you prioritize your existing leads. While it doesn’t directly help you garner any new email leads, it can save you a lot of time and effort.
That’s because if a lead isn’t qualified, chances are they aren’t interested in hearing what you have to say anyway.
That’s the thing about marketing – you want your content to reach the right people.
Lead scoring and qualifying will help you predict which of your prospects are likely to convert into customers. Once you have this information, it’s easier to divert your energies towards capturing them.
Here’s how you can and should be going about it.
Let’s say a lead visits one of your product pages and looks over the specs, photos, reviews, and demo videos but doesn’t take any action. At that juncture, you should use an exit pop-up that offers them a discount to tempt them into purchasing.
Seeing as the prospect has expressed an interest in your product, it makes them a qualified lead.
After submitting their details, they’ll receive a discount code they can use to make the purchase and you get their information. Using such events to trigger pop-ups can increase your email lead capture manifold.
8. Automate Your Email Delivery
Finally, email automation can further solidify your email lead generation abilities. The primary benefit, of course, is that you’ll have to divert considerably fewer resources towards marketing.
And when we talk about automation, I’m not talking about using templates.
You can send prospects different kinds of emails depending on the stage of the lead generation funnel they are in.
For instance, you might want to share unique industry insights with people who are still learning about your product. Offer discounts or incentives to those who have viewed your offer and who are teetering on the edge of making the final purchase decision.
Image via TrackMaven
You can use software to automatically send particular emails to certain segments of your prospects based on your funnel.
Test different copy, images, and other email elements to figure out what works best. The key is figuring out which triggers to use to decide which email needs to be sent out.
Here are some example triggers you can use:
- Signed up for your newsletter
- Registered for your webinar
- Bought a product
- Subscribed to a service
Getting the Most Out of Your Tactics
Before we conclude, there are three things we need to discuss so that you can get the most out of your email lead capturing tactics.
How do you decide which of these tactics will work best for you? It’s important to recognize that not all businesses and websites are the same. What works for one may not for another.
Here’s how you can figure out which to use:
- Run a heat map test of your website.
- Discover the areas most people view and click.
- Select the best few tactics based on this data.
- A/B test to get your timing right.
Ideally, pop-ups shouldn’t appear till at least a minute has passed since the visitor landed on a particular page. Any sooner and you risk a massive drop in your conversion rates. Conversely, wait too long and you may miss your chance to reach many visitors.
Here’s why you should control this factor:
- Stop irritating customers with pop-ups
- Prevent people from leaving your site
- Keep your conversions up
Finding an email lead generation strategy that works for you is an experimental process. You need to try different things and monitor the impact each of them has on your conversion rates.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.