Email marketing: marketers love it and consumers hate it. Even as our inboxes are inundated with hundreds of messages each day, marketers continue to push out more emails into cyberspace. Eighty-one percent of marketers say email is their most used lead generation tactic, according to Marketing Sherpa. It’s no surprise that by 2017, The Radicati Group predicts there will be more than 2.76 billion emails sent worldwide.
When done right, email marketing can certainly be effective. The average ROI for every dollar invested in email marketing yielded $40.56 in 2011, according to the Direct Market Association, and email marketing is predicted to continue delivering a strong return on investment. Ninety-three percent of online consumers interact with brands through email, more than any other platform, reports Prestige Marketing.
However, email is only one component of a larger, integrated digital marketing and inbound lead generation strategy. Relying on email as the primary or sole channel for inbound lead generation will eliminate a vast pool of leads and set your business up for future lead generation and nurturing problems. Effective inbound lead generation requires a diversified strategy across multiple communication channels.
A diversified inbound lead generation strategy is the key to success
Relying solely (or even primarily) on email for lead generation is a huge mistake. From PPC ads to thought leadership, a diversified strategy across multiple platforms is key to effective lead generation and nurturing.
Should email still be a key component of your lead generation strategy? Absolutely. Here’s how to make email marketing work for you.
1. Segment your email lists
Should a prospective customer that’s brand new to your professional services business receive the same message as a long-time customer who might be interested in expanding his contract? We didn’t think so. The prospective customer needs to be sold on the value of your business, while the long-time customer already knows your value – he just needs an incentive to increase his order.
Blasting your entire list with the same message is shortsighted and fails to take into account your customers’ nuanced needs. Segmenting improves click-thru rates by delivering a targeted call-to-action that is specific to each email recipient’s needs. That’s why segmenting email lists increases open rates by 39% and – most importantly – increases revenue by 24%, according to Prestige Marketing.
2. Integrate email with thought leadership
Don’t use your email list to thoughtlessly blast leads with special sales offers or promotions. Instead, use email to nurture a real relationship with your leads through thought leadership. For example, use email to offer contacts priority access to valuable content or special offers, such as a free eBook. Keep your emails short and concise with a clear call to action so it’s easy for recipients to quickly scan your message on their smartphones. Sending emails with a link to substantive content will give your leads a reason to stay subscribed to your email list and engaged with your business.
3. Go beyond email marketing
When it comes to lead nurturing, don’t rely on email marketing as the only channel to engaged with or cultivate leads. Are your clients active on LinkedIn? Then you should be, too. When was the last time you posted to your company blog or shared a white paper download on your website? Your company blog is a prime ground for establishing a thought leadership program that builds your business’s reputation as an industry leader. By maintaining an active presence on a variety of marketing channels, your business can better respond to today’s dynamic marketplace.
Don’t rely on email as the single or even the most important channel for inbound lead generation. By staying active across a variety of channels, including PPC ads, social media marketing and content marketing, this diversified approach will prevent current clients from stagnating and empower your marketing team to nurture leads in new, cost-effective ways.