There are many ways to generate leads. Heck, there are many ways just to take advantage of online lead generation, which is only one component of all the channels that can be used to drive leads to your business. (Check out Ten Lead Generation Models).
In the world of online marketing, incorporating email into a lead generation campaign would be considered a mature practice, since it’s been so thoroughly and routinely utilized going back to the 90’s. (I began my email marketing career back in 1995 and have never stopped.)
The accompanying graphic of a simple email lead generation flow chart depicts the flow of a stream of Internet visitors moving through a website, getting sorted into segmented databases and leveraging those databases to maximize marketing leads and sales.
Free Offer in Exchange for an Email Address
It all begins with some kind of offer – and it’s typically a free offer. This can be as simple as a free download that would be valuable to the targeted market segment. The download could be a PDF, or an audio program or a video, or even a multi-part email educational “course.”
The offer should be something desirable for your target audience. As an example, if you were generating leads to cultivate financial service clients, you would offer something of value to those types of clients. If you were offering leads to potential students for educational products or services, you would need something that specific target audience needs, and it should also relate to the product or service you are selling.
Regardless of what the offer is, it should be emphasized that it needs to be valuable. Over the years it’s gotten harder and harder to inspire visitors to part with their email address in exchange for downloadable information, and if what you provide is not truly deemed valuable by the recipients, then you will have lost the opportunity to convert those visitors into new customers. In fact, they might not be interested in anything you have to offer at any time thereafter.
Conversely, if you truly delight them with your offer, they may be inclined to consider that if you provided that much value for free, you’ll probably provide even more value for your paid products or services.
Do You Really Need More Info Than Your Visitors’ Email?
By the way, the more information you ask of your visitors, the less of them who will respond. Of course all marketers typically want as much information as possible from their potential leads, but that’s not always the best practice. In other words, if you ask for more info than their name and email (such as their phone number, and address, etc.) many visitors will decline your free offer.
It’s more acceptable to simply ask for name and email. Some marketers only ask for an email (and no name), knowing that the more visitors that they convert into their database, the more FUTURE opportunities there will be to get more contact information, and more importantly, MORE SALES.
Lead Generation: Quality vs. Quantity
Some marketers are willing to accept less potential leads, and instead, ask for as much information as they believe is necessary to qualify a lead upfront. This is simply a business decision. Do you want a larger volume of leads? Or do you want a more qualified stream of leads?
However, this particularly flow chart highlights a process that attempts to gain a higher quantity of leads AND a higher quality by guiding visitors through an initial two-step process. It’s simple and gives visitors more control over their experience while gaining more demographic information for the marketer.
More specifically, the initial offer in this example only requires name and email. However, once that is provided, an optional survey is presented, which has several qualifying questions, and also makes an optional request for a phone number. Since a visitor can choose whether to provide their phone number or not, most that do enter their phone number, can be considered to be amenable to a sales call. (Especially if you make it clear that someone will contact them if they leave a phone number).
By the way, if you want to make this simple flow chart even simpler, then the survey can be dispensed with.
This flow chart represents a simple, rudimentary and initial aspect of database marketing. In this example, ALL emails that are exchanged for the offer go into a central “All Prospects Database,” and those that give their phone number are segmented into a “Hot Prospects Database,” whom are immediately contacted via telephone as part of a sales process.
Of course, not all the prospects that are included in the sales process will be reached by phone and of those that are contactable, not all will turn into customers.
However, by way of the ongoing email follow-up campaign, which integrates more information about the topic that is of interest to the visitors (as well as additional marketing email messages), these follow up emails represent the crux of this campaign as they can continue on indefinitely until the subscriber buys a product or service or unsubscribes from the database.
Bear in mind that most prospects will “not” provide their phone number, which means the majority of conversions from inquiries to actual hot prospects will be a result of the ongoing email marketing efforts. It is only then, after those who are reading the emails get to know your business better, that they will select themselves into the “Hot Prospects Database” by contacting you to ask questions or to buy your product or service.
And the best part is that the entire lead generation process is automated up to the point that prospects enter the sales process. (If interested, you are welcome to contact me about which email services may be best for your business).
Email Lead Generation Conclusion
There is certainly more that one can know about online email lead generation, including testing the offers and landing pages, testing which survey questions yield the best results in terms of prospect engagement and qualifying the leads.
Furthermore, there is more that one can know about tuning the variables of quantity vs. quality of leads.
And there is definitely more that can be known about database marketing and lead segmentation, especially as it relates to gaining more demographic information from your email database as time goes on and as your readers receive more of your mailings.
But this simple flow chart does serve as an example of one method that can be used to construct an email lead generation campaign to increase your business profits.
Avid hiker, bicyclist, motorcyclist, long-time seasoned advertising pro and taste-tester of too much organic dark chocolate. Founder of Skyworks Marketing, Nonprofit Fire and Founder/Producer of local cable TV series Our Ventura TV. One career highlight was working on a small team that built a business from nothing to over $100 Million in 3 years.