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10 Sure-Fire Ways to Optimize Your Email Marketing for Lead Generation by Sarah Goliger @sarahbethgo

10 Sure-Fire Ways to Optimize Your Email Marketing for Lead Generation by Sarah Goliger @sarahbethgo

10 Sure-Fire Ways to Optimize Your Email Marketing for Lead Generation

Email marketing is a critical component of a strong lead generation strategy, and lies at the very core of lead nurturing.  But with all the messages that are inevitably piling up in your leads’ inboxes, how can you make yours stand out from the crowd?  Here are 10 ways you can increase the likelihood that your prospects and leads will open, read, and take action from your emails.

1. Better segment your list.  Email segmentation is important because it allows you to deliver only the most relevant, customized content to your subscribers.  The more specific your segments get, the better able you are to deliver content that speaks directly to their interests.  If you’ve implemented a lead management program, you can continue to collect information about your subscribers based on their on- and off-site behaviors that will allow you to learn more and more about them, and then deliver more personalized emails that align with their stage in the buying cycle.

2. Map your content.  This is why you segment your list! Now that you know to whom you’re sending your email, consider what content they want, and use that for the offer you send them. Mapping relevant content to your list ensures everything you send to your subscribers is as relevant as possible, decreasing your instances of unsubscribes due to irrelevant content.  If your offer speaks to your recipient’s needs, it’s a no-brainer that you’ll get a higher click-through rate.  Plus, content mapping lets you identify and fill in holes in your content strategy as you notice shortages in assets mapped to certain segments.

3. Perform email frequency testing.  First of all, just as you should let your subscribers select the types of emails they receive, you should also let them adjust the frequency with which you can communicate with them. Let your email recipients tell you the right frequency for them — whether it’s multiple times daily or just once a month — so you don’t end up bombarding their inbox or leaving it too scarce for their tastes.  However, not all of your subscribers will tell you how often they like to be emailed by your company, so be proactive and perform email frequency tests to determine optimal frequency. If you haven’t performed an email sending frequency test, reference this guide to get your first experiment up and running.

4. Test your subject lines.  Click-through rate is often used in email marketing to refer specifically to the click-through rate of an offer in the body of your email.  But you first need to get recipients to click into the email.  Once you’ve nailed email deliverability, start A/B testing the subject lines you’re using.  Subject lines that are personalized, actionable, clear, brief, and consistent with the message content tend to perform the best.

5. Remember: less is more with copy.  Write shorter emails to increase the likelihood that your email recipients will encounter your offer before getting bored and deleting it.  You can also help combat this by frontloading your best copy.

6. Include social sharing options.  Even if your message recipients are not interested in your email’s offer, they might know a friend who is.  Adding social sharing buttons to your emails can drastically increase your click-through rate by allowing your subscribers to pass along your content to others in their networks.  In fact, a study by Econsultancy found that including just one social sharing option generated 30% higher click-through rates, and 3 or more sharing options bumped up click-through rates by 55%!

7. Personalize your emails.  You can further target your list and the content in your email by including elements of personalization. Part of effective lead nurturing is knowing about your prospects’ and customers’ purchase history, download history, satisfaction score, and website activity. This will allow you to provide the most relevant offers that will receive more click-throughs due to the targeted nature of your email.

8. Remove distractions.  Just like when you’re building landing pages, it’s important to remove distractions from your email template.  Although it might seem like a good idea to include multiple offers in the hopes that at least one of them will appeal to your viewers, this really means that your email doesn’t have a specific enough goal.  Focus on the one thing you want the reader to do, and make that your only call-to-action.  Don’t give readers the opportunity to get distracted by your blog posts, product pages, or any other part of your site.

9. Make your CTA obvious.  On that note, since your main goal is to get your email recipients to click-through on your offer, you should make your call-to-action highly noticeable.  Ensure that your CTA is above the fold, bright, bold, and impossible to miss.  It’s unlikely that your subscribers will take the time to look for your CTA, so if they can’t see it right away, chances are pretty good that you won’t be getting many clicks to it.

10. Closely tie emails to landing pages.  The landing pages to which you’re directing clicks to your calls-to-action should match your emails in terms of headline, copy, and content.  The look and feel of your landing pages should also be consistent with your emails in order to limit confusion.  Your visitors should be able to tell immediately that the offer they clicked on in your email is the same one that they’re seeing on your landing page.  Also, make sure you’re utilizing tracking tools to see which emails and landing pages are performing the best, so you can optimize your next ones accordingly.

Takeaway: So what are you waiting for?  Get started with these optimization techniques, and before you know it, you’ll be watching your click-through rates climb the charts.

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