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Liftoff Lead Generation with Opt-In Email Marketing *great tipsRaise your hand if you love unsolicited emails. Anybody? No? Yea, you and me both, buddy. Unwelcome email isn’t just annoying, it’s often illegal. On the flip side, we’re sure you’d rather not tick off your potential customers by sucking them into a spam trap. If you’re looking to grow your customer base via email, the secret to success is to master the art of opt-in email marketing.

Before we draw our flight plan, a word on email marketing. Actually, four words: Email Marketing Isn’t Dead. Not only does email marketing have an obscenely high ROI, recent studies show email is more consistent, more engaging and more effective than social media. In short, email marketing WORKS—and baby, it’s here to stay. Let’s get to it. Here’s how to launch your lead generation to the next level…

To Opt or Not to Opt
Opt-in email marketing offers exactly what it implies: you want your leads to opt-in to receive emails from your company. Effectively, you want them to sign up, say YES!, and anxiously await what will surely be the perfect frequency of enticing, engaging and informative emails—each of which will lead to a highly satisfying purchase. (We all must aspire for greatness, no?) But how in the heck do you get people to sign up in the first place?

3…  First, Think Target Market
Start Your Engines! First you need to determine what types of people make up your rocketship full of superstar customers. At Cultivate, we’re big fans of creating buyer personas. (Trust us, it’s a fabulous way to dig deep into your future customer’s psyche.) This is a very important step! …but because there are roughly 4 billion articles out there on understanding your target audience, we’re not going to overdo it here. Let’s skip right to the juicy stuff.

2…  Next, Think Content Creation
Give Your People What They Want! Here’s where things really heat up. Ask yourself, What kinds of content would my ideal customer find helpful? Note how we’re not talking about how to sell, sell, sell—we’re thinking about how to engage that perfect customer on a very human level. Offer up a kick-ass infographic, a regularly updated blog, and a handful of eBooks and whitepapers to boot. But don’t offer something up just because it’s something. (Read: “Just something” is crap.) Again, be helpful. In what medium can you provide your customers with the most helpful and engaging content? When you’re helpful, you’ll be remembered. Multiple target markets? No problem! Use segmented marketing to nurture multiple lead pipelines. In essence, the idea is to create tailored content for each separate market segment, creating multiple paths to the sale.

1…  Finally, Think Opportunity
Ready to Fly? Oh yea. Now it’s time to use all that beautifully constructed, helpful content to your advantage. You have a few tools of the trade in your arsenal here, including call-to-action buttons (or CTAs) and web forms. First, you’ll need to draw in that target audience with all that lovely content. But the SUPER-awesome content? Keep it under lock and key. (Wait, don’t go hiding it away!) First, entice your audience with a tiny preview. Next, be sure you’ve placed a well-thought-out CTA.

That handy little CTA button is the catalyst that will move that person from just-another-website visitor to the Realm of the Engaged Prospect. They click! They arrive at a well-written, concise and effective landing page. That landing page features that content they want oh-so-badly. But wait! First, they need to fill out a short form. In exchange for a few bits of information (including that coveted email address), you’ll provide the downloadable content they desire. It’s a deal! That’s the magic of opt-in. But that’s not the only way to get your prospects to volunteer their email addresses. There are tons of clever ways to grow your opt-in email list, like tradeshows, QR codes, social media contests, guest blog spots, and more.

Quick secret: With today’s automated marketing tools, you can even create adaptable CTAs based on those aforementioned buyer personas and/or market segments. Cool, hey?

LIFTOFF! Think Successful Email Marketing

You have that potential customer’s email address, now it’s time to nudge them toward the sale…without going overboard. Email marketing is a great medium for upcycling content, providing deals and coupons, announcing cool company contests and events, boosting social media engagement, and so much more. But you have to keep your audience hooked—or all your email marketing efforts will be for naught.

Three Key Tips for Maintaining a Successful Email Marketing List:

  1. Your email content must be expertly constructed both in style and in voice. Like we said: no crap. No rushed crap, no crap for the sake of “having something there.” No crap. Period.
  2. Avoid the “human spam filter.” You have 5 seconds or less to engage your email reader. Start with a catchy, honest headline and hit ‘em with a well-paced email with great graphics. Every time.
  3. Always opt in for opt-in. Yes, we’re going to say it again. Collect those email addresses in a legitimate fashion. Don’t buy lists. Don’t add email addresses without permission. You want to create engagement, so what’s the point of waving your arms at a bunch of people who don’t care about the performance?

The opt-in methodology creates the most opportunities for worthwhile email marketing engagement. Do it right and keep your company shooting for the stars!

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