The art of effective and satisfactory marketing has changed a lot in the past few decades; most notably from a primarily ‘outbound’ set of tactics to the new and much softer inbound method. Inbound marketing is all about creating a place potential customers will wind up and inviting them to join your services. Ideally, the inbound marketing has done its job when people visit your website, see your call to action on blogs and videos, and at least consider hiring your service if and when they decide they need something. However, this does nothing for your sales metrics and makes minimal use of the potential connections created by inbound marketing. That’s where the email list comes in.
What is the difference between someone who reads your blog and a ‘lead’ in classic marketing terms? The lead is someone who could reasonably be assumed to be interested in your products. They’re (hopefully!) amenable to being sold an item or a service. They are who sales agents focus on and it is through them that marketers measure their success. The best way to count your leads is by collecting contact information and email addresses from online visitors who have admitted genuine interest in your industry, products, or services. Once you have the addresses, you can use email/mobile marketing to keep tabs, offer deals, and work on conversions.
The key, of course, is to actually get people to sign up for your mailing list. While there are many ways to semi-trick email addresses from your visitors, the best and most effective tactic is to actually offer them something of value in return for joining your email list. If played correctly, your growing number of leads and sales team can both get what they want from the deal.
When people give you their email address, they know sales are going to send them junk mail; that they will get company updates, seasonal offers, and other things that are generally regarded as junk mail or spam. So why would leads share their email address with you? Because you have something valuable to offer. The most important thing to remember is to not wear down your leads with ‘spam’. Instead, custom tailor every message to be interesting; have some entertainment or educational value for your official leads and mailing list readers.
Tell industry stories, give useful maintenance tips, or even detail DIY projects that your readers can safely try at home. If you’re a more technically or financially oriented company, give lifestyle, savings, or best practices advice that can be used by your email list readers to improve their lives. These tactics make the emails you send individually valuable and therefore well worth joining the mailing list.
The vast majority of discounts, coupons, and special offers sent to people on business mailing lists are ignored and relegated directly to spam folders without ever being looked at or noticed. Let’s face it: if your plan is to entice subscribers with seasonal sales, very few are going to sign up. Personalized deals, on the other hand, are an entirely different matter.
Most of the time the frustration with coupons is that they’re for things we don’t want or need. But with the power of modern data analysis and AI assistance, your marketing team can examine the buying habits of members on your email list and choose exactly the right discounts to offer them to tempt interest and close a sale. You can drastically increase the popularity, appeal, and success of discount-earning mailing list. You can even quickly customize the service for new customers by asking them to take a quick quiz.
One pattern that is undeniable online is that there is a big difference between how eagerly a customer shares their email ‘just because’ or to join a email list, and how quickly it’s entered to make an account. If you really want to turn your visitors into long-term customers, make creating accounts quick, easy, and simple. You don’t even need to have a service they can manage online, simply a way for clients to log in, personalize their profiles, and create a continuous customer service record under their own names and contact information.
Once you have a visitor converted into a ‘member’, whether for personalized deals, great email content, or for the member shipping discount, they have absolutely become a ‘lead’ even before the first item is bought and they convert to a full-blown customer.
Finally, let’s talk about downloadable content. A lot of people use the opportunity to download ebooks and information packets as their temptation for leads leaving an email address or joining the mailing list. Unfortunately, companies with little creativity or information to offer have soured a lot of the consumers to this idea as the ebook you sign up for turns out to be a half-page infographic that could have been thrown together in half an hour.
This isn’t to say that downloadable content is out; you just have to make sure it’s valuable and be willing to give first-time subscribers a sneak-peek to prove you’ve got the goods. Remember that it’s not worth downloading if it’s less than 2–3 pages and the content had better be good. You also don’t want to start sending ‘spammy‘ emails after enticing visitors with useful information so your best bet is to create an in-depth series of downloadable content ranging from in-depth industry stories to best practices to scientific studies depending on the interest and technical level of your audience.
Building an email list of leads and keeping them happy is a lot more difficult than it sounds. It’s certainly more complex than it used to be. With the switch from outbound to inbound marketing, leads need to be coaxed and entertained just like your public audience and you can’t assume they’ll stay ‘caught’ just because you have an email address. For more lead gathering tips and tricks, contact us today!