Email lead generation — 13 tips for building a good list

A marketer generates an email list using a laptop.

As every marketer knows, lead generation is essential to keeping a business running successfully. And in the current digital age of marketing, being able to maximize email as a lead generation tool is more vital than ever before. However, many marketers and teams still struggle to cultivate the contacts they collect into viable leads with solid strategies for conversion.

Email marketing requires a good list. But to build an email list that will engage and eventually convert, you need to understand what email lead generation is and how to do it well.

This article will cover everything you need to know about email lead generation and explain how you can leverage current strategies to improve your email marketing campaign’s return on investment (ROI). Specifically, you’ll learn:

What are email leads?

Email leads are individuals with interest in your products or services from whom you’ve collected contact information through an email opt-in form. These details typically include an email address that can be used to contact the individual with information about your offers.

Email leads are increasingly critical to digital marketing since they provide the main source of contact where you can reach potential customers via the internet. Online marketing relies heavily on these contact methods to connect prospects to product and service offers, as well as to educate them regarding brands.

What is email lead generation?

Email lead generation is the process by which marketers collect email leads for their marketing efforts. This includes as many data points as are critical to your marketing process while keeping forms as streamlined as possible. At a minimum, quality email lead generation includes capturing first name, last name, and email address.

Email lead generation is also about the process of nurturing those leads into viable potential customers through strategic campaigns and outreach strategies. It’s not just collecting the leads that’s important — marketers also need to use email marketing and supporting techniques to generate qualified business leads from the bevy of email addresses.

Is email lead generation important?

With the focus in today’s marketing on digital strategies, emails can become the lifeblood of not just a marketing strategy but a company’s ability to succeed. They’re the core method by which companies are able to make contact with potential customers and nurture their relationships to create new sales and generate new business.

Email lead generation and marketing are also among the most effective ways to create those relationships. Marketing emails influence purchasing decisions for 50.7% of customers, and email marketing can produce an ROI of a staggering 4,200%. What’s more, 61% of consumers actually prefer and enjoy receiving promotional emails, especially when those messages contain offers that benefit them.

Marketing emails influence decisions for 50.7% of customers and can produce an ROI of 4,200%. 61% of consumers enjoy getting these emails.

It’s important to note that the ROI you can expect from your campaigns is also tied to the quality of the email leads you collect. It’s always a poor idea to purchase lists in bulk from vendors promising immediate gains. These individual contacts didn’t opt in to your email marketing program, so they’re not qualified leads with a clear interest in your products or services. As a result, you’ll clutter your CRM or marketing automation system with low-quality leads that are likely to have higher opt-out rates and poor response rates.

13 updated email lead generation strategies

Once you’ve garnered your email leads through the proper opt-in marketing channels, your work has just begun. Nurturing those leads, or engaging them further to encourage them to become customers, is a crucial part of email lead generation.

To help, we’ve assembled a list of 13 top strategies you can use to create connections with your contacts and get the most out of your email lead generation.

1. Identify and segment your target audiences

Understanding who you’re communicating with is just as important as what you are communicating about. Defining your target audiences (or revisiting them if it’s been a while) can help you make sure the messages you’re crafting will resonate with the people you’re contacting.

Marketers use a variety of strategies to segment their email leads, from demographics to product benefits and geography. Consider how your buyer personas match up with your product or service offerings, and then make sure you’re breaking them down for the right groups of people at the right time through your email marketing.

2. Use social media

Potential customers who are already interested in your brand might have an eye on you through your social media channels. Social media is a great opportunity for you to collect their information.

Look for ways to engage with your followers and provide content that is of value to them, not just to your brand. Presenting offers in exchange for contact information is just one great way to grow your list through social media.

3. Create valuable, engaging content

Creating original content helps you build connections and trust with your audience by providing valuable information that can help them understand your products better or engage with your services. The best content aids decision-making by being educational and resourceful for readers.

Keep your content consistent with your brand but focused on providing the maximum value for your email marketing leads. You want to demonstrate that you’re a thought leader in your field or that you can provide even greater usefulness to them as a vendor if they take action.

Effective email lead generation is about creating connections with potential customers — first by collecting their information and then by nurturing those relationships to encourage them to take action.

4. Design an irresistible offer

Consumers are always looking for a great deal, and your email leads are no exception. Look for ways to give them incentives for taking action, whether that’s providing more contact information for your team to reach out to them or to actually make a purchase decision.

Offers can take a variety of different forms. You may want to leverage your strong content marketing by offering access to an industry white paper in exchange for more information. Discounts are also powerful lead generation tools — 90% of customers will share their details if they can receive an incentive.

5. Include a strong CTA

When you’re messaging email leads, it’s important to not just give information. You also have to tell the recipient what to do. A strong call to action, or CTA, is pivotal in increasing engagement with your email campaigns and overall content.

Simply adding a CTA to an email with a “Buy now” or “Learn more” button can increase revenue by 83%. In one study, emails with just a single call to action increased sales by over 1,600%.

6. Set up automation to scale

Creating email campaigns in your marketing automation system is one thing. Creating them in a way that they can scale as you increase your products, buyer personas, or contact lists is another.

Keep in mind that you’ll want to be able to adjust your campaigns as you roll them out and monitor their performance. Leverage systems that include the use of variables, tagging, and other streamlined tools to help you scale as you grow.

7. Personalize all your communications

Today’s consumers expect marketing materials to be personalized to their interests. In fact, 62% of consumers will abandon a brand if they don’t receive a personalized experience.

The good news is that marketing automation systems can help you keep track of personal details and inject them into your email marketing. Keeping up with your buyer personas and making sure to only send targeted messaging about your products or services can also help with customer loyalty.

8. Split test on every email

Split testing is a great way for you to maximize ROI on your email marketing campaigns. You can compare and contrast different subject lines and messages on smaller segments of your email marketing list, and then determine which are the most effective before blasting everyone.

While it might seem like a lot of work, the best email marketing automation systems make it simple to A/B test your emails and send the winner out to the balance of your recipients.

9. Optimize for mobile

Today 60% of email marketing messages are read on mobile devices. This means if you aren’t optimizing for mobile, your readers are in for a subpar experience.

Make sure that your emails are readable when viewed on screens of all different sizes and types and that you’re using images properly within those communications.

With the focus in today’s marketing on digital strategies, emails can become the lifeblood of not just a marketing strategy but a company’s ability to succeed.

10. Keep your list clean

If you haven’t freshened your email list in a while, you might be wondering why your open rates or other metrics are plateauing or not meeting expectations.

Keeping your list clean is important to make sure that marketing emails are going to active contacts who are engaged with your brand. Sending emails to people who are no longer interested will drag down performance and damage your insights into what’s working and what's not.

11. Use lead scoring to optimize

Lead scoring can help you determine which leads are the most likely to be engaged with your brand and converted to customers.

Marketing automation tools will have systems in place for you to develop your own scoring metrics based on particular actions or behaviors, such as open rates and clicks. This can help you float the most engaged prospects to the top of your email marketing lead pool for additional nurturing.

12. Make sure your email solution is multichannel

Email lead generation is primarily (but not solely) based on email. Multichannel marketing incorporates email along with social media, mobile, and display ads to carry your messages to where your leads are most likely to engage with them.

As you roll out your multichannel strategy, keep your message consistent across each platform and leverage as much personalization as your marketing automation system will allow.

13. Evaluate the right KPIs

Key performance indicators, or KPIs, let marketers know if their campaigns are on track. But they’re only as helpful as they are relevant. Evaluate the measures of success most valuable to your company and ensure that you’re tracking the metrics that can give you the best indication of success.

For some, this is as simple as email opens or click-through rates. For others, it might be tied to brand awareness, conversions, or how much data you collect. And of course, as you define these metrics, make sure that you have a marketing system in place to accurately and automatically measure it all.

How to get started with email marketing lead generation

Effective email lead generation creates connections with potential customers — first by collecting their information and then by nurturing those relationships to encourage them to take action. To do effective email lead generation, modern marketers need a powerful toolbox that offers automation, personalization, deployment, and monitoring for their campaigns.

Good marketing automation platforms take the stress out of robust email lead marketing and help you get the most out of your lead lists. Adobe Marketo Engage specializes in customer engagement for complex B2B buying journeys. As a complete solution for lead management, it brings marketing and sales together to nurture leads, orchestrate personalized experiences, optimize content, and measure business impact across every channel.

To learn more about Marketo Engage, take a free product tour today.