Email marketing is among the most valuable tools in any marketer’s toolbox and is definitely still the go-to channel for retailers and customers alike.
So what is it about this relatively old-fashioned means of communication that keeps it so popular? Well, despite there still being a largely unsuccessful tendency for unsolicited email advertising (thank you, spam filter), eCommerce email marketing is primarily a permission-based medium, with users having to opt-in to receive your content and promotions.
This is good for both you and the customer – you get an engaged, active audience who are interested to hear what you have to say, and the customer gets promotions and offers that are relevant to them.
Of course, this means that generating leads and adding subscribers to your list becomes pretty much your most important task in email marketing. Only then can you nurture your contacts into eCommerce gold – loyal and profitable customers that create revenue for years to come.
In this article, we’ll check out some effective and ethical ways that you can attract leads for your email marketing efforts.
Important: Never rely on ready-made lists, purchased from shady sources promising the earth. Not only is this bad business practice, but the annoyed people marking your unsolicited mails as spam will result in zero sales while destroying your sender reputation. Just don’t go there!
How to get email leads the right way
Generating leads doesn’t have to be complicated. The following tactics are tried and tested, and deliver the right type of contacts for your business – because there’s no point in having a long list of subscribers if half of them don’t really want to be there!
This means that the first step is always…
1. Identify your audience
The easiest way to do this is to use a picture of your ideal customer, and if you don’t have one yet, create one. This helps you to visualize your customers, using market research and your own customer data to understand exactly what your customers need and are looking for. When you understand these pain points, then you can start to create the kind of resources that they value. Which leads us to…
2. Offer attractive lead magnets
People often need an incentive to give out their contact details voluntarily, which you can provide with your knowledge and expertise in your particular niche.
For example, if you sell art supplies, you could create a free online course or ebook outlining various painting techniques. This valuable resource is not only a nice incentive for people to sign up to your list, but it gives you authority and trust among your subscribers – people are much more likely to buy from someone who has an intimate knowledge of their product.
Other good lead magnets can include training videos, short online lessons, checklists, gift guides, and even hosting online events – you could conduct an interview with an influential person in your industry, and gather contact details as the price of entry.
3. Use social media to boost your reach
Email is not only a cheaper and more effective marketing channel than social media, but customers have also expressed a preference for receiving promotional messages there too. However, the one thing that social media does have to its advantage is its reach.
So instead of paying a premium for Facebook ads, for example, you can use the popularity of the platform to gather contacts for your more lucrative email marketing.
One good way to get people talking about and sharing your posts is by creating a competition. Use one of your products or services as a prize, and add the incentive of more entries as a means to encourage sharing. Lead entrants to a dedicated landing page where you can collect their contact details. With just a single post and the price of one of your products, you could reach thousands of new leads, and create a real buzz around your brand.
4. Use incentivized pop-ups and sign-up forms on your website
Sign-up forms are the classic way to get people to subscribe to your list – a simple request to join your exclusive club. These forms should contain a bold and persuasive CTA, and you could offer either your lead magnet, a discount on the first purchase, or something like free shipping to sweeten the deal.
A good eCommerce email marketing platform will offer a variety of sign-up form templates to choose from, giving you the opportunity to collect not just an email address but other valuable information like phone number (for SMS marketing), age, gender, interests, preferences, and more.
In case a visitor to your site didn’t voluntarily sign up using your form, you can give a little reminder via an exit-intent pop-up. This appears as the visitor is about to leave your site, giving them one last chance to subscribe.
Interactive sign-up forms, like a spinning Wheel of Fortune, for example, are also worth considering when collecting new leads. Their results are shown to be at least twice as good as standard forms.
Pop-ups have evolved over the years, having often been seen as annoying and intrusive. Now, they can appear at just the right time and in the right place, offering personalized deals based on what users have just browsed. Pop-ups have become an excellent way to collect contact details, so check your marketing automation platform to see what kind of pop-ups they offer.
5. Create engaging, SEO-optimized content
Sign-up forms and pop-ups are of no use if you aren’t attracting visitors to your website in the first place.
Creating content that potential subscribers will value can be challenging and time-consuming, but with the pain points you’ve identified with your ideal customer, you should have a good idea of where to start. Your content should aim to solve problems, and will usually take the form of blogs, videos, guides, and other educational resources, which users will find when searching somewhere like Google. This is where SEO comes in.
Optimizing your content and product pages for SEO helps you to rank on search engines for the keywords that relate to your business, making it easy for potential customers to find your website. If you have a high-quality, SEO optimized guide for “acrylic painting techniques” that ranks in the top 10 Google searches, you’re going to get a lot of the right kind of visitors finding their way to your store!
From there, aim to capture as many of these visitors to your email marketing list using the sign-up boxes, pop-ups, and thoughtfully-constructed CTAs described above.
Generating leads for your email marketing efforts isn’t rocket science, it just takes a little creativity and know-how. Putting lead generation at the forefront of every communication you make is a good investment – because growing your email list is a never-ending task! Include a sign-up form, or at least a CTA leading to one, in all of your online marketing materials.
Try out a few of these methods to see which works best for your business, and watch your engagement and revenue grow!