Leading the way: how to identify and nurture leads in email marketing

If you owned a shop on a busy high street, would every person who paused in your doorway be a potential lead? This is what a lot of marketing companies think, that every person who opens or clicks one of their client’s emails is immediately considered a ‘lead’. We think this is misleading.

When it comes to email marketing campaigns, we don’t think it’s helpful for you to consider every Tom, Dick or Harry who clicks on one of your emails as a lead. Many of these clicks won’t lead to a sale, which means you aren’t optimising on your email marketing strategy, which is the exact opposite of what we want.

Identifying leads is not only important; it’s a key skill that every business needs to master. There are two steps: identify and nurture. Here’s how it’s done.

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So what defines a lead in an email campaign, if not click rate? Valuable leads demonstrate a higher level of engagement than the simple act of clicking the email. These are the subscribers who read through your content, and then go a step further. There are some key signs to search for when keeping an eye out for these high-level engagers.

Firstly, make sure you have used a clear, call-to-action in each email, even if it’s just an additional sentence at the end of your content. This link can be an invitation to visit your website, an email reply button, phone number, or a widget to invite sharing your content on social media. Readers interacting with this call to action are displaying more than just passive interest – they are an active lead. Your email has grabbed their attention and they want to know more.

At this point, it is important to add some form of tracking analytics to your call-to-action links, which will help you judge how effective they are. By doing this, you can compare the engagement your different calls-to-action inspire, to see if some were more effective than others.

While open rates are not the only means of identifying leads, they’re still valuable. Track the open rates of your emails using email marketing metrics to see if certain customers have returned to read your content more than once. You can also check to see if certain recipients have clicked on your call-to-action multiple times, which is a sure sign of interest on their part.

This is where effective email analytics become handy. You can use your email campaign to measure not only click-through rates but also conversion and forwarding rates as well. This will help you gauge which topics your audience engages with the most.

Finally, make sure you run reports on a monthly or quarterly basis to pick out the businesses or individuals who’ve clicked a link in every email. If this isn’t a strong indicator of interest, we don’t know what is.

...And nurture

Once you’ve identified promising leads, you need to treat them right. This part is called lead nurturing. You need to draw your leads away from the generic content at the ‘top of the funnel’ stage and down through more tailored steps of the customer journey.

Create a second, sales-oriented email campaign that is both personalised by addressing your leads by name or referring to their interests and tailored – by answering their questions or guiding them to similar content. By giving these leads the care and attention they deserve, you have a 20% higher chance of turning them into sales. So what are you waiting for?

For more email marketing advice, check out our other blogs or get contact Marc at Winbox.