Develop Compelling Collateral To Offer
A valuable and compelling piece of collateral is perhaps one of the most important part of getting good results from a lead gen email. If you don’t have anything to offer a potential lead your first priority should be to collaborate and brainstorm with internal stakeholders. Get in the minds of your ideal buyers, and think about what useful information they’d want to educate, make their jobs easier, or even entertain. There is a time and place to use sales slicks, or product focused datasheets, however early in the lead life cycle, you’ll have much more success by keeping your offers less product and sales oriented and more focused on broader educational concepts. The goal is to maximize the number of clicks and minimize unsubscribes. Great early offers include infographics, whitepapers, or free reports.
Once a concept is developed, ideas outlined, research completed, and all pertinent information is written out, design your collateral to make it an easy read. This includes effectively using white space, section concepts out with use of layout, headings, and titles, incorporate eye catching visual imagery, and style with your company branding guidelines(fonts, color palette logo).
Writing an Early Stage Lead Generation Offer
The best advice I can give for lead gen emails is to keep them short and concise. If you are interrupting someones day, and are most likely not expecting your email, get to the point. Keeping the offer brief makes the email much more instantly digestible and if written effectively will encourage more click through’s. Limit the amount of HTML and fancy design, save these types of emails for late sales cycle prospect mailers, and customer newsletters. Only include one or two links in the email and install google analytics tracking to measure success outside of your email marketing platform.
Choosing a Third Party Industry Sponsorship Sites for Lead Generation
Connecting with your internal lead/prospect database is important, but to grow that database eventually you will have to venture outside and purchase a list or sponsor a third party industry site. I recommend a trusted third party list rental over purchasing a list. There is alot of shady business out there when it comes to buying lists. Most are contacts that haven’t given permission and have most likely been hammered to the point of changing their email address.
List purchases and sponsorship can get expensive, so putting in a little upfront leg work to maximize your results is very important. Average cost per lead varies greatly depending on your industry. For example, if you are in the credit card or credit repair industry a single contact can cost around $5, as opposed to a technology industry contact that can cost less than $1. Gather pricing and info on some of the online media groups in your industry. Conduct analysis on the web traffic of each media group using Alexa or Compete. Both are free tools that will tell you the volume of traffic coming to most sites on the internet. This analysis is important especially if you are working with a limited budget and want the most bang for the buck. Determine the highest ratio of site traffic for the most reasonable cost.
Tracking Third Party Email Marketing Performance Yourself
I like to use Google Analytics URL Builder and campaign tracking as an additional means of tracking each link’s click through performance. Performance tracking directly from an email marketing platform won’t always be 100% accurate due to security and firewalls of recipients. Though Google Analytics won’t tell you exactly who is clicking on your links, I find it much more reliable in tracking overall campaign performance, and at very least it’s a great way to cross check your email marketing software tracking accuracy.
Perhaps a better reason to embed Google Analytics campaign tracking in your email, is to keep a list rental company honest in reporting results. Instead of relying on the third party to tell you the results of your campaign, you will be able to see click-throughs in real time for yourself. This same concept can be applied to banner ads as well. Before you send your offer using a third party sponsorship, send the message to a targeted group in your internal lead/prospect database to get a good baseline of expected results from offer. You can use this information to renegotiate with the list rental company, most will want to ensure you see satisfactory results, so that you continue to send them business. Having the data at your finger tips will help greatly with this process and help optimize email marketing results at a faster pace.
If the list rental company will not be providing you contact info of those that took action on your offer, developing a landing page with integrated web to lead forms that feed your CRM contact information is a good idea. This is tricky though, as the more hoops a potential lead has to jump through to gain access to what you offered, the less likely the collateral will end up at its intended destination. Limit the amount of contact info you ask for in your forms, and develop awesome ideas for collateral and the leads should roll in.