How to Generate Leads with Email Marketing

You’re inbound, engaged, and interested in growing your business—now what?

If you’re looking to grow your business, you’re probably already hearing a lot about digital marketing and how to use online platforms to reach prospective customers. But beyond marketing, you need to consider the sales funnel and learn how to generate leads.

What is a lead and why is it important to have leads?

A lead is someone who has shown an interest in your product or service, but has not yet made a purchase. In the online world, these individuals are often referred to as “prospects,” or “eyeballs” because their attention is potentially on the auction block. When you generate leads, you are taking the first step toward engaging with these individuals and moving them along the buyer’s journey toward becoming paying customers.

How do I generate leads?

There are many ways to generate leads, but you need to consider the type of customer you want to attract. Depending on your sales process, you can determine which methods will work best for you. For example, if you’re using lead magnets, opt-in forms, or free trials to attract new customers, you will want to focus on lead generation activities that correspond with those tools.

To attract retail consumers, you may want to focus on online forums and communities that relate to your product or service offerings. Alternatively, if your target audience is small businesses, you may want to focus on inbound marketing activities like content marketing and blog postings.

The Anatomy Of A Lead

A lead does not necessarily need to be a prospective customer. A lead can also be someone who has shown an interest in your product or service, but isn’t yet a patient listener. In general, the term lead applies to any individual, company, or entity that could potentially become a customer of yours.

To start, you will want to identify the person or company that is your ideal buyer for the purpose of generating leads. Know your audience and tailor your marketing strategy to appeal to them. Once you have your ideal buyer in mind, you can develop a buyer persona and begin designing marketing materials and forms that will appeal to them.

The benefit of this approach is that you can identify patterns and themes that will help you streamline your lead generation activities. Designing material specifically for a buyer persona will help you create more effective marketing materials that will make your life as a marketer a little bit easier. Designing a persona for a retail buyer might, for example, mean creating a character who is more adventurous and willing to try new products. For a B2B company, it could mean developing a character whose needs and expectations match your product’s requirements.

How To Generate Leads With Email Marketing

While developing your buyer persona, you should also be designing your email marketing strategy. When crafting your email marketing strategy, you need to consider the following elements:

  • Subject line
  • Personalization
  • To address
  • Content

The following sections will go over each of these elements in greater detail.

Subject Line

The subject line of your email should not be longer than six words and should be concise, clear, and compelling. The subject line should also match the material in the body of the email.

Make sure to include key words and phrases in your headline and the first few sentences of your body. Including these keywords in the right order can increase the chance of your email being opened by a relevant audience member. When someone opens your email, they are immediately engaged with your content, and the odds of them becoming a lead are much higher than if you had not captured their attention in the first place.


When someone opens your email, your initial reaction should be, “Wow, this is really personal.” When crafting your email, include personalized messages to specific individuals by using their names or initials. For example, a CEO might open an email from a company’s CFO, and receive special content designed just for them.

Giving your email subscribers relevant and personalized content will increase your chances of gaining their trust and keeping them engaged in your content. Additionally, including a personal note can make all the difference in whether or not someone opens your email. If you use a service like Hello Bar, which provides a little message box at the top of every email, you can include a personal note and they will appear just like a voice greeting, but without any of the sales pressure. It’s the little things!

To Address

Every email needs a recipient. You should include the name of the person you are directing your email to, along with a way to contact them. Whether you’re addressing this email to a specific person or to a group, make sure to include other contact information as well, like a telephone number and/or website.

The first line of your email should include your name and the name of the person or company you are contacting (if they are not the same). Your email should also include the following:

  • A simple and compelling reason for them to get in touch with you (e.g., “I have a product that will solve your problem,” or “I’ve got great news about your favorite band”).
  • A call to action, like a request for a meeting or a newsletter signup.
  • A thank you for being part of the journey so far.
  • An indication of how/where they can contact you (e.g., phone number, email, etc.).


Your email content should be concise and to the point. If you can, write in short paragraphs and use bullets to make the content easy to scan. When crafting your email, consider the following:

  • What is the objective of this email?
  • Who is the audience?
  • What action can I take (i.e., what should the reader do)?
  • How many sentences do I need to keep the reader engaged?
  • What are the key points?
  • What would make this email special (e.g., case studies, prominent positions in society, awards, appearances on major television shows, etc.)?
  • Does this email require a specific platform or tool to be effective? (e.g., Facebook Ads, Google Adwords, etc.)
  • How many times do I need to send the email before I can consider this campaign a success?

The Lifecycle Of A Lead

Once you have a lead, you will want to follow up with further educational material or offers that will engage them further. As a marketer, you should always be considering the following questions:

What do I need to do to make sure this lead is still interested five days, one week, or one month from now?

Do I need to follow up with additional emails or phone calls?

What do I need to do, in terms of content, to keep this lead interested?

Do I need to adjust my strategy, approach, or activities based on what happened in the past?

Based on your analysis of the answers to these questions, you can determine the next steps for generating leads.

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