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Email remains one of the most effective platforms for cross-channel lead generation—and today's digital marketers have refined it once more.

A Beginner’s Guide to Email Leads

Phillip Reinhardt

The days of email-centric marketing campaigns, for some, are long gone. Today’s digital divide is traversed by social media influencers, e-commerce gurus, podcasters, and YouTubers. At a glance, email messages might even feel a little like physical messages: Many go unchecked, even if they hold tangible value for consumers.

The days of mailing list offers, newsletters and product promotion series spotlights are far from over, however. They’re just a lot quieter these days—like social media marketing, ever contingent upon “here and now,” mobile-friendly content, is pretty loud.

How Do Email Marketing Campaigns Size Up?

Social media promotions great for garnering a slow trickle of leads, but a well-crafted email campaign can create the tight-knit communities capable of boosting kickstarters to success.

So we will say this:

If Branded social media campaigns are a digital marketer’s bread slices—branded email campaigns are a marketer’s butter. We can’t forget content marketing’s roots, of course: While experts believe social media marketing is the industry’s Number Two strategy of success, they maintain that email marketing holds the Number One spot.

It’s Never too Early to Strategize

The Number One spot isn’t one of lofty retirement, either. Unfortunately, many small and medium-sized business marketers consider email campaigns to be for “the big fish.” This is understandable: Newsletter subscribers and branded email enthusiasts make up a small pool.

In relation to other segments, email marketing could even seem a little isolating—you know? One might assume, justifiably, that email campaigns aren’t worth their expenses unless they’re churned out by the masses—riding upon the waves of big data.

But: Did you know that a wide majority of startups are doubling down on email campaigns from the get-go? As a frame of reference, 61 percent of them use social media in their brand’s introductory strategy mix.

Email campaigns might operate behind the scenes, but they’re anything but obscure. Learning to market effectively via email, early on, can launch a small business into a success. Because email itself evolves at a slower rate than the innovative world of instant-access social media, it’s far easier to explore in concept.

Plus, email has been around forever. Microsoft Outlook and Gmail might’ve paved new roads with cross-platform cloud communications and file storage—but one needn’t understand the intricacies of OneDrive to analyze consumer behavior data.

Much in the way file-syncing services are incredibly affordable, anything email-based is too. On average, business decision-makers invest only one to three percent of their annual revenues in email-related marketing strategies. The self-education is cheap, the crowd analysis is cheap and the overhead costs are cheap.

So, if you happen to be a budding entrepreneur—or even a smalltime startup explorer—email marketing really is one of the best strategies in terms of ROI.

Getting Started with Email Marketing

There are plenty of email marketing strategies out there, but creative promotions can transform entire recipient lists into dedicated brand promoters.

There’s plenty of information readily available to those who’re interested in email marketing. While this industry area is indeed similar in scale-potential as other approaches—potentially breaching wildly obscure digital channels, for the tech-savvy—one can continue ‘digging deeper’ into email education without many surprises.

In essence: When it’s time to craft innovative email strategies, you’ll have plenty of knowledge at your side. The world of email marketing isn’t necessarily predictable, however. Even if you’re taking things slow—you should still keep your eyes peeled for new opportunities.

Let’s cover some of the best ways to jumpstart your own email marketing campaign.

The name of the game is lead generation.

One: A Lead Magnet

This is a good place to start. In the past, lead generation often came down to cold calling people. We simply didn’t have the digital communication resources we have now. And we definitely couldn’t glean scientific strategies from parsed consumer behavior data.

But what’s a lead magnet, exactly?

Primarily, it’s a product or service which instantly provides a net benefit for the consumer. In a lot of cases, lead magnets are free. As such, much of the heavy lifting in their creation boils down to expense-management. Which products can you offer at greatly reduced prices?

Or, to be more realistic: What’s something your brand can provide for free?

The lead magnets consumers remember are, naturally, unique. E-books are fantastic lead magnets, as each is unique in design. Similarly diverse are branded YouTube channels: If your brand has something to tell the world—Google’s heavy-hitting multimedia oasis to say it. It’s a massive oasis, too, comprising of over two billion users.

And most of these users check out video descriptions before, after, and even during YouTube videos themselves. This is just one example of a cross-channel doorway to newsletter inboxes.

Two: Routine Newsletters

Newsletters are another great resource for digital marketers: While established brands can utilize them for product promotions, industry insights, and engaging content, even brand-new business owners can amass a fanbase with monthly industry snapshots. This is largely due to the unstoppable rise of long-form digital content consumption. The past two decades were packed with bite-sized snippets whipped up with plenty of keyword stuffing. Today, folks looking for exciting, off-beat, informative online media barely notice it exists.

SEO, immediate insights, and compelling product descriptions are incredibly important, of course—and investing in them is never a bad thing. In the realm of newsletters, however, these things shouldn’t be overprioritized. This is because your newsletters need to be entertaining, first and foremost. A compelling newsletter series is so important, in fact, that you should consider an SEO venture’s time to be not just a tangible expense—but a critical diversion from future ROI opportunities. SEO is a lucrative resource to leverage—and it can be leveraged with little cost, too. When it comes to Inboxes, Spam Folders, and the auto-deletion of unread messages, however, the risks become much larger for those unaccustomed to email marketing.

Three: Quality Subject Lines

Remember: Email is, more or less, the older sibling to social media. And while 82 percent of branded emails are never opened by recipients, it doesn’t mean these recipients are of the same mindset as those engaging brands via Facebook’s Newsfeed and Instagram Stories. There’s a little-known truism about newsletter campaigns, here—one eluding even the keenest of cross-channel marketers:

Of the 82 percent of emails that go unopened—100 percent have subject lines of 60 characters or less.

Four: A Careful Approach to SEO

While email and social media are sibling platforms, mistaking them for twins is to disservice a content channel refined by decades of consistency. And it’s an even bigger disservice to oneself—they who forgo vital digital marketing stratagem in the assumption of diversification costs. Shorter titles can be gripping–this is true. But they fail entirely when utilized, repeatedly, as social media channel bridges.

This mistake becomes even more unfortunate when one considers how aggressively it’s pursued: Seasoned marketers will abide by the apparent cross-channel content ‘cohesion,’ informing the industry’s newest influencers that, “This is just how it’s done.”

And, as both parties nurture the 82 percent rate, Google will continue to roll out mind-boggling algorithmic refinements to its Page One search criterium. And this, too, will be mistaken for an affirmation of number-based content “growth hacks” which are whispered to exploit the SEO world—despite the literal writing on the walls: The top five search results, on Google, claim 67.60 percent of the platform’s clicks.

They’re also Google’s most organic web pages, per query listing.

Five: Unique Customer Engagement

Diversifying your own business’s valued offers is an important strategy-building step, too. Ideally, you’ll want to maintain a familiar content approach—so as to foster a small community of mutual ‘fans,’ as opposed to ‘shoppers.’ This necessitates topical communication between your shoppers—which is key to expanding your email campaign’s outreach. You can offer routine store discounts, too, of course. As an email campaign grows, special offers become far more routine—and the discount possibilities become a little more predictable.

That’s okay, and it’ll only boost your email campaign’s visibility down the line. The important thing is to offer value in surprising ways—but maintaining familiarity and reliability at the same time. YouTube reviewers, influencers, and startup owners are great examples of this. Unique consumer engagement compounds upon itself, opening numerous doors to surprising avenues of opportunity.

The Consumer Communities of 2020

An innovative networking approach key to lead generation and custom-tailored customer engagement strategies can exponentiate your brand's outreach.

With a heavy focus on organic, routine content, and the pursuit of providing long-lasting consumers with something special, your email campaign will have a great start. More than a few small startups have achieved incredible growth in this way: Connecting with consumers directly creates long-lasting cohesion. It creates a community of likeminded individuals, those who’ll inspire others to engage your email campaign, too. If you’re ready to impact the world with your brand’s story, it might be time to explore the many options an email marketing strategy has to offer. So get involved with one of the longest-standing, most impactive cornerstones of digital business communications. Email might be ‘history,’ but it’ll always have something to provide.