converting business leads

Creating effective email campaigns to convert leads requires quality lists, a focus on process and personalization to move prospects through the sales funnel. Here's what you'll need to optimize your conversion pathway:

Segment Your Lists

Establish a personal connection with leads by tailoring emails to fit specific buyer personas. Start by defining your individual audiences as they relate to your product or service. Their previous purchase behavior and unique demographics will help you better understand how to communicate with them on a more personal level. Tailor subject lines, value propositions and calls to action (CTAs) to increase engagement and conversion opportunities for individual audiences.

Warm Your Leads

Just because your leads aren't converting after the first couple emails doesn't mean they're not quality prospects. On the contrary, lead nurturing is essential to moving prospects through the sales funnel. There are three main steps in the buyer's journey including awareness, consideration, and conversion. Some leads may be aware of your brand, but need time to consider the product offer. They may be interested, but not ready to buy your product just yet.

Prepare your email campaigns to increase immediate conversions, and nurture those slower to commit. Assume that your leads are unfamiliar with your product or service. Begin by offering educational content, free of commitment from the reader. For example, a blog, whitepaper or video is a great resource to educate leads without asking anything of them. Then, encourage them to sign up to receive similar educational content related to your product in the future. This initial step supports the awareness stage of the buyer's journey.

Once you've built awareness and offered educational content free of commitments, your leads should be more open to hearing your product offer. The next series of emails you send will cover the consideration stage, whereby you focus on your product or service, and value proposition. Remember, the value proposition should be tailored to the particular lead group. How does your product save them time or money and/or make their life easier or better? Incentivize, and provide an commitment-free opportunity for them to learn more.

A/B Test Each Group

Don't exhaust your lists by emailing all your contacts at once. Once you've segmented your leads into different buyer groups, divvy up each list into smaller chunks to begin your first round of emailing. Best practice for email marketing is to split groups into smaller chunks to test what works- and what doesn't. This will help to optimize your messaging and increase your conversions through testing.

A/B test your groups by changing one variable of your emails per each group. Let's say you have 4,000 contacts for one of your groups. Further divide into groups of 500, and A/B test two groups, totalling 1,000 leads. Try rewording CTAs for test group A and test group B. After running the test, let's say you found the click through rate was substantially higher for test group A than with test group B. Now you can apply the successful CTA to the remaining 3,000 contacts to increase your click through rate and conversions.

Stick to a Time Limit

Don't waste your time on dead leads. If they're not interested, and not showing email engagement after 4-5 emails (that you've strategically sent out over a period of a few weeks and not all at once), it's time to say goodbye. But here's how you do it: Present a passive-ultimatum. Kindly say something like “I haven't heard from you over the last few weeks. Even though this may be our final communication, please feel free to reach out to me if ever you'd like to try us out!"

This will prompt them to either finally engage, or not. For the majority who don't, you can clean your sales funnel of dead leads and focus on those who are more likely to convert.

Ask Questions to Close

For warm leads remaining in the funnel, continue to nurture them until they convert. They have shown some engagement, have maintained steady open rates and click through rates to learn more about your product or service. To get them to commit, you'll still need to move them from the consideration stage to conversion. Re-segment your lists based on email engagement and personas to further tailor the value proposition for each. Ask them questions relevant to their needs- needs your product will meet. Continue to educate through comparative content that clearly shows how your product in particular can add value for them. Then ask them something like “Have you had a chance to review the materials I sent over? Would love to hear your thoughts." This way, you can apply some pressure while also creating a personal dialogue with the reader to further move them closer to conversion.

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