Category Archives: Email

Automate Your Lead Generation Without Investing in Marketing Automation…yet

cupcakes desserts“Which marketing automation solution should I use for lead generation?”

I get this question regularly.  Trying to evaluate all the solutions available today is nearly impossible when you have no idea how you will use this information later.

There are outstanding solutions available today, all having excellent tools to make your marketing campaigns convert, nurture and report data.  But sometimes baby steps are the best method to saving money, time and giving your company the opportunity to learn it’s ability to manage the many facets of a successful marketing campaign with the available resources. These are recommendations that are in use today at some very large firms. Don’t snub your nose at the simple solutions yet.

Below are recommendations that are in use today at some very large firms. Don’t snub your nose at the simple solutions yet.

Build Your Foundation
The first element of any digital marketing campaign is the website. The size of your business doesn’t matter and you don’t need a big fancy site either. As long as you have a decent place for prospects to learn about your business and the solutions you offer online that is on a responsive (mobile-friendly) template, you should fare just fine.

As long as you have a decent place for prospects to learn about your business and the solutions you offer online that is on a responsive (mobile-friendly) template, you should fare just fine.

Conversion Bait
Next, you need to consider your offer. What is it your prospects want that you can provide in exchange for their email address?

conversion baitIt may be information in the form of a report or guide, it might be weekly information that comes to their inbox, a webinar teaching something important or a consultation – though, these are are better received  later in the buying cycle.

Capturing Their Information
This used to require a landing page or a boring Contact Us page with a form. Instead, I recommend starting with one (or more) of the simple free solutions available.

There are many available: HelloBar, LeadIn, QuickTapSurvey and more. These are free information capture apps.

You can build a pop-up in minutes with the information you want from your prospect and load it onto most sites.

Storing Your Data
You do not need a massive database, yet. You only need a place to maintain and manage your lists.

MailChimp does this well for email intensive campaigns and APIs easily with other software. It is one of the best, free email delivery systems around and has numerous upgrades as the complexity of your campaigns and data needs grow.

Create a list based on your offer. E.g. “Video Marketing Report Conversions”  Start with a good naming convention from the beginning as these can get messy fast. You can also jump into CRM with

You can also jump into CRM with Zurmo or Zoho before you go nuts with Salesforce. If you have no choice, plan all your use cases before paying for Salesforce. Their 90-day free support will zip by fast!

automate your marketingAutomate Everything Possible
Once a prospect converts, you want to automatically send them their prize. Set this up in most automation sections of your email delivery system.

But don’t stop there! Add more emails to this series to continue the conversation.

Let’s say you offer them a report on the benefits of using video in their marketing. There are probably elements you didn’t have enough time to go into deeply.

These emails are the extra value. You can use them to convey more of your company’s knowledge and authority in the field and help the prospect as well.

Keep sending more information regularly along with low barrier to entry offers for other free stuff – reports, webinars, consultations.

When to Migrate
If you are working campaigns well, you may find yourself needing more features to automate, measure and push your campaigns further.

when to upgrade marketing automationTHIS is when you start reviewing the features of the marketing automation players. Now you have some concept of how you are using marketing automation, what you have time and interest in doing in-house, what you don’t have time or interest in doing, and how you are willing to pay for this.

This is why I recommend going into inbound and lead generation marketing slowly.

I’m sure the Hubspots and Marketos of the world don’t want me telling you this, but many large companies and start-ups are seeing through their sales pitches.

Like marriage in most states, changing your marketing automation and CRM is like a messy divorce. You’ll need to invest lots of additional time and money to make a move. You want to choose wisely when you do.

In the interim, you can work well with free products and small upgrades from free services.

Inbound marketing and lead generation takes more man hours than you are probably allocating. Just regular weekly content updates kill most businesses as they aren’t used to being creative on demand. It’s harder than it looks.

7 Steps to Email Greatness

Email is still one of the most cost-effective marketing channels Email Timing Infographicavailable to all sizes of business. The art and science are in getting it right so you don’t land in the spam folder or get too many unsubscribes. If you write at least some portion of your own content, here are some basics for your email strategy that even contributors should keep in mind.

Focus Your Goal
Plan your campaigns strategically for each audience you target. A client engagement campaign will have different content and intervals than a limited offer. What is this email meant to accomplish? (How to measure success is discussed later.)  Each campaign needs to be thought through completely before writing the first line of content.

Which Devices Do Your Audience Use
Knowing the top devices your readers open your email on most frequently will help you make the best content and image choices. Adestra states – 45% of email opens occurred on mobile, 36% on desktop and 19% in a webmail client. While this is a general number, check your own data and KPIs at least quarterly for changes.

Write a Worthy Subject Line
People read what appeals to them. Grab their attention without landing in the spam folder by staying on goal and true to your brand’s voice. This reassures the reader that your content is relevant. A basic refresher from this article will help avoid getting your email labeled as spam.

Use a Relevant or Provocative Image
Once you get your target to open your email, you want them to be interested enough to read it. Your choice of image is an important answer to the reader’s question, “Is this email worth reading?” Sometimes there isn’t an obvious image that conveys your message so you might try something fun or disruptive to make them wonder.

Which Day Is Your Best
While more email is sent and read on Mondays, your best day for this target might be different. My client, Tanglewood Works, sends her new items email every Thursday before the weekend shopping trend to current subscribers. (She now devotes more time to her social media channels on the other days. Smart resource management!) If you have many products that target different audiences consider each one’s reading trends uniquely. It’ important to monitor your audience’s trends and analyze your data often for shifts.

Test One Element With Each Email
Having a written email testing plan will optimize your efforts over time. If you have a large list you can run multivariate tests and gain insights much more quickly. If you are new to testing, try something easy such as subject lines. Advanced users can follow Email on Acid to venture further into geeky tests like variable text headers.

Plan KPIs In Advance

As you plan your email campaign and it’s goals, determine what your KPI should be for each campaign and each email within. Your end-goal might be to get the target to request a product demo. Often, these are part of CTAs within the email. Plan the path you anticipate your target will take. If you can imagine multiple routes to your goal, then you plan those separately. This is a perfect chance to test multiple versions of the same email with different paths.

Before, you could write an email and blast it out to your subscribers. Today with so much noise and competition, being strategic and having SMART goals for your campaigns is the best way to manage your resources, measure results and make sound decisions for your next campaign. If you’re new to SMART marketing, here’s an easy template to get you started.