Email Marketing Best Practices for Lead Generation

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Key for growth in any business is lead generation, and one of the top ways to convert leads is through email marketing. For one thing, most users are more willing to provide their email addresses than another piece of information (such as a phone number). Additionally, it’s easy to stay in contact through email and provide contacts with the nurturing they need to become customers. Although strategies for email marketing lead generation differ slightly whether you’re a B2C or B2B company, the fundamental email marketing best practices are the same.

Best Ways to Find Email Addresses for Leads

The main challenge in lead generation for email marketing is obtaining a sufficient number of email addresses. The good news is there are several tactics you can use.

Lead Magnets

A top way to gain leads and take advantage of visitors coming to your website is to use lead magnets. Users are already interested in something you have to offer. A lead magnet invites them to receive more in exchange for their email address. A few examples of lead magnets are:

  • Templates
  • Quizzes
  • Ebooks
  • Case studies
  • Webinars
  • Free trials
  • Coupon codes
  • Infographics

Email Lookup Tools

Software can search for email addresses for you. Usually, you’ll need to input details like the name, company, and website of the person you want to find the email address for. High-quality tools like Uplead and Clearbit are accurate, cost effective, and fast. However, whatever you use will bring up the occasional bounced email and you will need to invest some time finding basic information about contacts.


Another option is to look for email addresses manually, which may be a good choice if you don’t already have some names of individuals you want to target. Prospecting involves using Google searches and checking LinkedIn profiles. You’ll need to know what kind of prospects are a good fit and be selective about who you choose. It’s no good filling your list with low-quality leads just to keep the numbers high.


If you have a similar target audience to another business who is not a competitor, you may like to create a partnership where you share leads. If you use this method, make sure leads opt in to marketing from both of you when they provide you with their email.

Should You Purchase Emails for Lead Generation?

Of course, you could also purchase email addresses. This is a fast way to gain a large number of contacts, but it may not be the best option for email lead generation. Before you decide to use this method, evaluate the pros and cons.

Will You Be Able to Target Users?

When you purchase a list of emails, you often receive only minimal information about the users, which makes it difficult to create a targeted message. It is immediately obvious to recipients that a message is generic and they’ll usually just delete the email — often without even opening the message. You can probably relate to this experience from the generic cold emails you receive yourself.

Is It Worth the Cost?

The cost of email lists can vary widely. In addition to the upfront costs for the list itself, the amount you’ll spend converting a lead will vary.

Brian J. Carroll examined this in his book Lead Generation for the Complex Sale. He discovered that the cost to convert a lead was $373 from an expensive list and $932.50 from a cheap list. However, using email marketing to convert leads you’ve generated yourself has an average cost per lead of just $53.

The Risks of Being Flagged as Spam

Another difficulty is knowing the quality of email addresses you purchase — as cost to purchase does not always match quality. A list may be old, meaning many of the addresses no longer exist and your emails bounce.

The bigger risk, though, is that your business is flagged as a spammer. This can happen if a large number of recipients mark your emails as junk, but it can also occur if you fall into the spam trap.

There are two main types of spam trap. The first is when an internet service provider (ISP) sets up emails just to catch spammers. The other is when the ISP monitors email addresses that have been dormant for some time. If you message many of these addresses, the ISP will consider that you’re using spam techniques.

Furthermore, if you email citizens of the EU (they don’t even need to be living in the EU) without their consent, you could be violating GDPR. The penalty is a fine of up to €10 million.

As you can see, purchasing an email list may be a fast and easy way to gain contacts, but the risks are unlikely to be worth the potential rewards.

How to Make Your Lead Generation Emails More Effective

Now you know how to find email addresses, let’s look at what qualities make for the best lead generation emails.

1. Check What Your Competitors Are Doing

Knowing what your competitors are doing will help in two ways. First, it will show what is likely to be effective with your target audience. Second, it will allow you to differentiate your business. Whatever your competitors are doing, strive to go a step further.

2. Focus on the Subject Line

The subject line is the most important part of the email — it’s what ensures users open the message at all. The best subject lines are short enough that recipients are able to see the whole thing and include compelling verbs and emotive adjectives. Monitor what works best and repeat these tactics with future emails.

3. Create an Effective Design

Give your emails a clean design that’s pleasing to the eyes. This will improve the experience for recipients and draw their attention to the key elements at first glance. Place your CTA near the top of the email to show its importance (you can also repeat it further down) and make it bigger than the less important elements. Stick to one CTA per email to ensure users know exactly what to do after reading the message.

4. Add More Personalization

Email marketing tools are always becoming more sophisticated. They now allow you to add a great deal of personalization. In addition to including the recipients name, you can refer to the contact’s location, company, and job title. Plus, you can change dynamic content according to how the user has interacted with emails or your website in the past.

5. Reactivate Your Old Lists

You may have email addresses from leads who were once interested in your offering but who never closed a deal. These leads are warmer than email addresses you can find through prospecting or with email lookup tools. It’s worthwhile reaching out again to see if the lead’s situation has changed and if the user is now interested in making a purchase.

Other Ways to See Better Results

Even if you have enough leads at the top of your funnel and are sending out optimized emails, you may not see the results you want. If this is the case for you, the problem may lie somewhere other than with the number of leads you’re generating or the emails you’re sending.

Finding Your Target Audience

One issue could be that your leads are not actually your target customers. To solve this issue, you need to create well-defined buyer personas. In fact, having buyer personas will help with all your marketing, not just email marketing.

Qualify Leads

Instead of nurturing every lead that comes your way, decide if the lead is worth your time. Qualifying leads determines if the lead is likely to be interested in what you have to offer and dismisses those who will consider your email marketing spam or will just never convert.

Nurture Leads

Only once you’ve qualified your leads should you start nurturing them. In addition, it’s important to give leads the time they need — push too early and you’ll end up losing a lead forever.

Use data about your past experiences to keep enhancing your email drip campaigns to have the right number of emails and the right schedule for each email segment you create. Plus, monitor what kind of content resonates best with your audience and create more of these kinds of emails.

Automate Your Emails

You’re far less likely to make mistakes if you automate your email campaigns. This will ensure you send emails on schedule according to the triggers you set.

Outsource Your Lead Generation

The problem with lead generation is that it doesn’t require your talents, but it takes up a huge amount of your time. But what if you didn’t have to do any lead generation for email marketing yourself? By outsourcing this task, you’ll be free to focus your efforts on what you do best: selling.

Your top option is to choose a VA who specializes in supporting sales professionals and will use email lead generation best practices. The virtual assistants for sales at MYVA360 offer a wide range of services to support you with the tasks you find the most dull or difficult. In addition to lead generating, you can request a VA to help you with administrative tasks, update your CRM, manage expense reporting, and more. Schedule a free trial to see for yourself.

Laura Holton

Laura is a professional writer specializing in content aimed at small businesses and entrepreneurs. She has helped countless startups find the information they needed to take their ventures to the next level.

Laura Holton

Laura is a professional writer specializing in content aimed at small businesses and entrepreneurs. She has helped countless startups find the information they needed to take their ventures to the next level.


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