How to Write Awesome Emails & Win At Lead Generation

I know e-mailings aren’t the sexiest form of lead generation and their counterparts, opt-in forms, can feel obvious, but they are two of the most tried and tested ways to build a hearty lead list and they work hand-in-hand. Unless you outsource your lead generation, or even despite having done so, improving your email game will still lead to positive results. Email heads the top of the marketing tools pile, with a $44 ROI for every $1 spent, and according to Campaign Monitor you’re looking at 174% more conversions via email than social media - the numbers don’t lie.


You take the time to build your email list however, you still haven’t gotten the magic formula right to get the click-throughs or conversions you should be. Below I look at 5 common mistakes that you could be making in your company's email marketing, and what you should be doing instead.

The mail on the left is full of sins, while the mail on the right ticks all of the boxes mentioned below.

1. You’re trying to include too much information in one email. On average you receive 141 emails daily, now imagine they’re all 500 words long, if the average read-speed is 300wpm, it’ll take nearly 4 hours just to read your emails. The email should be a concise teaser, informing of new exciting developments, blog posts or offers. Include the salient info only, but leave the juicy details on your landing pages, which will encourage the reader to click through. You can then monitor which emails are catching your readers attention, and tailor future emails to those topics.


2. Sending emails without a clear CTA. You carefully construct your email, you use all the right language to get your reader interested but then you miss out on engagement by not including a CTA. While you may have provided the client with insightful, helpful info (always the aim) it won’t benefit you unless you give your client an action to perform as a result of reading the email.


Every email sent must include at least one CTA. Also, don’t try and get too smart; simple recognisable words are what you want to use: register, read, click here, attend, download etc. avoid complex terms for simple concepts. Also, you can include links to the same page/blog post/offer in more than one section of the email. A client may skim the body but read the P.S. so throw your link in a couple of times to ensure they click it.


3. You haven’t created a recognisable format. As well as consistently sending emails on whatever timeline you use, you can create a recognisable format that you use consistently to help your readers out. If I know company X always send emails with meaningful, helpful content and the relevant CTA in the sign-off, if I’m really busy, I’ll save reading the body for later, and just click straight through to the link.


A basic clear format should include:

  • A clear subject- let your reader know exactly what they can expect to read about- but leave it vague so they open up to find out what you’re talking about.
  • One introductory sentence that explains why you’re emailing and gives them the option to read more.
  • Image/s- though there is some debate of how helpful they are, images convey a message far faster than the written word, whether it's atmospheric or an infographic, images are a great way to improve engagement and thus, lead generation. Just remember to keep images small so they don’t delay the opening of the email.
  • Links with a clear call to action- as mentioned add several links to the same piece.
  • A P.S. note has become so important it has now become the first read section of the email. Include one to reiterate your CTA, in different words, and include that link.

4. Blanket blasting the same email to your whole contact list- There is really no excuse to be sending everyone one generic email. It is important to begin collecting information on leads from the first contact so that you can carefully curate your lists and take advantage of targeted email marketing. If you want action from the start Google analytics is a handy tool if you know how to analyse the data and there are products that allow you to monitor visitors to your site in detail, providing detailed information based on things like their IP address and cookies. However, this is where the opt-in form really shines and there are a whole host of plugins that allow you to create smart, clear, relevant opt-in forms without having to be a qualified coder.  


By simply getting smart with your wording on your opt-in forms, you can easily collect preferences and relevant information on each potential customer, which will allow you to build marketing tracks for each niche in your product offering. Tailoring mails to specific niches then becomes a breeze.


5. You’re not testing. You take the time to craft beautiful emails with CTAs, links etc, you customise your opt-in forms to harvest the lead-relevant details for your marketing track and then you send them out without testing.


The first most obvious test is to test for functionality- In the same way that you test your website, you test your mail/opt-in; does it show on mobile,tablet and computer, and different browsers clearly and correctly? Next, you need to focus on factors like email frequency, mail times, and wording; did that question on your opt-in get the answer you needed? Are your mails being opened and when? AB testing is a favourite tool for these kinds of tests. No matter how accurate your marketing tracks are, this is the final test to make sure you’ve got it right. Don’t forget testing should be continuous, one test does not a successful marketing plan make.

There you have it; some major errors with simple corrections to help you become a winning, lead-generating marketer. Though by no means a comprehensive list of possible mistakes,  this offers a great starting point to make sure you’re getting the most out of your emails. While I would never cross out adding new and exciting lead generation strategies to your quiver, I will always keep a large comfortable space for email and its handy side-kick, the opt-in form.