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3 Best Practices for Email Lead Generation

August 25, 2014 By Erik Harbison
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In a world of business that's measured by dollars and cents, likes are great, but leads are better.

Research firm McKinsey & Company reports that when it comes to acquiring new customers, email is 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter. Translation for retailers: your best bet for increasing potential revenue through marketing starts in the inbox.

It's time to update your approach for how to build your email list and manage your leads. As any Facebook page and Twitter account begins with one fan and one follower, successful email marketing begins with one subscriber. Use these tips for your lead-generation and list-building initiatives. If you've implemented at least the first one, then you're off to a great start:

1. Get clarity around the basics. What's a "lead"? Establish clarity around what a lead is for your business. In retail, it doesn't always have to be a browser. It could be an advocate or an affiliate that can represent referral-based sales.

How will you track success? Identifying metrics around success will let you quickly determine if you will have the results you're looking for. Do you have the right tools in place to capture, store and nurture that lead?

What type of leads are you seeking? Have you defined what a passive (e.g., download a lookbook) or active (e.g., set up an account) lead is? These are the most crucial definitions to set before spending time and money against acquisition campaigns.

Where are your leads? Don't make decisions in a vacuum. Understand the experience your customers will go through as part of your lead-generation campaigns.

2. Strategy before tactics. Without a strategic direction, you'll run out of tactics before you hit your goals. Defining the methods for your list-building campaigns, in addition to what you want to accomplish and revenue projections for your overall objectives and goals, will help you organize your efforts.

If a retailer has strategic direction to target and collect email names of "passive buyers," then the tactics may include email capture via tablet at a trade show or on a landing page/Facebook page featuring a lookbook or another branded piece of content. The names gathered via these tactics should receive specific follow-up messages and calls to action that would eventually convert them as customers.



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