Jun 20, 2018

How Email Marketing Can Turn Leads Into Sales

by Digital Marketing Institute

Email has been around since the 1970s, and even though it’s now ubiquitous, you might still be surprised to learn just how effective a marketing tool it is today. Even though it’s a 50-year-old technology, businesses are still using email to connect with followers, turn leads into customers, and engage audiences with news, promotions, information, and special deals.

There are many ways that email marketing can help grow your business, and one of the most important is that it allows you to reach out to people who have visited your site without converting, meaning you can target qualified leads through email to get a second chance at a conversion. However, to nurture a lead like this, it’s integral that you personalize and customize your communications, use the right types of emails at the right time, and use promotional emails strategically to avoid overwhelming leads that haven't been fully cultivated.

Email Marketing Is Still an Incredibly Effective Form of Communication

Email may no longer be the shiny new technology that everybody is raving about, but while it has passed out of the world of novelty tech, it has transitioned into a different realm and become something indispensable that people rely on every day for communication. So while email may not be exciting, it is dependable: in 98 percent of instances, an email sent is an email delivered

By comparison, a post on social media is likely to reach only about 2 percent of your followers, whereas an email is almost guaranteed to make it to the inboxes of your audience. Moreover, email has an incredibly wide reach, because over 90 percent of American adults use email and nearly three-quarters of the country’s teenagers.

Email Reconnects You with Leads You Might Otherwise Lose

One of the best ways that email can serve your business is by helping you target pre-qualified leads. Here's how it works: a visitor comes to your site and surfs around for a bit but doesn’t buy anything and eventually leaves the site, but not before signing up for a newsletter. That lead is now pre-qualified because you already know the prospect is interested, so any marketing efforts you put into converting that lead are more likely to pay off. 

And instead of assuming the lead is gone for good when the prospect leaves your site, you can now use email to remarket to that prospect, nurture the lead, re-engage attention, and convert that visitor into a paying customer.

Personalized Emails, in Particular, Are Far More Likely to Be Noticed

Beyond reaching its intended targets, email marketing is also effective because you can personalize the messages, which makes it much more likely that a recipient will open your email. Plus, personalized emails reduce unsubscribe requests, they're 75 percent more likely to be opened, and they also have higher click-through rates. 

There are many ways that you can personalize emails, including using the recipient’s name in the subject or greeting, using the name of a real employee for the sender name, and sending emails at the right time of day (it’ll require some testing before you can determine this).

Divide Leads into Segments So You Can Send Tailored and Relevant Content

Another way to further increase the effectiveness of email marketing is to divide your leads into different segments based on their buyer personas, which include detailed information like demographics, employment, pain points, shopping habits, buyer journey stage, and more. Once you’ve segmented your recipients, you can suit the emails for the different segments to offer highly personalized and customized content. Here are a few ways you can tailor emails based on segment:

  • Altering the language to resonate with different demographics
  • Making customized offers based on buying and searching habits
  • Writing different content or about different topics
  • Offering special sales based on geography
  • Providing suggested products or services based on needs or past purchases

Send Different Types of Emails to Keep a Lead’s Attention and Build a Relationship

Just as there are different genres of literature, so too are there different types of emails, and not all emails are appropriate in all situations. In fact, when you're just embarking on a lead nurturing venture, it’s important to send emails that are education and information based; otherwise you risk coming on too strong and scaring off a lead.

The first email you send should provide the lead with information that relates to your business or your field, and that showcases your expertise in the area. The next email can highlight a problem that your prospect may be facing or a pain point that’s common among your customers. Only after sending these first few introductory emails can you start suggesting that your business may well be the solution they need, but while still being mostly educational. After that, you can include sale information and even deals in your emails, along with reviews or testimonials from other happy customers.

Although this may seem like a long and drawn out process, sending the right types of emails at the right time will help build a relationship with your prospects. Using informational emails instead of promotional ones will help prospects to see that you aren't trying to sell to them, but rather there to help them solve a problem or make their lives better. This will build loyalty and get prospects familiar with your brand, and by the time you're ready to start promoting your products or services, the prospect will be ready to listen.

Use Email to Send Promotional Content to Encourage Conversions

Once you’ve built a relationship with your prospects through a series of informational emails, you can actively start promoting your business, as long as you're not pushy about it. One good way to do this is to include a featured product in the email that’s tailored to prospects based on their segment. You can also include personalized sales and deals, exclusive offers, insider information, and other data or promotional material that will tempt your prospects to click through and convert.

There are two very important things to remember when you use email in a promotional manner: the call to action and the landing page. Including a clear and compelling call to action in the email is essential to get prospects to click through. Also, the email must link to a customized landing page that specifically relates to the content of the email; otherwise the prospect may become confused and bounce. For example, if the email you sent was promoting a special product that you've just launched, the landing page should relate to that product.

A note about landing pages: The landing page is a crucial part of your email marketing efforts because, without it, you won’t get any conversions. When prospects click through, they shouldn’t be routed to some random page, but rather to a landing page that’s been built and optimized for conversions. This includes having a clear call to action on the landing page, having compelling headlines, using images and video to capture attention, and using other best practices for conversion rate optimization. A/B testing is a great way to make sure that all the elements on both your email and your landing page are performing optimally, and this two-pronged approach with email marketing and a landing page is the best way to ensure that you're successful in increasing conversions. 


Although email has been around for several decades, it’s still an effective digital marketing tool that all businesses can benefit from. Email can put you back in touch with the visitors who have been to your website but who left without converting, and this gives you a unique opportunity to remarket to pre-qualified leads that you know are interested in what you have to offer. Email is also highly effective because it can be personalized and customized to individual people and specific segments. The high delivery rate also means that email is a reliable form of marketing, and you can also keep a close eye on which recipients open, click through, convert, or unsubscribe. The key with email marketing is to take it slow, and to start your campaign with highly educational emails that provide prospects with information about a problem or challenge they're facing, and to work your way toward the promotional emails that are designed to convert.

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