Increasing your sales pipeline can feel like you’re chasing your tail; constantly hunting for new opportunities to turn cold prospects into warm ones will more often than not see you going round in circles while achieving little upward growth.
So how can you pin those elusive prospects down and fill your sales pipeline with high value leads?
The truth is, marketing nowadays is far more complex than it once was and the route to a healthy pipeline is not as clear-cut. Businesses are spoilt for choice with the availability of marketing channels including digital marketing, web content, mobile marketing, SEO, PPC and let’s not forget the multitude of apps and platforms available on social media.
What all this means is there is an infinite number of different routes to any one sale; and attributing that sale to a specific action or particular marketing channel is not black and white.
So where, you might ask, does email marketing fit into all of this and how can it offer sales opportunities that other channels don’t deliver?
Well, email marketing is unique in many ways, not least because it is disruptive. Your recipients haven’t asked you to contact them with a sales email so keep this in mind. Even better, don’t send them a sales email! Send them something thought-provoking and interesting instead. The beauty of email marketing is that it opens up the opportunity for valuable conversations with potential prospects – and this is why it can prove the perfect marketing channel for filling your sales pipeline.
But wait! Before you delve straight into your first email marketing campaign, take stock of what you plan to send and how you plan to send it. Email marketing has to be done right in order to nurture strong leads, otherwise your messages are likely to be deleted before they’ve even been opened.
Consider text only emails over image-based HTML designs
Depending on the type of service or product you are promoting, an email designed to look like the kind you’d receive from a colleague or friend will elicit a better response than one that screams ‘sales email’. Fancy logos and eye-catching pictures are all well and good but they’re unlikely to engage a recipient in a meaningful conversation.
Offer something to your recipient
We’re not talking a special discount or limited time offer here. Think about what you can offer your recipient and share it with them. It could be your knowledge and expertise in your field or a new statistic that might stop them in their tracks. Perhaps you want to share some top tips or nuggets of advice. If your content is compelling, well-written and genuinely interesting to the recipient they are much more likely to want to get in touch to find out more.
Get the subject line right
The best marketing emails are those that offer just the right level of intrigue in the subject line to make the recipient want to open the email and click through to your website or blog. Don’t be so vague in your subject line as to give no indication of what you’re about. Worse still, don’t try and trick your recipient into opening an email by using a subject line that has nothing to do with your email – it won’t work! And most likely they will never look past the subject line again.
Think beyond the email
Once you have persuaded your recipients to click through to your website, blog or post you need to back this up with the same pertinent copy there too. Consider your presence everywhere – on social media, your website, LinkedIn – and make sure it represents your business in the way you would like it to. If your recipient decides to call you back from an email, that experience needs to be equally as impressive too.
Use quality email data
It can be tempting when starting out to buy the biggest database you can get your hands on for the best price. Don’t do it. Go for quality always, and make sure that it is GDPR compliant. Know the data sets you are contacting and use highly targeted messaging to relevant people that might genuinely be interested in your offering. And then of course, measure the results.
Once your email campaign launches, don’t just sit back and wait for the sales to roll in. This is where the work really starts! If your recipients have shown some interest, follow up your emails with a helpful (not pushy!) telephone call. The great thing about email marketing is you can see whether recipients have clicked through to your website from your emails, and a friendly call to see if you can offer further help can be an effective way of nurturing prospects and building worthwhile conversations.
So, is email marketing a guaranteed channel to greater sales? Sadly not; no doubt we’ve all deleted marketing emails in the past that have fallen into our inbox without ever opening them. However, if you’re sending pertinent, engaging emails with the right messaging to the right data sets, you have every opportunity of building some really strong relationships with your prospects and filling your sales pipeline with particularly high-value leads.