Leads are a fresh commodity. They can’t wait until tomorrow.
Would you like to know how to convert leads into customers… manipulation and hypnosis? No. It’s quite simple – just give people what they want.
“An email campaign without conversions is like a car without wheels – it won’t take you forward.” – EmailOut
You’ve worked hard to attract a lead only to end up losing it to a competitor. Frustrating, isn’t it? Yet, it is more common than you think. Despite all your best efforts to keep leads engaged throughout the customer journey, at some point you’ve lost touch with them. Or worse, you got their attention but missed the mark on sealing the deal. Bombarding them with more emails, won’t help you convert them into customers. What can you do then?
This article covers the following topics on how to convert leads into customers:
- Email conversion rate 101
- How to convert leads into customers?
- The waiting game
- Lead qualification
- Lead nurturing
- Benefits not features
- Social proof
- Landing pages
- Email marketing KPIs
Ready to dive in?
When you lose a lead it’s easier to think “Oh, that’s just some bad luck!”. But, the truth is, something went wrong along the way. To figure out what and to ensure you won’t lose leads to competitors, you need the right email marketing software and the best techniques in place.
Email Conversion Rate: What Does It Mean?
Email conversion rate is one of the most crucial email marketing KPIs and key for determining ROI. It is the percentage representation of the number of recipients (leads) who have acted on your email (completed a goal action).
What would be a perfect conversion rate? That’s a tough one. A good conversion rate depends on different variables such as your goal for each email campaign, the offer, the email copy and your industry sector.
Advice: An author I recently discovered said: “If you compete with others, you may not win. If you compete with yourself, you always win by becoming better.” Thus, the best way for you to achieve a good email conversion rate is to take a closer look at your email marketing metrics, figure out where you’re falling short and do whatever tweaks necessary to boost conversions.
How Do You Calculate Conversion Rate?
The formula for computing your email conversion rate is quite simple: you divide the number of people who completed an action (i.e. signups, purchases, etc.) by the total number of emails delivered and then multiply the result by 100.
Example: (550 completed actions/ 9,500 email delivered) x 100 = 5.78% conversion rate.
10 Tips On How To Convert Leads Into Clients
Ever heard the saying “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”?
In this case, your “honey” is the process of guiding your leads through the customer journey with an email marketing strategy that puts them at the centre.
This is how you go about converting leads into customers…
Don’t Play The Waiting Game
“Good things come to those who wait,” said no impatient lead looking for a solution. Leads hate to be kept waiting.
The key to successfully converting leads into customers is two words – traceability and speed.
A lead’s level of interest drops dramatically after an hour since the first point of contact. If you delay reaching out to leads more than an hour, you risk missing out on potential revenue as they will lose both patience and interest and turn to your competitors instead.
Advice: CRM systems can help you keep track of leads so their interest doesn’t end up forgotten or languishing in your overcrowded inbox, whereas an immediate autoresponder giving the lead the contact details of your sales/support teams will allow them to reach out quickly if their enquiry is urgent.
Qualify Your Leads
A lead qualification process begins with a pool of leads generated through various sources (social media, website signup forms, etc.) subsequently grouped according to their stage in the customer journey.
According to HubSpot, the four main types of leads are –
1) Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL). Leads fit to receive marketing communications (email campaigns, content offers, etc.).
2) Sales Qualified Leads (SQL). Leads ready to connect with a sales representative and begin the buying process.
3) Product Qualified Leads (PQL). Leads that indicated a strong interest in a product or service by starting a subscription or signing up for a free trial.
4) Conversion Qualified Leads (CQL). Any lead who has converted either by submitting a form on your website or by a call-to-action click in your email campaign.
Each lead type has different characteristics, places the lead at a different stage in the customer journey and requires a different approach. Yet, all types are potential sales leads. Thus, to provide a good – and valuable – first impression, it’s imperative that you qualify your leads.
Interesting stat: 50% of new leads are not yet ready to make a purchase.
The reason: You can’t possibly close a sale if the lead you’re reaching out to is not ready to purchase. By qualifying your leads rather than diving headfirst into a hard-sell approach, you will ensure the information provided in your email campaign is appropriate without risking annoying – or losing – them.
Advice: Do a quick search for the lead in your CRM system (if you are using one) to determine where they are at – have they taken an action already – before initiating contact.
Do you want to go from lead generation straight to conversions? Who wouldn’t? Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that.
You cannot just jump the gun and miss out on what almost 60% of marketers agree to be the most imperative part of any marketing strategy – lead nurturing.
Memory refresh: Lead nurturing is the process of building, securing and reinforcing relationships between you (the brand) and your leads at every stage of the customer journey.
A lead nurturing email will take your new prospects on a personalised journey of your brand and the solutions you offer. But remember, lead nurturing is rarely about immediate sales. It’s about the long game of inspiring real engagement and keeping your brand at the forefront of leads’ minds throughout successfully recurring customer lifecycles.
If you are wondering about the benefits of lead nurturing, here’s a small taste –
- 50% more sales-ready leads
- 45% higher ROI
- over 20% shorter sales cycle
- automation opportunity (you’ll need the right email marketing software)
- cost-efficiency (email marketing’s ROI is 42:1 – the highest in digital marketing)
Interesting stat: Without lead nurturing almost 80% of your leads will never convert.
Segment Your Email List
Your email database (leads, prospects, subscribers, customers) is the most important and valuable asset in your email marketing strategy.
By segmenting your leads based on factors such as demographics, psychographics, purchase history, browsing activity, you’ll be able to tailor relevant email campaigns specific to their interests, needs and desires and deliver the right message to the right people at the right time.
Email list segmentation will help you increase open, click-through and conversion rates and decrease unsubscribe and complaint rates. In addition, you’ll also be able to improve your email campaigns’ performance and maintain a robust database.
Whether you’re reaching out to leads, trying to re-engage dormant subscribers, promoting products (services) or simply delivering valuable content, smart email list segmentation will help you meet your target audience where they are at in the customer journey and deliver extremely focused, highly personalised, greatly target and hyper-relevant campaigns.
Interesting fact: Segmentation is the #1 most effective personalisation technique.
Focus On Benefits Rather Than Features
In any type of marketing, there are two paths you can take –
- focus on what your product/service does (features) or
- how your product/service will help your leads (benefits).
Just because you know why your product or service is perfect and will make your leads’ life better doesn’t mean they know. Therefore, as easy as it is to get lost in all the technicalities and specifics of your own product or service, try not to talk about what your product does but rather how it’ll benefit your leads if they choose to come on board.
Distinction: A personalised email subject line is a feature. Higher open, click-through and conversion rates are benefits you reap because of the feature.
Personalisation Is Key
Leads, subscribers and customers have all come to expect and demand relevant personalised emails. With competition for the Inbox being at its highest and resembling a gladiator fight, you need to deploy every weapon into your email marketing arsenal to stay ahead and win the game. Cue, email personalisation.
With the right email marketing software on your side, personalising email campaigns for your leads will be simple, easy and, above all, sophisticated. You will be able to make the connection with them more personal, deliver relevant content (offers, promos, deals, etc.) and, of course, encourage more conversions.
“I already use my leads’ first name in emails,” you say. Great, that’s a ‘must’ but personalisation goes so much further than just the first/last name. To really experience the power of this email marketing tsunami and feel its real magic you need to begin including personalisation of the following campaign elements – The:
- “From” name
- Subject line
- Email copy
- Offers, deals, special promos, recommendations, etc.
Interesting fact: Highly-personalised emails make your target audience feel special precisely because of the tailored nature which, in turn, invokes a sense of consumer empowerment driving recipients towards the Holy Grail – a conversion.
Email copywriting is not just about the subject line nor is it solely about the call-to-action or the email copy. It is about all of it and the art – and science – of crafting the most highly personalised, uber-relevant, beneficial email campaigns that will convert your leads into customers swiftly and serve as selling machines from the moment they are delivered to their inbox.
The most important rule of email copywriting: You must always write something your leads will want to read.
Email copywriting is not much different from any other form of copywriting sans a few unique advantages you should seriously consider –
- higher level of persuasiveness,
- a connection between the subject line, preheader, copy and call-to-action, and
- no fluff, fillers or tangents.
The average human’s attention span is… oh look, a butterfly!
Ever since smartphones entered the scene, people have had such a small attention span even a goldfish can hold a thought for longer. Thus, nailing your email copy to ensure you’ll convert leads into customers is imperative. You can do so by –
- establishing a clear focus: no “shouty” CTAs or tons of irrelevant content
- using novelty: the potential for pleasure (benefits) motivates people to convert
- using power words: it will evoke exclusivity, urgency, curiosity and build anticipation
- being brief and to-the-point: will you read and engage with an email longer than Tolstoy’s “War & Peace”?
- using second-person pronouns: “you”, “your” and “yours” will keep the focus on the recipient (a.k.a lead) and make them feel like you’re talking directly to them
- fulfilling your promise: whatever you’ve promised in the subject line make sure to deliver on it in the email copy
Leads pausing midway through the customer journey can be quite frustrating for you. Yet, they are on your email list precisely because they already showed interest in what you have to offer. They are just not yet ready to take the final step and convert into paying customers.
When striving for growth and success, fostering trust with your leads is crucial. What better way to convince them to leap than social proof?
Use testimonials, reviews, and other social proof forms in your email campaigns to emphasise every amazing, beneficial and thrilling thing about your product or service. After all, people trust other people’s opinions and recommendations. This is your way of saying “Don’t simply take my word for it… listen to the crowd.”
If used properly, social proof can be the tipping point that will turn leads into customers.
Dedicated Landing Page
One of the most essential elements of a highly converting email campaign is directing your leads to a dedicated landing page where they will take the desired action.
Did you ever wonder why many professional email marketing platforms offer landing pages as one of their features? They are marketing’s dynamic duo and fit together like Batman and Robin. The Joker and Harley Quinn. Han Solo and Chewbacca [you just roared “RAWRGWAWGGR” didn’t you?].
You can’t have a highly successful and profitable email campaign swiftly converting your leads into customers without combining email marketing and landing pages. Yes, you’ll achieve some good results with only an email. But, why settle for good when you can have great?
Track Email Marketing KPIs
You want to pinpoint what’s working and what’s not? Keep an eye on your email marketing KPIs.
A poor open rate may be an indication of a problem with your subject line. Or, it could be that your “From” address and the email copy come across as spammy to ESPs.
A low click-through rate can be an indication of a poorly designed call-to-action, poor segmentation and lack of personalisation.
A low conversion rate can signify a catastrophic problem with your offer (let’s hope not) or, the more likely scenario, a weak, unclear call-to-action that doesn’t convert.
Regardless of what the issue might be, tracking and monitoring your email marketing metrics will tell you all you need to know about where your leads are at and what you can do to persuade them to convert with your next email campaign.
Your leads don’t have to be window shoppers.
With the right email marketing software in your corner, a proper strategy on how to convert leads into customers and the right mindset, you can easily turn prospects into clients.
All you have to do is establish trust, deliver value and benefits from the beginning, be concise while doing it – and follow up to strengthen your relationship with them. Just follow these 10 guidelines –
- Don’t play the waiting game
- Qualify your leads
- Nurture your leads
- Segment your email list
- Focus on benefits rather than features
- Always personalise
- Write email copy your leads will want to read
- Utilise social proof
- Use dedicated landing pages
- Track your email marketing KPIs
Are you ready to convert your leads into customers?
Highly recommended further reading –
1) Email Conversion Issues
2) Lead Nurturing Emails 101
3) Lead Generation Tips
4) Call-To-Action Examples That Convert
5) Email Copywriting 101
6) Email Marketing Campaign Checklist (PDF version here)