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Email marketing represents the chance for small businesses of all types to accomplish many goals, from a boost in conversion percentages and repeat customers, to the ability to generate qualified referrals and maximize sales opportunities. Email is a cost-effective, time-efficient way to expand your reach and grow your business – but without a thriving communications list to market to, you’ll likely be left whistling in the wind.

If your business is eager to start capitalizing on the many benefits of email marketing, or if you are searching for ways to gain traction with your current campaign, consider these five fundamental strategies to fill your list with quality leads.

1. Convert Your Best Customers
When launching an email marketing campaign, it’s natural to want to focus on hunting for new leads. However, a sound long-term strategy in most cases is to build your foundation with a base of best customers. These are the people you already know are interested in your products or services, and having them on your list will help you maintain current revenue streams, strengthen lifeblood relationships, and enhance your ability to acquire high-converting referrals.

Make sure the customers who have already subscribed to your communications understand that they’ll be receiving a new wave of emails, and provide to them the opportunity to set preferences and reconfirm their contact information. For all your other current and past consumer contacts, cultivate an approach that makes it appealing to opt-in – whether that means offering incentives, or selling them on positive aspects of emails such as reduced paper waste and increased control over the content they receive. Most of all you want to make the process as simple and straightforward as possible, able to be accomplished with a few simple clicks, and to underline your commitment to keeping personal information safe while respecting all rules and regulations relating to direct marketing.

2. Optimize Your Website for Conversions
Whether you are running an e-commerce store or simply focusing your marketing efforts to driving traffic to your website, your goal should be to collect the email of as many visitors as possible. From having a visible way to subscribe on your home page, to having an automated pop-up invitation that greets customers upon arrival, to creating strategic landing pages with calls to action to opt in, it makes good sense to present a low-pressure opportunity for individuals to supply their email at every turn.

Choose an incentive that your core consumers will find beneficial, such as a free subscription to your newsletter, a discount on their next purchase, or the opportunity to enter a sweepstakes. And again, strive to make the opt-in process as safe and easy as possible.

3. Make It a Comprehensive Mission
Keeping your email list stocked with high quality leads isn’t typically accomplished in a singular effort, but rather requires a comprehensive approach that extends throughout your operations. The goal is to turn your organization into a lead-generating machine, from your website, to your social media marketing and content marketing activities, to customer service and sales. In order to be successful it’s necessary to get your entire team on board by supplying the information they need to understand that email is the method in which modern consumers wish to receive marketing communications.

Every time you initiate a transaction or have direct contact with a potential customer – whether in the virtual world or at a physical location – part of the process should include asking the individual if he or she is interested in receiving emailed promotions. Assess the various aspects of your operation and identifying areas where you are currently missing the chance to collect emails, whether it means bringing a signup sheet when participating in a live event, or adding a scannable QR code to mailings that allows consumers to subscribe with minimum effort.

4. Create Tempting Lead Candy
Email is a natural fit for a multi-channel campaign, as your offsite efforts help fuel your list while direct marketing is a powerful tool for maximizing consumer relationships. One way to tap into fresh streams of qualified leads is to generate high-quality content that your targeted audience will have an irrepressible taste for. Providing access to an award-winning newsletter, insightful white paper, free software download, or educational webinar for the simple cost of an email address can be a dynamic way to build a subscriber base. This strategy also extends to social media advertising and PPC, in which you extend a compelling best offer to new customers who opt in to receive additional offers and opportunities.

5. Put Your List to Work
A list build strategy for an individual or group of leads doesn’t end when you enter them into your database. In addition to sending a balance of communications that serve the purpose of increasing revenues and achieving a higher rate of conversions, it’s essential to include content that builds trust and loyalty, and inspires social endorsements and sharing. Your best converting new leads are inevitably going to come via word-of-mouth referrals, so keep making the call to action for customers to pass your content to interested parties and initiate loyalty and referral programs that supply valuable rewards to those who participate.

Email marketing is a vehicle with the potential to carry your business to its goals, and permission-based leads represent the fuel that makes the journey possible. By forging a solid foundation of qualified consumers, making list building an organizational focus, and building off success with referral strategies, you can consistently fill your email-marketing list with high-quality leads.

What additional tips can you suggest to track down quality leads for email marketing?

About the Author: B Spero is a marketer and writer who shares his thoughts and tips related to marketing strategies and ways to generate interest and new leads online.

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