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What e-mail metrics are most valuable for lead generation?

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Outbound prospecting is significantly more successful when preceded by an e-mail. E-mail tends to soften the target audience to the call and provides reps information to refer to during prospecting calls.

E-mail metrics provide valuable information for lead generation, including which prospects are most interested and what they are interested in.

There are two main e-mail metrics that can help marketers' outbound prospecting efforts: open rate and click-through rate. Click-through information generally is more useful than open data. This is especially true because many e-mail clients block images, so the “open” is not counted. By clicking-through to your website, prospects are showing active interest.

There are three key ways to use e-mail analytics to boost the success of your lead generation efforts:

  1. Look at click-throughs as an indication of interest. Prioritize follow-up calls to this segment first. This is especially helpful when targeting large lists. Those who click-through on e-mails should get the first calls and also the greatest number of “touches” in your prospecting campaign. Once you've exhausted this segment of your list, use your remaining time to contact targets who opened your e-mail. Since this latter segment didn't show active interest, limit your touches to half the amount as your click-through touches.
  2. Use click-through analytics to determine your prospects' interests. Look at what area of your website your prospects visited. This will enable outbound callers to adjust calling scripts to reference areas of interest and to tweak their conversation strategy to make the call more productive. Also, review IP addresses to see if prospects circumvented e-mail links and went directly to your website. Include these prospects in your high-priority segment.
  3. Change your approach based on analytics. If you're finding that prospects are clicking through to your site but you're not getting the response you want, use analytics to figure out why. Perhaps you need to invest in more research to find other targets within the organization who are better suited to make decisions, or perhaps your message needs to be revised. As in all outbound prospecting, knowledge of your prospect is power.

Finally, if you're sending e-mail to a very targeted list, treat everyone on that list as “high priority” even if prospects don't open the e-mail or click-through to your website. A highly targeted list always trumps e-mail analytics because you know these targets are ripe for your product or service. However, using click-through knowledge on this group will still help improve the outcome of conversations.

Jenny Vance is president of LeadJen (www.leadjen.com), a b-to-b lead generation company.

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