What can e-mail do for my lead-generation efforts?

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E-mail paves the way for the most effective lead-generation campaigns. We recently conducted a study of 87 lead-generation campaigns representing almost 481,000 total touches and found that response rates can double by sending an e-mail before making a call. Looking at campaigns in which an e-mail was sent before an outbound call, campaign “connect rates” (prospects reached by phone or e-mail) averaged about 25%, while conversion rates were 2% to 5%, and sometimes much higher.

There are a few reasons why e-mail benefits a lead-generation campaign:

  1. E-mail is a conversation-opener. Appointments are not likely to be set as the result of an e-mail alone in an outbound prospecting campaign. In fact, less than 0.5% of appointments will result from an e-mail alone. However, a follow-up phone call won’t be effective without the content in the e-mail, which facilitates the phone call by providing both an introduction and background information. In addition, sending an e-mail in advance of a call also addresses the key objection of “send me the information.”
  2. E-mail provides a reference after the call. Even if the prospect has not seen the e-mail when the outbound call takes place, the e-mail provides content for the prospect to refer back to after the call. This strengthens the prospect’s connection to the call.
  3. E-mail provides a follow up to voice mail messages. For prospects who are difficult to reach by phone, e-mail is a great way to provide another touch. Sending either a personalized text-based or HTML e-mail that says “I left you a couple voice mail messages and thought e-mail might be an easier channel for you” is a great way to break through the clutter and get the meeting set.

Finally, a relevant opt-in e-mail campaign is a good way to keep targets interested in your company even if they’ve dropped off your prospect list. Needs change, and you want your company to be top-of-mind when the time is right to make a sale.

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

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