What Is Lead Management

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Lead management is a set of practices designed to generate revenues by tracking leads, segmenting, and qualifying them from acquisition until they become a customer.

It is one of the 3 pillars of email marketing.

Another way to describe lead management is that it is a system that enables you to segment the leads as they come in your database based on several factors that you deem relevant; then later on, be able to nurture them until they either become your customer or simply fall of the marketing and sales funnel.

What Does Lead Management Look Like

Let’s say you are a pet store that recently started an eCommerce website. You sell pet food and accessories.

As with most pet stores in the Philippines, majority of your customers are made up of dog owners and cat owners.

Simple explanation of how lead management works

With proper lead management, you will be able to segment people who are dog owners from the cat owners.

This segmentation allows you to send emails to dog owners without sending that same email to cat owners.

[bctt tweet=”Data shows that 56% of email users unsubscribe because the content is no longer relevant. http://snip.ly/higla” via=”no”]

That way, the owners will not receive emails that are irrelevant to them — i.e. Cat owners receiving an email about dogs, and vice-versa.

4 Components of an Effective Lead Management Strategy

Implementing an effective lead management strategy is not easy. It requires collaboration among different departments / groups of people depending on how big your organization is.

1. Alignment Among Departments

The first step in implementing lead management is to have all departments / people who engage with prospects and customers to agree on what information to track.

This alignment allows everyone to be on the same page. It also makes it possible to ensure no overlap happens among the functions.

This usually starts with the alignment of marketing and sales. This determines who is in-charge of who and at what stage in the funnel they are in.

If a person subscribes to the blog, who’s in-charge? Is it marketing? Or is it sales?

What specific information and/or action does the lead need to take before marketing passes the lead to sales? What about when does sales pass it on to customer success?

Example of a Defined Marketing and Sales Funnel

A simple funnel looks like this: visitor –> lead –> opportunity –> customer.

  • A visitor is someone who visits your website.
  • That person becomes a lead once you have their email address
  • They become an opportunity when they either requested for a price catalog or when they checked out.
  • They become a customer once they pay.

Marketing has responsibility for visitors and leads, while sales have responsibility for opportunities and customers.

2. Identify Key Segments

Next, everyone needs to determine the key segments in the database. Put it in another way, the organization needs to agree on how to slice-and-dice the people in the database.

This is a prerequisite to implementing an effective lead nurturing program.

Continuing from the pet store example, here is a list of the basic segments you should be using:

  1. Leads vs Customers (lifecycle or funnel)
  2. Type of owner (first-time, certified pet parent)
  3. Pet owned (dog, cat, others)
  4. City / area

You’ll see this in action in the example at the bottom of the post.

These are the different segments that are relevant to your organization. This differs from one company to another.

You have to define this based on what you think is important to your organization. The most simple way you can do this is following the example in the next section.

Why is this important? 

Data shows that 56% of email users unsubscribe because the content is no longer relevant. Think about that for a moment.

These people unsubscribed from companies not because the email subject nor the copy was bad. In fact, it may be awesome. Rather, they unsubscribed because the content is no longer relevant to them.

If you’re a cat owner and continuously receive emails about dogs, how would you feel?

3. Create Content for Each Segment

At this point, your marketing and sales funnel stages are aligned and you have already identified the key segments. The next step is to plan and create content for each segment to move them further down the funnel. This process is also called content mapping.

Take note that you should only move them down the funnel one step at a time. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a very pushy message.

Example of Content Mapping

For example, you map out your funnel like this:

  1. Subscribed to blog
  2. Downloaded a PDF
  3. Requested a price catalog
  4. Purchased an item
  5. Refer a friend

In this example, blog subscriber should not be sent emails about promos and discounts because the next step in the funnel is to have them engage deeper with the organization. This is identified as downloading one of the marketing offers.

Combining #2 with this one, you can create these PDFs as marketing offers:

  • Tips for First-Time Dog Owners
  • Tips for First-Time Cat Owners
  • Tips for First-Time Pet Owners

So, all your emails to blog subscribers should move them down the funnel. That is achieved by (1) continuously sending them blog updates to honor their first action, (2) send occasional messages asking them to download an offer relevant to them.

Of course, there are times when you can bypass this flow. There are only 3 scenarios here: two of which are effective while one isn’t.

  1. If a blog subscriber takes a specific that puts them in the lower stage of the funnel (i.e. requested a price catalog or bought directly)
  2. Ask them (and agree) to be evangelists/promoters
  3. Ignore the segments and send emails that aren’t the next logical step
An Important Reminder

It is perfectly fine for that person to stay on that stage in the funnel for a long period.

That just means you are continuously providing value to that person but isn’t ready to buy yet.

In addition, the funnel stages are not necessarily linear.

For example, I’ve been a subscriber to HubSpot’s blog since 2012. I became a customer after 2 years. But, because they didn’t push their product in my face and continued providing me value, I eventually used their software once the circumstances were right.

In that two years, they’ve probably sent me 5 emails or less about their product. But I’ve received over 300 emails that I’ve read. I’ve been very vocal about HubSpot (making me an evangelist), but then I became a customer.

4. Use Automation to Move Them Down the Funnel

Email automation is where you use a software to automate the sending of emails (or messages if your software allows it) when certain conditions happen.

This is the bridge between the segments in #2 and the content in #3. The principle behind this is to deliver the right message at the right time.

For example, a person downloads a PDF about Tips for First-time Dog Owners. Two things happen here:

  1. You know they are dog owners
  2. You know they are first-time owners

So, the next logical step here is not to sell to them. Rather, it’s to send them educational content that will help them reach the next stage.

Once they downloaded the PDF, they get sent an email series that teaches them about being a first-time dog owner. This could be a 5-part email that is spread 1 week apart.

This bears repeating — this email series is designed to educate them. So, don’t mention your products or services. You could write about the nutrition and how to determine the right amount of food to give, or how to train, etc.

Bringing It All Together: Lead Management Example

Lead management is easier to demonstrate everything using specific examples. Take a look at this table:

StageActionCat OwnerDog Owner
LeadSubscribed to blog– Continue sending emails from the blog about
– Send an email asking them to download the PDF of Tips for First-time cat owners
– Send an email about a what to do when your cat does this
– Continue sending emails from the blog about
– Send an email asking them to download the PDF of Tips for First-time dog owners
– Send them an email about a 8-week puppy training program
Qualified LeadDownloaded an Offer (PDF)Enroll in an email series.

For example, everyone who downloaded a PDF gets enrolled in an email series like this:
Email 1: Do’s and Don’ts of Cat Parenting
– Email 2: How to Train Your Cat
– Email 3: Cat Litter Training
– Email 4: 24/7 Vet Clinics in ____ City
(what content do you think should go here?)
OpportunityRequested a price catalog– Send them occasional emails about new products / promos
– Ask them to visit your shop
(what content do you think should go here?)
CustomerBought an item– Send timed emailsBought 1kg cat food; if they own 1 cat, send them a reminder to stock up after 4 weeks.
– Ask for reviews
– Ask if they want to sample a treat/toy/accessory you’re promoting
(what content do you think should go here?)

Automation is all about delivering the content you made to the individual segments at scale. This allows you to continue “selling without being pushy.” You’re nurturing the relationship and building trust. You’re demonstrating that you care about them, not just their money.

Lead management is how the leads that come in your database are tracked, segmented, and nurtured. It starts the moment they enter your email database. It is a continuous process that never ends.

4 Common Email Marketing Malpractices

4 Common Email Marketing Malpractices

Email marketing is one of the most frequently used marketing tactic by organizations. Unfortunately, it is also abused by a lot of marketers.

In this article, I’ll share 4 email marketing malpractices (or frowned-upon tactics) that marketers often use.

It’s important to note that these are different from ineffective use of email marketing — which a lot of digital marketers are also doing.

4 Email Marketing Malpractices / Wrong Ways People Use Email Marketing

  1. BCC method
  2. Buying lists
  3. Sending emails to people who have not explicitly opted in
  4. Not including an unsubscribe option

Before anything else, these malpractices are using US laws regarding email marketing. The reason for this is the Philippines doesn’t have such law existing nor have any legislative body that can effectively implement violations.

1) Sending mass email via BCC method

The BCC method is sending an email to multiple people at the same time, but instead of sending the email in the TO field, the sender enters the email in the BCC field. This is a malpractice because it violates at least two principles in the CAN-SPAM Act:

  1. Recipient must opt in to receiving emails from the organization (or a representative)
  2. Recipient must be able to opt out / stop receiving the emails

This is a form of spamming because of the nature of the content (commercial) and lacks permission.

Sample Scenario

This method is often used by salespeople in order to announce a sale or promo happening.

Often, these are real estate agents who either (1) acquired the email addresses via an event like an open house, or (2) through one of their buddies in the industry (see buying lists).

They send from a Gmail or other free email accounts with a convention of [email protected]

In some cases, marketers also use this tactic. They are either (1) archaic/old, (2) young, or (3) cheap and don’t want to spend.

Rarely would these people use this tactic to game the system. Yes, those people exist. But most of the time, these people simply don’t know any better.

For example, fresh graduates (and those looking for internships) also use this kind of tactic to send their resumes and applications to multiple companies at the same time.

Discounting the job application example, in the US, this kind of unsolicited email can cost the organization up to $40,654 per email. That’s over PhP 2M per email!

Just imagine the penalty you could be facing if you send unsolicited email if the same laws apply here to the Philippines.

What to Do Next

As I mentioned above, there are no laws regarding this form of spamming in the Philippines. That is why a lot of marketers are still using this tactic.

If you’re one of these marketers, as a fellow professional, I strongly recommend you stop doing this. Use an appropriate email marketing software to handle your email marketing.

If you’re on the receiving end of this kind of email, I recommend approaching it at two levels:

  1. Inform the sender that that is a disgrace to the profession and must be stopped, and asked to be removed from the list. Then, mark the email as spam.
  2. If the sender ignores your request, and since you cannot opt out, create a filter to put all incoming emails from that email address to your junk/spam folder.

2) Buying email lists

Buying email lists, as the name denotes, is acquiring an email list from a separate entity (person and/or organization) for a price. Other variations of this email marketing malpractice is a colleague sharing their email list with you. While there is no money involved in the latter, it still falls in the same category.

Buying email lists is not a “problem” by itself. You can choose how to spend your money. It is the act of sending emails to the people on this list that makes it an email marketing malpractice.

It violates the opt-in principle where people should not receive commercial emails without their permission. 

Because list buying is so prevalent, internet service providers (ISPs) use a technique to called spam traps. They are basically email addresses that never opted-in nor is used by any person, but is constantly monitored.

spam trap looks like a real email address, but it doesn’t belong to a real person and can’t be used for any kind of communication.

Campaign Monitor

If you send to these email addresses, your domain could be blacklisted. That means you can’t send from your domain anymore.

So, if your organization is using this tactic, just stop. Practice effective lead generation and you’ll avoid this easily.

3) Sending emails to people who did not opt-in

Sending emails to people who did not opt-in to receive your messages is probably the most common among these malpractices. And, it is the easiest to solve!

This particular scenario is worth highlighting because the organization is collecting emails. But, they are not explicit as to what the emails will be used for nor what type of messages will be sent.

Every organization has different types of messages they use in their email marketing. Here are some of them:

  1. Blog updates
  2. Product/service updates
  3. Newsletter
  4. Promos
  5. Events

Depending on your organization, it’s best to be explicit as to what you will do with the emails upfront.

Example 1

For example, if they downloaded a PDF (aka lead magnet/marketing offer) on your website, most organizations include the person in the newsletter blast. Here’s where the problem starts.

Most organizations treat any lead in their database as the same. However, the person who downloaded the PDF does not necessarily want to receive your newsletters.

In addition, newsletters sent by organizations are mostly promotional in nature. They are not what they used to be — a round-up of industry news, blog articles, and other announcements.

So, if you send these promotional emails to people who did not opt-in to receive these kinds of emails, to that person, your emails are irrelevant. And that is the biggest reason for unsubscription.

Example 2

Another situation is if you are collecting newsletter subscribers via your blog. Most organizations are doing this.

But the problem is that organizations use that as a way to send their promotional emails.

The people who signed up for your newsletter only receives promotional messages. They never receive any content from your blog. There is a huge disconnect in the offer (newsletter from the blog) with the actual emails (promotional).

Both examples are borderline deceitful. There is a mismatch in the recipient’s expectations vs the sender’s intent.

And it’s easy to fix.

You can do this using segments. There are two ways you can achieve that: (1) by using a distinct signup form and (2) by asking them to update their email preferences.

First, determine what types of messages you want to send. Product updates, blog updates, promos, etc. Then, create the segments in your email database.

Application 1

You can create a separate form that goes into each of those segments. For example, in your blog sidebar, you can place a blog subscription form that sends them into your “blog subscribers segment.”

Then in other areas of your website, say your about us, you have a form that has a newsletter subscription.

Application 2

If multiple forms are too difficult to comprehend right now, then use this option. (I’d argue that that is the best way to do this since the more forms you have, the better chances of conversion you have)

Here, you simply highlight the email preferences section in your emails.

All email marketing softwares include an unsubscribe link (see malpractice 4 below). But the great part is that instead of frustrating them with annoying emails, be proactive about it and tell them immediately that they can choose to receive which types of emails they’ll be getting.

That way, you have better control over their experience.

4) Not including an unsubscribe option

An unsubscribe option is a link in an email that allows the recipient to stop receiving from the sender.

Some email marketing software use this as a way to either (1) customize the types/frequency of email the recipient wants to receive and (2) to unsubscribe completely/stop receiving emails from the sender.

The CAN-SPAM Act tells explicitly that any commercial email must have a way to opt-out of receiving these promotional messages.

Not including an unsubscribe option can only happen if you are not using a modern email marketing software. All modern marketing softwares follow the CAN-SPAM Act. Therefore, the unsubscribe button is one of the requirements when sending an email.

Most often, this scenario only happens if you are using the BCC method (aka manual email marketing). Since it is using your regular email client (e.g. Gmail), there won’t be any unsubscribe button.

So if you’re not using an email marketing software, please sign up for one today.

How About You?

These are the top 4 email marketing malpractices used by marketers today. As a marketing professional, you should not use any of these frowned-upon tactics.

If your organization is using these techniques, please stop gaming the system. It is not a good, long-term bet. You’re simply taking away from the future to benefit you now.

To be successful in email marketing, you have to invest in developing relationships with your list. And that starts with an effective email strategy.

Do you think I missed any malpractice?

What Is a Lead in Digital Marketing

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A lead in digital marketing is a person whose contact information is known to your organization.

In most cases, that contact information is an email address.

But, with the rise of messenger apps, mobile numbers are becoming another must-have contact info.

A graph of where marketers plan to distribute their content in 2018

3 Criteria That Defines a Lead

In digital marketing, even if you have a person’s email address or mobile number, it does not necessarily mean that person become your organization’s lead.

It has to meet these 3 criteria:

1) Available

Availability means that the information is available to other people in the organization. If you’re the sole owner, then this criterion is already satisfied.

But, if you’re part of a department and you’re the only person who has access to that contact, then the organization cannot claim that as a lead.

If other people don’t access the information but they can, that’s a different story.

In most cases, the information is stored in some sort of software (e.g. A spreadsheet or a CRM). This way, other people can access it anytime.

The main takeaway here is this: a lead does not and should not depend on you as a person.

Meaning, if you resign tomorrow, that lead’s information should all be accessible by anyone in the organization.

2) Valid

The validity of the information is important because if the email address or mobile number you have is incorrect, then you technically don’t have a lead.

The most common violation of this criteria are typographical errors.

Either the person entered their info incorrectly when filling out a form; or by you or someone in your organization when you were transferring the info from a signup sheet you got from an event.

Whatever the cause, if the email or mobile is not valid, that does not qualify to be a lead of your organization.

3) Reachable

Reachability refers to the ability of your organization to get in touch with the person.

Even if the person’s contact information is valid, but that person doesn’t give you permission to contact them and/or decided not to receive any further communications from you, then he/she is not a lead.

For example, the person unsubscribed from your mailing list. Or, the person blocks your number.

This person is no longer a lead. You should deduct these people from the total number of leads for that same period.

Not All Leads Are Created Equal

Every lead that comes into your database is different.

What that means is a person who downloads a PDF and the person who requested a quotation have different needs.

So, you should not send the same message to both persons.

If you want your email marketing to be successful, this is one of the principles you need to understand.

Email Marketing Statistics You Need to Know in 2021

10 Email Marketing Statistics to Convince You to Grow Your Email List

Email marketing needs to be your number one priority as a marketer. Why? Because out of all the possible activities you do to engage your audience — like posting on social and advertising — it’s the only one that you own.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and all other social media (which includes advertising in them) aren’t owned by you. If these services decide to close, your 30k followers on Facebook will be worth nothing. But if you have an email list of 30k, you would still have access to them.

Growing your email list, however, is almost always not a priority for most marketers.

Sadly, the current standard is growing your marketing reach. Hopefully, these statistics will encourage you to start growing your mailing list.

10 Email Marketing Statistics to Convince You to Grow Your Email List

#1 Three-quarters of companies agree that email offers “excellent” to “good” ROI.

Email marketing has an ROI of 4,400%. Despite claims that email usage is on a decline, data shows that email is one of the most effective tools to communicate with your audience

Three-quarters of companies agree that email offers ‘excellent’ to ‘good’ ROI http://snip.ly/y5i3j #emailmarketing [click to tweet]

#2 Email use worldwide will top 3 billion users by 2020. (The Radicati Group, 2016)

Email is not going anywhere. We have all seen how social media come and go. But email has always been there.

In fact…

#3 86% of business professionals prefer to use email when communicating for business purposes.

Yes, that includes social media, telephone, and face-to-face meetings.

86% of professionals prefer to use email

86% of business professionals prefer to use email when communicating for business purposes. http://snip.ly/y5i3j [click to tweet]

#4 80% of retail professionals indicate that email marketing is their greatest driver of customer retention (the next closest channel? Social media, identified by just 44% of those same professionals).

Reaching customers via social media is difficult. With email, you get access to their inbox directly. With social, you have a lot of competition for their attention.

Most people using Facebook or Instagram aren’t there to check your company. They are there for their friends and families.

But when they check email, they are already conditioned to hear from other businesses (aka you).

#5 42% of marketers do not send targeted email messages; only 4% use layered targeting. (MarketingProfs, 2016)

One of the biggest reasons why marketers don’t succeed in email marketing is because of unsegmented email lists. This results in generic, untargeted messages.

If you think about it, it’s easy to understand why this doesn’t work.

Imagine this: a person recently signed up for your newsletter because she liked what she was reading on your blog. Then, the next day, she receives an email about your awesome product. In 2 days, she received another promotional email. And again. And again.

That person subscribed to read your blog’s content. But then you keep sending promotional emails that isn’t relevant to her.

#6 Segmented email campaigns have an open rate that is 14.32% higher than non-segmented campaigns. Click-throughs are 100.95% higher in segmented email campaigns than non-segmented campaigns.

This is another reason why you need to have a proper lead management strategy in your email marketing.

The example above could be easily avoided if she entered a “segment” in your list as a new lead. From here, you can send a welcome series sharing the story of your company, your vision, and the challenges you’re facing.

Then, in that final welcome series, you asked the person if she’d like to receive promos from you. If she said yes, then you message won’t be seen as irrelevant.

And to be clear, only those who said “yes” to receiving promos from you should be the only ones receiving them.

#7 15% of marketers surveyed say their company still does not regularly review email opens and clicks; only 23% say they have integrated their website and emails to track what happens after a click. (MarketingProfs, 2016)

Integrating your website with your email marketing software is key to tracking the results of your email marketing.

If you don’t have this setup properly, it’s difficult to do remarketing or use automations based on behaviors.

Here’s an example where this might be put to use effectively: a person is already a part of your mailing list. Recently, he keeps on viewing your pricing page. If you setup the integration properly and created an automation, this behavior (say viewed example.com/pricing >5 in the last 7 days), an email could be sent asking if he found what he was looking for.

This timeliness is said to be one of the biggest drivers of closing a deal.

#8 28% of consumers would like to receive promotional emails more than once per week.

While people may say they like receiving these promotional emails, it’s best to test if they are acting upon it.

When asked, 68% say they prefer to receive HTML emails (fancy, designed templates) over plain-text ones. But, data proves that HTML both decreases opens by as high as 37% and clicks by 21%.

This behavior is apparent when using surveys. So, it’s up to you to determine what really works.

#9 Digital shopping cart abandonment rates are high worldwide, at 74.3%. according to Q1 2016 research, with Asia-Pacific having the highest rate at 75.9% and Europe having the lowest cart abandonment rate at 71.5%.

If you’re an eCommerce company, make sure you use this type of email in your email marketing.

On the other hand, if you are not selling online, you should still send different types of emails like welcome emails and onboarding emails — not just your typical newsletter. Why?

Because…

#10 Welcome emails are incredibly effective: on average, 320% more revenue is attributed to them on a per email basis than other promotional emails.

It’s a known fact that it’s easier to earn more revenues from existing customers. However, a lot of companies don’t spend time nor allocate resources to create a great onboarding experience.

It’s like after they start paying, they get left to fend for themselves.

This is a huge waste of money and opportunity. After spending so much to acquire that customer, and you don’t have a proper onboarding setup, you’ll lose that customer quickly.

Welcome emails are incredibly effective: on average, 320% more revenue is attributed to them http://snip.ly/y5i3j [click to tweet]

Sending an email to another person is personal. It gives you access to their inbox — a place that they check every day. If you have a great relationship with your email list, they’ll be dying to open your emails.