Do you struggle with conversion rates no matter how much you optimize your sales funnels?
There are plenty of ways to gauge a potential customer’s interest in your brand or product, but the step most people miss out is to identify high-quality leads who are the most likely to purchase your products.
In this post, you will learn 6 ways to pre-qualify leads through your email list, so you can boost conversion rates easily.
Let’s get started:
Why are leads important for business?
Prospects, or potential customers, can be described as a broad group of people. Every individual that lives in the region or speaks the language you’re targeting is a prospect.
Unfortunately, targeting prospects on a broad spectrum isn’t an effective way to market your products. You should collect some of those prospects and turn them into leads instead.
Lead generation is part of the strategy that exists within email and social media marketing, though it’s much more prominent in email marketing. Leads are prospects who show interest in your brand or product through certain actions, such as joining your email list.
Here’s an example of a lead generation form from Blogging Wizard:
When you target leads, you’ll see an increase in the number of conversions you receive and a higher amount of revenue as a result. This is due to the simple logic of individuals being more likely to purchase your product if they’ve previously expressed interest in your brand.
It’s why leads are so important for business, and you can take things even further when you pre-qualify your leads. First, you need to learn about the two primary types of leads you can pursue.
Cold leads vs warm leads
Once you build an email list of a few hundred subscribers or more, you may be tempted to send the same promotional autoresponder series to each one.
Some of you may even skip the autoresponder series altogether and send an email promoting one of your products to every new subscriber that joins your list. While you may receive a sale here and there with this approach, you’re likely missing out on a lot of opportunities.
So, if every single subscriber on your list can be thought of as a “lead,” why don’t we want you to send the same promotional email to every single one of them on a mass scale?
Every subscriber, or lead, on your list can be labeled as a “cold lead.” In simple terms, a cold lead is a lead that expresses interest in your brand but hasn’t expressed interest in your product.
However, if you dig deeper into your email marketing strategy, you’ll discover that a cold lead is truly a lead that joined your list outside of an optimized sales funnel.
Here are a few ways a cold lead may join your email list:
- Homepage opt-in forms
- Broad lead magnets offered sitewide
- Sticky header and pop-up forms that appear sitewide
- Inline opt-in form placed at the bottom of every blog post
- About page opt-in form
When you offer lead magnets closely related to your products or use forms linked to sales funnels, you’ll collect what are known as “warm leads.” As you’ve probably already guessed, these are leads who have shown interest in your product, be it directly or indirectly.
There’s a subset of warm leads called “pre-qualified leads,” which is our primary focus for this post.
They offer a lead magnet on ecommerce growth strategies:
This is a great fit because the topic has a strong tie-in with their product. In fact, signing up for their SaaS app is the next logical step for readers to take.
What are pre-qualified leads?
Pre-qualified leads are warm leads that have shown interest in your products to the point that they seem much more likely to purchase them than the average lead on your list.
They do this by showing interest in your product as a normal warm lead would, but the interest is much more profound. For example, instead of taking advantage of a lead magnet that covers the same topic as your product, a pre-qualified lead may express interest by taking advantage of a lead magnet that’s in a similar format as your product.
If you’re building a sales funnel for a paid online course, offer a free online course that covers a similar topic as a lead magnet. It’s not always a guarantee that the type of product you offer aligns with the wants and needs of your customer, so this approach allows you to increase your chances of targeting customers who are much more likely to purchase your products.
The other type of pre-qualified leads are much higher in value. That’s because they show intent rather than interest. These are leads who take advantage of lead magnets that act as precursors to your product. They include free trials, demos, consultations and requests for quotes.
Now that you have a better understanding of what pre-qualified leads are, let’s go over a few methods you can use to collect them.
6 ways to pre-qualify leads through your email list
1. Create forms for free trials, demos, quotes and consultations
When you offer free trials, demos, quotes and consultations for your product, offer them in a form connected to your email list.
Just ensure the type of offer you choose makes sense for the type of product you’re promoting. For instance, offering a free trial for an online course doesn’t make sense if it has a fixed price. Instead, you should offer a demo by providing free access to lesson number one.
Leads who take advantage of these types of offers are much more likely to take the plunge and make a purchase as they’ve already gotten a taste of what your product or what working with you is like.
On a final note, make sure your free offer isn’t too generous or you’ll run the risk of being taken advantage of as leads take their free offers and go, never to return again.
2. Add free trial offers to sales funnels
This one piggybacks off of the last one. In the last method, you applied your offer to sign-up and opt-in forms. The leads you collect with this method are new and have not yet been sent down one of your sales funnels.
So, what if you have a few landing pages and lead magnets tied directly to a sales funnel you orchestrate through your email list? This is the perfect opportunity to advertise the same free trials, demos, quotes and consultations you offered in the previous method.
You should have offered your subscriber a highly valuable lead magnet and nurtured them with additional free lessons throughout this sales funnel. Typically, you’d promote your product at the end as an all-in-one solution to the problem your entire funnel was helping your subscriber get through.
However, you may find offering a free trial, demo, quote or consultation to be much more effective than simply cutting right to the chase with a product promotion.
3. Offer lead magnets that complement your products 1:1
While the free offers listed in the last two methods work effectively for qualifying leads, they’re not the only methods you can use. You can also pre-qualify leads with the regular lead magnets you offer on your site.
However, if you want to ensure these lead magnets will attract qualified leads, create them so they complement your products 1:1. If your product is an online course, your lead magnet should be one as well, albeit a free one.
If your product is a book, offer a free ebook. If your product is a premium WordPress theme, offer a free lite version.
That last example is important as it can help you come up with your own ideas if you don’t offer the types of products listed above. Break your product down, and see if there’s a way you can offer a stripped-down version for free.
Take the popular WordPress theme, Astra, as an example. They offer a limited free version and a premium version for those who want extra features.
The free version has had over 700,000 downloads and provides a constant stream of pre-qualified leads who are already extremely familiar with the product.
If you can’t do something similar, at least make sure your lead magnet covers the same topic as your product in such a way that it acts as a stepping stone toward purchasing it.
If you sell workout equipment, offer a 30-day fitness program as a lead magnet, and ensure the program includes routines that utilize your equipment.
4. Ask new subscribers how they found out about your business
Simple questions can tell you a lot about a lead. For instance, asking a new subscriber what the biggest struggle they’re currently facing is, can give you key access to information on what your audience cares about the most.
If you ask certain other questions, you can actually discover the likelihood of a lead making a purchase from you. Here is one of those questions, and you can ask it on its own without the use of a full survey:
“How did you find out about us?”
It’s a question you’ve likely answered every now and again as a consumer yourself, but why do brands ask it?
One reason is for simple stats on where leads are coming from the most and least. This lets you know which strategies are performing best as well as which sources you need to spend more time on.
However, this question can also be used as a way to pre-qualify a lead depending on how your lead answers it.
One thing to remember about marketing is that you should never underestimate the power of social proof. If your lead was referred to your business by a friend or family member, they’re much more likely to purchase from you.
You may also discover that your lead came to you as an alternative to a competing brand. Contact them directly in this case to see if you can offer them something your competition failed to provide.
5. Have new subscribers fill out a customer profile survey
The previous method works by asking your subscriber a single question, but there are many additional questions whose answers can help you pre-qualify leads. These should be presented in a customer profile survey.
Here are a few key questions you can add to your survey:
What do you look for in a [company type]?
Not only can this question help you pinpoint features and products your brand should be offering, it also gives you a way to send special marketing emails to leads.
For instance, if you’re a personal trainer and your subscriber states they value trainers who offer tailored diet plans, send a direct email to them letting them know about your diet plans.
You can also ask your lead two additional questions that can help you discover if you offer something they’re looking for: “What companies or products have you tried in the past?” and “Why are you looking for a new company or product?”
Which option best describes your income?
If your product is on the pricier side of a few hundred dollars or more, you can trim off lower-quality leads who likely won’t make a purchase based on their income.
Alternatively, ask your subscriber what their budget is for your product type if you don’t feel comfortable asking them to state their income.
What life factors limit your free time?
If your lead is too busy with work and family life, you may find they’re too busy to fully utilize your product. While you may convince them to purchase once, you may not be able to convert them into recurring customers.
Another question you can ask that’s similar to this is “What are your long-term goals in [niche]?”
What are some of your strengths and weaknesses?
Similar to the first question on this list, this answer can help you pinpoint customers you can send special marketing emails to if a product or feature you offer aligns with one of their strengths or weaknesses.
Furthermore, it can help you optimize the products and features you offer as well as your content.
Keep your survey under 10 questions, and make sure open-ended questions are optional. These two factors will encourage your lead to complete the survey.
Note: If you want data at scale you could try designing a BuzzFeed style quiz that drops in a few relevant questions. You’d need to include some fun questions as well but the nature of the quiz would motivate participants into sharing it. These online quiz makers will help you get started.
6. Assign product-related tags to your subscribers
Most email marketing services integrate with ecommerce platforms these days. This integration allows you to create a few tags you can assign to your subscribers based on the actions they take on your list:
- Interested: [product name]
- Purchased: [product name]
The forms and lead magnets mentioned in the previous methods should be connected to Interested tags. When you integrate the ecommerce platform you use with your email marketing service, you’ll be able to set up automations that assign Purchased tags to subscribers when they buy your product.
When you’re ready to launch a new product, you’ll be able to send special promotional emails to everyone in the Purchased tags for products related to your new launch.
Optimizing your approach towards email marketing
As you restructure your email list to identify pre-qualified leads, here are a few topics that will help you optimize your email marketing strategy overall: