How To Design A Lead Qualification Email Campaign

Quickly determine a lead’s health with this automated drip campaign

An email list isn’t too different from a backyard garden. It’s not a set-it-and-forget type deal, in which you just dump seeds into the ground and wait for your rewards. You need to actively tend it in order to get the best possible outcome. In addition to using the best soil and regularly watering your plants, you need to actively remove harmful elements like bugs, weeds, and rodents. Likewise, you need to consistently monitor your email list’s health to make sure it has everything it needs to grow in the right ways.

You will eventually get bad sign-ups; it’s a natural part of having a publically accessible email opt-in form. Some will be spam, some will be robots, and some will be real people who really have no interest in whatever you’re selling. If you’re lucky, they’ll unsubscribe quickly and save you the hassle. If not, you could get stuck with a bunch of non-responsive emails that do little more than slowly chew away at your open and click rates.

One of the most effective ways to combat this issue is to qualify your leads right from the start. Essentially, you need to determine who really cares about your messages and who doesn’t, so you can avoid wasting time, effort, bandwidth, and money on dead ends. The best way to accomplish this is with an automated lead qualification campaign.

What is a lead qualification campaign?

A traditional lead qualification email campaign follows has the following characteristics:

  1. Is an automated series of pre-written and pre-designed emails
  2. Is designed to release as a drip over a short period of time
  3. Typically includes specific lead-qualifying calls-to-action in each email
  4. Upon its completion, you should be confident in the subscriber’s level of interest in your product or service

The goal here is to weed out uninterested signups that have no plan to engage with your emails, and also to determine how interested the rest of your subscribers are in what you are offering. As a bonus, you can choose to use this drip campaign to further segment your list by areas of interest or any other filters you think have value.

Here’s what a typical lead qualification drip email campaign looks like:

First and foremost, there’s a lead capture mechanism, which is typically an email opt-in form on your website or landing page. Once the email is in your system, you should have automation set up to trigger the first email in the drip, which is the welcome email. These emails should all go out over the span of 4-7 days.

As you can see, every action following the welcome email is based on whether the subscriber opened the previous email. A subscriber who doesn’t open the first two emails you send – including reminder emails for each one, if you choose to include them – is most likely not interested and not planning to engage with your content. Keeping that person on your active list will only drag down your open rates and potentially harm your sender reputation with your email service provider. With a qualification campaign like this, you can quickly know within a few days that this subscriber should be moved to another list for recapture – or re-engagement – at a later time.

On the other hand, a subscriber who opens your first couple emails and takes action on them – in this case, downloading a PDF or e-book – has clearly expressed interest is should be communicated with appropriately. This is what most salespeople call a “hot lead.” This person could be moved to a different list and contacted immediately by a salesperson or account manager, or sent a product demo via webinar video.

Experimentation is welcome inside a campaign like this, as you may want to add a third or fourth email in to really make sure the lead is either engaged or not interested. You could also change up the type of content you send in each email. The most important thing with a proper lead qualification email campaign is to quickly give the subscriber the chance to demonstrate their level of interest in you, so you can continue to message them in the best way for all parties involved.

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