Email Marketing

How to Write Lead Generation Emails: Adding Fuel to Fire

Catch that!


Wajeeha Gull


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A solid email lead generation strategy can help your business increase paying customers and expand the bottom line. To get started, marketers must build a list of prospects willing to receive business communications and of course, nurture these email leads through valuable content.

When done right, email marketing lead generation paves the way for high conversion rates. But first, you must learn how to curate messages that resonate with your target audience. Rest assured, there are plenty of wrong ways to write an email and that's a rabbit hole you should steer clear of.

This article explores effective lead generation techniques your sales team can deploy for maximum results. Let's dive in.

What is email lead generation?

Lead generation is the process of acquiring the contact information of potential customers in the hope that you'll convert them. Individuals who willingly provide their phone number or email address so your business can reach out are called leads.

Also Read: How to Write a Cold Email

When we talk about email lead generation, contact acquisition is typically done through an opt-in form whereby website visitors sign up for the newsletter in exchange for something, oftentimes a financial incentive.

A company that wishes to make money, grow, and - most of all - survive should be able to inject a healthy amount of new leads into the sales funnel while retaining existing customers. Because not all prospects want the same thing, lead generation emails can look very different depending on the context.

sales funnel for lead generation

In any case, the right kind of email lead generation strategy focuses on understanding the customer journey and nurturing prospects into loyal brand advocates.

Email marketing for lead generation

Email marketing is one of the most effective lead generation methods out there. According to published research, email marketing yields an ROI of $36 for every dollar spent among all other channels.

Companies that invest time and effort into email lead generation reap the rewards earlier than those that don't. In fact, email marketing is a low-cost approach to reach more customers that helps businesses effectively utilize their dollars.

By allocating resources to email marketing lead generation, you can save up on hefty expenses tied to traditional advertising.

Triple W: Basics of email marketing lead generation


Time is of the essence when it comes to building and generating leads.

For instance, a first-time website visitor ends up subscribing to your newsletter because they want pre-booking access to upcoming products. Once you get notified that a contact has been collected, you only now start thinking of reaching out.

Guess what? It's too late.

Put yourself in the customer's shoes. Right when they enter their email address and press submit is the perfect window for a business to make its first impression. The lead is already thinking about your brand, and has a high chance of retaining the thought process if you land in their primary Inbox moments later.

welcome email for lead generation

On the other hand, if you're too slow, know that the customer's attention is divided and they have possibly moved on. Internet users are bombarded with all sorts of information every minute so it isn't easy for a brand to be the highlight of their day.

This is why smart marketers design automated email campaigns to reach customers at the ideal time. Every second counts - especially when it's about that post-sign up hello!


Email communications should clearly reflect that your business is aware of its customer's needs. Knowing the 'why' is essential for formulating the 'what'. Without knowledge of the latter, you can't write relevant content that will engage your leads.


Even when customers don't ask direct questions, they're waiting to receive an answer. In other words, every action performed by online visitors on your e-commerce store is a query in itself.

Let's put it this way, a lead that provides their email address in exchange for a 10% discount is looking for those exclusive promo codes.

These are typically sent by a no-reply email address yet have enough of an impact to boost branding. Now imagine if, instead of emailing the promo code, you sent a message talking about trending products on your website.

In another context, this would work, but because the customer at hand needs something very different, they won't find any valuable content in the received email. Thus, your business should not only identify your target audience but also understand its pain points.

Long story short, either you're right on the nose, or you've lost a sale. While the 'what' part of email lead generation looks simple at first glance, it's not impossible to lose track of the bigger picture. So, pay close attention to what quality leads want and design your marketing efforts accordingly.

How to create rewarding outbound email lead generation campaigns

Creating lucrative lead generation campaigns is all about taking care of a few factors. Here is what you need to be conscious of.

Optimize subject lines

A subject line can easily make or break the success of your lead generation campaign. It's the first thing a customer sees before they decide to click on the message. Studies claim that 47% of recipients decide whether to open the email depending on the subject line.

A catchy subject line can generate leads on its own. For instance, '25% off your first purchase' is a great way to tempt customers into buying. The phrase is short and quick to read, yet impactful enough to compel the reader into imagining how much money they can save. On average, subject lines under 50 characters experience open rates 12% higher than the rest.

Also, note that this subject line communicates a promise of value. So, if the email lands in a customer's primary Inbox right after they've clicked the sign-up button, it will also build trust.

Don't write essays

reading long lead generation emails

Being great at attracting leads means nothing when you eventually end up boring your target customer. Unfortunately, this is the tale of many aspiring entrepreneurs and marketers alike.

Once you've baited potential clients with a lead magnet, don't delude yourself into thinking that they will devote an unusual amount of extra time to reading a long email.

A good lead generation strategy focuses on making the most out of a brief paragraph or two! Just a few sentences often get the job done, especially when your subject line is catchy.

Include a CTA (call to action)

CTAs are severely underrated. Assuming that your lead will, in fact, take the intended next step without any push from the business's side is foolish. People, especially Gen Z customers with short attention spans, need a little nudge in the right direction.

Lead generation emails and Gen Z attention span

That said, don't go overboard with your call to action. The sweet spot is 3 to 6 words, in most cases. For instance, if you want to drive more traffic to your website, add phrases like:

  • Register today!

  • Schedule your appointment today!

  • Start my free trial

You can even put a quirky spin on it, just include your brand name to boost recall, or keep it simple.

Leverage social media channels

Social media is where all the happening conversations are going on and you certainly want a piece of that cake. To ensure that marketing campaigns continue generating leads for your business, link email conversations to your Instagram profile and Facebook page.

By adding a CTA that redirects recipients to your social media handles, not only are you growing your audience across diverse mediums, but also, potentially, earning life-long followers.

Additionally, linking to social media can be a great lead allocation tactic for newbie startups that are still getting the hang of digital marketing.

Emails are generally considered the more formal route, and if you're not positive whether it's the right channel for certain customers, adding links to your social media pages will do the trick.

Write personalized emails

Communications surrounding lead generation don't have to be lackluster. Email marketing can be - scratch that, should be - personalized. In fact, being a little quirky pays off.

Whether you're dealing with B2B or B2C leads, add a hefty doze of personalization. Be authentic and do justice to your brand voice and persona. Include meaningful numbers in the subject line. Now THAT is bound to capture attention. According to Zippier, subject lines with a number experience 57% higher open rates than others.

You can also use nifty email marketing tools to curate electronic messages according to the recipient's unique profile.

Personalized emails rake in higher open and click-through rates while increasing email engagement altogether.

Use simple language

When it comes to email marketing lead generation, difficult words are bad words. In fact, using too many posh words can make your brand sound snobbish.

First and foremost, it's crucial to ensure that your subject lines are easy to understand. Fancy words tend to confuse the layman and this damages open rates.

On the off chance recipients do open the email, they won't go the extra mile to Google words they don't understand. Instead, receivers will simply retract and eventually forget about your message.

That said, always be wary of lead attributes. When formulating an email for a strictly tech savvy customer base, it helps to include technical jargon. For instance, you're running a business that specializes in highly sophisticated headphones for gaming enthusiasts.

In this context, an email that talks about features like bass and audio resolution is definitely a step in the right direction.

Avoid spam triggers

In 2023, email service providers are cracking down on spam mail to provide a better experience to recipients. ESPs use many factors to gauge whether a message deserves to land in the primary Inbox, and one of them is spammy language.

Spam triggers are those words or phrases that ESPs identify as fraudulent. Because they are so aggressively used in low quality emails sent by real spammers, email providers have reason to suspect that certain words are tied to malicious intent.

If your business tends to use spam triggers without realising, there's a good chance your campaigns will never make it to the recipient's main inbox.

Generic words like 'visit our website' and 'click here' are the most common types of spam triggers. To avoid getting flagged, you should use alternative phrases like 'head over to our store' and 'discover more' instead.

Unfortunately, the list of email marketing spam triggers is long and hefty which is why we recommend HubSpot's 'List of 394 Email Spam Trigger Words to Avoid in 2023' to keep your business in the safe zone.

Create urgency

When customers know that your product is available in abundance, they tend to take their sweet time making a purchase.

By this point, your business has already convinced target prospects why its products are worth their investment. So, then the goal is to ensure that email recipients act as quickly as possible and thus, generate leads faster.

In an email designed to create urgency, you can briefly go over how your service or product solves a customer's problems. However, the main focus should be on a CTA that clearly establishes why clients should take a certain step now and not later.

Think of fast fashion brands like H&M and Zara, they're famous for their flash sales. During promotional periods, it's common for these businesses to send emails informing recipients of how little time is left until they can avail of running discounts.

CTAs like 'place your order before stock runs out' create a sense of urgency to lure leads into the sales funnel. To really take it up a notch, you can also optimize subject lines that deliver a stronger impact. In the previous example, a subject header that reads 'The sale's almost over' can significantly improve open and click-through rates.

Link to an opt-in form

Email marketing is as powerful as you need it to be. Rest assured, generating leads doesn't have to be difficult at all. A great way to capture a greater share of your target audience is through email sign-ups. This is why smart businesses always embed email opt-in forms on their website's landing pages, and you should too.

However, you can redirect prospects to your opt-in form from the email route as well.

Let's assume that a fresh lead chose the 'continue as guest' option to purchase products from your website. Now, you want to make sure that this customer is able to receive relevant email updates so they can be retained down the line.

After all, a one-time purchase isn't enough. But they've already bought from you, that too, without registering for an account, so what can you do?

Well, plenty.

Upon finalizing the order, when you send a confirmation email to this client, add a link to one of your landing pages that has an opt-in form. Underneath order confirmation content, the email could read:

'Stay caught up on trending products in the future. Sign up for our mailing list so you never miss an update.'

Or, 'Get 20% off when you sign up to our mailing list' with a link to the opt-in form below.

Remember, it always pays off to incentivize the newsletter subscription. Latest studies reveal that offering an incentive boosts conversion by 7.65%.

Write in mobile-friendly formats

Research shows that 41% of recipients open their emails on mobile devices. Your email lead generation campaign should account for this statistic. Potential customers are so used to reading content on their smartphones that anything structured for the desktop version looks out of place.

The goal is to make content consumption easier, given the size of the screen. Verily, your email should read in an organized format so recipients can effortlessly identify the information that's most important to them. If you're sending lengthy emails (which is sometimes a necessity), consider using bullet points, numbered lists, and bold headers.

Jumbled up content is overstimulating and fails to get your point across. So, remove trivial details that don't relate to your prospects' pain points. Only keep quality information to engage inbound leads.

Use the recipient's name in subject lines

Picture this: you're sitting in a room with hundreds of people. If someone from the crowd were to address you, you're probably more likely to pay attention when they use your name to start a conversation. Rather than, if they simply look your way hoping to engage in a debate.

This also applies to businesses vying for qualified leads. Statistical results prove that people are more likely to open an email when their name is in the subject line. To be exact, there's a 46% higher chance that a receiver will be interested enough to view the contents of your email.

Stanford University has also conducted extensive research into this. After analyzing a total of 5000 emails, it was discovered that open rates went up by 23% when the receiver's name was added to the subject line.

So, even if you personalize only the beginning of an email, it can drastically improve the success of an email lead generation campaign.

Email lead generation: The power of automation

Solid email marketing lead generation isn't just limited to tactful content. There's a lot more you can do to drive ROI.

Use lead generation tools

Understanding what makes potential customers click holds paramount importance. What's amazing about email lead generation software is that it offers a deeper look into your target audience.

As prospect data is collected, lead generation tools derive patterns to map out individual preferences that can be used to create bespoke email marketing campaigns. The more well-perceived email communications are the higher the conversions.

Safe to say, businesses can expand further into the market, while saving time and money with the help of a robust lead generation tool.

Track the progress of your campaigns

Measure the progress of your email marketing campaign and leverage split testing to check which one is doing better than others. A/B testing allows marketers to send different versions of an email to select groups within the mailing list. Once delivered, the version that brings in the highest click-through and open rate is chosen for future campaigns.

Also, advanced options simplify lead scoring so you can prioritize your email marketing campaigns. Within the system, leads are given an individual score across various metrics that represent their quality. This means that high-value leads are likelier to convert and thus, more worthy of attention.

Leverage automated emails

Email automation describes the process of sending a wide variety of electronic messages to your subscribers on autopilot. Through pre-set criteria, businesses can define when and what to deliver to different recipients on their mailing list.

Such that, email content and schedule can be optimized to match the bespoke needs of every prospect.

This removes the need for manual personalization, streamlines workflow, and lays the groundwork for impressive conversion rates. In essence, email marketing software lets businesses send tailored emails as per a predefined timeline while automating a sizeable chunk of the process.

For maximum benefits, combine email automation software with email lead generation software. This way, you won't have to worry about doing everything yourself, and machine-backed intelligence will step in to convert more leads.

Bottom line

A solid email marketing strategy never overlooks the impact of well-constructed messages. Whether you're operating in the fast fashion niche or serving the masses through delicious food, expect to generate leads throughout the course of your business.

In the wake of many impressive email lead generation tools, the idea of writing compelling emails becomes more interesting. Marketers today focus on tactful wordplay to win over sales leads and let marketing automation manage plenty behind the scenes.

Editor's Note + a great software suggestion

Regardless of how great your lead generation email is and how carefully it has been crafted, you won't be able to make much of an impression if your email doesn't successfully reach your target audience. Moreover, you need the correct layout, need to send it at the right time, and may also need to A/B test an element in your email.

For that you need a reliable email marketing software such as GoCustomer with additional features such as email warm-up, email verification, and an AI email writing assistant.

An image to showcase the email warmup feature

Reach more customers with your cold emails

Table of Contents

    In a nutshell

    A lead generation email is an email sent to cold prospects to convert them into a warm lead- if they are interested in your offer. The email pitches the product/service to someone who has not expressed interest yet, to see whether they eventually will.
    You have to be concise and to-the-point in a lead generation email. You should include a great catchy subject line, a concise copy explaining the value you are trying to provide, and a clear CTA. You can also add social proof to the email.
    Email marketing is still has the highest return when it comes to marketing communication channels. Lead generation emails written carefully and personalized for the recipient do work.
    Yes, technology only makes your life easier. You should leverage AI to help you write copy for your emails and also use automation and lead generation tools to simplify the process.
    Email warm-up is the process of strengthening or building your sender reputation by exchanging emails from reputable domains with your domain in volume. This will quickly establish trust with your email service provider and enable you to land in the Priority Inbox.
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