Email remains the gold standard when it comes to marketing ROI. According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing yields a 4,300% ROI for US businesses! That’s a pretty significant number. Even with all of the new marketing technologies and tactics available —email marketing remains the most effective.As more people use email for communication and information, it is important that companies stand out and create personalized, 1:1 communications. Personalization is no longer a luxury, it is an expectation. The need to reach subscribers on their terms and at the right time is the first step. This means the days of buying an email marketing list, loading it into your CRM and sending unsolicited emails are over. Instead, marketers need to be building opt-in lists of subscribers who anticipate high quality content, delivered at the frequency that works best for them. To achieve this it is important to engage your audience at every stage of the email communication funnel and take consumers from initial contact to loyal customer. And if you’re looking to get the highest return on your email marketing investment, it all starts with acquisition. Learn how to successfully attract and capture a lead with these simple steps.Identify Your AudienceThe first step is to determine who your audience is and where they are. Customer data is the best place to start. Who uses your product/service today and what do we know about them? Next, enable your website analytics platform to capture demographic and interest data. Mine this data carefully as different areas of your site will have different compositions, just like your products/services. From this information, create high level archetypes and unique personas for each archetype.Attract Your Audience with Relevant ContentWhen you understand your audience and place in the market, you should be able to deliver valuable content that attracts a certain type of reader. For example, if you’re running a gourmet food subscription, having a blog with recipes, thoughts on cooking, or even reviews of kitchenware would attract readers interested in this type of content. It’s a reasonable assumption to think that these types of readers would be more likely to also want to subscribe to receive more content, and that means you’re in a unique position to market your service.TIP: Be sure keep content simple and digestible. Avoid dense, overwhelming content. Most users today will only scan through what they are reading to see if it is interesting to them before they engage.Meet Users’ Expectations It’s important to not surprise the user when they land on your landing page. Set expectations up front and give them what they are looking for. Write your content pages both for high-ranking in search engine results and the user that will visit your site.TIP: Be as transparent as possible, make sure that users know how you will use their email address and make it clear that they can adjust the content they receive and the frequency with which you mail them. As always provide the ability to opt out.Capture the LeadOnce a user has landed on your site, make it easy for them to sign up for your emails. Put the email capture form on every page. Give them context and added value – what’s in it for them? A user will only give you their email address if they are fully engaged and see value in providing it. Be sure to clarify what the subscriber will receive and when they will receive it when they sign up (right now, later today, next week, etc.). And keep your subscription forms short.TIP: Keep sign ups simple and easy. It’s understandable that you want to weed out spambots and get to know your readers as much as possible, but don’t make them fill out 10 pages of information just to get a weekly email. Use integrated form fields when possible and simply to one field form. It’s important not to ask for too much. The beauty of email acquisition marketing is that it’s flexible and quick. You can tweak your target audience and offer new or revised content pretty quickly. Adapt and thrive. And be sure to test, test, test. What works for one company may not work for another. Develop test and learn plans that have actionable learnings. Tweak the plan as your learn what is and isn’t working. Now that you have collected email addresses, what do you do? Stay tuned for our next post on the ideal lead nurturing strategy.