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Email Lead Generation: 17 Epic Tactics That Actually Work (2024)

By Adrienne Bosch Last updated: 20 minute read Marketing Guides

Email lead generation is one of the most effective ways to get your brand and your offer in front of the right people.
Using email marketing to generate leads is excellent for every sector, but it is especially useful for B2B marketing, where getting your offer in front of the right decision-maker is key.

That said, it’s not just a matter of sending out as many emails as possible to as many people as you can find (no, that’s spam!).

Effective email lead generation requires a carefully planned and executed strategy that ensures every campaign element is set up for success.

And a surprising number of elements are at play in an email marketing campaign!

So, what does it take to run a truly successful email lead generation campaign? What are the best tactics to use? And what are the best tools to help you do it?

To find out, we consulted the cold email marketing and lead generation experts behind Woodpecker, a leading cold email marketing software!

In this guide, we’re covering what email lead generation is and how to go about creating an email list with the right contacts on it. Then, we cover the best tactics and pro tips for sending out lead generation emails that actually work.


Let’s get right to it!

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    What is Email Lead Generation?

    Simply put, email lead generation is using email marketing to generate leads. This includes convincing people to give you their contact information in exchange for something, such as a free e-book or a discount, which is usually done through email opt-in forms.

    Once you have their details, you can make contact and begin nurturing them down the sales funnel.

    Lead generation emails are not necessarily cold emails, and you can send emails with a lead generation offer to re-engage your existing contacts too.

    The objective is to make a connection with a prospective buyer or client, whoever that may be, so that you can begin the sales process with them.

    Lead generation emails work best when the recipients are properly targeted with a personalized email and a relevant and appealing offer that is clearly connected to what you’re selling. That way, the leads you get are ones that have a genuine need for your product or service.

    But is email lead generation really necessary in this social media-driven age?

    Email marketing stats Infographic
    Source: Website Planet

    Well, to begin with, more than half of the global population uses emails on a daily basis; 4 billion people, to be specific. Billions of people are just waiting for the right email from the right company to change their minds and transform them into loyal customers.

    Experts say that email marketing campaigns are 40 times as effective as their social media counterparts. And following that logic, generating those leads is one of the most crucial ways you can work on growing your business, perhaps the most important.

    Summary: What is Email Lead Generation?

    Email lead generation is a strategy that uses email marketing to generate leads for your business. This includes using opt-in forms or specific landing pages to capture their information in exchange for an offer, like a free e-book or a discount, or using a CTA in your cold email that prompts them to take an action and engage with you. From there, you can begin to nurture that lead and move them down the sales funnel.

    Contacts: How to Get Email Addresses for Your Email Lead Generation

    Before you start populating your email list, you need to define your target audience. The more refined your targeting and contact segmentation is, the better.

    Is your product or service geared toward teenagers, business people, or stay-at-home moms? What problem are you solving for your audience? What geographic location are your customers primarily in?

    Focus on gathering the contacts that are most likely to find your offer relevant and desirable.

    It may take some time and resources to build a valuable email contact list, but this is an essential step for the success of your campaign.

    When you’re collecting email addresses, gather additional information on your contacts so you can personalize your lead generation emails.

    According to the email lead generation Woodpecker, using intent data to refine your personalization is a key trend in successful email marketing and lead generation.

    There are several ways to gather email addresses for your email marketing and lead generation:

    1.Buy an Existing Database of Email Contacts

    If your company is still small or just starting out, a great option to start your email marketing campaign is to buy email leads. This is especially useful for B2B companies as email lead generation can be challenging for newcomers and it will save a lot of time.

    Email Database Marketing Lead Generation Infographic
    Source: Email Database Marketing

    There are dozens of platforms that offer a database of email contacts for purchase. Some are better than others – here are three of the best platforms to buy an email list or database from:

    2.Extract Email Addresses From Other Websites

    Another way to expand your contact list for cold email lead generation is to visit websites, primarily those of your target demographic, and find email addresses listed on their ‘contact us’ pages or the personal LinkedIn profiles of the people on their team.

    Many websites, especially B2B ones, also have a contact form on their website that you can use. When you’re doing this, look for email addresses for the people you need to talk to rather than a generic contact address.

    According to the experts at Woodpecker, if you can go straight to the relevant buyer or decision maker, your lead generation email is much more likely to bring in a valuable lead.

    Manually finding email addresses for your contact list can be time-consuming and use recourses better spent elsewhere, so using a scraping tool like to automate the process can be very helpful!

    3.Use Automated Scraping Tools to Gather Email Addresses from Social Media

    Rather than sifting through endless LinkedIn and other social media pages, you can use an automated scraping tool to do it for you.

    These tools use bots to scrape email addresses from social media accounts, specifically those that you specify as a part of your target demographic. Using this method, you can get relevant, and high-quality email leads in a few simple steps.

    Some of the top social media email scraping tools include:

    4.Collect Contacts in Person or at Online Events

    The final way in which you can expand your email lead list is to collect contacts from the people you meet or interact with.

    The first way in which you can do this is at in-person conferences and business meetings. While there, you or a member of your team should collect business cards and contact information from the people you talk to.

    The second way to do this is through hosting online events and webinars. There, you can enforce a ‘login protocol’ ensuring that anyone that wants to participate in the event must provide their email address first.

    This is a great way to market your business, establish your authority in the space, and connect with people who have a genuine interest in what you offer.

    For more tips on how to grow your email contact list, check out this video by Neil Patel:

    Summary: How to Get Emails for Lead Generation

    • Buy an Existing Database of Email Contacts
    • Extract Email Addresses from Other Websites
    • Use Automated Scraping Tools to Gather Email Addresses from Social Media
    • Collect Contacts in Person and via Online Events

    17 Epic Email Lead Generation Tactics + Examples

    1. Identify Your Target Demographic

    The first and arguably the most important thing to do when trying to find those leads is to identify your target demographic. To do so, you can ask yourself the following questions:

    • In which location do they primarily live?
    • In what field do they work?
    • What is their economic status?
    • What do they do for fun?
    • Do they have higher education?
    • How do they talk to each other?
    • What are their biggest problems and points of pain that you want to fix?

    Once you’ve figured it out, it is much easier to have a higher conversion rate as you’ll be contacting people who are relevant to your company or brand.

    2. Use Personalization

    The next thing you should do when trying to get responses for your lead generation emails is to personalize, personalize, personalize!

    According to research, personalized email subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened, and the anticipated revenue jumps by 7.5 times.

    There are several steps to writing a super effective cold email. After you’ve snagged their attention with your brilliant subject line, you’ll need them to keep reading, and studies show that personalizing an email’s body can increase a client’s response rate by 32.7%. So keep this in mind as you write the body of your cold emails.

    For example, the CEO and co-founder of Proposify, Kyle Racki, got a cold email from FullStory, a web-based digital intelligence system that helps improve the client experience:

    FullStory Cold Email
    Source: FullStory

    This email’s subject line is interesting and different, which draws the reader in. Also, the email’s body is tailored to the person receiving it and doesn’t talk in vague, general terms. A video of the recipient’s site is bound to pique curiosity and get them to engage with the content.

    So, it’s a great example of how to connect with your email leads (and a good example of why you should always double-check your email copy for typos!).

    To explore the steps involved in writing an effective cold email in detail, check out this video by

    3. Create an Irresistible Offer

    At this point, you know who you’re targeting and what problems you’re solving for them, and all that’s left is to draw them in.

    And a surefire way to do this is to offer them something they can’t resist.

    This can be discounts, free items, deals, etc.

    For example, you can include a free resource in your email, and to read it, they need to fill out a short form that gives you enough info to accurately tailor the next step of the sales journey for them.

    Email lead generation - example of an offer email

    4. Make Sure Your Emails Are Concise and Catchy

    When you’re working on lead generation emails, how they look is an essential factor when it comes to converting.

    You want your emails to be as clean and to the point as possible. The less energy needed to process your message, the better!

    You can do this by using easy-to-read fonts and using formatting and spacing to draw attention to the most important information and your CTA.

    Make the subject line and body text as short as you can without losing valuable information.

    And ensure that the email is visually appealing by using clear and easy-to-understand imagery. Images evoke emotions and set the tone, so choose them carefully and use them to support your message.

    5. Attention-Grabbing Subject Lines

    This tactic goes hand-in-hand with keeping your emails concise and catchy. Your subject line needs to grab the recipient’s attention and create enough curiosity to get them to click on your email.

    More than just the words in your subject line, the formatting and syntax are just as critical. You can use bold and italics formatting as well as emojis to better grab the recipient’s eye and interest.

    As an example, look at this email sent by Allan Dib, one of Successwise’s employees, to a customer.

    Source: WordStream

    It’s more than interesting enough to get someone to click on it in order to find out who ‘they’ are and why you need to gain ‘their’ trust.

    6. Set Up Automated Outreach Emails

    Automatic outreach emails, or cold emails, can be a great way to interact and engage with many people at once. However, this can be tedious and time-consuming, especially if you’re launching a cold marketing campaign as a significant component of your marketing strategy.

    However, modern technology has a lot of tools that can make your daily life much easier, such as cold emailing software. Automated email marketing tools allow you to set up campaigns that will run automatically, without compromising on personalization. They also offer A/B testing and a lot of useful data and analytics to help you refine your campaigns and get the most out of them.

    Not all cold emailing marketing software is made equal, and some tools offer a lot more than others. Do a bit of research and find a tool that offers exactly what you need. Tools like Woodpecker offer a robust set of features to take care of everything you need, and they provide a lot of guidance and resources to help you.

    Woodpecker Homepage
    Source: Woodpecker

    Woodpecker offers several email services like cold emailing and email warmup to assist you with your email marketing goals. From ensuring that your emails get into inboxes, not spam folders, to a wealth of expert resources on cold email marketing and email lead generation, they have everything you need to help you succeed.

    7. Make Your CTA Worth Clicking On

    First off, your email needs a ‘Call To Action’ or CTA. This is the next step you want the recipient to take. It could be anything from claiming a deal to going to your website or social media page.

    But whatever your CTA is aiming for, it needs to be worth clicking on, which leads straight to the next point. 

    The CTA must be interesting enough to make the recipient want to click on it. However, this can be challenging to do, so here are a few ways you can improve your CTA:

    • Keep it short, between 2 and 5 words.
    • Create a fear of missing out, FOMO, with the language you use (e.g., “Last chance to…”)
    • Make use of action-oriented language (e.g., “Reserve your seat”)
    • Create a sense of urgency (e.g., “Today only!”)

    The example below is an email sent out by Growth, a top-class coaching company.

    Grow email CTA example
    Source: Growth

    Pay special attention to the CTA, which follows most of the guidelines above, making it a perfect example of what to do.

    8. Set up Automatic and Triggerable Emails

    Triggerable emails are those that are sent after a client or customer’s actions meet certain parameters. This could be signing up to your website or even deleting their account. A good cold email marketing software will help you define your triggers and set up triggered email campaigns.

    Whatever it may be, these triggerable emails work to maintain engagement and interaction between you and the recipient and has a myriad of advantages:

    • Makes people feel important (in the case of welcome or thank you emails).
    • Makes people feel heard (when sending complaints or query emails).
    • Improves your brand authority as you are showing you care about your customers.
    • Serves as a reminder when they abandon their cart or sign up process.
    • Prompts them to the next step in the buying journey, at the right time, based on the intent demonstrated by the parameters of your set trigger.
    • Keeps your leads engaged and prevents them from dropping out of your sales funnel, especially at points you have identified as having high drop-out rates.
    • Useful for upselling by offering relevant add-on services to the right people.

    The tech company Fifty Three sent the email below as an example of a reminder email for a shopping cart that had been abandoned.

    Abandoned Cart Follow Up Email Example
    Source: Fifty Three

    This demonstrates the kind of triggerable emails that can be used to draw customers back in and make sales.

    9. Maintain Lead Engagement with Valuable Content

    Once someone’s opted into receiving emails from you, they officially become a lead. However, the hard work isn’t over just yet, as you still need to convert them.

    And a brilliant way to do this is to give them useful resources and content. However, it’s important to remember that fluff content serves no purpose and won’t convert, so avoid it at all costs.

    High-quality content is that which provides specific and targeted value to your leads. This could be anything from how-to guides or informational blogs to infographics and checklists centered around your lead’s pain points.

    For example, if your running a fashion company, a style guide is an excellent resource for your customers. It has the benefit of both showing off your clothing lines as well as helping your less fashion-savvy customers find a style that works for them.

    10. Use the Magic of Social Media for Email Lead Generation

    We all know that social media is a great way to spread brand awareness and create authority in your sector. But a less-widely used strategy is to use social media to help you with email lead generation.

    Sharing the helpful and educational information you’ve created (like we discussed in the last section) on your social media profiles is a great idea. This has the benefit of introducing potential leads to both your products or services as well as to your company.

    Social media content can also be repurposed to use in your email marketing campaigns to draw leads in and get them to sign up or take action.

    And if done well and consistently, this advertising avenue can lead people to opt-in for emails or sign up for an account with you.

    An important thing to know is that having a clickable button or link on your social media account that leads straight to a form is a great way to do this. You can use a or another link to a specific landing page or form.

    Express VPN’s Instagram page is a perfect example:

    Express VPN IG
    Source: @expressvpn on Instagram

    11. Keep Your Email List Clean and Up-to-Date

    The email address you use to contact your leads isn’t a spam account. However, the same may not be true for the addresses you’re contacting. 

    That’s why it’s important to clean your email lists regularly to remove any fake or inactive accounts. If you don’t, they can:

    • Decrease your email deliverability score and your email reputation.
    • Skew your data about click and open rates.

    12. Be Conscious of the Time When You Send Emails

    When sending lead-creating marketing emails, the goal is first to get the recipient to open the email and second to click on your CTA. And the time of day at which you send your emails matters.

    Now, there is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer to the question of “When is the right time to send an email?” Sadly, it’s not that simple, as the optimal timing to send a marketing email relies on the specifics of your intended audience.

    You’ll have to do research on your targeted audience to understand which time of day they will be the most likely to access their inbox and click on your email. And a lot of that research involves trial and error.

    But, if you are thorough and consistently monitor your statistics on interactions, you’ll find the goldilocks time, the one that’s just right for your company.

    13. Avoid ‘no-reply’ Email Addresses and Always Include an Opt-Out Option

    You want as many people to interact with your emails as possible, right? First of all, this shows a lead’s interest in your brand or service/product and allows you to show that you care and want to help them.

    If the recipient has any issues or concerns, a ‘no-reply’ email address makes it more difficult for them to contact you, making it less likely that they will. Moreover, they are much more likely to mark a ‘no-reply’ email or an email with no opt-out option address as spam.

    14. Mobile Optimization is Key

    When it comes to checking their inboxes, more than 61.9% of members use their mobile devices, making mobile-friendly marketing emails a must.

    But how do you make emails mobile-friendly?

    Here are some tips to make sure your emails are effective on mobile:

    • Keep your subject lines short, preferably between 20 – 30 characters.
    • Ensure that the content of the email is well spread out with enough space so that a user can easily click on links.
    • Place your CTA prominently, where it is easy to see and easy to click.
    • Make sure that the copy within the email is quickly consumable and easy to read.
    • Ensure contrast is high and text is large enough and easy to read on a small screen.

    Here is an example of the difference in appearance when an email is optimized for mobile:

    Mobile Optimized Email Example

    15. Use A/B Testing to Optimize Your Lead Generation Emails

    Even if you adhere to the strategies outlined in this article exactly, there will always be something that can be improved; and that’s where A/B or split testing comes in.

    This is where you test different versions of something, e.g., subject lines, and monitor their success rates to determine which one is best.

    There are various elements you can test, some of which include:

    • Email message length
    • Style and arrangement
    • Headers and subject lines
    • What time and day of the week to send the emails
    • Call-to-action (CTA) locations, varieties, colors, and button contours
    • Identifier labels
    • Primary content (photograph or text)

    16. Segment Your Email Contact List for Better Results

    By breaking your (already targeted) contact list into smaller subgroups, you can send them emails that are more likely to be interesting to them. By segmenting, you can get more opens, clicks, leads, and sales.

    Contacts can be organized in different ways to help you give your target audience the most value, as follows:

    • Gender
    • Geographical location
    • Age
    • Total number of purchases
    • How often do they buy something
    • New clients
    • Regular customers
    • People who respond to every email you send them
    • People who never look at your emails

    17. Lead Scoring

    Lead scoring is a beneficial aspect of your strategy for getting email leads. As you might have guessed, lead scoring grades your leads based on how likely they are to convert or how interested they are in your business. In short, lead scoring lets you know how likely it is that a lead will become a paying customer.

    How you score a lead will depend on what you value most about it. It could be anything, like where the person you sent an email to is located or how many times they opened it.

    With lead scoring, you don’t have to guess as much about which leads you should focus on. If you devote your time, effort, and resources to the leads who are most likely to convert into customers, you will see a significant increase in your response rate. This is because lead scoring lets you send each lead a message that is specific to them. It makes it possible to have very personalized interactions with leads, which boosts sales.

    Final Thoughts on Effective Email Lead Generation

    Now you know everything there is to know about lead generation emails!

    They are a really important factor when it comes to expanding and growing your business, so you should definitely consider using these strategies if you want to gain qualified leads.

    Further, if you want to make the most out of your email leads, you should consider using tools like Woodpecker to help handle the automation and distribution side of things. That way, you can focus on what it is you do best!

    And that’s it, absolutely everything there is to know about generating and cultivating email leads; so, what are you waiting for?

    Go generate those leads!

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What does email lead generation mean?

    Email lead generation refers to the process of gathering leads through cold email and email opt-in forms. It all comes down to acquiring data on potential clients, such as their name and email address, so that you can reach out to the right people, with the right offer. Read the full guide to learn more about email lead generation and the best ways to use email to gain leads for your business.

    What factors determine a lead generating campaign's success?

    To create a successful email lead generation campaign you must have a solid target market understanding, use different media channels to gather and target your leads, provide attractive offers, and have a solid strategy that monitors results. It is also essential that you use an email lead generation tool or cold email software so that you can deploy your campaign properly and keep email deliverability high. Read the full guide to learn more about what it takes to run a successful email lead generation campaign, and the best tools to help you do it.

    What is the purpose of lead generation?

    In the simplest terms, lead generation is exactly that - generating leads. This means using methods like email marketing to make contact with prospective leads and get them to take an action that begins their journey down your sales funnel. It is often the buyer's first step in the buying process, prompted by your lead generation tactic. Read the full guide to learn more about the purpose and benefits of email lead generation, as well as the best tactics and tools to use.


    McKinsey & Company: Why Marketers Should Keep Sending You E-mails

    HubSpot: The Ultimate List of Email Marketing Stats

    Campaign Monitor: The Power of Email Personalization to Reach Humans (Not Just Inboxes)

    Backlinko: We Analyzed 12 Million Outreach Emails – Here’s What We Learned

    Sendy: [Infographic] The Ultimate Mobile Email Open Statistics