13 Email Marketing Ideas to Turn Leads Into Customers

13 Email Marketing Ideas to Turn Leads Into Customers
  • Email marketing works wonders for a lot of businesses that have an established client base with their mailing list.
  • Over time, your email marketing efforts can become dull and you might find yourself stuck in the search for new campaign ideas.
  • Email marketing campaigns should vary and provide value, as well as be consistent to show your subscribers that you have not forgotten about them.

In the world of marketing, sometimes Email Marketing campaigns can get a little ignored. Why? I personally think it comes as a last-minute afterthought. Most businesses know they need to be doing email marketing, but most of them don’t really know why, or what they should be doing with it. 

Instead of having a structured email marketing strategy, they send sporadic emails to their list whenever it comes to mind.  

On the other hand, you have those companies that send out their newsletters religiously each week. This is another digital marketing no-no. Let me tell you, gone are the days of sending a weekly newsletter to your followers updating them on all the things that are new with you and your business. No offence intended, but your followers don’t care about you, they care about themselves

  • How does your newsletter impact their lives?
  • How does it solve their problems?
  • These are the questions you need to be asking when developing your email marketing strategy.

So what does this mean for service-based business? There are a few challenges with being service-based versus product-based.

For example, if you had a big product catalogue, you’d be full of ideas on how to promote products and sales of categories to your database. However, with service-based businesses, you’re only left with a small handful of products (i.e. your services to promote). Also, common with service-based businesses, your services are made up of your time, so discounting your time hardly seems fair (or viable!).

So what do you do? Of course, any business should have a mix of strategies up their sleeve, and in a perfect world, you’d be

  • Advertising on Facebook and AdWords as well as
  • Utilising your email marketing to build your database, increase your leads and convert people into paying customers. 

This article will focus on email marketing - and I’ll go into detail on campaigns you can use as a standalone to your current database, and campaigns you can use alongside your advertising campaigns to grow your database with new contacts.

What is Segmentation in Email Marketing?

Segmentation is a way of filtering your database by certain attributes. Most email marketing software has the capacity to segment an audience, and it’s considered best practice to use it. With quality segmentation, you’ll be able to send highly customised and relevant emails to your list. Rather than blanket emailing everyone the same offer, you’ll be able to customise the offer to the people it’s most relevant to.

How to Segment Your Email List 

There are 8 ways you can segment your email list:

  1. Gender
  2. Age
  3. Work status (think emailing the part-timers a mid-week offer, versus the full-timers an after-hours offer)
  4. Lifecycle stage - another interesting one, you could email new mums, or empty nesters, or uni students personalised offers
  5. Last visit date
  6. Services used
  7. Location
  8. Interests and hobbies - if you collect this information it might come in handy if you want to get super targeted

Your imagination is the only limit you have to how you can segment your audience.

By using segmentation, you’re more likely to get the best value out of your list. This should make it more reasonable to offer discounts where they’re going to be most valuable. Think of offering discounts and promotions as an investment into the future life cycle of your customers (and their referrals they’ll bring to you).

There are 13 email marketing campaigns that can help you turn leads into customers:

  1. The PiggyBack method
  2. The Lead Magnet
  3. New Staff Order
  4. New Product Offer
  5. Offer for the 'Slow Times'
  6. Refer a Friend Promotions
  7. The Accidental Ploy - “I Forgot to Give You This Last Week”
  8. Reengage - “We Miss You”
  9. Happy Birthday Campaign (Or Better, ‘Woops, We Forgot About Your Birthday’)
  10. The Lead Magnet
  11. The TripWire
  12. The Video Ad
  13. Retargeting & Remarketing & Custom Audiences

Standalone Campaigns

Standalone campaigns can be used as a standalone to your current database.

1. The PiggyBack Method

If you’re an existing business, you should have a database of contacts you can send email communication to. If you’re new, then it might be trickier to start this off (take a look at the advertising campaigns below to grow your list). Another idea if you’re brand new is to partner with a complementary not competitive business and piggyback off their list. You can use some of the methods below to promote your services to their list, and maybe suggest a combined offer so that both businesses get something out of the campaign.

2. The Lead Magnet

A lead magnet is a marketing term for something that is free but highly valuable to your target audience. Think e-books, checklists, masterclasses, webinars, seminars, etc. Essentially, a lead magnet is something to attract your leads to your business (hence, the word magnet is its name). The lead magnet forms the basis of our advertising campaigns too, but you can use this for your existing list too.

Without sounding like a ‘scammy marketer,’ it’s essentially bait (sort of like the clickbait titles you see all over the internet news articles, but BETTER). The bait is intended to ‘hook’ your leads in, just like fishing.

The difference between being a ‘scammy marketer’ and being an awesome marketer is that your lead magnet should be extremely valuable to your target market. It should be something they would happily pay for. It should be something that you would charge for. Think of your top secrets, your top tips, the stuff you only tell your friends and best clients. This is the starting foundation of your lead magnet.

So why send this out to your email list? Sending something like this to your list is a great way to add value to an already warm audience. What this will do is add trust to your relationship, nurture your audience a little more and make them truly appreciate your help.  

Giving them something for free that they would normally pay for and that they weren’t expecting at all adds weight to their customer journey with you - adding a sense of excitement and happiness to wherever they are in the journey will make them more likely to progress through it (whether they are not yet a customer, a one-off customer or a regular customer who is ready to refer you to people or make their next appointment).

3. New Staff Offer

If you’ve got a new staff member on your team, it’s a great opportunity to email your list and introduce them. An introductory offer for the new staff member is a great way to build their clientele and re-engage your old customers. You could offer a discount on their services for a limited time only.

Putting a time limit on the offer is crucial to generating a sense of urgency and scarcity - the two elements that improve conversion actions across the world of digital marketing.

4. New Product Offer

If you have a new service on your catalogue, you need to tell your list about it! Some people think that they are going to be sounding too ‘salesy’ by telling your audience about what you offer, but in fact, you’re doing your list a disservice by not telling them. Why? There’s a reason they’re on your list in the first place. They’ve either been to you before, or expressed an interest in your business at some stage.

People don’t mind being marketed to, especially if what they're on the receiving end of is relevant to them.

So let your audience know when you have something new to offer, and like the “New Staff Offer” above, offer an introductory sales price to generate more conversions.

5. Offer for the ‘Slow Times’

One of the biggest troubles I hear from service-based businesses is that when business is great, it’s great. But during winter/mid-week/afternoons/(insert your quiet time here), it’s dead slow.

This is not a common problem for businesses. In fact, businesses have had to deal with this issue since the beginning of time. Can you overcome it? Well, you can damn well try!

Think of suggesting an irresistible offer for those slow times.

This could be cheaper prices, package prices, prices specifically for locals. You could even give away something when sales are made. Another way you can generate some more hype is by running a competition - a great way to re-engage your list, and potentially get some more sales through the door too!

6. Refer a Friend Promotions

This is a pretty well-known promotion that typically doesn’t have much structure to it in most businesses is the "refer a friend promotion." This method can be really good for increasing your leads and customers. Make it a win-win for you and your customers. Invite them to refer a friend, and both them and their friend get a gift or a discount on your services.

The good thing about this is you can also follow up people with a phone call to get those contacts in the door too. Most people won’t shy away from referring people if they are happy with your service. Following up email with a phone call ads another touchpoint and builds more of a relationship with your customer base too.

7. The Accidental Ploy - “I Forgot to Give You This Last Week”

This is a great follow up email that you can send to your customers after they’ve purchased a service from you. The reason why I love this is that it pretty much guarantees and open. They think, “Oh, what did they forget? Must be important!” and proceed to read the email.

The other reason why I love this is once they open it, you’ve pretty much got open slather as to what you can offer them. Think about something that’s going to make them feel good. Like you actually were going to give them something in real life.  Something like a 10% discount probably won’t be enticing enough.

When Birchbox did this, they gave $30 off orders over $75 for a business as part of their subscription box service. This is about 40% off in theory, although the more they spend, the less the discount is as an overall percentage (that’s smart marketing).

Remember, you’re sending this not long after your customer has used your service, so they’re hot. They remember their experience, it’s still fresh in their mind, so make it something that’s going to help keep that going for longer.

Leads to Customers - 13 Email Marketing Campaign Ideas

Credit: Hubspot

8. Reengage - “We Miss You”

A really simple campaign targeted at customers who haven’t engaged with you in a while. Depending on what your service is, the frequency will vary. For example, if you’re a massage therapist, you might start to miss people after a month or two. A physio, maybe a month, or potentially longer (if you solved their initial concern). If you’re a plumber, maybe it’s an annual checkup people might engage you for.

Think about your ideal ‘frequency’ and then email anyone who exceeds that length of time.

Get them in the door with, yep you guessed it, a discount. Or alternatively, warm them up first with a lead magnet.

9. Happy Birthday Campaign (Or Better, ‘Woops, We Forgot About Your Birthday’)

I really love sending people a birthday gift, especially this example by Need Supply.

By sending an email after the person’s birthday and apologising for it, it piques more interest. It also seems more personal, rather than an automated email saying ‘happy birthday’ on their actual birthday, sending one after saying ‘sorry we forgot about your birthday’ has more of an emotional reaction. I know if I received this email, my initial thought would be like, ‘why would they care that they forgot about my birthday? They actually care?” It makes them feel a little bit more special to you. Also a lot of businesses offer birthday discounts in the lead up to a birthday, so sending it after does make you stand out from the crowd a lot more.

Leads to Customers - 13 Email Marketing Campaign Ideas

Credit: Mail Bakery 

Combined Campaigns

Combined campaigns can be used alongside your advertising campaigns to grow your database with new contacts.

10. The Lead Magnet

The lead magnet, as mentioned above, is a great way to attract new leads into your business. When used with Facebook Ads (and even Google Ads) you’re able to increase your exposure even more, and get more people into your list.

Remember to use a catchy headline, and retarget to people who don’t convert into leads (more on that below) to get more conversions.

If you’re struggling to get leads with this, revisit your lead magnet.

  • Is it actually something people want?
  • Is it super valuable?
  • Does it make sense for people to give you their email address to obtain this information?

11. The TripWire

The TripWire is the natural progression of your lead magnet. Think of the lead magnet as the free offer, the tripwire is another ‘no-brainer,’ high-value product. The difference, though, is that the tripwire is the part of the sales funnel where a lead turns into a customer. How do you do this? By offering something really valuable, for a stupidly cheap price. Think somewhere between $1-$15. It has to be worth more than that, and it should be pretty relevant to the lead magnet.

For example, if your lead magnet is about your top tips for hairstyling, then you want your tripwire to go into more detail of the tips, something that will help your leads execute the tips better or faster.

Three things to keep in mind when developing a tripwire

  • Keep it relevant to your lead magnet (and your core product, too). The idea is that it gets them closer to being a full paying customer eventually.
  • Add heaps of value, make it more detailed or more advanced than your lead magnet.
  • Think of how your lead can get their desired result faster or better, and use that to guide your tripwire creation.

12. The Video Ad

The video ads are a great way to warm up a cold audience for a relatively cheap price. You can advertise videos on Facebook and YouTube (using AdWords).

What this does is it create the first touchpoint in a marketing funnel, getting your brand out there for quite a cheap price (at the moment the average cost per 3-second video view on Facebook is around $0.03 cents).

13. Retargeting & Remarketing & Custom Audiences

Both Facebook Ads and Google AdWords have a remarketing/retargeting feature. Facebook calls it retargeting, Google calls it remarketing - but it’s essentially the same thing. Basically, you are ‘re-targeting’ or ‘re-marketing’ to people that have already visited your site. This is the most general definition. With Facebook, you can create custom audiences based on people who have interacted with your Facebook page, watched a video, subscribed to your mailing list and more.

This is particularly useful to showing more salesy focused ads to people that are further down the funnel. For example, if people viewed your ‘services’ page on your site, you can retarget them with your lead magnet to get them into your list and start nurturing them. You could also retarget people who didn’t opt-in to your lead magnet the first time around, and see if you can get them to convert at a later stage.

Implementation & Things You Need To Know

When setting these up, you’ll need a good landing page (usually with landing page software like Clickfunnels or LeadPages (both have 14 Day Free trials). You’ll also need to set up an email nurture sequence for after someone opts into your list.

Finally, if you’re time-poor, or the idea of having multiple campaigns freaks you out, having a dedicated Digital Marketing strategist on your team is recommended. Some strategies can get quite complicated and overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re doing.  


So there you have it! A range of different email marketing campaigns to send to your email list and to generate new subscribers! Remember, segment your audience, think about your unique business and what you can offer your subscribers. Keep them engaged, add value always, and be consistent.

Daniella Pozzolungo

Marketing Director at

I'm a digital marketing strategist, and co-founder of PupDigital. I help businesses with their digital marketing strategy development and implementation. I've got over 5 years experience working with Google Adwords and Facebook ads, and can help your business succeed with these platforms. I provide a holistic approach, so can look after all the elements that become part of your PPC strategy, including landing pages, email marketing and lead magnet development.

Comments (1)
Tom Chanter

Tom Chanter, Strategist at Poetically Practical

Nice article Daniella!