How to Do Email Lead Generation | All You Need to Know

Created On
July 28, 2023
Email Lead Generation

The majority of marketers use email marketing for lead nurturing. But, is it any good for lead generation?

Take a look at the statistics and judge for yourself.

  • 78% of marketers rely on email as their go-to method for generating leads.
  • Email marketing provides $38 for every single dollar invested.
  • The email marketing industry is likely to achieve $10 billion in revenue by the end of 2023.

Convinced enough? 

In this blog post, I am writing about what is email lead generation, how to do lead generation using emails, and its DOs & DON’Ts. 

What is Email Lead Generation

Email lead generation is the process of finding new leads (potential prospects) through an opt-in form via emails. 

It involves attracting potential customers (who are also email users) to provide their contact information, typically through an opt-in form, in exchange for valuable content, offers/discounts, or updates. 

The collected data generally includes names and email addresses. Email marketers create email lead lists with the data and store it in a database for further communication and nurturing.

How to Do Lead Generation Using Email Marketing

The answer is cold emails. 

Email marketing, in general, is the practice of sending promotional email messages, updates, and valuable content to a targeted but consented audience. This is an inbound marketing technique where you cater to existing leads—who have already given their contact details (email address) and agreed to receive your emails. 

To find new leads or generate leads, you need to send cold emails to potential leads—who haven’t consented to receive emails or given their contact details to you yet. Cold emailing is an outbound technique, so you need to prepare accordingly. 

Follow the below step-by-step on how to generate leads via emails. 

Create ICP (Ideal Customer Profile)

Image Credits

Creating an ICP or Ideal Customer Profile is the first step to any lead generation technique. Instead of shooting in the dark, it helps you send emails to the right people in your target audience who genuinely need your product or service. 

By understanding your ICP, you can accurately shortlist your potential prospects from the database. Also, a well-defined ICP enables you to craft emails that connect with your ideal customers, boosting conversion rate. 

In short, it's the secret sauce for generating high-quality leads. Here are a few characteristics that you must have in your ICP.

  • User's industry or sector
  • User's company size or revenue
  • User's budget and expenses
  • User's geographic location
  • User's job title and role
  • User's seniority level
  • User's pain points/challenges

Try to gain insights from your existing users' LinkedIn profiles about job titles, locations, and industries to understand their needs and create a better ICP. Explore their groups and LinkedIn activities for a deeper understanding.

Create a Lead List

There are 2 options to create a list of email leads.  

  • Databases 
  • Email scraper/finder tools

Email Database

Email databases, also known as mailing lists, are storages of email addresses and lead details of potential prospects. They serve as a reservoir of quality leads for cold email campaigns.

You can create lead lists of qualified leads from databases and send personalized, targeted cold emails. 

Some of the popular databases are:

  • Cognism: Cognism is a B2B sales intelligence platform with a vast 400 million compliant contacts database. Their Prospector tool provides detailed information like names, email addresses, job titles, company details, and more. The platform offers analytics and seamless integrations with popular apps and helps businesses generate high-quality leads worldwide.
  • Lead411: Lead411 is a B2B sales platform offering accurate and comprehensive contact information. Their extensive database allows for specialized contact list creation using filters. Sales intelligence data points and lead builder features to aid in targeting, while data cleaning and enrichment ensure high database accuracy. Easy integration with CRMs like HubSpot and Salesforce.
  • CloudLead: CloudLead utilizes machine learning to help B2B organizations scale their marketing and sales efforts. It provides customized leads with verified email addresses and valuable contact information. With lead enrichment and cleansing features, CloudLead ensures the accuracy and strength of your contact list, enhancing your lead generation and outreach strategy.

Email Scraper Tool

An email scraper tool uses the process of web scraping to extract email addresses from websites or social media platforms. It often includes a browser extension that allows users to easily gather email addresses from various online sources.

Some of the popular email scraper tools are:

  • This is an email scraping platform that offers a Chrome extension for searching email addresses. You can search by company domain or specific professionals.
  • Prospectss: It is a versatile tool for scraping data from social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. It offers options for collecting domains, phones, and emails. The highlight of this tool is that it provides automatic email cleaning too.
  • It is an email finder software that helps businesses in locating verified B2B email addresses of professionals and business owners. It provides a solution for enriching business data, allowing B2B sales and email marketing teams to access reliable and high-quality business profiles.

If you are using a lead scraper to create an email list, it’s recommended to use email verifier tools to verify the leads. Some of the popular email verifier tools are Usebouncer, BulkEmailChecker, etc. 

Sign Up/Log In to a Cold Email Tool

Cold emailing, although very fruitful, is like venturing into the unknown. As per statistics, only 23.9% are opened out of all sales emails. But, it's not as impossible as it sounds.

Hyperke Media, a lead generation agency based in Delhi, booked 276 appointments in a single month using doing cold emailing. Take a look at their lead generating efforts using emails.

As you can see, lead generation through emails can be highly beneficial for your business but that's only when you send bulk emails.

To do that without hiring an entire village, you need an AI-based cold email outreach tool like Smartlead.

Subscribe to a cold emailing tool and log in to reach a page like this.

Connect Your Email Account with the Cold Emailing Tool

Click on the “Email Accounts” tab on the main menu. 

Next, go to the “Add Account” option on the top right corner of the page.

When you go to the "Add account" option, a pop-up will appear on your screen.

Here, you have the option to select from Gmail, SMTP, Outlook, or Zoho based on the email address you wish to use. For technical assistance with setting up your email account, you can click here.

Complete the SPF, DKIM, DMARC & MX Set Up

An MX record or Mail Exchange record in DNS directs emails to a specified mail server for a domain. 

The purpose of an MX record is to instruct that emails should be sent to a designated mail server that handles emails for a domain or its users.

SPF (Sender Policy Framework) is an email authentication method that establishes a record of authorized email servers within your DNS. These servers are permitted to send emails on behalf of your domain, providing authentication.

DKIM stands for Domain Keys Identified Mail, and DMARC stands for Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance. The former adds a digital signature to your domain, and the latter provides domain-level protection. 

Make sure you complete the above setups before moving forward. 

Warm-Up Your Email Account

To warm up your email account, open the Smartlead app (or whichever cold emailing tool you are using). 

Go to the “Email Accounts” tab. Select the email account you want to enable warm-up for. 

Next, fill in the Configuration Settings, as shown on the below page.

After completing the configuration, click on the "save" button located at the bottom right to finalize the settings. If you have previously warmed up the email, an "update" option may be displayed instead. Click on that. 

Don’t forget to track the performance on the analytics dashboard.

Things to Keep in Mind When Warming Up Your Email Account

  • Limit warm-up emails to a maximum of 40 per day.
  • If using a new domain, enable "Daily Rampup" to gradually increase the number of daily emails and avoid alarming Email Service Providers.
  • To appear more natural, vary the number of emails sent each day.
  • Aim for a reply rate of 30-40% to enhance deliverability and reputation.
  • Utilize the Custom Warmup Identifier Tag to filter warm-up emails from your inbox.
  • Warm up for 2 to 3 weeks before starting the cold email marketing campaign.

Create Email Lead Generation Campaigns 

Upload CSV File

Go to the left-hand navigation menu and find the "Email Campaign" tab. Click on it to access the email campaign section. Once you're there, look for the option labeled "Add Campaign" and click on it to start creating a new email campaign.

This will lead to a page like this. Click on the arrow to add your contact/lead list in CSV format. 

Map each column in your CSV to the relevant columns from the dropdown.

Next, you need to include extra fields that are not listed in the dropdown menu, such as "Custom First Line." In such cases, you can add this field by mapping it to the "Custom" option available in the dropdown. This allows you to include unique or specific information in your data that is not covered by the standard predefined fields.

Now, click on “Save & Next,” and it will lead to the “Mail Sequence” page. 

Craft Email Subject Line & Body

On the mail sequence tab, create the email subject line and email body.


Almost 69% of email recipients take action, such as reporting or responding to an email, after reading its subject line. This is why cold email performance depends so much on the subject sentence. 

Read this, to learn more about cold email subject lines in detail.

For now, you can keep it short and catchy without adding any symbols or spam-triggering words. Here are a few examples.

  • Struggling to keep track of open rates?
  •  Stop the guesswork 
  •  Tired of higher bounce rates? Try A/B testing 

Write the subject line as shown in the below image. 

 Next, write the email body. 

Here are a few things you need to keep in mind while crafting the email body. 

  • Don’t pitch your product/service
  • Keep it within 150 words
  • Don’t use salesy words
  • Keep the language conversational 
  • Use soft CTAs

Do A/B Testing

Do A/B testing for better results. Click on the “Add Variant” to create another version of the same email and see which one works better.


Create a Sequence for Automated Follow-Ups

Around 80% of sales occur during the 5th to 12th follow-up email. This is why follow-ups play a crucial role in email lead generation. 

Click on “Add step” to create a series of emails to follow up. 

Do the Setup & Final Review

Choose Sender Accounts and schedule the campaign. 

You can set the time zone, choose how much time should pass between each email, pick a campaign start date, and even decide on the maximum number of leads you wanna hit per day per campaign.

Remember, it's essential to set the time zone according to your prospects' daily routine. That way, you'll reach them at the right time.

Once you're all set up, the final step is just giving it a quick review to make sure everything's exactly how you want it. And that's it – you're good to go!

Check Analytics

Checking email campaign performance on the analytics dashboard is the most crucial step in lead generation because this is how we understand what works and what doesn’t.

The main campaign dashboard generally has five key metrics

  • Sent
  • Opened / Open Rate*
  • Clicked / Clicked Rate*
  • Replied / Replied Rate
  • Positive Reply / Positive Reply Rate*

A solid open rate falls within the range of 20 to 23%, while an average response rate hovers around 8 to 10%. And if you're aiming for good click-through rates, that's typically around 3 to 4%.

Don’t forget to create the follow-ups in the mail sequence because that’s what pushes good results in the analytical dashboard. 

That’s it. This is how you can generate leads using emails. 

DOs & DON’Ts of Email Marketing Lead Generation 

Lead generation via cold emails is one of the most proven outbound techniques in the marketing world. If done right, it can boost ROI ten times more than before. 

Here are a few DOs & DON’Ts to follow to ace lead generation via email marketing.


  • Use cold email automation tool/email marketing software
  • Use complementary domains, never primary domain
  • Put unsubscribe link
  • Limit the number of emails to 50 messages per email address for better email deliverability
  • Keep emails within 150 words
  • Opt for an official address associated with your domain name, like as the sender’s address
  • Get whitelisted
  • Use spintax to improve deliverability
  • Check metrics
  • Create an element of urgency in the email content


  • Don’t rely on open rates
  • Don’t buy the lead list from third-party platforms
  • Don’t put links in the first email
  • Don’t repeat the same email in a follow-up
  • Don’t use numbers, symbols, and punctuations in your email addresses, such as demon12! and
  • Don’t use sales-y words like "buy it today," "lowest price," "guaranteed," etc.
  • Don’t use image-based content
  • Don’t pitch in the first cold email
  • Don’t use ESPs from DNS providers

Final Thoughts!

I have covered everything you need to know about email lead generation in this article, from understanding what it is and how to do it using cold emails to creating effective email campaigns. I have also listed down DOs & DON'Ts so that you can generate thousands of leads. 

Remember, email marketing is a powerful tool for generating leads if used correctly. So, craft personalized emails, keep an eye on your analytics, and avoid common mistakes. 

With a solid strategy and proper implementation, you can achieve remarkable results in your lead generation efforts. 

Happy Emailing!

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

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Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Author’s Details

Rajnish Das

Rajnish Das is an in-house writer at SmartWriter and SmartLead. She writes product-oriented, data-driven content for B2B SaaS audiences and educates them on marketing and sales topics. Her expertise includes outbound marketing techniques like cold emailing and LinkedIn outreach.


Edited by:

Charu Mitra Dubey


Frequently asked questions

General Questions

What are active leads?

Active leads are the contacts you upload in Smartlead, similar to contacts in HubSpot; if you upload 1000 leads to a campaign, they are considered 1000 active leads. If you upload similar leads to a new campaign, they are not considered a “new active lead” as they already exist in our system.

Do you provide mailboxes, or do I need to connect my own?

We don’t offer mailboxes yet. You need to get your own dedicated list of mailboxes using popular providers like Gmail, Outlook, Zoho, and others that exist in the market. Once you get them, follow our detailed guides to connect them quickly.

Do you offer guides and articles on succeeding with cold emails?

Absolutely, one of our most popular guides can be found right here. It's been used by a large percentage of users to go from zero to cold emailing experts. Covering all topics from email infrastructure to copywriting and lead sourcing.

Is another tool needed for warmups?

No, Smartlead has over 200,000 highly reputed mailboxes connected. The advantage you get along with naturalized AI conversations is access to aged domains you will never find in any warmup tool.

What is the API commonly used for?

It is used popularly by agencies to automate their entire lead generation process as well as to connect Smartlead to external tools to push and pull data from. You can also connect to 1000s of apps using Zapier.

What type of businesses sees the most success with Smartlead?

Anyone that can close deals from demos will succeed with Smartlead. It works for Sales companies, Marketing agencies, SaaS businesses, Recruitment, and offline companies (like construction).

Do you provide me with lead sources?

We do not provide you with leads. You will need to use other data providers. These leads can be automatically added to Smartlead using our API or bulk uploaded via our CSV upload system.

Do you integrate with any CRMs?

We're building native integrations with Hubspot, Salesforce, Close, Pipedrive, and many more. The best part, due to our open API and Webhook infrastructure, you can connect to any CRM in the world without an issue.

How many team members can I add?

You can add an unlimited number of team members, as well as assign them roles and authority access.

Do you have custom plans beyond the Pro plan?

Yes, it's common for many people to move to Custom plans after a few weeks. You can view all the options for up to 10M leads on the subscription page once you sign up for free.

Powerful Automated Email Marketing that Drives Sales.

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