It’s no longer news that email marketing has the highest ROI of all marketing channels. Thus, it should be of high priority to all marketers to build an email list packed with quality leads for your email marketing.
A problem that many marketers face, is that they don’t know the many different ways in which you can grow your email list, and end up only using a few different list building methods, and don’t see the results they were expecting.
I want to leave no list building opportunity unexplored, so I’ve ransacked my brain (and the internet) and compiled a complete list of all the ways to grow your email list.
And I can say without a doubt that this is the most extensive list I’ve ever made, consisting of a whopping 101 list building strategies!
No – I didn’t make a typo there. It really is 101.
Without further ado, here it is. Enjoy – and maybe bring a cup of coffee.
Free Downloadable Bonus
Want More List Building Strategies?
Get access to our free list building toolkit and skyrocket your email list today (includes resources not found in the blog post).
Wrap it in a nice box
We’re always told not to put things in boxes and try to see the bigger picture. However, I would argue that in some cases putting things in boxes can certainly have advantages.
Especially when it comes to lead generation, boxes are the best!
1. Timed box
A timed box, or opt-in form as I would call it, appears on a specific page on your website after a certain amount of seconds.
The timed opt-in is great when you want to present an offer to your visitors on your front page. There’s nothing worse than entering a website and a popup is thrown in your face immediately.
I would recommend setting the timer to 7 seconds as this gives your visitors enough time to form a first-hand impression of your site, but still ensures that all visitors see your offer before they leave your site again.
2. Scroll box
Another awesome box option is the scroll box. The scroll box appears on a specific page after a visitor has scrolled a certain percentage of the page.
When people have scrolled a certain percentage of a page, you can only assume that they are interested in the content of that page, so offering them something relevant to that content will increase the chances of them accepting your offer and converting.
Also, you know that they have an interest in Spain, which means you can segment them and add them to an email list where you send Spain related content which will, in turn, maximize your chances of converting them into customers.
Never set the scroll percentage at 100%. Even though people might scroll all the way to the bottom, it’s technically never 100% unless they actually “hit” the bottom of the page.
3. Exit-intent popup
Then we have the exit-intent popup. The exit-intent popup appears right when a visitor is about to leave your site.
The exit-intent should always be a popup so you ensure that it catches all your abandoning visitors’ attention.
98% of your visitors leave your website without converting, so adding an exit-intent popup can definitely lower that percentage. The content of your exit-intent should be very short, clear, precise.
Give people an offer they can’t resist, or redirect them to another page on your website.
4. Abandoned cart popup
The abandoned cart popup is very similar to the exit-intent except for the fact that it is page specific to the pages in your checkout process.
The average cart abandonment rate is around 68% which means that two-thirds of your visitors who add items to their cart never complete their purchase. That’s potential revenue right out the window.
There are several reasons why people abandon their carts. Maybe they ran out of time, thought it was too expensive, etc.
Offer these visitors a discount on the items in their cart in return for their email address. Tell them that you’ll send the discount code by email so they have a chance to save it for later.
Then you have their email address that you can use to send promotional content.
This form is from Fashion Fifteen and it pops up when you are about to abandon your cart. They offer a 10% discount on your first purchase when you sign up for their newsletter.
5. Contact form
Many people leave a website without engaging in any way because they didn’t find what they were looking for or they needed some kind of guidance that they think they can’t have online.
Buying online should never result in poor customer service or keep people from receiving the help they would normally ask for in a physical store.
Setting up a contact form on your site can lift a burden from your customer service department as well as increase the user experience on your site – and let’s not forget that it’s a great lead generator.
Your contact form could ask a simple question where you ask your visitors if they need help finding a specific product or have any questions about other products.
Add a comment field and an input field where they enter their email address or their phone number. Tell them that you’ll be in touch within 30 minutes to help them out.
Be careful when you ask for phone numbers. It’s much more personal than email addresses, and might result in a lower conversion rate unless you convince them that it’s safe to give it to you.
6. Mobile specific opt-ins
Google is now punishing mobile interstitials that are not optimized to comply with the new rules.
Thus, you need to create specific opt-ins for your mobile users in order to convert them as well.
When you create mobile opt-ins you need to think about the mobile experience. Don’t create an opt-in that takes up the whole screen. Also, It can be a good idea to include less text in a mobile opt-in vs. an opt-in for desktops. Say it with an image instead and a short convincing copy.
Lastly, it should be very easy to close down. If a mobile user has a small screen but large fingers it can be difficult to hit the close button if it’s only 2 millimeters wide, so make it easy to see and click.
7. Simple signup forms
Most websites who want to collect leads for their email marketing have a small signup option somewhere on their page.
Most times it’s at the bottom of the page, and people won’t see it unless they scroll all the way down.
It’s easily overlooked or ignored which is why I would recommend always including one or more of the abovementioned forms on your site.
However, I would never remove the small signup option as it does collect some leads. What you can do to make it more visible is to add it as a form that follows so it’s visible at the bottom of the screen the whole time.
Best practice for boxes
- Your offer or incentive should always be relevant to your business and your products
- Match the design of your opt-ins to the design of your website so visitors know it comes from you and isn’t spam.
- Adding images to your opt-ins can increase your conversion rates by 100%
- Never add more than two input fields unless it’s absolutely necessary. Every time you add an input field, you conversion rate decreases by 50%
- Create a convincing call-to-action where you focus on the value of your offer. Never just write “sign up” or “subscribe”.
Social media platforms are booming with potential subscribers and customers so if your business isn’t already on social media, it’s about time you get on there.
There are so many different ways to generate leads on social media, so in the following, I’ll briefly tell you all about it.
8. Facebook lead ads
Facebook lead ads are the small ads from various businesses that appear in your Facebook feed among all the other updates from your network.
With Facebook lead ads, you give Facebook users an option to subscribe in just two clicks without them having to leave Facebook to do so.
You can target your ads to specific user segments on Facebook based on a variety of cookie settings. This way, you can create multiple Facebook lead ads with different messages depending on who you want to target.
You can read much more about Facebook lead ads and how you create them right here.
9. Link in Facebook description
A very simple way to grow your email list through Facebook is to add a link to your description.
When you have a business page on Facebook (or any other page for that matter) you can add a description where you tell people about your business in a sentence or two.
Here, you should add a link that redirects people to a page on your website where they can sign up for your newsletter. Bloomingdale’s has included links to pretty much everything, except for a link to sign up for their newsletter.
10. Facebook cover image with CTA
When you add a cover image to your Facebook business page, you should always include a CTA where you encourage people to visit your site or sign up for your newsletter.
The image has to look great and be relevant to your business. Don’t overwrite it with text but keep it simple and add a short CTA.
11. Change call to action on Facebook
You can also change or add a CTA button on your Facebook page. Most Facebook pages have a big blue button where you can click to send a private message to the business behind that page.
This button is actually customizable and can easily be changed into a CTA for signing up for your newsletter.
You simply link to a page on your website with a signup form.
12. Email signup tab on Facebook
Your Facebook page also has a number of tabs people can click on. These usually include your about page, photos, and videos. This is an optimal place to add a signup tab where people can sign up directly on your Facebook page without having to leave the site. Again, you should with a single sentence tell people why they should sign up for your newsletter. Focus on the “what’s in it for me”.
13. Post with link on Facebook
Facebook is all about posting updates. Your business should be no exception. You can’t just create a Facebook page and never post anything and expect people to sign up or even like your page.
If you post a lot of relevant content continuously, you can in some of those posts include a simple CTA with a link to one of your signup pages.
However, you shouldn’t include more than one link in a post. Keep your signup posts focused on convincing people to sign up, and your other posts focused on whatever the purpose of them are.
14. Post in relevant Facebook groups
The same goes for posting in various Facebook groups. There is a Facebook group for pretty much everything today, and they are a great place to interact with people who could be interested in what your business has to offer.
When you want to post in a Facebook group, you need to find groups that are relevant to your business and your product. Thus, if you’re in the training equipment business, you can find fitness groups where people discuss training and fitness.
This is what came up when I searched fitness groups on Facebook.
When you gain access to a group you should never just post promotional content right away. Start by participating in the discussions or start one yourself. You can even go as far as to ask them to answer a few questions you can use in improving your products.
When you’ve interacted with the people in the group for awhile and you have established a relationship with them, you can slowly begin to offer them incentives to sign up for your newsletter.
Here, you should focus on the informational value of your newsletter and how it can answer many of the questions people would ask in the group.
15. Twitter lead gen cards
Twitter lead gen cards are very similar to Facebook lead ads. You create a tweet where people can sign up with their Twitter information in just one click.
I would always add an image to a Twitter lead gen card to support your incentive. On Twitter you are very limited by the number of characters you can use in a tweet, so make those few characters count.
16. Link in Twitter description
On Twitter, you can add a description just like you can on Facebook. My point here is exactly the same.
Use this description to collect leads by adding a link to your signup page. Many businesses link to their front page which is fine if you have a prominent signup form on your front page.
If you don’t have a signup form on the page you link to, either add one or change the link. Simple as that!
17. Host a Twitter chat
A Twitter chat is a forum where Twitter users can meet at a predetermined time and discuss a specific topic. When you create a Twitter chat, you create a hashtag where people can join the chat.
This is a perfect opportunity to collect leads. The topic of your Twitter chat should, of course, be relevant to your business and your newsletter.
A Twitter chat is a very relaxed and informal communication forum, where everyone can ask questions and answer them.
During the conversation you can make small references to your newsletter, and then at the end you tell all the participants that you’ve loved to chat with them and that they can get a bunch of useful insights on the same topic and others if they join your newsletter.
Send them all a link where they can sign up immediately.
You can create your Twitter chat at Tweetchat.com
18. Youtube cards
Youtube is the second largest search engine only surpassed by Google, and there are a few ways in which you can collect leads through your Youtube videos.
You can add a card to your Youtube video. A card is a small box that appears in the video that viewers can click and then opt-in for your newsletter.
Youtube cards can include images and different messages all based on what you want your viewers to do.
When you add cards to your videos, you should mention the cards in the video and if you have a person in the video, they can point towards the card to draw even more attention to it.
We’ve written a how-to guide for Youtube cards in this video blog post.
19. Youtube annotations
Annotations are very similar to cards, except you can’t add images to them. You can only add text and a background color.
Annotations work well when you don’t want your cards to take away focus from the video. They are easy to create and with a compelling CTA, they can generate a lot of leads.
You can enhance that CTA by also mentioning it in the video. Tell people what they will get when they sign up and make sure that it’s relevant to the content of the video.
20. Link in Youtube description
When you upload a video to Youtube you can write a description to go with the video.
The description should explain what the content of the video is and more importantly, it should include a link to your signup page.
Lowe’s have included a link where people can subscribe to their Youtube channel which could just as well have been a link to subscribe to their newsletter.
You should also mention in the video that people can subscribe to your newsletter through your link in the description.
21. Instagram page
Over the past 5 years, Instagram has grown exponentially and now has more than 500 million active users. Thus, growing your email list through this social media should definitely be on your to-do list.
To grow your email list through Instagram, all you have to do is add a CTA and a link in your description.
The link should direct people to a landing page where they can sign up for your newsletter in a matter of seconds.
It’s, once again, a good idea to give them an incentive in your CTA such as a free ebook.
22. Instagram post
In addition to the link in your description, you can add CTA’s in your posts.
Whenever you post an image on Instagram you can tag other users, create hashtags, AND add a CTA and tell people that they can sign up through the link in your description.
Keep in mind that your posts always have to be relevant to your business and your product. There’s nothing wrong with posting personal pictures as long as they are in accordance with how you want your business to appear.
23. Google+ page
Your Google+ page has an extensive About section that you can use to increase your email signups.
This is the about section from Nike’s Google+ page. It’s very short and simple and includes links to Nike’s website.
Add a link to your signup landing page in this section and create a compelling CTA to encourage Google+ users to sign up.
24. Post in Google+ communities
Google+ has communities or groups just like Facebook with different topics.
You can use these communities to “promote” your newsletter and get more signups. But be careful! You need to balance your engagement in the community.
You can’t just promote, promote, promote. You also need to offer value to the members of the community and engage with them without expecting something in return. They need to warm up to you first before you can start promoting.
For instance, if you sell kitchen equipment, you can search for cooking groups and offer recipes, and then in time ask if they have tried one of your newest products that do this and this.
LinkedIn also has great potential as a list building platform. LinkedIn is a more professional social network in the sense that many businesses and professionals meet through this platform.
Adding a signup link to your LinkedIn page will not only increase your number of signups but also the quality of them.
Make sure your LinkedIn business profile is fully completed and has all the information people might look for when they choose whether or not to engage with you.
Quora is a great platform to use when generating traffic to your website AND collecting valuable leads.
Quora is an online platform where everyone can ask a question and everyone can answer. Search for topics related to your business and write detailed answers to the questions asked within this topic.
Remember to include a link to your signup page to make it super simple for potential subscribers to sign up.
This is just an excerpt from one of my answers on Quora, and the link is to our home page where you have the option to sign up for a free trial or sign up for our newsletter.
We included both options on our home page not to exclude any visitor segments.
Reddit is a social sharing platform where you can post links to different sites and Redditors (Reddit users) will upvote or downvote these links.
I wouldn’t recommend posting links in Reddit immediately as it would be downvoted very quickly and not get any clicks.
Redditors will spot a marketer from miles away, so it’s super important that you establish yourself as an experienced Redditor and build up some street credit before you start posting links.
Start answering different questions within your field of expertise and engage with the platform.
Once you’ve been “accepted” by the Reddit community, you can start posting your own links. There’s no telling when the right time to start posting is. Experience is key here.
Snapchat has really taken the World by storm and many other social media platforms are developing features almost identical to those on Snapchat because of the app’s popularity.
Businesses have increasingly begun to use Snapchat to promote their products and give their followers a more personal insight into the brands.
You can’t include clickable links in your snapchats but there is another way to get people to sign up – tell them!
In your snapchat photos or videos, you simply tell people that you, for instance, just launched a new ebook and that they can enter your website to get it for free.
When you use this method where you can’t direct people to a specific landing page, you need to ensure that your ebook is presented on your front page and that people can sign up to get it right on that page.
If they have to actively look for it on your website they won’t sign up.
Pinterest is yet another social media platform with list building opportunities.
In your description on Pinterest, you can include a CTA and a link to your signup form.
Melyssa Griffin does this on her Pinterest which contributes to her huge success.
Focus on what you can offer your audience. For instance, if you run an e-commerce with sporting equipment, you should focus on the physical results people can achieve with your equipment and your advice.
30. Join Pinterest group boards
This tactic is similar to that of Facebook and Google+. Pinterest has countless of group boards dedicated to specific topics.
You can find group boards within your niche by looking at similar brands and people to see which groups they belong to.
Once, you’ve entered different groups you can comment on pins and link to a landing page where people can sign up.
Medium is basically an article archive. There are countless of posts about pretty much anything.
Create a channel on Medium for your business and post valuable and informational content just like you would on your own site.
You can now add a signup button to your channel that redirects people to a page on your website where they can sign up.
Furthermore, you can add content upgrades to your Medium posts that will send your visitors directly to the content upgrade on your website so they can download it immediately.
If you’re unsure of how a content upgrade works, you can check out no. 52 on this list or our monsterpost on content upgrades.
On the social network platform Slack, you can find communities just like you can on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, etc.
The approach here is the same as with Reddit. You can’t just join a group and start posting links.
You need to interact with them first and give them a bunch of value over time, and then you can try asking if they would like to join your newsletter.
You can use Google to search for relevant Slack communities. This is what I found when searching for “startup slack community”.
As you can see there are plenty to choose from, and many websites and blogs also compile lists of slack communities within specific topics so you don’t have to look for them yourself.
You can also join paid Slack channels within your business interests and post links. Now you might wonder why you would pay to be a member of a channel when there are free channels as well?
We’ve experienced that the quality of leads we can get through a paid Slack channel, are much higher than those you’d get from a free Slack channel.
You might get different results but I would recommend trying both options.
33. Keyword monitoring
With keyword monitoring, you can quickly identify posts and content on social media with keywords relating to your own content and your brand.
For instance, we’ve recently written an extensive guide on content upgrades. Then my keyword monitor tool might come up with a post asking “How do I use content upgrades on my website?”
This one would be perfect for me to answer with a simple sentence or two like: “Hey [name], I’ve just written this awesome guide on content upgrades. I think you’ll find everything you need in there.” In this post, I have a content upgrade along with multiple other signup options to convert these people.
Start out by setting up an email alert so you’ll get a notification every time one of your predetermined keywords are mentioned.
Then it’s up to you to be on point and respond to the mentions. Also, if your brand name is mentioned you should take action.
There could be several reasons why your brand is mentioned, both good and bad, so it’s super important to check up on this and respond quickly.
34. Create custom landing pages for all sources
Many of the list building methods for social media that I’ve mentioned in this post requires a signup landing page on your website where people can sign up in an instant.
These landing pages should be customized based on the source that people come from and the incentive you’ve offered them through that source.
If you offer your visitors a free ebook in your description on Twitter, you need to create a specific landing page where you tell people that you’ll send the free ebook to them by email, and then have them enter their email in an input field directly on that page.
Make it super easy to sign up. If you offer your followers a free perk but redirect them to you home page, they would have to search your site to find the free ebook which could easily make them leave your site without converting.
The smartphone is catching up to desktops (if not taking over) and more and more people are now using their smartphones to browse the Internet and make online purchases.
Besides using mobile specific opt-in forms on your mobile website, there are a few other ways in which you can collect mobile leads.
35. Smartphone App
Many e-commerce businesses have created apps for smartphones to make the shopping experience much easier on mobile devices. As an e-commerce store you can create an app for pretty much anything as long as it’s relevant to your business.
My point here is not to tell you what kind of app to develop but rather to give you yet another great list building tip.
When people download your app, you should encourage users to log in by using their name and email. Most apps also allow for people to log in via Facebook which is pretty much the same, as you’ll get access to their name and email through this option as well.
Once you have their email address (and their consent to email them) you can send them tips and tricks for using your app and slowly start to convert them into customers through personalized email marketing.
36. SMS short code
The SMS short code is a very simple list building tool. Have you ever watched a fundraising event on TV and texted a code to a specific telephone number to donate a certain amount of money for the fundraiser?
The principle is the same when it comes to list building. Create an SMS short code that people can use to sign up for your newsletter.
This especially effective if you are speaking at an event. On your final powerpoint slide, you include the SMS short code and tell people to sign up.
37. Add QR code to print marketing
If your e-commerce has an offline sibling, you’ve probably tried to experience with print marketing.
Maybe you’ve handed out flyers on the street or had an advertisement in the paper or on a small billboard next to the bus stop.
Whenever you create these print marketing campaigns, you should include a QR code along with a short CTA. People can then scan the code with their smartphone and sign up for your newsletter right on the spot.
38. Add QR code to business card
The same goes for your business cards. You hand them out to left and right but forget that the people you give them to are potential leads.
When you give your business card to someone, you tell them that if they’re interested in hearing more about your business, they can call you or simply scan the code to receive your awesome newsletter packed with goodies.
39. Add QR code to packages
E-commerce businesses who sell physical products that are shipped to customers have the opportunity to add a QR code to the packages they send out.
Many times when I’ve ordered something online and receive the package, there is a small thank you note in the package. I really like this little detail but I also wonder why they don’t use this opportunity to collect leads.
Even though I might have just bought something from an e-commerce store, there’s no guarantee that I would ever return to the site or even remember where I bought the item.
I always recommend a signup option in your checkout process but those who don’t sign up through your checkout should still get one final chance to sign up once they’ve received their package.
Add a QR code to the thank you note along with an incentive to get your customers to join your subscriber list.
People are always happy when their package arrive (I’m always jumping up and down clapping in excitement – but maybe that’s just me) which makes them more inclined to sign up for your newsletter if your incentive has enough value to them.
Remember to exclude those who signed up during checkout – they don’t want to sign up twice.
Foursquare is a smartphone app with location intelligence that guides people to the best stores, restaurants, attractions, etc. based on other people’s ratings.
Simply add your store as a new place in the app and people will soon be coming in if you provide an exquisite shopping experience. Remember to ask for their email address once they’re in your store. This brings me to the next list building area – offline.
Offline list building strategies
The internet isn’t the only place to collect leads. Even though we’ve seen a huge shift from the offline world to the online, there are still plenty of leads to catch offline if you use the right tactics.
Even if you don’t have an offline store, you can still implement some of the following strategies and see an increase in your email list.
Very simple – ask.
Ask people you meet if they’re interested in receiving your newsletter. Here’ I don’t mean just asking random people in the street but rather if you meet people with an interest in your business and your product.
You should also ask people in your store. Once people have entered your store and looked around, you can approach them and ask if they need any help finding a specific item.
If the item isn’t in store, you can tell them that you can send them an email once you get the size back in stock and that you’ll reserve it for them.
At the counter when people buy an item, you can ask if they would like to get news from your store and be updated on the latest trends via email.
You’d be surprised how many people will say yes just because you asked nicely. You can always use an incentive such as a discount or competition to convince them if you’d like, but we’ll get to that later in the post.
When you have a very satisfied customer in your store and they have signed up for your newsletter you can ask them if they would like to tell their friends about your awesome newsletter.
People rely very much on recommendations from friends and family, so getting people to share your newsletter with their friends could definitely increase your subscriber base by a whole lot.
43. Conference: on stage
As an established expert in your field, you should try sharing your knowledge with fellow marketers at a conference.
Speaking at conferences is a great way to get your name on the map and also get a ton of new leads for your business.
Many speakers make use of PowerPoint presentations and other visual elements when they speak to keep the audience engaged.
When you are about to finish your speech, you can tell them that you offer a lot of useful insights and great offers in your newsletter.
Then you show them a slide or image with an SMS short code, or link to signup, or other where they can sign up immediately.
44. Conference: off stage
If you’re not a speaker at a conference, you can still collect a lot of new leads. When you attend a conference it’s usually within a specific topic of your interest. We can only assume that the other people who attend the conference have the same interest.
This is your chance to mingle and get to know new people in the industry. Tell them about your business (and your awesome newsletter) and end the conversation by giving them your business card, which should contain a link or a QR code where they can sign up for your newsletter.
45. Host events
Hosting an event might seem like an overwhelming and resource demanding task – it can be.
However, there are so many upsides to hosting an event as long as you set some goals and do your very best to reach these goals.
For instance, if you run an e-commerce with beauty products, you can host a beauty event. At this event, you’ll show off your latest products by setting up stands where people can have their makeup and hair done.
When people are having their hair and makeup done, you give them a bunch of tips and tricks and tell them about the products. Afterwards, you tell them that they can get even more tips and tricks and great discounts if they sign up for your newsletter.
You can also have different items on your program where people have to sign up for your newsletter to participate.
These events will not only generate a lot of new leads, but also increase your sales.
46. Sandwich boards
If you have a physical store you have probably used sandwich boards to tell bypassers about new products, great offers, etc.
Why not use them to tell people about your newsletter as well? It doesn’t require anything from you except writing a few lines on the board.
Write a compelling CTA and make it look good.
47. Use an iPad
Invest in an iPad for your store to make it much easier for people to sign up for your newsletter.
You can either have it at the counter and ask people to sign up, or you can have it placed on a stand in the store or next to the counter. This way people can sign up while they wait in line, or while they walk through your store.
It’s still super important that you include a CTA that tells them why they should sign up.
48. Use your receipts
Write a short CTA on your receipts along with a link, SMS short code, QR code, or other and you’ll ensure that every single customer gets a chance to sign up.
49. Give out flyers and brochures
The good ol’ days of print marketing are not over!
If you have a sale in your store, it would be optimum to have an employee or two walk around the area near your store and hand out flyers.
Write on your flyers that you have a sale in your store and that they can get the discount if they sign up for your newsletter.
You can also create a competition where you offer a gift certificate to one lucky new subscriber.
When you use flyers and competitions, remember to add the end time on the flyer and tell people that the winner will be announced in your store, so people know when to be there.
50. Run an ad in the paper
Continuing in the good ol’ days format, one must not forget to mention newspaper ads.
Many people still read the newspaper and by placing an ad for your business could potentially reel in a lot of new leads.
This list building method is more a traffic driving source but once people are in your store whether that be offline or online, you can convert them into email leads in no time.
51. Be a sponsor at an event
By being a sponsor at an event you can really increase your brand awareness. It’s also the perfect place to make your email list reach new heights.
For example, if you sell sporting gear, you could sponsor the t-shirts for a marathon.
Your brand name and logo should then be on the t-shirts as well as a short CTA where you tell people that they can get a free drinking bottle if they visit your stand and sign up for your newsletter.
Your website is the optimal place to capture high-quality and relevant leads. Your visitors have already shown an interest in your product by entering your site. Thus, if you can convert these into email leads, you’ll have a much higher chance of converting them into repeat customers through your email marketing.
52. Content upgrades
When you write blog posts for your blog, you should always include a content upgrade.
A content upgrade is an exclusive piece of content that your visitors can get access to by giving you their email address.
Content upgrades work because they provide value in a relevant context. Thus, your content upgrades must always be relevant to the content in which they are presented.
If a visitor is reading one of your blog posts that person is obviously interested in the content, so by offering additional value at this moment can increase your conversion rates significantly.
This content upgrade was created for a post we did on Facebook lead ads.
53. Podcast – hosting
Host a podcast where you talk about specific topics within your industry.
Establish yourself as an expert by providing valuable information that your listeners will appreciate.
If you want to up the ante, you can invite guests to participate in your podcasts. These could be other experts within the same field.
Don’t forget to mention your newsletter in your podcast. Share a few tips and tell people that they can get the rest if they sign up.
You can also create a content upgrade with the transcription of the podcast to get even more signups.
Another option is to host a webinar. Webinar landing pages can convert 51 percent of visitors into leads, and stunning 20 percent of webinar attendees into paying customers.
Promote your webinar in advance and invite another expert to join. Tell people that they can sign up to join and see the webinar for free if they just provide their name and email address.
If you host a paid webinar, you can always mention your newsletter during the conversation and tell people how they can join. Remember to include a signup form on this page as well.
Surveys are great for gathering information on everything related to your website (and everything else for that matter).
Many e-commerce stores use surveys to improve their user experience and get valuable feedback on products.
But surveys are also a great list building method. If you in every survey ask for the respondent’s email address you’re bound to see an increase in conversions on that front.
People have already set aside the time to answer your survey so asking them for their email address won’t take up extra time. However, you shouldn’t forget to include the ever important CTA.
You can also post your survey on your social channels to reach a larger audience.
56. Republish content
This one is super simple.
You probably (as so many of us) have a lot of old content on your site that no longer generate any results.
Sift through your old content with a fine comb and update it. Make sure you include a content upgrade in them and then republish them.
Share them on social media and in your newsletter as you would with any new post. I guarantee that your “new old” content will get more attention and generate new leads for your business.
57. Referral program
You should always have a referral program in place. Whether the purpose is to get new customers or leads it can be a huge advantage for your business.
Referral programs are basically programs that offer some kind of reward to people who get other people to take the desired action.
This is what our referral program looks like.
If you sell clothing, you could offer a 10% discount to people who get their friends to sign up for your newsletter via a unique link.
58. 404 error page
How annoying is it when you click on a link and this page appears…
You can make sure that your visitors won’t get frustrated when they see your 404 error page.
You can’t make it disappear, but you can make it look pretty and you can actually collect leads with it as well.
Add a content upgrade on this page along with a humorous CTA. Your content upgrade could be a free ebook, a discount, etc.
Let your imagination run wild and make it fun to see your 404 error page just like Meera Kothand has done on her website.
59. Link in menu on website
The more signup options you have on your website the more leads you’ll get. Thus, this one is a must and it’s super simple to implement.
You simply add a small signup icon in your top or side menu as Derek Halpern has done so nicely.
Once a visitor clicks on the icon, a popup will appear where they can fill in their information in just a few seconds. Fast and easy!
60. Opt-in checkbox in contact form
Adding an opt-in checkbox on your contact form ensures that every visitor who tries to contact you is offered a chance to opt in for your newsletter.
You can place a contact form anywhere on your website. If you have products that are more complicated to use than most, or a page where people typically spend a long time but don’t convert, a contact form with a newsletter checkbox is optimal.
These visitors might be spending a lot of time on these pages because they are interested but end up leaving because they can’t find the right product or need inspiration or guidance. Thus, the contact form enables them to get in contact with you right on that page and at the time they need it most – AND you offer them inspiration (or another incentive of your choice) which ultimately results in very high-quality leads.
61. Signup options on About Us page
You can furthermore add a checkbox or other signup options to your About Us page.
Your About Us page is typically the place people go when they want to learn more about your business and your values. This is a perfect place to offer them value in the form of your newsletter because they are already interested in learning more about your business and what you do.
If you have a contact form on this page as the example above, you simply add a checkbox as shown. You can also create a different type of opt-in where you offer your newsletter along with an ebook on a topic of your expertise, etc. There a plenty of different ways to get more newsletter signups through your About Us page.
62. Add social sharing buttons
Social sharing buttons allow people to share your content on various social media platforms. I’ve previously mentioned how effective recommendations from friends and family are, so it should come as no surprise that you’ll get more visitors and signups if people share your content.
Your blog posts and other informational content should always include social sharing buttons. Place them at one of the sides and have them follow as a visitor scrolls the page.
At our blog, we have them both on the left side of the content and at the bottom.
You should also add them to your newsletter so your existing subscribers can share the newsletter on social media and attract new subscribers that way.
This is what they look like in our newsletter.
63. Add opt-in to checkout
The checkout process on your website is (hopefully) optimized for high visitor to customer conversion which it should be. But is it optimized for collecting leads as well?
Adding a signup option in your checkout process along with an incentive is an easy way to get more signups because these people have already shown great interest in your product by being in your checkout process.
Adding a simple checkbox like Nike is the easiest way to collect leads in your checkout process.
64. Gated content
This one is very similar to the content upgrade but instead of gating additional exclusive content, you gate the entire content.
This could for instance be a blog post or a podcast. Make visitors give you their email address before they get access to the content.
This can be very risky as you might lose a lot of readers and potential leads because they can’t read some of the content before deciding.
If you decide to go with this option, you need to ensure that your headline is VERY intriguing and in no way misleading. Also provide a small introduction to the content to convince people that it’s worth an email address, and also so they know what to expect.
65. Add opt-in to comment section
The more the merrier – here’s another signup option to add to your website.
You can add an opt-in option, such as a checkbox, right next to the “Submit comment” button. Use a simple one-liner to convince people to check it.
If you’re using WordPress, you can use the WP-Leads WordPress plugin to do this.
66. Include anti-spam policy in signup forms
This is not a specific lead capture option, but rather some very good advice.
Whenever you use signup forms on your site, whether that be popups, slide-ins, etc., you should always include a link to your anti-spam policy or at least inform people that you won’t spam them.
People have become very wary of signing up for newsletters because they are afraid that they will be spammed with emails day and night.
If you ensure that you won’t spam them and maybe even include the email frequency, you’ll get a lot more signups because you have nipped their concern in the but before they had a chance to worry.
67. Less input fields
Continuing in the good advice sections, I want to tell you how important it is not to ask for too much information in your signup forms.
We live in a very busy world very everything has to be very time-efficient. Your forms are no exception. It shouldn’t take more than a few seconds to sign up.
By analyzing more than 1,000,000 sessions, we’ve found that every time you add an input field your conversion rate decreases by 50%
I would recommend only asking for their email as this has the highest conversion rates and is necessary for you to get any value from it. You can also ask for their name to make it more personal, we haven’t seen a huge difference between asking for an email and asking for both email and name.
68. Images everywhere
Images say more than a thousand words, and we love them!
Opt-in forms with images convert 100% better than those without. But you shouldn’t stop there. Your whole website should be full of stunning images or other visuals. Add them to your blog, about page, opt-in forms, etc.
Images makes everything more digestible and easy to read, which in turn will create a better user experience on your site and the more people like your website, the higher your chances are of converting them into subscribers or customers.
Note: don’t just plaster images all over your website and expect your conversion rate to skyrocket. Your images have to be relevant to the content in which they appear, and they should have a supporting effect to that content.
69. 2-part blog series
This one is all about experimenting, and I haven’t tried it out myself yet even though I really want to.
You can create a 2-part blog series where you publish part one and then tell people to subscribe to get an email when part two is live.
In order for this to work most effectively, you have to promote your blog series in advance. Spread the word that you have a blog series coming up and that people can subscribe so they won’t miss out on it.
At the end of the blog post you can write something in the lines of “To be continued…” And then hit them with your signup form.
70. Full page dropdowns
Full page dropdowns act as a type of curtain that you have to draw before entering a site.
You don’t have to enter an email address to enter the website, you can just scroll or close it down.
It’s only there to present visitors with an option to sign up immediately when they enter the site.
I’m not a big fan of this option because I think people should have a chance to get a first-hand impression of your site before you try and convert them.
Also, some might not know how the drop down works and think that they have to sign up to proceed, or maybe they don’t know how to close it down. This could potentially make a lot of potential leads get away.
71. Use cases
Use cases are a great way to showcase your product from your customers’ perspective. They can work as a source of inspiration to potential subscribers and customers and convince people that your product is the one to choose.
When collecting leads through use cases, you need to add an opt-in form specifically designed for this page.
If you run an e-commerce with furniture and you have use cases where customers show how they’ve incorporated your furniture into their home, you can ask: “Want your home to look just as nice? Sign up for exclusive offers and decorating tips.”
If you run a subscription-based product you can write: “Want to get the same awesome results as [name of case]? Start your free trial today!”
This is what we write in our use case with B&O PLAY.
72. Video opt-in on website
Just like you can collect leads through your Youtube videos, you can collect leads through videos on your website.
You can use Wistia to add opt-ins to your videos. This is how the opt-in looks on a demo video from Wistia.
73. Create a “reasons to sign up page”
We’re always trying to convince people why they should sign up for our newsletter so why not make an entire page on your website with all the reasons to sign up?
Create a “Reasons to sign up” page and add it to your website and your menu. List all the amazing things you offer in your newsletter and all for free!
Include multiple signup options on this page so people won’t have an excuse not to sign up.
On other sites
Being an active lead collector on your own site will definitely increase your number of subscribers, but using other sites to grow your email will increase that number even more.
Let’s have a look at the ways in which you can generate leads on other sites.
74. Use influencers
Influencers are very powerful when it comes to spreading the word about a business and increasing credibility.
Getting influencers to share your newsletter on their social media channels and perhaps even on their website will undoubtedly get you more subscribers.
This tweet doesn’t promote Lancome’s newsletter, it’s designed to increase both Lancome’s and Monalisa’s social following. Promoting a newsletter would look the same except for the text of course.
However, you can’t just ask influencers out of the blue to share your newsletter. They might not want to promote your newsletter because they have their own newsletter to promote, or because they aren’t familiar with your business.
So first of all, you need to establish a relationship with particular influencers that are in some way relevant to your business. Then when you get to the asking-part, you need to offer them something in return.
This could be a free product of yours so they have a chance to test and try it out.
75. Podcast – be a guest
Whenever you’re asked to participate in a podcast you should ask if it would be okay for you to mention your newsletter.
Participating in a podcast created by someone else, gives you access to a whole new audience, so it would be a shame not to try and take advantage of that opportunity to grow your email list.
When you mention your newsletter in a podcast that isn’t produced by yourself, you should always ask for permission and only mention it briefly in the podcast.
Thus, it’s super important that you have an awesome one-liner that’ll convince people to enter your site and sign up.
76. Guest post on other sites
Yes – guest posting on other sites can actually generate a lot of leads for your business.
When guest posting on other sites, you’re almost always allowed to get a link to your page in the author bio or somewhere else in the post. Wherever this link is included, you need to add a strong CTA so people will actually click on it.
Then instead of redirecting them to your homepage and giving them multiple options to click on, you redirect them to a landing page made specifically for guest posting where you offer an incentive relevant to the content they were just reading in your guest post.
You can get even more insights on how to grow your email list through guest posting here.
77. Cross promotion
Cross promotion is all about helping each other. Find businesses related to yours (of course not with the same products but related products) and ask if they would be interested in promoting your content if you promote some of theirs.
For instance, if you’ve made an infographic about a certain topic that’s relevant to their audience as well, you can ask if they would share it on their site with a link to your site.
In return, you could share some of their content on your site with a link back to their site.
This is yet another opportunity to reach a new audience through a relevant source. The link you add to your content on the other site should, of course, be a link to a unique landing page made specifically for capturing leads from this source.
78. Add CTA to local business listings
Most countries have different local business listings where people can search for businesses within a specific industry.
These listings usually include an address, a phone number, an email address, and a link to the business’ website.
Why not include a signup link to these pages as well?
The majority of these sites allow businesses to add themselves and control what information is shown, so it shouldn’t be a problem adding a signup link to a few of your local business listings.
79. Comment on other blogs
This one is fairly easy.
Whenever you comment on blog posts on other sites, you can include a signup link.
Your comment should, of course, be relevant to the blog post you’re commenting on and it should make sense to mention your newsletter and include the signup link. Otherwise, it will just look like spam and no one will click it.
You’re already sending out tons of emails so why not use them to collect leads as well?
80. Email signature
You can add a signup link in your email signature along with a compelling CTA to give everyone you send an email to the option to sign up.
This is what my email signature looks like.
It includes a CTA sentence and a link. It really doesn’t take more than that.
Adding a link to your email signature is very simple and you can find how-to guides for Gmail, Apple mail, Outlook, along with some examples of what to write in your email signature here.
81. Add link to newsletter
You can even collect leads with your newsletter.
If your newsletter contains valuable information that your audience loves, there’s a possibility that they would forward your newsletter to friends, family, or colleagues.
These might not be subscribers yet, so it’s important that your newsletter contains a signup link to they have a chance to sign up via your newsletter.
This example is from our newsletter as well.
We have this signup option in every newsletter we send out so forwarded newsletters can be used to collect more leads.
82. Link in Skype status
If your business uses Skype to talk to people in different geographical areas you can turn your Skype account into a lead capture tool.
Skype now has a “status update” function where you can write a status update that all your contacts will see.
This update should include a powerful CTA and a link to your unique Skype source landing page where your Skype contacts can sign up.
I haven’t created a specific landing page for Skype leads yet, so the link is just to our home page. But I wanted to show you an example of what a Skype status update could look like.
83. Post on Craigslist
Craigslist is an American classified advertisements website that covers more than 70 countries. It’s a place where people can search for pretty much everything.
Adding your business to Craigslist can result in many new leads because the people on Craigslist are actively searching for a solution to their problem.
Start out by checking out what people are looking for within your area of expertise. If you run a travel agency and your newsletter contains a lot of travel inspiration, you search for people who are looking for travel advice.
84. Affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is similar to influencer marketing, except for the fact that you only reward affiliates for getting you concrete results.
Let’s say you have an e-commerce that sells sports apparel. The purpose of your affiliate program would be to collect more email leads for your email marketing campaigns.
The affiliate would get a unique link through which they can get people to sign up. You would then pay a certain price for each lead you get through that unique link.
To get started working with affiliates you need a unique product that you have very specific goals for and that other people would want to market for you. Also, keeping your affiliates active and engaged is everything.
Whenever you attend a conference or other event, you should invite your affiliates. Take them out for dinner and offer a brilliant service. Make them feel special. Nothing can top the human touch of personal contact.
We had a chat with affiliate expert, Shawn Collins who told us everything you need to know about affiliate marketing.
Telemarketing is usually all about closing deals and getting more customers. But did you know that you can do this AND generate leads?
Whenever you’re on the phone with a potential customer, you shouldn’t forget to mention your newsletter. If the person at the other end of the line is in doubt whether or not to become a customer, you can offer them a bunch of cool tips or advice to show them that you know what you’re doing.
People will more likely say yes to giving you their email over the phone than actually buy your product. Then you use your email marketing to convert them into customers by showing them the value of your product.
Remember to follow up if they don’t respond to your email marketing. Give them another call to hear if they got your emails and if they could use them. The information you get here could be valuable in improving your email marketing.
Never stop trying. As long as you have their email, you should try to convert them.
Using your merchandise to collect leads is a very subtle but effective method. Just as if you were a sponsor at an event and had your newsletter on the t-shirts, you would add a short CTA to your merchandise along with a link, QR-code, or SMS short code.
Your merchandise is already getting your brand more exposure (that is if people actually buy your merchandise), so using it for lead generation is just an extra benefit.
87. TV ads
Television advertising is more expensive than online advertising as there are always a limited amount of spots available on TV.
This means the competition for TV ads is higher than it is online because we have much more online “space” to advertise on.
Now, you might think, why would I then choose to run a TV ad? Because there is a huge pool of potential subscribers who don’t browse the internet every day. Many people only go online to check their email and that’s it.
You can either catch these people at your store or at other events, but running a TV ad would get your message out to a much larger audience.
In your TV ad, you should, of course, promote your products but then at the end of the ad, you have to mention your newsletter and tell them how they can sign up.
This might not be the lead generation method that will get you the most leads, but the leads you do get will most likely be of much higher quality as these people have to actively sign up for your newsletter through their computer or phone because they can’t do it directly through the television.
Remember how important it is to follow up on these leads directly so you’ll convert them into customers while they’re still super warm and interested.
88. Paid online advertising
Paid advertising can be very effective but it also requires you to be ready to put some resources into it. It takes both time and money if you want it done right.
First of all, you should use Facebook lead ads which was no. 8 on this list. They’re targeting the World’s largest social media platform which means you’re guaranteed some results. Read much more about Facebook lead ads here.
Facebook Ads: you can also use regular Facebook ads to promote your content. The content you link to in your ads must contain a signup option such as a content upgrade.
It’s important that you keep a close eye on how much you pay for each lead so you don’t end up throwing money out the window.
Google AdWords: You can also get your ads on Google by using Google Adwords. The same applies here. Link to your content and convert people within that content.
Again, you need to weigh the price per lead against the value from each lead. It needs to be profitable for you.
Pinterest ads are not as used as Facebook ads and Google Adwords. However, more and more businesses are beginning to use Pinterest as it grows in popularity.
For your Pinterest ads, you should create a custom landing page where people can opt-in for an infographic, ebook, or other great content. Watch the price per lead here as well.
I would even suggest that these include a lot of visuals. Pinterest is a very visual social media and one can only assume that these people would respond better to visual content.
Did you know that you can advertise in people’s inboxes as well? With Gmail ads, you can target your content ads based on what people write about in their emails and the emails they receive.
Create content relevant to specific user segments and convert them with an awesome content upgrade.
When it comes to convincing your visitors to sign up, it has proven very effective to use various incentives.
What incentive you offer shouldn’t be random, but rather carefully selected based on your business and your audience.
No matter what type of e-commerce you run, you can use discounts as incentives.
People love saving money and if you offer them a discount in return for an email address they are much more likely to convert.
Just be careful not to offer too large discounts or too often. Then people will come to expect it and never buy something at full price.
Creating a competition might require a bit more work than offering a simple discount. However, discounts have proven to be really effective incentives when it comes to collecting leads.
The higher value your prize has to your audience, the more signups you’ll get.
Remember to add an end date to your competition to create urgency and get people to sign up immediately.
The prize can be anything from a product to a gift certificate or anything you think your audience would want enough to give you their email address.
You can also create a quiz to collect valuable leads.
Your quiz must be relevant to your business and it has to be intriguing. For instance, if your website sells skiing equipment, you can offer a quiz where people can see which type of skier or snowboarder they are. Maybe even which celebrity skier or snowboarder they are most like.
Then at the end of the quiz, before they get their results, you ask for their email address to give them access to the results. You can sweeten the deal a bit more by offering them a video guide on how to become a better skier or snowboarder based on their results.
When you give them their results, you can’t just write “You’re just like Jean-Claude Killy!” and nothing more. You have to include a description of the personal traits of this celebrity and why it’s so awesome to be like him. Make the results shareable so your quiz will be shared on social media and attract more people.
Your quiz could also be about your business and then have a prize for those who get all answers right. This will encourage people to browse your site looking for answers. The prize should then be delivered by email.
92. Free tool
A free tool can be pretty much anything as long as it helps people solve a problem.
For instance, if your e-commerce sells clothing you can offer a free tool or app that will help them decide what to wear for a specific occasion.
A free tool could also be an image creator where people can edit their own images. This would work well if you have an online photo store or sell anything related to photos or images.
93. Resource library
It’s always a good idea to have a resource library where you gather all your resources such as tools, reports, etc.
Offer your visitors access to your resource library in exchange for their email address. Link to your resource library wherever it’s relevant on your site and tell people that they can sign up for free and get access to it.
You can also use an opt-in form on your site and tell people how awesome your resource library is and what it includes, and convince them to give you their email address with an irresistible CTA.
This one is pretty much self-explanatory.
Ebooks have great value when the content is relevant to the site they appear on but they take a lot of time to make.
When you offer an ebook as an incentive, you need to ensure that new subscribers get access to it right away.
You can send it by email, or you can redirect new subscribers to a download link right when they’ve clicked your “sign up” button. I write “sign up” here so you know what I mean, but I would never use this in as the CTA on my button. Instead, I would focus on the ebook: “Get my free ebook now”, “Download your free ebook!”, etc.
95. Promote your email archive
This one’s very similar to the resource library except it offers an insight into your business’ email marketing strategies and the exact emails you sent out.
People love quick fixes, and promoting your email archive and giving people access to read the emails you send out is a great way to collect leads.
Marketers (including myself) often experience a small writer’s block and the thing that really helps me to get out of it, is to be inspired by what others do.
Don’t copy what other people do but rather see the overall effect of their efforts and think about how you can achieve that same effect with your own words.
96. Use social proof alongside another incentive
When social proof first appeared in the digital world, everyone started using it. I would argue that the glory days of social proof are now over. I wouldn’t stop using it altogether, but rather combine it with another incentive to make it more powerful. An example of this could be: “Join the 2657 other successful businesses who use [your product] and get your 15% discount right away!”
Testimonials are a great way of convincing people that your product or newsletter is indeed worth something.
You should always use testimonials on your site wherever you see fit because it will increase your credibility and give new potential customers or subscribers a sense of security when buying something from you or signing up for your newsletter.
These and more testimonials appear throughout our entire website.
98. Email course
You can also use your expert knowledge about a certain topic related to your business and create an email course.
This email course can be offered as an incentive on your website and social media platforms to encourage people to subscribe to your newsletter.
It’s important that you are specific about the content of your email course and what value people will get from it when you promote it.
Creating an email course is one of the more time-consuming list building methods. However, you can generate high-quality leads with it because people will only sign up if they’re really interested in learning more about this particular topic.
99. Loyalty program
Loyalty programs are very good for customer retention and ensuring that customers return to buy something again.
You can even use your loyalty program as an incentive to get more subscribers. This can be both in store and online. For instance, H&M has a loyalty program where you collect points that you can use to get special discounts or other free stuff.
Tell people about the benefits of joining your loyalty program and ask for their email address.
If you have an online pet store, you could offer a loyalty program where people get an online “stamp” every time they buy a specific dog food product and when they have 10 stamps, they get the next one for free.
This one is to get your existing subscribers a reason to tell their friends about your newsletter.
It requires that your subscribers have given you their date of birth so you know when their birthday is. When the day arrives you send them an email with a special discount or an exclusive gift or something else valuable and wishes them a happy birthday.
This is what Sephora offers their Birthday-club members.
This will keep your relationship with your customers strong as they feel valued. It’s also important that you mention in the newsletter that their friends can also get a free gift on their birthday if they sign up for your newsletter.
This can create a lot of positive WOM communication that will grow your email list.
101. Reward employees
Lastly an incentive for your employees.
To help encourage your employees to ask visitors for email addresses and get more signups, you should offer a prize to the employee who collects the most email addresses.
If you have more stores in different locations, you can offer a joint prize for the store that collects the most leads.
This will get your employees excited about collecting email addresses and they will put much more effort into it which will generate better results.
Free Downloadable Bonus
Want More List Building Strategies?
Get access to our free list building toolkit and skyrocket your email list today (includes resources not found in the blog post).
Phew! This was quite an extensive read but I really hope you made it through and found at least a couple of new list building methods you want to try out.
Don’t forget to have all your new leads enter some kind of automated email flow. Send them everything you promised and more, and don’t ever just let them wither away on your email list without engaging with them.
Collecting leads for your business can in many cases be more profitable than just focusing on getting more customers.
With the right email marketing strategy, you can turn your leads into repeat customers which are far more valuable than one-time customers.
What are your experiences with any of these list building methods and do you have any to add? Share in the comments below.