Email collection is a bit like dating. You might like someone, but you need to get his or her phone number, email address, or other contact information. The process has to move forward if you want to create a relationship.
When it comes to email marketing, business owners often forget about this essential first step. It’s no different from personal relationships. You’re not an email marketer unless you have subscribers, so email collection has to come first, just like you’re not in a relationship if you don’t make contact with prospective partners.
Over time, you’ll scrub your email list to get rid of inactive subscribers, just as you might break up with lots of people before you find The One. That sounds painful — and it can be — but it’s necessary to form the right relationships. My business partner, Neil Patel, scrubs his huge email list every single week.
I hope you don’t break up with boyfriends or girlfriends that often, but you get the picture.
Since you’ll scrub your own list and have unsubscribes, you have to give email collection priority in your marketing campaign. Over time, you’ll figure out the strategies and best practices that work for your business, but to start, you’ll want to follow some basic best practices.
First, though I’m going to share a few insights into email marketing so you’re ready to jump into email collection right away.
What Is Email Marketing?
At its most basic, email marketing is the process of converting website visitors into leads and leads into customers. It’s like the dating ritual. You attract potential partners, convince them you’re worth their time, and eventually form a committed bond.
With email marketing, though, the end results in a sale instead of a ring.
Sounds easy, right? But here’s the kicker: You have to have lots of prospects because you can’t convince everyone to join your email list.
That’s why email collection becomes the most important part of the process. Sure, you want your leads to buy your products or services, but every relationship — even in business — has to start somewhere.
So where do these prospects come from? They might click over to your latest blog post from social media or hear about your product from a friend. Perhaps they stumble across your content during a Google search.
There are lots of places from which to attract prospects. You just have to get them to convert.
Why Is Collecting Emails Important?
A strong email list allows you to get in touch with people who fall into your target audience. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t have signed up for your email list.
It’s kind of like giving someone you like your phone number. That person now has a lead on a potential romantic partner. Now he or she has to call you and set up a date. It all starts with the handing over of the phone number, though.
And if you’ve been in the dating pool recently, you know it’s largely a numbers game. For instance, eHarmony reports that more than half of online daters lie on their profiles.
That’s not good, right? If you connect with someone who’s lied to you, you’ll likely scrub him or her from your life. Or you’ll figure it out right away and never give out your contact information.
You have to be vigilant about acquiring more leads so you have more chances to connect — this time with prospective customers rather than future dates.
How Do I Collect Email Addresses on My Website?
To collect email addresses, you need one or more forms on your website where interested consumers can sign up for your email campaign. For instance, the lifestyle blog Apartment Therapy uses an exit popup to invite people to subscribe to their daily emails.
You can recreate a similar exit popup via Hello Bar.
Adding a top bar can add even further diversity to your email collection campaign. Just sign into Hello Bar, choose the email collection goal, and type in what you want your top bar to say.
The bar will appear at the top of your site to remind visitors they can sign up. You can animate your top bar, change the colors, and even A/B test the headline and call to action (CTA).
Other places to include a form or CTA to sign up for your mailing list include:
- At the end of your blog posts
- In the middle of your blog posts
- In the sidebar of your website
- In the footer
20 Email Collection Best Practices to Constantly Grow Your Email List
Without further ado, let’s get into the good stuff. Email collection is a lot like wooing a potential romantic partner, so that’s how you should approach it. You don’t want to talk too much about yourself, make promises you can’t keep, or leave the other party with the impression you have nothing to offer.
So what are the email collection best practices? We’ll check out 16 of the tips and strategies that have worked for me over the years.
1. Create an Amazing Lead Magnet
It’s okay to get creative with lead magnets. Think of them as pickup lines — they work best when they surprise and delight the person you’re trying to woo.
Instead of the traditional ebook or whitepaper, for instance, you might create a fantastic toolkit that helps your prospective customers solve a serious problem. In other words, provide value from the get-go.
Don’t worry about giving away too much. That’s much better than giving away too little.
Once you’ve created your lead magnet, let your website visitors know about it. Create a top bar from your Hello Bar account, for example, so everyone knows they can get a copy of your lead magnet.
The link can take your visitor to your lead capture page so you can close the deal.
2. Constantly Offer Your Email Subscribers Valuable Content to Spark Referrals
Did you know that your email subscribers can do some of the heavy lifting when it comes to email collection?
It’s kind of like when you meet someone at work you know your best friend would be interested in. You don’t keep it to yourself. You make the introduction.
Word of mouth works great when you consistently offer your email subscribers valuable content. They’ll want to share it with their friends, so they’ll forward your emails.
Make sure to include a call to action to subscribe in each of your marketing emails. That way, when they’re forwarded, those prospects can sign up for your list, too.
3. Promote Your Email Newsletter Signup Form on Different Areas of Your Website
If you check out your Google Analytics reports, you’re likely to see that people land on many different places on your site. They might find you through Google search, social media post, or some other way.
Soulmates meet in the strangest of places. If you’re not ready for that meeting, the opportunity might pass you by. The same goes for a website page that doesn’t contain a palatable offer.
Your user flow report can also prove useful in Google Analytics. Figure out where people go after first landing on your site so you can present the right offer at the right time.
The first interaction matters, whether you’re launching an email collection campaign or looking for a lifelong partner. But other interactions matter, too.
4. Divide Your Email List Into Segments
Segmenting your email list helps you send the right messages to consumers based on where they fall in the conversion funnel.
Consumers who are ready to purchase your product or service might benefit from a coupon code, for instance, while those in the evaluation stage might benefit from a comparison chart of different products or services they might benefit from.
Keep timing in mind when collecting emails. You wouldn’t propose on the first date, right? But if you’ve been dating casually for 15 years, you might need to rethink your strategy.
5. Create Amazing Popups With Hello Bar to Promote Your Newsletter
I can hear the collective groans from all over the world, but hear me out. Popups work great when you use them correctly.
It’s like bringing flowers on the first date. Corny? Sure. Overdone? Of course. But it still works.
Use Hello Bar to create an exit popup. It only appears when your visitor tries to click away.
Make sure it’s attention-grabbing and eye-catching. More importantly, provide an offer your audience can’t refuse.
I’ll use my business partner, Neil Patel, as an example. He won’t mind.
Neil gives speeches all over the world for hundreds of thousands of people. Those who can’t make it to those events might want to get his insider information.
That’s what this exit popup offers. Anyone who knows Neil and wants to learn from him will sign up right away.
6. Make It Extremely Simple to Sign Up for Your Email List
Have you ever had one of those dates during which the other person seems to interrogate you like a murder suspect?
You might have a similar feeling when you’re confronted with a signup form like this one:
Who has time for all that? If you ask for too much information — and yes, I exercised a little hyperbole here — your prospects will ask for the check before you even get your appetizers.
7. Offer Upgrades and Discounts for Customers Who Sign Up
Incentive is the most important word I want you to take away from this article. Memorize it. Write it on a Post-It and stick the message on your computer monitor. Whatever.
You have to incentivize people to sign up for your newsletter. Email collection is all about a transaction. You want people to sign up for your email list, but what will you do for them?
Check out this top bar:
Not very compelling, right? But I can jazz it up to make you want to opt in:
- Picking at a pain point and establishing rapport with the prospect
- Offering a way to resolve the pain point for free using a compelling number
- Adding a CTA that reflects the offer
8. Use Social Media to Promote Your Website and Your Lead Magnet
Social media is great because it allows you to cross-pollinate your followers. If someone follows you on Twitter, you can invite them to join your email list with a well-thought-out lead magnet. Similarly, if someone visits your website, you can use Hello Bar to invite them to Tweet about your content.
The important thing is to make use of your existing followers, regardless of where they are.
9. Host Giveaways to Collect More Emails
Who doesn’t like a freebie? Giveaways serve three important purposes:
Use a Hello Bar alert to let people know about your giveaway. They can click the link to learn the details about how to enter.
The price to enter? The prospect’s email address.
10. Use Paid Ads to Promote Your Lead Magnet
Sometimes, you have to put up a little cash to get what you want.
Not getting dates at bars and nightclubs? Sign up for Match.com. It’ll cost you a few bucks, but it hastens the process.
The same goes for paid ads, whether you post them through search or social. Use the same strategies we’ve already discussed, such as including a compelling image, headline, and CTA. You’ll get more email signups that way, and email collection will become much faster.
Start with a small budget, then work your way up. You don’t have to spend every dollar in the bank to get great ROI from paid ads.
11. Use a CTA Button on Your Facebook Business Page
You might have seen one of these buttons on Facebook Business Pages:
It’s just a regular old CTA that lets your Facebook page visitors sign up for your email list right from Facebook.
It’s a way to reduce friction. If your followers have to go through too many steps to figure out how to sign up, they just won’t bother. Why would they when they can scroll for memes instead?
If you don’t have a Facebook Business Page, create one right now. You’re leaving money on the table without one because millions of people spend time on Facebook every day.
12. Increase Email Collection by Attending Networking Events
Going to networking events might sound like the greatest plan in the world or the worst one, depending on your personality type. However, don’t discount the value of meeting people in person and inviting them to sign up for your email list.
For one thing, it’s harder to say “no” in person. You don’t want to put someone on the spot, but you can casually say, “Hey, I send out free coupons once a month. Would you like to get them, too?”
The other person can either agree or decline, but either way, you’ve planted the seed.
Again, make the process as easy as possible. Pull up your website on your own phone, navigate to your signup form, and invite the person to key in his or her details.
Another option is to hand out business cards with your website address on them. Mention your email list on the business card so people can decide whether or not to follow up.
Keep in mind that reciprocity is a powerful thing. Offer to sign up for the other person’s email list if he or she has one.
13. Include a Link To Your Newsletter Signup Form in Your Email Signature
Sometimes email collection boils down to the simplest of activities. Adding a link to your newsletter signup page in your email signature can boost conversions significantly.
Make sure it attracts attention so people don’t think it’s a typical signature. For instance, format that sentence and link in your brand’s main color.
Include that same signature in the emails you send to your subscribers. If they forward the email to friends, family members, or colleagues, those people will know how to sign up for themselves.
14. Host Events and Ask Attendees to Join Your Email List
Have you ever hosted a live webinar? It’s a ton of fun, and it’s a great chance to hook new leads for your email list.
A live webinar allows you to communicate with your prospects live. It doesn’t take expensive equipment or great oratory skills. Just talk to your audience like you’d talk to friends.
At the end of the webinar, tell people exactly how they can sign up for your list.
Other events, such as going live on Facebook or Instagram, offer new opportunities for email collection. Think outside your website when you’re trying to build a solid email list.
15. Constantly A/B Test Your Sign-Up Forms
A/B tests form the cornerstone of email collection. You want to test different versions of your headline and call to action so you get maximum signups.
For instance, you might A/B test the wording in your CTA.
A/B test the colors you use, the type of Hello Bar style, the headline, and anything else that might make a difference in conversions. That way, you know you’re sending the right message to the right consumers.
Don’t stop after just one test. Maybe you’ll come up with an even better CTA or headline down the road. Test it against the reigning winner to see how it performs. Hello Bar allows you to automatically A/B test different modals and gives you the statistically significant “winner” so you don’t have to comb through mountains of data.
16. Create Email Drip Campaigns to Engage All Your New Email List Subscribers
Email collection isn’t the end of the story. After you’ve collected emails from your target audience, you need to engage them with content.
Think of this as your second date. If you’re no longer charming, funny, witty, warm, or kind, your date will likely decline a third.
Email drip campaigns set you up for success from the very beginning. You have a series of emails you want to go out to new subscribers at regular intervals, such as once a week. After that series, you can “graduate” your subscribers to a new drip campaign that nurtures them through the funnel.
Automating your email drip campaigns makes them even more indispensable. After all, you have more to do for your business than write emails all day.
Email collection can seem a lot like dating. Sometimes, you get a phone number during your first encounter, and sometimes you have to see each other around town a few times before you really connect.
However, you can hasten the process by setting yourself up for success.
If you’re dating, you wear your best clothes, offer a pleasant smile, and behave like a decent human being.
If you’re collecting emails, you offer a valuable lead magnet to incentivize the prospect and make sure you’re making your offer to as many people as possible.
Here’s a handy checklist you can copy and paste if you want to refer to it often. They’re my best practices for email collection:
- Create a lead magnet
- Constantly offer amazing content to subscribers
- Promote your newsletter on every page
- Segment your email list
- Create awesome popups
- Simplify the signup process
- Offer upgrades and discounts
- Use social media to attract subscribers
- Host giveaways
- Take out paid ads
- Add a CTA button to your Facebook Business Page
- Attend networking events
- Link to your signup form in your email signature
- A/B test signup forms
- Host events
- Incentivize referrals
- Create email drip campaigns
Now that you’re armed with all this useful knowledge, go forth and collect emails.
What’s your best strategy for collecting emails?