It’s the user’s world now, we’re just living in it.
News articles, blog posts, tweets, 6-second videos, social news feeds and tens of thousands of images pinned to digital boards are flying past you quicker than any human could read them.
What does that mean for the digital marketer? It means that you’d better capitalize on your content with each and every conversion opportunity you can.
And by drive online conversions, I mean at minimum, capturing an email address – also known as lead generation.
When it comes to email list building, there are several ways this can be done. And nearly every digital channel gives you this opportunity.
Here are just a few…
For each of these channels, there is a host of tactics for any type of marketer, blogger, designer or other professional looking to succeed online.
Social Media List Building
1. Facebook Apps. Add a custom tab / app to your Facebook page, with a form that subscribes your social audience to an email list.
Here’s an example that uses Mailchimp integration…
2. Social Contests or Sweepstakes. Using the same options as #1, there are many Facebook, mobile and other social apps that capture email – or you can use apps to link to dedicated landing pages that give you more control of the conversion process.
3. Coupons or Giveaways. Similar to #1 and 2, retailers and restaurants often see big success in list building in social, using a number of social channel apps. Check out this Woobox-powered promotion for AutoZone.
4. Post your Landing Page Offers to Social. When you create and lead generation offer (and I hope you have by now), make sure that you’re building a dedicated landing page and blog post for each and sharing both of these links to social channels.
A few places to start…
- Facebook (use photos with links in description when posting vs. links – experiment with Facebook apps)
5. Twitter Lead Generation Cards. A Lead Generation Card is a tool you can use via Twitter to generate leads directly within a tweet. You can also use Twitter cards to gain a number of additional conversions.
6. Facebook Registration Form. Use the Facebook registration plugin to auto-fill your email signup forms, making it easier for users to provide their information when subscribing to your list.
7. LinkedIn Groups. With this social gem, you can create an entire network of social influencers, discuss trends, build your knowledge and reputation as a thought leader – and of course, link to landing pages or blog posts via group emails and posted updates shared with the group.
8. Twitter Landing Page. Send a daily welcome tweet to your followers, welcoming them to your network – and reward them by linking to a dedicated landing page.
9. Add Subscription Links to Email, and Make them Share-able. Adding subscription links to your emails may seem counterproductive – it’s not. Especially when you make email blasts or newsletters available online, with social sharing enabled, or even Pin them to a board on Pinterest.
10. SlideShare. The mecca of social media lead generation, this channel allows you to upload PDFs and PPTs, share them across social networks, embed slides into your website and capture leads within the slideshow.
Website List Building
11. Online Checkout. A seemingly obvious tactic that should be part of any eCommerce marketer’s checkout process, be sure to ask customers if they want to receive future emails. Try to add this option to the earlier steps of the online checkout process, once you gather basic contact information. That way, you can remarket to users who did not complete the checkout process.
12. Create Lead Generation Landing Pages. One of the most proven methods of email list building is to create dedicated landing pages for each free offer you make. The more landing pages you create (assuming your offers are worth a download) – the bigger your email list will get.
13. Directories of Landing Pages. Once you’ve created a few landing pages, don’t stop there. Why not use your website architecture to offer a list of free downloads for each user segment and/or search query?
14. Webinars. Another proven method for online lead generation success is to host or co-host a free webinar, and there are a number of ways you can execute this tactic.
- Host the webinar on your site
- Use a cost-effective webinar service like Join.me, GoToWebinar or even stream a Google+ hangout on your website
- Leverage an online network like BrightTalk – where you can segment users and gain peripheral traffic from other, similarly targeted webinars hosted by other brands
15. Testimonials & Reviews. Ask your customers and social followers to see your reviews – and add to them, in social media channels and on your website.
16. Create a User Forum. To encourage visitor engagement on your site, why not offer a product and/or topic hub specifically for this?
An old-school tactic indeed, this method still provides a tried-and-true place where users can engage with both your company and like-minded people who share their interests.
17. Event promotion. Plan on attending a conference, seminar, meetup or other speaking engagement?
Try using your website, blog and an exclusive offer or prize to capture leads before you arrive. If you’re hosting an event, then using online list building should be a no-brainer.
18. Entrance or Exit Pop-ups. While I’m not big on entrance pop-ups (or pop-ups in general), there are tons of B2B marketers seeing endless success with this method.
For an example of exit pop-ups, check out this integration on our site, created using LeadPages – who offers a variety of options for lead generation.
19. Marketing Apps. Another way to generate leads (or even increase conversion rates on existing offers) is to create marketing apps that enhance the value of an existing product, gain user interest or provide value otherwise not seen in other digital tactics.
20. Web or Email Series. To increase the value of registration, create a web or email series that engages users with new information in small increments – one step at a time, which drastically lowers your unsubscribe rates.
21. “Coming Soon” landing page. For upcoming product launches, this list-building tactic is a favorite among recent growth hacker brands and tech startups alike.
Our partners at UX AUDIT have recently employed this list building method with much success.
22. Invite-Only BETA launch. Another way to boost the anticipation of a new product launch is to create an invite-only BETA test, where you can gain user feedback and network with other developers – improving your minimum viable product (MVP) before the official launch.
23. Co-Marketing. If content is part of your product or service offering, why not attract partners and offer customers an existing hub of free content to help them optimize their professional efforts?
Here, as part of the UX Audit BETA, a customer is sent to relevant landing pages and blog posts on a partner’s website.
24. Affiliate Program. For the digital B2B marketer, one of the more effective ways to encourage customer loyalty and use repeat visitors to generate new, relevant leads using virality – is to launch an affiliate program.
A few key examples include:
- Amazon Associates
- Commission Junction
- Become a StudioPress Affiliate and Make Money!
25. Rewards Programs. Like affiliate programs, the rewards or loyalty program is mainly designed for customer retention. However, using social integration and apps, why not encourage users to share their earnings, gifts and other loyalty earnings with friends and family?
26. Shop or Share. Made famous by its impact on the LivingSocial business model, this tactic exchanges purchase for user sharing, placing affiliate models on the front end of conversion – where a certain amount of referrals will lead to the user getting your product or service offering free.
27. Launch a Community to Inform Product Development. With My Starbucks Idea being the celebrity benchmark for this model, you simply create an online hub for users to inform your product offerings with ideas and feedback.
28. Make an Unsubscribe Page worth it’s Weight in Clicks. From asking questions to help you improve your email marketing, to entertainment that engages there are a few ways that you can turn your unsubscribes into new subscribes – check out this example from Groupon…
29. Use your confirmation page to generate leads with share-worthy offers. Once a prospect converts on your site – don’t stop there.
Use landing page offers, free gifts or other lead generation tools (see 1-28 above) for gaining both customer insight to aid return visits and to gain shares from the customer, which bring in new prospects, new traffic to your site and grow your email list.
Blog List Building
30. Guest Blogging. Share your expertise with your community, writing for other publications. While this tactic may be going down in SEO value – guest blogging isn’t dead, and it’s still quite strong for generating traffic, expanding your reach when other publications ask to use it, and when users hit your website – it’s still good for list building.
Be sure to include links to your website and email subscription as part of your bio, and if you’re allowed to do so, in all articles.
31. Make subscribing easy. Take advantage of your blog’s real estate by adding email signup forms to your sidebar, within your posts and on your blog index page.
32. Use calls-to-action. Similar to email signup forms, you also want to link articles to relevant landing page offers to generate relevant leads that can be segmented easily based on contextual data. A few ways to do this include…
- Using your sidebar on your blog page and each post
- Segment categories and match offers to each blog post
- Feature your best free downloads on your home page, blog index and other highly-traffic pages on your site
- Add landing pages or landing page categories into your navigation
33. Use polls and other apps. Interactive polls and similar apps provide great levels of blog post engagement, rank high in social shares and typically expand the reach of most blog posts (if done well).
34. Comments & Feedback. Whether you’re asking visitors to comment on a post or give feedback on a product / service / offer, there are dozens of ways to capture emails with ease for any type of blog post action that involves engagement or participation.
35. Turn landing pages into blog posts. One the easiest ways to keep your website fresh, your blog updated and your email list growing is by using your content in multiple forms.
36. Mobile Apps. Perfect if your product offers utility or needed business function, and even better for live events, where you can take new subscribers on the spot, rather than waiting to do data import later. Just be sure that a privacy notice is displayed prominently and clearly.
37. SMS Marketing. Equally good for events (if your mobile program is rather effective), let prospects subscribe to your email list via short code (e.g. text EMAIL to 77007)and capture leads on the spot. This works especially well if people are standing around for a while.
38. Search Engine Ads. With Google Adwords extensions like the one below, you can ask search engine users to subscribe to updates without having to go on your website…typically, this is a strong tactic for repeat visitors search your branded content.
39. Display Extensions. You can also use another Google product extension for list building…check out Kwanzoo – a new display product that features lead gen forms inside display banners.
40. Use transactional emails. When sending purchase confirmations or other transactional emails, make sure to ask customers to subscribe to your newsletter. Provide reasons and value for doing so, along with incentives – similar to the confirmation page approach.
Thirsty for More?
These email list building tips are meant to get you started on (and thinking about) very specific lead generation principles and tactics.
If you want the entire picture of the agile marketing “conversion map” — including a visualization of user buying stages, examples of what types of content convert at each, and more — go ahead and grab our free Conversion Mapping template.