7 Surefire Ways to Acquire Email Leads in 2022 [+ Tools]
Marketers spend hours brainstorming ways to grow their email lists. No matter what industry you’re in, email capture is a powerful and high-impact marketing activity.
Now, there are many ways to grow your subscriber base — beyond the simple sidebar lead magnet and pop-up forms. This blog will cover:
What Is Email Capture?
Email capture involves growing your email list with new signups. Often, marketers create an enticing hook or lead magnet to encourage subscriptions. That may be a free item or a discount. The aim is simple — build your email list so you can market to these new leads and increase sales.
7 Email Lead Capture Strategies to Use in 2022
Ask, “What’s in it for me?”
Target the right segments of your audience.
Target your audience at the correct time.
Build the right lead magnets.
Reduce friction where possible.
Match the intent of a blog post with the right offer.
Choose the best lead capture tools for the job.
1. Ask, “What’s in it for me?”
While every company in every industry may have a different tactical implementation to capture email leads, at the core of every strategy is this formula:
“What’s in it for me?” is such an underrated question in marketing. In other words, you need to ensure that whatever information you’re asking for is worth giving up in exchange for your offer.
In some cases, the value exchange is extremely straightforward.
Take, for example, WaitButWhy. The blog’s author, Tim Urban, writes incredibly comprehensive and interesting articles (more like books). The posts are amazing. The quality is unquestionable. So it’s enough of a benefit to simply be notified when these works of art are published.
However, most business blogs can’t compete on that standard. Therefore, most of us rely on“lead magnets” — exchanges of value for information. These are things like ebooks, free email courses, discounts, webinars, etc.
Essentially, it’s a piece of premium content you can use to entice someone to sign up for your list.
Here’s an excellent example of a lead magnet fromConversionXL:
Both of these examples are great for their appropriate contexts. The value alignment is obvious.
2. Target the right segments of your audience.
When starting out, you’ll likely have one universal lead magnet oremail subscription form for all of your visitors. This is particularly true if your traffic numbers are small and your visitors are relatively homogenous.
However, when you scale your content program, you’ll need different lead magnets for different types of visitors.
You should also consider the device someone is using. One of the biggest mistakes with lead capture is using the exact same tactics on mobile and desktop.
However, in 2022, 90% of people used the internet via smartphones, compared to 66% who browsed the web on a laptop or desktop. You might be losing conversions if your email capture method is not optimized for mobile.
Pro tip: Think about which portion of your audience sees which CTA. As your content production capacity grows, a one-size-fits-all approach becomes less effective.
3. Target your audience at the correct time.
Who you target is very important, but when you target your audience is also vital. For example, first-time site visitors should receive a discount on arrival.
This person is probably comparison shopping, so you’re fighting for attention and want to hook them quickly. This is the case with many ecommerce lead capture messages, including the lead magnet fromRalph Lauren below.
Meanwhile, if you’re capturing emails on a blog post, you don’t want to interrupt the user experience before the reader even gets past the first paragraph. That’s a good way to skyrocket your bounce rate. “Welcome mat” pop-ups — those giant messages that completely take over your screen — are another mistake.
The latter appears when someone moves their mouse toward the corner of the screen, as if they were going to exit the window. When used properly, exit intent pop-ups can deliver results. One OptinMonster customer re-engaged 53% of visitors who were leaving by offering a discount via an exit intent pop-up.
Here’s a great example of an exit intent pop-up from Sprout Social.
You can get creative with your time-based or behavior-based targeting as well. Does a behavioral event on your website imply intent or a high interest in an offer? That’s a great time to trigger a CTA.
For example, if you see someone copying and pasting your templates, you can trigger a message that they’re also all available for download.
At a simpler level, you can leave a text link in your copy and use that as a signal of intent to trigger a form.
We’ve already discussed the need to answer the question “what’s in it for me.” Here, we’ll dive deeper into the idea of a “lead magnet.”
A lead magnet is a free offer you deliver in exchange for a visitor’s information. This could be many things, but it usually looks like a long-form piece of content. Get inspired with these common lead magnet formats.
The ebook is probably the most common form of a lead magnet. You can relatively easily repurpose multiple blog posts into a giant ebook and get someone on Upwork to design it.
Ebooks are best suited for:
Complex topics that require deep exploration.
Inquisitive buyers that love doing their own research into a topic.
Topics that can be described largely through texts or diagrams.
Conversion rate optimization, user experience, or search engine optimization are all topics that make great ebooks. Take, for example, this ebook from UserTesting on building customer-centric products.
Remember: With webinars, execution matters. Getting people to sign up for a webinar is just the tip of the iceberg. The webinar needs to then be entertaining as well as useful.
If you can do this at scale, you’ll be able to build an inbound lead generation machine.
The Email Course
The email course is one of my favorite underutilized tactics. It’s essentially an ebook, but split into chapters and delivered via email.
The best part is that you can normally get experts to write individual chapters. This not only distributes the effort required to produce the content, but if you choose your experts correctly, it also adds to the value for the subscriber.
Marketing training company Conversion XL attracts prospects with this free email course on building an optimization program.
With these lead magnets, you’re promising informational value in exchange for an email address. The difference here is that you’re using email to deliver the core value, which leads to an increase in open rates.
Free tools are a more challenging lead magnet to create. You need to think of a compelling idea and find the right back-end team to build it. However, if done right, free tools can really break through the noise.
HubSpot’s Website Grader is one free tool that generates traction. By putting in your website URL you’ll be able to see your site’s performance — a benefit worth your email address.
If your topic interests someone, helping them accomplish what you talk about in the article can be a tremendously powerful hook.
Typically, this is done with additional resources, templates, or tools designed to help the visitor implement whatever you’re talking about. For example, this HubSpot Blog on feedback surveys offers a feedback survey template.
Checklists are best for topics that are technically complex or require a lot of time and organization to accomplish. Make sure your document can be easily edited, so recipients can check off tasks easily as they are completed.
A/B testing is one subject that benefits from a checklist. This blog post from Alex Birkett, a content agency founder, offers the checklist as a Google Doc for easy access.
If a visitor wants to sign up for your list, make it as easy as possible for them to do so. When designing forms, ask yourself the following questions.
Do I need this piece of information I’m asking for? If so, can I ask for it later via progressive profiling?
What form fields are causing the highest drop-off?
Can we run user tests to see where people are struggling with our forms?
Do we have any basic usability or accessibility problems with our forms?
Do our forms work on all browsers and devices?
You’d be surprised how many simple changes you’ll make after a quick audit of your forms.
6. Match the intent of a blog post with the right offer.
If your blog post is about “top marketing books of 2022,” it may not be prudent to offer an ebook on “The Ultimate Guide to Digital Analytics.” There’s a mismatch there. Some visitors may still convert, but it’s certainly not fully optimized.
Align the messaging on your lead magnet offer with the blog post it appears on.
Here’s a quick trick to ensure the message aligns properly. Go into Ahrefs and plug your blog post URL in the site explorer feature. Look at all the keywords it ranks for.
Your goal here is to understand broadly what your post ranks for and find other topics that are gaining traffic. For instance, the keyword “what to do in Austin this weekend,” might actually make a really good headline for an ebook or checklist.
Take a look at how the HubSpot Blog matches lead-generation content to user search intent.
7. Choose the best lead capture tools for the job.
Remember: You’re not stuck to only using web forms. You can use pop-ups, surveys, live chat, and many more tools to capture leads.
Web forms are still the gold standard of online email capture. Nearly 50% of marketers cite web forms as their most effective lead-capture tool, according to HubSpot’s 2020 State of Email Lead Capture.
Email capture software makes building web forms easy. We’ve gathered two tools that can help you get the job done.
This free tool allows you to easily acquire new email subscribers using conversion-driven forms like the one below. With HubSpot, you can decide which fields users need to fill out. Information is then compiled into a list in your CRM. From here, you can easily pass leads to sales.
This WordPress plug-in is a one-stop solution for almost all your website’s form needs, from lead capture to job applications. It also gives you the resources to build accessible and GDPR-compliant forms. Here’s how to install Gravity Forms on your WordPress website.
Pop-ups, once annoying and ill-designed, are now common and wildly effective when done correctly.
If you can target the right audience at the right time, you can win with this method. At the very least, an exit intent form helps capture some would-be bouncers from your site.HubSpot Pop-up Forms offer a free and easy setup for this.
This leading email capture tool lets you quickly create engaging pop-up forms with a responsive design. With this tool, you can hone in on the right website visitors with laser-sharp targeting. You can also split-test your campaigns to see what works best.
OptinMonster also allows you to build inline forms, gated content, coupon wheels, and content upgrades. Here’s an example of their exit-intent-triggered pop-up.
With this tool, you can easily build the right quiz for your niche, personalize it to suit your brand design, and track your conversions. Interact also integrates with 35 leading tools such as Zapier, Mailchimp, and ConvertKit.
Take a look at how Interact uses a quiz on its website to capture leads.
“Can I please speak with a human?” That’s a common plea when stuck in a roundabout conversation with a chatbot. But did you know that live chat — mostly viewed in the context of customer support and sometimes for sales — can also be used as a marketing tool?
It’s especially effective when targeting visitors who have been to your site several times or are heavy readers.
Though live chat is a less consistent way of collecting leads, you will find a few opportunities to engage visitors and collect their info. Here are two tools you can use.
OmniChat by MobileMonkey lets you easily collect email addresses of potential leads via your website, Facebook Messenger, or Instagram. This tool comes with a free mobile app, so you can access chats while on the move. You’ll also be notified when a high-intent lead is online.
Here’s how MobileMonkey collects leads via its chatbot.
Want to use chatbots on your own custom platforms? With Landbot’s API and SDK, it’s possible. It also comes with multiple lead-generation templates. Customer reviews comment on the top-notch customer support and ease of integration with outside apps.
Giveaways were very popular a few years ago. Though they’ve faded a bit, I still see them all the time, particularly in B2C companies — and, ultra-specifically, in travel or experience-related industries.
Normally, several companies partner up to offer a giveaway. The brands then promote the giveaways to their respective audiences. After the giveaway, email leads are shared.
First, the positive: Contests get the clicks. These emails have a 5.5% higher average CTR compared to regular email campaigns.
However, while a good way to gather a large number of emails, there’s a big drawback: The quality of the emails probably isn’t very good. This is true for two reasons.
You’re sharing emails with a bunch of companies.
You’re relying on commercial incentives to get the email (in other words, they’re not interested in your company — they’re interested in winning that trip to Denmark).
However, the occasional giveaway can give your email capture strategy a boost. If you’re interested in experimenting with this format, consider the following tools.
With KingSumo, you can create giveaways that encourage social sharing. Participants can earn bonus entries by completing certain actions, such as promoting the contest by email, answering a poll, or following the business on social media.
This tool makes content creation easy. Choose from 10 types of contests, such as referral competitions or photo contests, to boost your email capture efforts. Plus, their email capture tactics are optimized for all devices.
Finally, we have content upgrades. While this is really a pop-up form, this email capture tactic deserves its own category. Content upgrade pop-ups are click-triggered and behaviorally contextual pop-ups. Basically, when someone clicks a link that says “get the PDF of this” or “click here to get a checklist,” they can then opt-in with a very simple, dynamic form.
Getting Started with Email Lead Capture
This blog gives a general outline as well as some ideas to capture email leads. As with anything, success requires some experimentation and tinkering. Test these tactics, learn from them, and iterate to improve. Small wins compound and lead to greatness.
And if you want an easy way to implement some of these lead capture methods, check out HubSpot’s free lead generation tools.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.