Andrew Chen was one of leaders in implementing the homepage-as-signup-form. His main page has an additional little trick. When you first land on there, the email form is highlighted automatically, and you can start typing your email address without needing to even click.
Ask that the email list includes the “full contact name” of the email recipient … and the “direct mail address.” Proceed with caution when an email list is missing this key data. Also, be sure the direct mail addresses have a 94+ percent delivery guarantee … or money refund. Having the full name of email recipient will let you know if you’re receiving multiple emails addresses for the same person. And the direct mail address will let you know if you’re receiving 5 email addresses for the same household … which could raise a flag if you’re were seeking just the adult male parent … not all the children. Without the “full name” of email recipient and direct mail address, you’re simply shooting in the dark … absolutely no idea about the names on the email list that you just purchased.
People enjoy offering feedback on information that pertains to them. On certain pages of your website, include a form that asks visitors what questions they might have about your business. You might also create a live chat tool that invites questions and email addresses from people who have stayed on your website for a certain amount of time.
Direct marketing is attractive to many marketers because its results, positive or otherwise, can be measured directly. For example, if a marketer sends out 1,000 solicitations by mail and 100 respond to the promotion, the marketer can say with confidence that campaign led directly to a 10% conversion. This metric is known as the ‘response rate’, and it is one of many clearly quantifiable success metrics employed by direct marketers. In contrast, general advertising uses indirect measurements, such as awareness or engagement, since there is no direct response from a consumer. Measurement of results is a fundamental element in successful direct marketing.
While creative and “mysterious” headlines can work well for blog posts (since they create curiosity), people have less patience for mystery in their inbox, and they may even confuse the message for spam.
The denouncement of pop-ups has become an availability cascade; people love to point out why they “won’t work” despite the fact that the data shows most people aren’t really (all that) averse to pop-ups.
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These are all cases of sites installing a popup (or variation of a popup), followed by immediate boosts to email signups. Why the big boost? Well, popups are a can’t-miss call-to-action. Literally. It doesn’t get more can’t-miss than a window appearing over the content you’re trying to read.
Think you’re going overboard with the email signup requests? Listen to your audience, who will likely let you know when you’ve crossed the line. You can also adhere to the old colloquialism, “You’ll know it when you see it.” Go with your gut.

Email addresses are processed to verify deliverability, and IP addresses are checked for legitimacy. We follow all CAN-SPAM laws and suppress opt-outs in compliance with the CAN-SPAM guidelines established for business data.
Hey Loz, that may be the most poetic comment we’ve ever had on the blog (and we’ve had over 6,000). But you’re right: there’s A LOT more behind the scenes/up front work than there was even 2 or 3 years ago. The barrier to entry for growing a blog has doubled in that time. That’s good for hard workers like you and me 🙂
Really good article. When you start out it’s definitely tempting to buy an email list, but I’m glad that I didn’t do it with my business. I hate when I receive an unsolicited email from a company that I’m not familiar with. I imagine that most people probably feel the same way.
Another collection method happens when list vendors buy emails lists from industry trade shows (or other events) where people give their info during the registration process. This is not the same thing as folks who signed up with you, directly, at your trade show booth! This is where list vendors purchase the entire registration list, from the trade show, itself.
Use a reactivation campaign to gauge whether non-responsive subscribers are still reading (just not clicking through or tracking open rates), or if they’ve truly decided to opt out. An example from MarketingProfs is shown here. The language you choose can play a big role in how successful these campaigns are, so be sure to split-test a few versions to maximize response.
In addition to the things above, you can consider other lead magnets such as an exclusive discount, a subscriber-only bonus, a free trial, a free consultation, a contest giveaway, or whatever you think your target audience might want.
Add a QR code (a bar code that people can scan with a smartphone app) to print ads, direct-mail post cards and other printed marketing materials. Use the code to allow people to opt-in to your email list simply by scanning the code.
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If you purchase a list, you have no way of confirming how often those email addresses have been emailed, whether the email addresses on that list have been scrubbed for hard bounces to prevent identifying you as a spammer, or from where those email addresses originated. Are you really willing to risk not only your email deliverability, but also the reputation of your IP address and your company? Even if you find the light after purchasing or renting email lists and decide to only email those who have opted in with your company, it will take you months (or maybe years) to get your Sender Score up and rebuild the reputation of your IP.
Offer a birthday or anniversary club that allows people to “enroll” by providing their email address and relevant date. Reward them with a special offer for signing up, and follow up with something else special, such as a discount coupon, on their birthday or anniversary date.
How do you like it when you get an email in your inbox from a company you’ve never heard of? I bet that’s not the kind of company you want to work for or marketer you want to be. If someone didn’t ask to hear from you yet, it doesn’t mean they won’t want to hear from you later. It’s your job to prove to them — through helpful content and valuable offers — that they should stay up to date with your company via email. If you force your email content on anyone too early, even if you know in the depths of your soul that they’re a great fit for your products or services, you risk preemptively losing their trust and their future business.
You promote your new gated assets by blogging about subject matters related to the content assets you’ve created, and then put CTAs that lead to the asset’s landing page on every one of those blog posts.
You work with a list provider to find and purchase a list of names and email addresses based on demographic and/or psychographic information. For example, you might purchase a list of 50,000 names and email addresses of people without children who live in Minnesota.
Spring, summer, winter, and fall — your community probably has at least one street fair or similar event throughout the year. Participate in the event and collect email addresses right at the fair. Sweeten the deal by offering new subscribers a discount on their first (or next) purchase in exchange for sharing the email with you.
If you sign up for something and the terms include words like “Sign up to receive updates from us and our partners that we think you’ll like,” your email address is likely being collected for a shared or sold list. A subset of this method is called co-registration. This is where you sign up at a website, but that website also automatically, or nearly automatically, signs you up for other sites. They try to legitimize this by informing you of the additional subscriptions, or providing boxes to uncheck. This is a situation where it’s not the subscriber’s intention to sign up for the material they will be receiving.
Chances are, you have already invested masses of time on your social media profiles or Facebook business page. You have written or created amazing content you are posting on your social media profiles like Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook. Why not use those platforms to collect emails as well?