How to build an email list fast [Step 2]

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David Katic

In this article I am going to take you through how to build an email list FAST.

I’ll explain why this is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL for your business and then I’ll take you through key tips on how you can actually do this through your website.

So, let’s get into it…

Table of Contents

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Why build an email list?

Let’s start with WHY you must get obsessed with building an email list and it’s REALLY important you understand the key reasons why this must be a focus for your business…

92% of Visitors won't purchase on 1st Visit

The first reason is that research by Episerver shows 92% of first time visitors to your website won’t purchase or take an action on that first visit.

episerver study shows 92% will not purchase on first visit

This means you must develop strategies to get that customer to come back and one of the best ways is to gather an email address on that first visit so you can continue to communicate with them and encourage them to come back to your website.

An Email List puts you in control

The second key reason to build an email list is that it puts you in control of your business.

Let me explain.

Building a community on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube is fantastic and a great way to build your business. The one downside is that if any of those services change the way they allow you to interact with your fans you could have your ability to communicate with your fans taken away from you.

For example, several years ago if you posted something on your Facebook page a really big percentage of your fans would see your post.

Nowdays some of your posts might be seen by less than 5% of your followers.

So building your own email list puts you in the drivers seat.

It’s all about being in control of your own destiny and having the ability to directly communicate with your followers is absolutely essential.

Build a relationship with your customers

The 3rd reason why building your email list is important is that it allows you to build a relationship with your customers.

I mentioned before that research shows that 92% of your websites visitors don’t purchase on their first visit.

If you can get those visitors onto your list you can email them and start building a relationship with them. Overtime you will build trust in your customers and that will lead to increased sales.

Send special offers

The fourth reason to build an email list is an obvious one and that is you’ll be able to send special offers tailored to their circumstances. Combined with building trust overtime this can greatly grow your business.

Great Return on Investment

The fifth and final reason to build an email list is that DMA research shows that email marketing return on investment is 32 to 1. Put in a dollar get 32 back.

email list ROI 32 to 1

Also, Businesses who do email marketing well can generate 30% of their revenue from it.

Pretty tough stats to beat.

So there you have 5 key reasons to build your email list and it’s all aimed at controlling your own destiny by developing a method of communicating with your customers to build a relationship and ultimately more sales.

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How do you build an email list FAST?

Now I’ve convinced you that building an email list is critical the obvious next question is how do you build an email list FAST.

In this article I am going to focus on building your email list from the assets you own like your website or shopfront.

There’s a whole strategy to gather customer email addresses from paid promotion which I’ll cover in another article but the best place to start building your email list is your own website.

The first principle to understand is that you must offer VALUE in return for an email address.

Customers are very protective of their email address and will only give it out if there is something in it for them.

Now what I mean by value is creating information or an incentive that customers want.

In digital marketing this is called a lead magnet and a lead magnet is some information or incentive that you offer potential customers in exchange for an email address or other contact information.

Two Golden Rules

There are TWO golden rules with lead magnets if you want them to be successful.

First, they must solve a problem or pain point for your potential customer and are therefore very valuable to them,


second, they need to be quickly and easily accessible so you satisfy that desire for instant gratification. If you make them jump through too many hoops or make them wait a long time potential customers will give up.

What sort of lead Magnet Should I Offer?

Alright, so you know collecting email addresses is important and you need some sort of lead magnet to offer potential customers VALUE in return for that email address.

But what sort of lead magnet should you offer?

Now there are lots of types of lead magnets you can offer your website visitors in return for an email address but there are 5 that I know from testing are very effective and deliver results if executed well.

Information Guides

The first lead magnet is what’s called information guides.

These are essentially valuable information in the form of a guide that visitors to your website need.

So as an example, let’s say you sold skincare products.

You could write a guide about “How to choose the perfect moisturiser for your skin type”. There are lots of different types of moisturisers and potential customers are often unsure what is best for their particular situation so this could be a really helpful lead magnet on a skincare website. Look at the articles L’Oreal has.

email list lead magnet

If you are a dog trainer you could have a guide called “Dog training 101: how to train ANY dog”.

A financial advisor might have a “how much do I need to retire” guide.

email list lead magnet financial advisor

Think of a problem or pain point your customers have and provide valuable information in the form of a guide to solve that problem.

You could then offer these guides for free on your website in return for an email address OR you could give free access to the guide and then offer a one page summary or checklist at the end of the guide that people could download and keep in return for an email address.

But you might be saying to yourself how do I workout the guides I should offer on my website?

Well this is a simple process I use with businesses I work with that helps us figure out in less than 10 minutes the key questions customers ask.

Grab your frontline sales team and ask them the top 5 questions customers ask.

Now your website visitors are no different.

Take these 5 commonly asked questions and turn them into useful guides and put them on your website right up near the top of your homepage (Pro tip: if you follow my Google Search process you’ll have an even better list).

Ask for an email address in return for the guides or provide direct access to the guide but have a downloadable summary or checklist they can get in return for an email address.

Follow these steps and your lead magnet guides will be gathering email addresses and building your list in no time, proving your expertise and importantly building goodwill with your website visitors.


Quizzes are a personal favourite of mine because they are just so effective.

Just one quiz can provide valuable help and build goodwill with your website visitors, gather email addresses of course, and very, very importantly give you an insight into what each INDIVIDUAL visitor is specifically looking for.

That’s tough to beat.

To give you some outstanding examples go to

email list quiz example

They have a quiz that guides you to the right vitamins for your situation.

The results page has recommendations for what they should buy, shows how affordable they are and even puts the recommended items on a checkout page for easy purchase.

email list quiz recommendations

And best of all, during the process they collect a customers email address by adding all this value.

Another example is a financial advisor we work with.

If you complete the quiz on the home page the quiz quickly delivers the information you need that’s relevant to your topic of interest. The financial advisor gathers an email address and the customer gets the right information for their circumstance.

In both of these cases the business also ends up understanding a lot about the user by the choices they made in the quiz. From there they can send targeted emails that are relevant for that user.

So how can you develop a lead magnet quiz for your business.

Think of a series of questions you can ask your visitors that helps guide them to the right information they need.

Let’s use cars as an example. Often visitors to car websites aren’t quite sure what type of car they need.

So you could develop a quiz that asks important questions like “how many people do you need to transport”, “do you drive off road”, “is fuel economy important” and so on.

These questions would end up providing some recommendations on the types of cars they should consider.

And just before you give them the answer you ask for an email address.

At the end of this process you have helped solve which car is best for a website visitor, you’ve gathered an email address AND you know the types of products that that visitor is looking for so you can tailor your messages going forward.

I’ve used quizzes many times as lead magnets and if you put some thought into them you’ll get great results (my quiz is a website diagnosis quiz here).


Some very clever websites offer useful tools to visitors that help solve a problem.

A business that sells home loans might provide a repayment and interest calculator:

Repayment calculator

A financial advisor might have a retirement calculator:

retirement calculator

A graphics software company might have a free logo generator:

logo generator example

All of these provide great value to website visitors because they address a pain point for a customer so asking for an email address is very easy.

Importantly I’ve seen these types of tools generate thousands of email leads for many businesses.

First Time Buyer Discounts

First time buyer discounts are simply an offer like “20% discount on your first purchase” or a “14 day free trial” if they sign up to your email list.

As an example, LiveChat is a software platform that helps businesses service their customers.

You’ll see very prominently on their homepage they use a “14 day free trial” offer for first time buyers.

Live chat offer exmple

It’s super simple and it works.

Free Trainings

Free trainings are a really effective way of providing immense value to website visitors in return for an email address.

Using LiveChat as an example again, they offer a Free online 5-part Customer Service Training. The only thing you need to do is register with your email address and you are in!

Free training example

Now as you can imagine, customers who want to do this course are obviously interested in learning about how to improve customer service in their business.

LiveChat provides valuable tips on how to do this through the training and, guess what, shows you how their product can help with the process.

Of course, they have an email follow up sequence which continues to build goodwill with these potential customers to eventually turn them into sales.

So, think about whether your business can provide some sort of free online training for potential customers.

I have seen this strategy be a great source of qualified leads and visitors who complete the free training really build a great impression of your business and are much more likely to purchase from you.

So, there are 5 types of lead magnets that can be very effective at capturing email addresses to build your email database.

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Where Should I Put My Lead Magnet on My Website?

After you have worked out which lead magnet could work for your business the next question you will have is “where do I put these on my website”

This is a great question because it’s critical you put these lead magnets in many places on your website and around your business.

Prominent on Your Homepage

The first place you need to put them is in a prominent position on your homepage.

At you will find they have lead magnets on their homepage in the form of valuable guides that they know their potential customers want.

Foundr homepage email list example

Guides like “28 Proven Marketing Tactics for Rapid Startup Growth” or “The Definitive Guide on How to Start an Online Business” are placed in a prominent position on the homepage and to access them you need to enter an email address.

Place Lead Magnets on Your Top Pages

Next up you need to review the top pages on your website and workout how you can integrate these lead magnets into those pages.

The reason this is important is that people enter your website via many different pages. They don’t just come in through the homepage.

Many people would have searched for something on google and landed on one of your product pages or one of your blog articles so make sure you have inserted relevant lead magnets into these pages.

At you’ll see right through their blog articles they have big red buttons promoting relevant free trainings which ask for an email address in order to access them.

foundr screenshot

They have really thought about what is relevant for the visitor at that time so they increase their chances of building their email list.

Pop Ups

Every time I test pop ups the data is clear – they work but you need to be really careful with how you use them because, done poorly, they can really irritate a website visitor.

If you look at they have a popup that slides in when you land on their homepage. Here they are trying to get email subscriptions and it’s pretty hard to miss.

Merrill shoes popup example

Some key examples I use on my website are time based or scroll based pop ups.

These only show after you have given the user a chance to look at the page. This gives the user a chance to immerse themselves in the page before you try to collect their email address.

time based popup example for email list

The other type of pop up that really works is exit intent pop ups and they are presented to a website visitor when they show signs of leaving your website like moving towards the back button.

These pop ups are like your final chance to capture an email so make sure you include your best lead magnet offer.

Exit popup example

Again, make sure you don’t overuse pop ups otherwise you run the risk of annoying your customers and driving them away.

Email Signatures

The next place to put your lead magnet is something most people completely ignore and it’s totally free.

Your business and employees send hundreds of emails everyday just in the normal course of business.

You must add your lead magnet into your email signature for your normal work emails.

Every time I do this with my clients they are always surprised at how effective this actually is.

It will take you less than 5 minutes to add a link in your email signature to your best guide, quiz or free training course and it’s totally free.

Opt-in Form Tips

Ok, you’ve placed your lead magnet in strategic positions on your website.

Now there are some important tips to remember with your opt in form for these lead magnets.

Firstly, don’t make email capture forms too long.

Remember this is the first time you have interacted with this customer so you can’t ask for all of their information upfront – you just haven’t built trust with them yet.

I generally just ask for a name and email address.

Once you have their email address you can start the process to discover other details like phone number and address.

Secondly, reinforce the benefits of the value you are offering.

For example, list one or two things they will learn if they read your guide.

Next, let potential customers know you won’t sell their details and only communicate with them when you have something worthwhile saying. It gives them comfort that they can trust you with their email address.

Make sure you comply with the relevant laws like GDPR AND don’t use the word “submit” after people have entered their details. Use “free download” or the benefit they will get like “claim my 20% discount” or “show me how to train my dog”. This is a simple way to reinforce the benefits of signing up.

Physical Events

The final method of collecting emails is also often ignored and that’s asking customers when they visit your physical store or event.

Again, offer your customers an incentive to sign up and you’ll be amazed how quickly you’ll build a big email list.

Wrap Up

So, there you have it, a guide on how to build an email list FAST.

The process is simple: Make this a top priority in your business, select which lead magnet strategy you want to use be it useful guides, quizzes, discount offers or free trainings.

Put these lead magnets all through your website and start building your email list today.

I have developed a summary of this article you can download right now

Now this video is step 2 in my series on how to turn your website into a Marketing machine in 6 steps.

In step 3 I discuss how to use email marketing to grow your business.

You can see the whole series by following this link.

Finally, here is a link to my tool that helps you diagnose the key things that you need to do to focus on improving your website.

See you in the next article!

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