capture leads with email list building

Email List Building: How to Capture Email Addresses of Leads

Having amazing content on your website is a great way to attract visitors and get them interested in your business — and in your products and services.

But, no matter how good your content is, people aren’t always going to be ready to make a purchase on their first visit to your website.

They often need some time to get to know you… and to like you… and to trust you. Then they’ll be ready to buy from you.

Capture Email Addresses

Unfortunately, most visitors to your website will never come back after their initial visit.

…unless you have a way to stay in communication with them and pull them back in.

This is why it’s important to capture email addresses of leads on your website — it’s critical for generating sales.

When you capture email addresses, you can continue communicating with them via email to help them get to know you better, to establish affinity for your business, and to build trust.

If you can accomplish this, you have a good chance of turning them into a paying customer.

It all starts with capturing their contact info when they are on your website.

Here are four simple and effective ways this can be done:

1. Email Opt-in Form on Web Pages

Place a simple sign-up form in various locations throughout your website, so interested visitors can request to be added to your mailing list.

These forms are typically placed on the home page, in the footer of your web pages, and on the About page. They can also be placed anywhere else on your website where you feel people would be interested in signing up for your mailing list.

Keep the forms as simple as possible. Every additional input field you place in the form will decrease your sign-up rate. So use as few fields as possible.

A field for “Email address” and possibly one for “First Name” (so you can personalize your communications) is ideal in most cases.

You can increase your sign-up rate by offering something of value in return for the visitor’s contact info. This can be a free guide, an e-book, coupons for your products, or anything else that would appeal to your particular visitors.

2. Blog Updates Opt-in

If you have good content on your blog, your readers will want to read more.

They will appreciate being informed whenever you publish new content.

Give them the ability to sign up for blog updates so you can email them each time a new blog article is posted.

This is typically done by having a link on your blog that the reader can click to sign up for blog updates. Ask just for their email address and possibly their first name — keep it simple.

3. Content Upgrades

This is one of the most effective ways to quickly build up a mailing list — especially if you already have a blog with many high-quality articles.

A content upgrade is an offer to download something related to the blog article that provides extra value to the reader. It’s an “upgrade” to the blog article.

In order to obtain the content upgrade, the reader is required to provide their email address, and possibly their first name (for personalization).

Examples of some common content upgrades include:

  • Checklists
  • Worksheets
  • How-to guides
  • Infographics
  • Videos or podcasts

You can create almost anything you want as a content upgrade. An effective content upgrade has the following attributes:

  • Targets one specific audience
  • Has high perceived value (reader believes it will solve a real problem for them)
  • Delivers actual value (reader realizes real benefits from utilizing it)
  • Promises one small and specific tangible outcome solving a real pain point
  • Provides instant gratification (something the reader can easily apply and get a result within 5 minutes or an hour — not days or months)
  • Establishes you as an expert in your field who can provide good solutions
  • Helps your readers believe that solutions to their problems are possible, and that YOU can provide those solutions

Embed the link for obtaining the content upgrade directly into the article (not in the sidebar). You can include it with text like: “Free Bonus: Click here to download [name of content upgrade]”. Include a brief explanation of the value of the content upgrade and why they should download it.

When the reader clicks it, a pop-up form appears for them to enter their contact info. After they submit their contact info, they are either emailed the content upgrade, or are given immediate access to it on the website.

4. Exit Pop-ups

These are sign-up forms that pop up when the user is leaving your website.

It says something to the effect of “Thanks for visiting! Before you leave, let us know your email so we can stay in touch.” And it includes a field for the user’s email address (and first name, if you intend to use personalization).


There are tools available to make it easy to capture email addresses on your website by adding highly effective email opt-in pop-ups.

One tool we use on our own website and recommend to others is Sumo.

With using a tool like Sumo, you should be able to get at least 2-5% of your website visitors to opt in for your mailing list — especially if you’ve created good content upgrades for your blog articles.

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Peter Havranek
Founder and CEO

For over 20 years Peter has run magIMPACT, a digital marketing firm that specializes in providing expertise and resources to independent business owners.

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