6 Smart Ways to Capture Emails

6 Smart Ways to Capture Emails

Email lists are key assets for most businesses, any 4-year old knows. The bigger your list and the better your relationship with the list, the more money you make. 

Growing your email list starts with a great lead magnet – without it no tactic mentioned here will work. You should also have a compelling call to action and a kickass email capture form – here’s how to design a good one.

MarketingSherpa study from 2010 says these are (were) the most effective ways to capture customer emails:

chartofweek-03-29-11-lp (1)

Capturing emails when they buy something or sign up? Yes of course. If you’re not doing it, please hit yourself.

However, most of your traffic is not buying or signing up right away, and we need to entice them to give their email in exchange for something. Here are 6 smart ways to present the offer:

#1 Give them an incentive to buy now

E-commerce stores often struggle with lead magnets. “Stay in the loop” – yawn! “Be the first to know” – you’ve got to be kidding me. Where’s the instant gratification!?

Here’s where:


Matt Cimino, CEO of Exit Intel, agrees:

Just telling someone to “Join the newsletter” in a pop-up is almost worthless. If you’re getting any conversions that way, it must be that they love your content.

For everyone else, you’ve got to provide a clear value proposition.

In e-commerce, the bulk of your visitors are going to be “new”. If a person has never bought from you, they’re unsure whether they can trust you and if the experience will be good.

An instant coupon is a great way to reduce friction and give them a reason to join your list (i.e. a strong value proposition). Number of purchases on their first visit – up!

Made.com does a good job with this popup (yes, even though people say they hate them – they work well). The popup is also not instant – they give you some seconds to understand what site you’re on first, then give you the offer.

#2 Insert hooks into blog posts

“Subscribe to blog posts over email” is an easy one, and you should definitely offer this option. Here’s another good tactic: if you write an epic blog post (comprehensive, very thorough), offer to download the post in another format like pdf. Here’s how I do it:


Yes, it’s very simple. People entering their email here will be added to a dedicated list on the topic of the article (e.g. pricing). Next time I have something pricing related to say that might not be of interest to everybody, I can send a targeted email.

I have to say, thousands of people have opt-ed in to my list via this simple tactic.

New, free offers all the time

#3 Create new & free offers on a regular basis

All kinds of people come to your site, but they have different needs and interests. You will grow your list much faster if you produce new offers on a regular basis. Look at Hubspot – new whitepapers all the freaking time.

James Schramko from Super Fast Business is creating a new course every 2-3 months. He promotes them on his blog, and sends traffic to opt-in pages like this. People opt-in, get free valuable content and everybody wins.


The key to this tactic is putting out new offers on a regular basis.

#4 Scroll triggered boxes

It’s the popup-like box that appears when you scroll down some. I’ve yet to see a tactic that works better than this. I use it on this blog and recommend to all of my clients.


The reason it works so well is that

  • It’s not there and then it appears – and human eyes react to movement, so it gets noticed (as opposed to the static offer you have on your sidebar). 
  • By the time it gets noticed, people have already scrolled down and hence gotten some value out of the site, or at least found it interesting enough to explore further. So when the box appears, people have already been sold by the content (unlike the case with the regular instant popup).

I personally use Dreamgrow Scroll Triggered Box plugin right now.

#5 Invite them to take a test

I’ve written about this in detail here before, and it continues to work superbly well. Figure out the burning question your prospects have and help them find an answer through a quiz or a test. Here’s the form I use on T1Q:


Target audience struggles with finding their life purpose, and the form talks to them directly. People love taking tests, Cosmo has trained them well. It’s a very effective form of email capture.

#6 Ask for it while waiting

Hipmunk is an awesome flight search engine. After you enter your desired dates and other flight info, you get this screen:


They ask for your email while you do nothing! You just wait for your search results. They’ve got 100% of your attention, as you’re looe king forward to seeing the cost of your flight. Hipmunk uses this empty slot to make you a relevant offer.

It works well because it’s contextual (offering alerts on great deals while I’m searching for a great deal), they’ve got full attention – users have nothing else to look at and it includes a friction-reducing message “This will not interfere with your search”.

Figure out where on your website is the place where they do nothing (e.g. confirmation pages, thank you pages) and plug for an opt-in.


Don’t just rely on your plain old static forms. Use a mix of ways to capture visitor emails. Your income statement will thank you for it.

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  1. Should you show the number of subscribers you have next to the sign up box? We have 800 people.

    1. Peep Laja

      Social proof can indeed help. What’s the minimum threshold depends on the business. 800 might be enough for you, but will be way too little in some niches where impressive starts at tens of thousands. The only way to figure it out is through split testing.

  2. Awesome as usual! Thanks! I love the idea of quizzes and tests . Was thinking about using it as well. Can you advise what tool is best to use to create them? I’d need more of personality type test. So Google forms aren’t enough..

    1. Peep Laja

      If you use WordPress, you can create one with Gravity forms (requires some learning). There are probably simpler tools out there as well, but I don’t know any by heart, so I’d just google it :)

  3. Thank you for the mention Peep.

    Today we made massive changes to SuperFastBusiness based on feedback you gave me. I really appreciate your input and I send anyone who asks about conversions over to this site to get straight to the source.


  4. Great work Peep! Another important issue addressed in the right way!

  5. Peep, where do you stand on adding messaging about the fact people will be getting more emails in the future when the offer seems more like a one-time deal?

    For example, #2 Hooks in Blog Posts. As presented, expectations would be getting a PDF and that’s it. Will people be surprised and angry when you start sending them more emails?

    Also, I’m reaching new tier pricing in my Aweber account. Every time you add someone to a new list or source, it counts as another record in your tier pricing. What email service do you use? I hear Mailchimp uses tagging instead duplicating people’s email records, which might be cheaper in the long run.

  6. Really like your T1Q example/site, going to do the test! Still got a bit confused when i landed and saw the domain url, i’m sure T1Q.com would convert even more.

  7. Hey Peep

    this was a really interesting and yet succinct article. I wanted to sign up for all of them! What sort of technology sits behind the test? At it simplest, I suppose it might just be an email with an article (nothing automated about the actual test)?



  8. Hey Peep,

    Simple effective ways. We found some other great ways that tend to work really well is using a video player like wistia to capture emails. It allows us to capture emails from the videos that we play.

    Also we figured out a way to capture emails from text messages which works really well in presentations and when people don’t have access to optin but have access to send in a text.

    Keep on rockin’

    – Chris

  9. Hello Peep,

    I discovered your post from a source that I don’t reminder. Anyhow, i’m glad that I did. You provide a goldmine of information to make everyone a better email marketer while obtaining quality leads. Thanks for providing your insights. I look forward to future post from you.

    To Your Success,

    Stacie Walker
    Woman in Leadership

  10. Peep,

    Great stuff man. I must say, very impressive. A quick question, for tip #2 was there a WordPress tool/plugin you used to have a someone enter their email to get the pdf automatically sent to their inbox? I think that’s a great conversion tip.

    1. Peep Laja

      For #2 you can use Post Ender plugin

  11. I really like execution of scroll triggered boxes on your site (and the idea in general). I do some development on WordPress but the majority of my work is in Drupal. I have done some digging around and have not found anything that really fits the bill. Is there a Drupal module that does something similar? Great article by the way.

  12. Is there any good tools for this? Like Unbounce but for pop-ups?

    Thank you for a great blog!

  13. I found Padiact.com, anyone has experience with these guys? Tips on other tools?

  14. A great post with useful, practical information. Marketers need to learn how to use “Touch points” with prospects effectively for generating leads.

    Liked it enough to follow you on Social Media :-)

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6 Smart Ways to Capture Emails