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How to generate email leads without harming user experience.

Your email list is your biggest asset!

According to Statista, email marketing is expected to reach almost $11 billion by the end of 2023.

Before you can use email marketing to reach your audience, it’s imperative to build a strong list. But there’s a problem: List building often annoys people.

The techniques you choose to request and collect email addresses can affect the user experience. Sometimes so negatively that users leave your site.

For example, the most popular list-building method is the pop-up, right? This often includes intrusive interstitials, which are page elements that obstruct users’ views.

The truth is that people do not like to see a pop-up, especially when it looks like an obstacle. A study by the software review site G2 found that 82% of those surveyed “hated email pop-ups.” But, as Klaviyo notes, pop-ups do work.

As with the other email list-building tactics we’ll talk about in this article, it’s all a matter of how you deploy your pop-ups.

With that in mind, let’s look at ways to get email leads without harming the user experience.

How to Ask for Emails Politely

Is it possible to create an email leads list without disturbing visitors? Of course. We just have to make sure our practices don’t look like content barriers.

Here are some methods you can use to ask for emails without annoying your visitors:

1. Present a Pop-up at the End of Your Content

If you’re not getting enough email leads, the biggest leak in your website may be that you’re not asking for emails at the end of your content.

Most visitors decide whether to subscribe after reading your content. By triggering a pop-up as soon as they reach the bottom of your content, you’re asking them to make the decision right away. Thus, it converts well. Sometimes it even converts users who were unwilling to subscribe at the beginning.

Since this pop-up triggers when users finish reading the content, it works like a call to action (CTA)—giving your visitors an actionable next step. For that reason, it doesn’t look like a barrier.

I’m using the WP Subscribe Pro plugin in WordPress, and it is effectively doing this job.

WP Subscribe Pro isn’t your only option, though.

Another option is Dreamgrow Scroll Triggered Box. As your reader scrolls down the page, this plugin will appear to grab their attention, but it won’t conceal your content. You can customize the plugin’s look, feel, and message, which is important for keeping your brand messaging consistent.

Dreamgrow scroll triggered box.

2. Introduce a Pop-up When a User Signals Exit-intent

Do you want to increase your subscribers in five minutes or less? Then arrange for a pop-up to appear when a user signals an intention to exit.

Exit-intent is technology you can use to determine when a user is about to leave a site. Some list-building services have integrated it into their businesses because it works like a charm.

This is what happens: When someone is about to close or leave the browser tab, the action triggers a pop-up. As a result, the user will stop to see what just popped up.

Exit-intent pop-ups for email subscriptions get positive results. You can use the method to convert your outgoing visitors. Set up an exit-intent pop-up with an appealing invitation to subscribe.

If you’re not sure what tool to use, consider OptinMonster or Wunderkind.

OptinMonster is more than an exit-intent plugin. It lets you place opt-in forms in a variety of places on your blog, including floating footer bars, slide-in sidebars, and full-page covers.

Example: OptinMonster provides excellent pop-up services, including this exit-intent feature.

Optinmonster signup.

Wunderkind is great for exit-intent pop-ups. With Wunderkind, you can set up unobtrusive pop-ups to appear when your readers intend to leave your site. For instance, when your readers hover over the back button, the pop-up will appear, prompting them to enter information.

WunderKIND ad.

3. Slide in a Request after a Page Scrolls

One of the gentlest methods for capturing email leads is to slide in a request to subscribe once someone scrolls down a certain percentage of a page. The subscribe box can slide in from the bottom corner. This type of entrance is very gentle but eye-catching, so it works perfectly.

Slide-in subscribe leads often have a much better conversion rate than any regular pop-up. For example, you may find that sliding in after 80 percent of a page scrolls is the best converting area.

Here’s an example of an e-commerce brand using a page scroll pop-up to remind the consumer that they have items in their cart.

Pop up reminding user of a shopping cart.

So which plugin should you use for this strategy?

Hustle is one option. This plugin allows you to create messages that slide in and show themselves to your users at the exact moment you pick.

Hustle Subscribe popup.

Source: CampusPress

With Hustle, you decide who sees it (e.g., the user is logged in, the user is not logged in) and where (e.g., homepage, blog posts, etc.).

4. Display a Sticky Top Bar

Display a relatively simple, noticeable bar that stays at the top of the screen and scrolls with the page so that it remains within a user’s sight all the time. It will get attention and convert more.

The message we usually use on the bar is a call to action, but the results are pretty good when you use it as an invitation to subscribe, too.

A sticky top bar is a perfect, high-converting place for your subscribe form, which you can use to increase your email conversion rate faster.

Hello Bar provides top bar services. It performs well and has already acquired many authoritative customers. DIYthemes is one of them, gaining 1,180 email subscribers in 30 days of using Hello Bar.

Example: Hello Bar effectively uses a sticky top bar to collect email leads on its own site.

Hello bar email lead generator.

5. Offer a Content Upgrade

A content upgrade is a link magnet that provides upgraded value to content as a reward for subscribing.

Suppose you plan to write a post titled “Top 3 Ways to Get Organic Traffic.” You also have a resourceful PDF, “30 Different Sources of Getting More Traffic.” What you can do is offer readers a chance to download the PDF from inside the new post by opting in (giving you their email addresses).

So, try providing upgrades to your content as subscribing rewards and see how it improves your conversion.

Example: Leadpages is one of the best landing page solutions. They also have a content upgrade feature. Here is a sample:

Neatcome website download.

Or perhaps a pop-up is more your style. In that case, consider Sleeknote:

Sleeknote website.

Source: Sleeknote

This paid tool allows you to create a pop-up form that promotes eBooks, content upgrades, discounts, etc. Sleeknote also comes with numerous integrations and analytics.

6. Stage a Welcoming Home Gate

The homepage is the most authoritative page, and sometimes the most visited page, of a website. You can leverage it to get email leads.

You can use the home gate, or the home featured box, to stage a warm welcome for visitors. You can attract them right on the spot by providing a bribe to subscribe. Your homepage usually has better traffic.

Example: When I thought of home gate, Smart Blogger came to my mind first.

Smart blogger website.

7. Add a Sidebar

A sidebar provides additional navigation value to users. It’s a standard feature on many blog pages and a good place to include a subscribe form.

By setting up an appealing subscribe box on your sidebar, you can gently attract visitors to subscribe. It’s the perfect location—prominent but unobstructive.

Example: Single Grain’s simplistic sidebar, complete with multiple subscribe options, is simple yet engaging.

Single grain website.

If you have a blog with a sidebar, chances are you have an ad leading to a landing page. One way to get more attention to the ad is to have it scroll down the page as your reader continues to read your content.

There are plenty of plugins to help with this, including Fixed Widget and Sticky Elements for WordPress.

If you’re technically minded, you can also follow this tutorial for adding a Scrolling Sidebar to your WordPress site. (Note: The tutorial is old but still works great.)

8. Launch a Dedicated Landing Page

A dedicated landing page for email marketing can lift your conversion rate and help with email lead generation.

Create an optimized landing page for email leads and subscriptions. To make it a high-converting one, you can apply the following tips:

  1. Offer something appealing that will attract visitors.
  2. Design it beautifully with contrasting colors and placement.
  3. Include reviews or social proofs to gain trust.
  4. Adorn it with images or insights that will attract attention.
  5. Make the subscribe button noticeable. Try a colorful button like red, green, or blue.

Example: Adam Connell of Blogging Wizard designed a beautiful landing page with an appealing offer, colors, images, and associations.

bloggingwizard website.

There are plenty of landing page plugins to choose from. Here are a few of my favorite ones and what’s so great about them:

  • Leadpages: If you’re looking for an easy way to create and manage multiple landing pages, sales pages, and webinar registration pages, then Leadpages is the tool.
  • Unbounce: This popular app gives you the power to create, publish, and optimize landing pages without doing development. Unbounce has a heavy emphasis on customization.
  • Instapage: The Instapage platform enables you to get started with a professional-looking landing page without breaking the bank.
  • Pagewiz: This all-in-one landing page tool helps you get professional landing pages up and running in no time. As with the other tools, you don’t need design or programming experience to get started.

If you’re stuck on what to create, many of the above plugins have templates. You can also take inspiration from your favorite bloggers and e-commerce sites.

9. Position a Subscribe Box at the End of Your Content

This method is similar to the first one, “Present a Pop-up at the End of Your Content.” The only difference is that the subscribe box won’t pop up. It will stay in place as a normal subscribe box right underneath the content.

If you think that pop-ups at the end of your content will annoy people, here is the solution. Set up a regular subscribe box at the bottom of your content. It will serve the same purpose, but it won’t grab as much attention as a pop-up.

Example: Copyblogger has one under all of their blog posts.

website popup for free training in email leads.

If you’re in the market for a subscription box plugin, consider AWeber Webform Widget. This plugin allows you to install an AWeber web form on your WordPress blog and prompts visitors to subscribe to your list when commenting or registering on your blog.

10. Submit a Survey

Surveys are great for gathering insights or votes from users. But with a few tweaks, a survey becomes a powerful weapon in email lead generation.

For instance, Qualaroo is an insight marketing tool. It has an interesting feature to generate an email leads list through a survey. What I like about it is that the method is unique.

You can set up a survey subscribe form using Qualaroo or a similar tool. The form should remain in the screen’s bottom corner and will undoubtedly increase your conversion rate.

Selection, Timing, and Behavior

While many of the plugins we recommended above are unobtrusive, you still want to consider your website visitors’ experience. Are your requests for email leads annoying? Are they taking away from the overall experience?

To answer that, consider these three points: selection, timing, and behavior.

Let’s discuss what each of those means.

First up is selection.

How can you select which method will work for you? There are no straightforward recommendations because all websites are not the same. So, here are some best practices:

  1. Conduct a heat map test.
  2. Find the areas with the most clicks.
  3. Choose the best two to three methods around them.

Now, on to timing.

A good rule of thumb here is to determine how long visitors tend to spend on a particular webpage and then create a pop-up that displays at the 50 to 60 percent point.

So, if visitors tend to stay on your homepage for 90 seconds, then aim to have the pop-up appear within 45 seconds to 54 seconds.

Now that you’ve got selection and timing worked out, it’s time to consider behavior. In other words, how do your pop-ups and other email lead plugins work?

Why should you control the behavior? Here are the reasons:

  1. To stop annoying visitors.
  2. To stop people from leaving your site.
  3. To stop losing conversions.

To prevent showing subscription messaging to the same person again and again, you should use cache. You can set the cache to 15 to 30 days, so the visitors who see the messages once won’t see them again in the same period. Of course, standard forms that don’t annoy anyone, such as the sidebar, home gate, top bar, and so forth, can appear all the time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have more questions about how to generate email leads without harming the user experience? Here are answers to some of the most common questions on the topic.

How much does an email lead cost?

The average cost per lead varies by industry and lead generation method. For example, a lead for a marketing agency can be as low as $22 or as high as $173. Within retail, that cost range is much smaller, with a low of $25 and a high of $41.

How can I get free email leads?

The best way to collect free email leads is with an email newsletter subscription box on your website. With the right conversion techniques, you can get users to subscribe to your newsletter with just a few clicks. You can also sweeten the deal by offering a free download, such as an eBook or e-course.

What are the 3 ways to generate leads?

There are three main ways to generate leads: search engines, content marketing, and social media. Using search engines and social media, you can create campaigns that drive users to your website or even allow them to sign up directly within the campaign—for example, a newsletter sign-up campaign on Facebook. Using content marketing, you can entice visitors to your website or via guest posts to subscribe to your newsletter.


List building is a game of understanding your audience and looking for opportunities to capture email leads.

My suggestion is to choose some of these methods wisely, according to the tastes of your users. Also, be sure to test the methods you decide to try.

While focusing on list building, though, you should also consider the user experience. That’s where our tips on selection, timing, and behavior come into play.

Do you have any questions about lead building? How about any tips? Leave them in the comments below.

About The Author: Abrar Mohi Shafee is a digital marketer and blogger by passion. He is determined to guide people on “how to blog in an artistic way.” Follow him on Twitter @shafee219.

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