7 Email List Building Tactics Secrets You Wish You Knew

How would you like to be spoon fed several list building tactics that will change how you build your email list?

Interested? Hungry? Tuck in your bib, because your email list building is about to change.

But before we proceed with these surefire tactics, which will change your email list building results, let’s take a look at the ‘why’ behind list building. Knowing the backstory will help you to understand the importance of list building as part of your marketing strategy.  

Is Email List Building Worth the Hype?


This is a critical question you must ask yourself before taking that bold step of tinkering with your current list building strategy. 

The reason why so many marketers continue with list building is because it brings results. You may spend as little as a dollar and get up to 40x return. That’s insane!

Also, what most people don’t know is that a whopping 90% of those in the B2B sector deploy email marketing to sway buying decisions. 

For many, email marketing remains an integral part of their marketing strategy. It has the capacity to harness clients once properly mixed with other marketing options like social media, influencer marketing, web tracking, etc.

This explains why marketers in the digital space need to identify different methods of growing their email list swiftly and effectively

Unfortunately, building an email list can be extremely challenging. For some it can even feel tortuous. However, even with the large learning curve it is definitely a worthwhile investment of your time.

An unusual problem


Building your email list organically through best practices can help to flourish your business. There is hope for both marketers and business owners alike. You will see results. 

The problem with sticking to your existing email list building strategy is that you get to a certain threshold and hit a wall. Your list building all of a sudden is stunted regardless of how much progress it made initially to your business. Potential new clients just can’t be added anymore. 

It’s at this point that multiple email list building tactics need to be incorporated into your strategy. You need to mix it up a little to trigger the upward swing again.  

These list building tactics assist email marketers, as well as others who depend on email marketing, to rejig the unending loop they’re trapped in. It’s time to do things a little differently to attract more leads and convert them into lifelong clients.

It is precisely for this reason that we put together this list building kit for you. It’s packed with everything you need to know to become a list building expert.

Impact of Online Subscription Forms on Building Email Lists

This learning journey looks at a number of subscription forms that can help you with building your list. The main focus is on pop-ups highlighting the different types. Just take a look at some of the popups we have on our website.

How does this work?

question mark symbole

It includes a collection of several different types:

  1.   The red carpet (not necessarily red)
  2.   Exit-intent (which could be the real winner)
  3.   Shoot while the target is locked on
  4.   Slow and steady
  5.   Keep the hooks out
  6.   A hard-to-decline gift
  7.   The perfect audience

1. The red carpet

Often deployed by bloggers and other digital nomads. 

Rolling out the red carpet is using large pop-ups that interrupt the visitor’s actions on your website. 

Typically, a visitor comes to your site and after a few seconds of navigating, is presented with a full screen pop-up, asking them to subscribe to your email list. 

Some sites have set it up so that it requires a specific action before the pop-up is removed. A visitor can either cancel it by clicking the ‘X’ at the top right corner of the pop-up or just move the cursor away from the pop-up.


  • It’s quite efficient
  • Hard to ignore
  • Tends to have a high conversion rate


  • Many have argued it’s an intrusive link building tactic. It’s believed that it affects a visitor’s action in the long run.

Aye or nay?

Depending on the business, the red carpet can quite helpful. Various sources have written about it’s impact viewing it as an effective link building tactic as conversion rates get a boost regardless of the intrusion factor.

2. Exit-intent (which could be the real winner)

exit neon light signage

Exit-intent pop-ups appear to have a higher hit rate than others, however they are often only used in niches where the attention span is extremely low.

So, what is an exit-intent pop-up?

This is a specific type of pop-up that is capable of capturing site visitors with little to no patience. They operate in the same manner as the red carpet, but tend to work better with visitors that are impatient and ready to leave your site.

Unfortunately, the red carpet pop-up doesn’t work particularly well at boosting the number of email subscribers even though you may try several marketing campaigns. It’s also difficult if you are on a tight budget. 

In situations like this, an exit-intent pop-up is a more viable option that can be utilized by marketers to draw in potential customers. It’s the better option.

The catch with mail list building is that the tactics can be adapted to any effective marketing strategy and not necessarily just those plucked from an email marketing handbook.

If you want your business to succeed, then you need to let potential customers know how you can help them. Put your products and services in front of them and be available on all the popular social media platforms.

Visitors wouldn’t naturally just flock to your website. You need to do the upfront work to get them there. Make yourself visible. Businesses, with a strong online presence, reached that level by effectively employing numerous marketing techniques and actively engaging with potential email subscribers on social media.

Visitors to your website are often there to check your content, if the content is convincing, a purchase follows. If not, they would most likely click off their browser and return to their mailbox. 

Grabbing a visitors attention before they exit can be a traumatic period for many as failure to do so can end in one thing: spam block.

But a lot can change in no time at all if you tap into an effective marketing innovation like the exit-intent popup. These pop-ups can have your visitors handing over their emails within the blink of an eye, which can then be used for retargeting purposes. 

Without a doubt, an exit-intent can help you improve your funneling tactics moving forward. Frankly, it kick starts the process of lead development.

Try breaking the lead generation process into distinct phases that are in alignment with the termination of the exit-intent pop-up. Structuring your workflow in this way results in registered users automatically going into an email sequence where they will regularly receive emails at specific intervals.

This way, potential clients are fed bits of information about your business or service in bite size pieces; flooding them with too much, all at once, at the onset creates the wrong idea and many tend to leave and not return. Call-to-actions should only be used in a manner that’s not forceful but rather inviting.

With the addition of new subscribers, your email outreach should be personalized towards engaging each one according to their current level of involvement. 

You can have a mini consultation for subscribers that never proceeded beyond the mail list addition. The intent is to get them interested again in the hopes that they would take action of your next offer. Somewhat like a bait and hook style. 

You’ll need to send out several emails that are geared towards them taking action along specified markers on a timeline by enticing them with time limited discounts. 

If a discount offer lacks an expiry date, it loses its appeal and many potential customers won’t act decisively since they tend to slow down when there’s no sense of urgency involved.

Tip: Exit-intent pop-ups will capture those visitors that nearly got away. Consider using OptinMonster or Sumo for this kind of pop-ups. 

3. Shoot while the target is locked on

This type of pop-up works well with long-form pages and blogs.

A visitor is scrolling down a blog post and at a certain trigger point is presented a pop-up. Proper placement of these pop-ups should be at the point where the article is just getting to the most interesting part.  

This pop-up is targeted at readers that are deeply immersed in the content they’re reading.

It operates under the logic that any visitor that doesn’t leave the article after a few minutes of reading could potentially be further enticed to give their email address.  

The pop-up is usually timed to appear just before the end of the piece. 

It helps you generate new subscribers to your email list by encouraging this type of visitor to receive updates about similar content like the one they were reading by entering their email address into the space provided on the pop-up. 

Considering how important this group of visitors appear to be, you might want to dedicate a specialized email list for them as they’re more likely to make that switch from visitor to customer.

Remember that the attention span on the web today is fairly poor, so any visitor that goes beyond the halfway mark of your content is either searching for information that’s related to what’s on your website or they truly found your content worth reading. 

These are the visitors you shouldn’t miss having on your email list.

Customize your pop-up so that it offers them updates on something connected to the content of interest. 

Design a unique landing page for your marketing campaign and encourage visitors to add their email addresses to your list, thus building an email list from scratch. This way it’s easy to provide them with more relevant offers in small doses.

Additional Benefits of this Pop-Up:

This pop-up can also be linked to the time a visitor spends on a page. If a user spends several minutes on a page the Google algorithm perceives this as a sign of an engaged reader. Plus, if they were to open a new tab from the same page the pop-up still works.

Tip: Understand your target audience and leverage the sumo list-builder pop-up to add them to a dedicated email list, this will help you grow your email list.

4. Slow and Steady

brown and beige turtle

Compatible with long landing pages, long-form blog posts, and others types of content.

There are situations with pop-ups where you need to wait for the right moment. Wrongly timed solicitation can be costly. But when it’s done right it converts and your offer is a welcome surprise. It’s a win win situation. They get the offer and you get the email address.

To make this kind of strategically calculated subscription request pop-ups that work on a time variable are used. 

The big question is: how do you choose the right time to show your pop-up?

It starts with understanding your audience, which is done by engaging and communicating with them.

The starting point can be challenging as you are dealing with visitors that you know very little about.  Fortunately, there are a number of ways to get to know your audience. However, you don’t need to do that initially as there is evidence that suggests timing your pop-up can simply be a few minutes after they enter your website. Plus, remember testing is critical. Try a few different time slots and see what is the exact point where it converts the highest. 

Data available from research conducted by Microsoft, to learn the reasons why visitors leave a page, showed that the duration visitors spend on a page could decide if they exit or not.

This only confirms that pop-ups shouldn’t be used immediately as a user enters your website. Therefore, it is much better that you give them some time to get familiar with your site navigation, your content, your offers, etc. Giving them that time to get to know your site could be just what is needed for them to trust you enough to give their email when the pop-up appears. 

If you’re still not sure when to have your pop-up form appear on the screen try using this simple metric. Take a look at your analytics to see the average time spent by visitors on a page. Once you have determined the exact time they are spending on your site you can have your form appear a few minutes just prior to that time.

Tip: Allowing users to freely engage with your content before attempting to get their email address is important. On the other hand, if you push they will leave which can be off putting and results in a high bounce rate. With more time given to your visitors you not only build trust, but it makes it much easier to get their email address. 

5. Keep the hooks out

gray metal anchor pendant

Works well with all types of businesses, but especially those that have blogs and e-stores.

Here you’ll be adding a hello bar to a page on your website. It can be the homepage or any inner page where you want to bring attention to a specific offer. Hello bars are usually situated either at the top of the page or at the very bottom. Their great at getting your visitors attention.

They are usually colorful with a clear call to action. Generally the text is quite small, but very effective in getting the readers attention. As with any other pop-up the aim is for them to take advantage of your offer. 

The catch with this one is that visitors are convinced into submitting their email address in return for something of great interest to them, but in some cases, hello bars are also used to send visitors to a different location. You can essentially send them anywhere. This can be a landing page or another blog post that you want them to read. 


Unlike pop-ups that are known for being disruptive hello bars are less intrusive while still getting the same result. 

Hello bars offer you the opportunity to assess the effect of changes quickly on visitors. This way you can make adjustments to improve conversions. For instance, the effect of color alterations can be easily seen by testing a few different options. See which one improves your numbers and make the changes immediately. You can also assess what one line call to actions are most effective. 

Moreover, you can decide where you want the hello bar situated and how many pages it will appear on. It’s also very easy to modify the hello bar to your style and preferences. 

While hello bars are extremely effective you should not run multiple bars simultaneously. Confusing or irrelevant content can be off-putting to potential email subscribers. Remember to test all aspects of the bar and this includes the offer itself.  

Tip: Need a hello bar to get your list building started? You can click here.

6. A hard-to-decline gift

person showing brown gift box

Compatible with blogs, e-stores, local business websites and essentially anyone that is looking to get their content out there.

Sometimes, the subtle nature of the hello bar just isn’t enough, neither is the pop-up, so what do you use? A floating box may be just what you need. 

Floating boxes can be compared to a trustworthy accomplice. Their both efficient and effective. The offer is usually a free gift, which translates into tons of conversions. Great for building your list quickly. 

They’re called floating boxes as they change position to match the actions of the visitor, which improves the likelihood of them giving you their email address and later becoming a paid customer. A floating box also tends to offer visitors the opportunity to think about their decision before acting. 

While the floating box is adaptable to just about any niche you can think of, it’s a perfect match for pages with a lot of content. The free gift offer serves as a welcome distraction. Quite often visitors will feel that they are missing out if they don’t optin, hence, the high conversions with this type of pop-up.

Tip: Want to gain an edge over your competitors? A floating box may be just want you need. Try out different offers to see which ones convert best in your niche.  

7. Ideal for the perfect audience

finding your target audience

Compatible with businesses that have a lot of content. Ideal for blogs. 

Is your website flowing with content? If so, you will be best served through inline subscription forms.

Take advantage of the opportunity to target specifically those visitors that are highly engaged with your content. Entice them with lead magnet, such as, free updates if they subscribe. Once on your email list market offers related to your content and niche in order to convert them into customers. Nothing can beat that! 

For instance, take our blog for example. We are known for creating long-form content that is value-packed and engaging. We offer our readers lead magnet examples created with our Designrr software. We know our readers are enthusiastic about learning so we aim to provide them with what they both need and want.  

Inline forms are extremely effective as they disrupt the flow of the article without being intrusive. While the visitor is reading through the article it is inevitable that they will at the very least skim through your offer. This means more eyes on your forms. 

Moreover, inline forms give your subscription list a much-needed boost while pushing visitors more efficiently towards the purchasing phase.

Tip: Readers that regularly consume your content deserve to be rewarded. Make sure to email them lots of great offers to show your appreciation. 

It doesn’t take long to put together an inline form for your readers, we’ve got you covered. 


From pop-ups to inline forms you need to get the tool that best serves the needs of your audience. While most might do the same thing – add subscribers to your email list – they’re actually quite different in how they do this. Find out what your audience responds to by testing a number of different options. 

It’s important to understand that pop-ups offer much more then just getting email addresses to your list. They help you understand your audience so that you can in turn offer them what they need, while converting them into lifelong customers.  

When you are testing make sure to try different placements to see what converts the best. And also try playing around with colors, images, and text. All of these variables will ultimately get you to your desired objective. 

Remember that time are changing and the efficacy of tools tends to change as well. So make sure to keep yourself updated. 



Is Cold Emailing Illegal?

It’s not exactly “illegal” if done within compliance of the law, which in this case is in accordance with CAN-SPAM legislation. 

Which is more effective cold calling or emailing?

Both have their strengths and weaknesses, but phone calls get higher response rates compared to emails. Generally, people are more likely to mark a cold email from an unknown email campaign as spam, even without reading it.

Why are pop-ups annoying?

Pop-ups have been specifically designed to interrupt visitors and this in itself can be very annoying. They distract you just when you are in the middle of reading something or trying to navigate around your site to find something. The key is to make your offer irresistible so that the interruption becomes welcoming, rather than annoying.

Are pop-ups effective?

Yes, they are. Adding a pop-up to your website can improve your email subscription rates significantly. Pop-ups have been proven to get high click-through rates, especially when compared to other marketing tactics. 


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