The Ultimate Guide to Email Lead Generation Success

Email lead generation is significantly superior to other forms of lead generation.

We’d go so far as to say it’s the most effective way to get customers. Email conversion rates are 40x higher than social media conversion rates for starters.

Think about it: email lands directly in consumers’ inboxes.

You don’t have to wait with baited breath for people to scroll past your post on their busy feeds and hope they click it.

But, to have the most success from email lead generation, you need a strategy. Having a goal and a structure will help you plan a path to success and gives you the foundations you need to measure, track, and tweak your strategy until it’s bringing in the big bucks.

Here are some email lead generation tips to ensure you get it right.

What is Email Lead Generation?

Email lead generation is a method of collecting customer email addresses so you can nurture them via email.

It helps you capture consumers who might not be ready to buy yet and keep them engaged until they are.

While lead generation can happen in many different ways (like someone seeing an ad in the paper and giving you a call on the phone), email lead generation specifically refers to getting a consumer’s email address so you can reach them where it matters – their inbox.

Email lead generation is almost always followed by an email marketing campaign. It most often starts with a pop-up to capture information and (hopefully) ends with a sale. The tricky part is getting the middle bit right.

How Do You Generate Email Leads?
There’s an infinite amount of ways you can get the email addresses of potential subscribers. Some are preferable to others, but ultimately it will depend on who you’re trying to attract and what you’re offering.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t panic.

We’re going to lay it out in a step-by-step strategy in this post, highlighting some of the best email lead generation techniques of the moment.

You will need a couple of tools and assets to get started to make sure your lead generation strategy is ticking along like clockwork.

These include:

  • Robust popups and signup forms (use a tool like Wisepops) to build your email list and turn website visitors into subscribers
  • An email marketing provider to automate emails to your leads
  • Something to offer leads in exchange for their email address (we call this a lead magnet, but you might have heard it referred to as gated content or a content upgrade)

How to Capture Email Leads: Best Practices and Examples

1. Create a signup form

Your signup form marks the start of your lead generation journey.

It’s the gateway to a world of nurturing, relationship building, and sales.

Get it wrong, and you’ll struggle to generate the number of signups you want.

Get it right, and you’ll have a powerful asset that will continue to bring in leads on autopilot.

So how do you create a first-rate signup form?

First of all, let’s look at your options.

1. Exit Intent Popups

Ever tried to leave a website, only to have a popup encourage you to stay?

Maybe they offered you a little something in return for moving your mouse away from the “close tab” button. Or maybe they tapped into your emotional side and begged you to stick around a little longer.

Whatever the message was, you were the recipient of an exit-intent popup.

These types of signup form aim to capture emails at the last minute, right before they navigate away from your site. When a visitor leaves, they’re unlikely to come back without a nudge. In fact, 95% of your site visitors won’t return unless you take drastic action.

An exit-intent email form on

This popup stops potential exit-ers in their tracks. It’s hard to miss the huge “wait!” instruction, while the offer of a free, relevant download provides extra value and positions the brand as an authority figure.

2. In-Post Signup Forms

When someone’s knee-deep in a blog post, there’s a high chance they’re enjoying what they’re reading.

An in-post signup form capitalises on this and encourages the visitor to take further action to deepen their knowledge on the topic. Readers who sign up this way are often highly qualified leads because they’ve already shown a keen interest in what you’re offering.

Blogging Wizard punctuates their lengthy blog posts with vibrant eye-catching signup forms that promise extra content. Someone who’s read as far as the conclusion probably likes what they see (and probably wants more)

An in-post signup form on Blogging Wizard's website

3. On-Site Pop-Ups

Pop-up forms are common across every industry. They stop scrollers in their tracks and force them to take action: either click to exit or sign up.

Pop-up forms come in a variety of different shapes and sizes and entice visitors with a range of exciting offers, from free downloads to hefty discounts.

Baublebar gives site visitors a very inviting 15% off their first purchase if they hand over their email address.

4. Landing Page Signup Forms

Not all signup forms have to come in the form of a popup or a widget. You’ll often come across an entire landing page dedicated to grabbing visitor information.

This is a great way to capture the full attention of visitors without distracting them with blog content or a full navigation bar.

As you can see here, WebDAM has a landing page solely to capture email addresses in exchange for a software guide.

How to Create a High-Converting Email Lead Generation Form

The key to a successful email lead generation form is to provide value and make it a no-brainer for visitors to hand over their contact details.

To do this, it’s important to:

  • Keep your signup form on brand – use brand colors, imagery, and copy
  • Keep it simple – don’t over complicate your form, it will only confuse leads
  • Have a clear CTA – make sure leads know exactly what to do next
  • Ensure leads know what to expect – lay out what will happen when someone signs up

2.Create a lead magnet (or an irresistible offer)

A lead magnet is something you give leads in exchange for their email address.

It makes it a win-win for everyone: your subscribers get an extra juicy bit of value and you get access to their sacred inbox. This also provides a prime opportunity to showcase your expertise.

Your lead magnet should directly relate to the needs of your leads. Fail to do this, and people won’t see the value in signing up – after all, who wants to give their email address out for something they don’t really want or need?

Get your creative juices flowing with these lead magnet examples:


Ebooks are a common lead magnets. They are easy-to-consume and have the space to provide extensive extra value.

Checklists and Roadmaps

Lead magnets don’t have to take hours to produce. They can be a simple checklist or a template. Anything that adds value or addresses your customers’ pain points will do the job.

Video Series

Videos can be a fantastic way to showcase your expertise and solution while also forging a human connection with leads.


Everyone wants to know what type of vegetable they are or how they can use their personality type to sell more. Which is why quizzes are so effective as a lead magnet.

They tap into the need to find out more about ourselves while providing personalised insights at the same time.

Whitepapers and Infographics

Deeper content types that round up stats or highlight research are a great way to position yourself as an expert while providing useful insights to leads.

3. Create engaging email campaigns

Now you’ve got your signup form and your lead magnet, you’re ready to start communicating with your leads.

Email campaigns are a crucial part of the lead generation puzzle. If you don’t interact with your email subscribers on a consistent basis, they’ll quickly forget about you (which completely eradicates all the hard work you put into your forms and lead magnets).

This is the part where your email lead generation campaign starts to come together.

It’s where you begin building a connection with subscribers and nurturing them towards an eventual sale.

Email campaigns can come in many shapes and sizes.

The end goal of your campaign will drive the content and format you publish it in, but here are a few ideas to get you started.

Welcome Sequences

Welcome sequences are the first step of a successful email marketing strategy. These emails mimic the way restaurant front of house staff show you to your seat and walk you through the menu.

They serve three purposes:

  1. To introduce a subscriber to your brand
  2. To lay out expectations going forward
  3. To touch base and get subscribers used to you showing up in their inbox

Spotify’s Design branch sends out a welcome email to all new leads that reminds them that they’ve signed up and welcomes them on board.

Drip campaigns based on segmented needs

Modern email marketing platforms are powerful. In-built features let you segment your leads based on their needs, demographics, and past purchasing behaviour. This helps you send laser-focused content and messaging that taps into their unique pain points (and, therefore, generates more sales).

Honey uses previous browsing history to share personalised product recommendations to their leads.


Newsletters remain one of the best ways to stay in touch with your leads. Regular communication means you stay front of mind, and it presents an opportunity for you to show up and deliver expert advice.

Old Pal consistently sends out newsletters to its leads to share company updates and relevant insights with its readers.

4. Promote your sign up forms

The parts of your lead generation strategy should all be coming together nicely now.

You’ve got:

  • The signup forms to capture email addresses
  • A valuable lead magnet to share in exchange for lead details
  • Email sequences to welcome and nurture your leads with quality content

These building blocks move leads from unaware to potential buyers through close nurturing. The hard part is getting leads to sign up in the first place. People have to actually see your signup forms in order to hand over their details.

Which is why promotion is crucial.

Without it, you could miss out on reaching hundreds or even thousands of potential leads and customers.

The more visible your signup forms are, the more leads you’ll get. It’s simple maths.

Make sure you’re posting your forms and lead magnets where people can see them. To help you out, we’ve put together some ideas to kickstart your promotional activities.

Social Media

Social media is the perfect place to reach cold and warm leads. Stand out in user feeds by offering valuable advice and expertise – but be consistent with it.

Automate posts to regularly go out that link to your forms.

Marketing expert Jason Bradwell does this. He shares a link to his B2B-focused newsletter and encourages his followers to sign up.

Social Media Bios

You social media feed isn’t the only place to share your sign up forms. Think about other places that followers are likely to check out, like your social media bios.

Tyler McCall does this.

The focal point of his Instagram bio is a link to grab a copy of his roadmap (which, when clicked, leads to a signup form where leads are invited to enter their contact details).

Encourage Subscribers to Share

Your subscribers are your biggest advocates and getting them to share your signup form with the friends, colleagues, and peers is a powerful way to spread the word. In fact, people are more likely to listen to recommendations from their friends than brand messages.

You can even take it one step further and offer a referral incentive to leads that pass on the message.

Youfoodz makes it easy for leads to share their sign up forms by writing word-for-word messages they can send to friends or post on social media.

Giveaways and Contests

Everyone likes to win (or at least be in with a chance of winning).

Giveaways can be a quick way to collect lots of leads. You can encourage people to share their email address to enter.

The key is to offer a prize that’s highly targeted to your customers’ needs, otherwise you risk attracting a lot of bad-fit leads who are unlikely to ever turn into buyers.

Design Within Reach asks website visitors for their name, email address, and zip code in exchange for a chance to win a comfy throw.

Throughout Your Site

There’s no surefire way to know where or when leads are going to land on your site. It’s important to sprinkle signup forms across the customer journey to attract people who arrive at different points.

Top places to add email lead generation forms include:

  • Your homepage (particularly above-the-fold like Backlinko does in the example below)
  • Product pages
  • Blog posts
  • Your “About” page
  • Relevant service pages
  • The footer of your site

Level Up Your Email Lead Generation Game

Once set up, your email lead generation funnel will continue to attract and convert leads on autopilot.

Start by creating several signup forms to sprinkle across your site and other platforms before producing valuable lead magnets and engaging email sequences. Remember to promote your signup forms in all the right places and make them visible to potential leads.

Greg D'Aboville Greg is Head of Growth at Wisepops.

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