Search will never be the same again!
Google’s Generative AI Announcement on May, 10th.

Share article:

With an average expected return of $42 for every dollar spent, email marketing is a marketing tool you cannot ignore, and if you have a great SEO strategy in place to bring in new visitors organically, it would be a waste not to capture those leads in your email list.  

In this article, we explain how you can use content on your website for email acquisition and which best practices to take into account.

How To Capture Email Addresses On Your Website Using Content

When it comes to email acquisition tactics, you need to figure out:

  • How you’ll collect email addresses. This is the technical side of things and includes choosing which email marketing tools you’ll use, whether you’ll implement pop-ups, and so on.
  • What you’ll offer to convince people to sign up. This is the content side of things and it’s what we’ll focus on in this article.

1. Offer Stand-Alone Lead Magnets

A lead magnet is something you offer your readers for free in exchange for their email addresses. It’s a type of opt-in freebie that can be read or used on its own, such as an ebook, a whitepaper, or even a free mini-email course. As such, lead magnets can be used site-wide and are often placed at the bottom of blog posts. 

Note that “free” doesn’t mean “low quality”. A great lead magnet offers value and showcases your expertise, building the new subscriber’s trust in your company.

Screenshot from

2. Provide Content Upgrades

Content upgrades are another type of opt-in freebie but contrary to lead magnets, they’re specific to a certain blog post. They typically also cannot be used on their own but need the context of the related blog post to make sense.

Examples of content upgrades are checklists, videos with more elaborate information, worksheets, and templates. They offer a great way to capture subscribers interested in a specific topic.

Screenshot from Coschedule

3. Develop Practical Tools

These are probably the hardest and most expensive option on this list, but that’s also why adding a free practical tool to grow your email list can be so powerful. Instead of giving a new subscriber something they can download and then rather passively consume, you’re giving them a tool they can keep using… and for which they need to keep coming back to your site.

A great example of a tool that has become super popular is CoSchedule’s headline analyzer.

Screenshot from Coschedule

Pop your headline into the tool, click “Analyze Now”, and a popup will appear asking you to create a free CoSchedule account. In return, you get a full analysis of your headline, and each time you come back to the site to analyze more headlines, they’ll be saved in your account.

Other examples of tools you can create are calculators and different types of idea and content generators. To come up with an idea for a tool, think of something your customers need to do or use all the time and see if you can create something to help them with that.

4. Engage With Quizzes 

Quizzes are a fun way to give users a better idea of what they need and the type of customer they are while offering you that exact same information so you can’t just add them to your list, but also categorize them into different list segments.

Screenshot from

Aside from allowing you to collect a ton of data about your site visitors, quizzes are also highly shareable. And because users need to answer different questions before they can enter their email address and get their quiz result, they’re already more engaged with your brand than someone who only had to fill in their email address to get a free ebook.

5. Offer Insight Or Prizes With Surveys

A more straightforward way of getting data from your users is by adding surveys to your site. But how do you get someone to pop in their email address if they don’t get a fun quiz result in return?

There are two main tactics to accomplish this:

  1. You promise them (possible) compensation for their time.
  2. You offer to share the results of the survey with them.

When offering compensation, you don’t want to simply pay for participation as that could get expensive very quickly. Instead, offer them a discount code, the first month of their subscription for free, or the chance to win a prize.

If you’re targeting a business audience, they’re likely interested in how their peers and competitors have filled in your survey so sharing the results in the form of a quality report can be a reward of its own.

Say you’re running an online meeting platform. You could survey your users about how big their teams are, how often they organize internal meetings, how they prepare for those meetings, and if they record them. The results of such a survey could give your now subscribers new ideas to implement.

Email Acquisition Best Practices

1. Keep It Relevant To Your Brand

Whichever of the email address acquisition tools mentioned above you decide to use, make sure it’s relevant to your brand. Not only will a highly relevant freebie work better to grow your list, but it also ensures you’re getting the right type of email subscribers.

If you’re an email service provider for course creators, a great lead magnet could be a downloadable swipe file of 20 high-performing launch emails. A not-so-great lead magnet would be a report on the best-performing ecommerce email subject lines. The latter isn’t relevant to your target audience and so anyone who signs up to get it, probably won’t become a customer.

2. Focus On Getting Them A Quick Win

Whatever you decide to offer in exchange for their email address should provide your new subscriber with a quick win. Good examples are:

  • A checklist they can instantly use.
  • An ebook that has all the information you said it would have.
  • A tool that sends them a result soon as they’ve entered their email address.

Bad examples are:

  • A checklist they can only use if they download or read a bunch of other things.
  • An ebook that doesn’t provide any new information.
  • A tool that makes them sign up, then puts them through an entire welcome sequence during which they need to answer a bunch more questions before they get the actual result they were after.

3. Test Your Signup Copy

Oftentimes, the way you sell something is even more important than what you’re selling. Having a great opt-in offer is one thing. Now you need to make potential subscribers know it’s great. 

Unless you have a crazy high signup rate – according to Sumo, the average opt-in rate is 1.95% – you should be experimenting with the wording on your signup forms and links to improve your conversion rates.

This means experimenting with your call-to-action, but also with the way you describe the opt-in offer itself, and whether you should add things like a preview image. Additionally, you can test whether a signup form with a call-to-action button works better than a text paragraph with a link leading to a landing page, and where you should add them to your blog posts.

Not sure how to get started? Read our article on how to convert with SEO copywriting.

4. Keep Signup Forms Short And Compliant

Sign-up forms have one purpose and one purpose only: to get people to – indeed – opt-in. The less information you ask for, the less friction you’re creating.

Ideally, only ask users for their first name and email address. These fields are easily auto-filled and by asking for their names, you can start personalizing your emails straight away.

Also, make sure to make your signup process adhere to regulations. This is especially important if you’re also targeting customers in Europe and need to take into account GDPR. 

Lastly, mention on your forms that new subscribers can unsubscribe at any time. This makes signing up for your list a risk-free action and instills trust.

Refine Your Email Acquisition Strategy Today.

This article covered how to ask for email addresses using content on your website. Now it’s up to you to put some thought into the kind of quality opt-in offers you can create and whether you have existing pieces of content you could add content upgrades to.

Whichever way you decide to go, make sure to always track the results of any changes that you make and keep your signup process compliant with all relevant regulations, no matter how creative you get.
Need more or better traffic to drive to your signup forms? Get in touch to discuss how Flow can help you generate more qualified leads.


Sofie Couwenbergh
Sofie is an SEO-savvy content strategist, consultant, and writer. She helps brands generate more qualified leads and keep customers engaged with engaging optimized articles like the one you’ve just read.
Flow SEO Blog

You may also like:

Scale up your SEO. Our expertise. Your success.