Email Lead Generation: The Complete Roadmap (With Examples)

Picture of Kalev Kärpuk
Kalev Kärpuk
Email lead generation


Making money with your email list seems like a big deal these days, but no one is showing you how to build one.

The truth is that you can turn a well-nurtured email list into your own money-making machine. But you first need to build it.

If you don’t know where to start, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We’ve prepared the most comprehensive email lead generation guide that will show you exactly what you need to do, even if you’re starting from scratch.

What is email lead generation?

Email lead generation is the process of attracting potential customers who have shown interest in your product and capturing their email addresses. Email is one of the best lead-generation tools because once you have their email addresses, you can use email marketing campaigns to nurture your prospects and turn them into paying customers.

Email lead generation: Building your subscriber list

Gamified email lead generation

Gamified email lead generation: Wheel of fortune

By incorporating games into your email lead generation strategy, not only will you boost engagement and fun, but chances are you’ll also have a higher conversion rate.

Here are some campaigns you can launch with Adact:

Gamified email lead generation: Advent calendar

One gamification example is the Telecom company Bite which used Adact to collect more leads before starting its Black Friday campaign. They’ve chosen a custom Match 3 game, similar to candy crush, combined with leaderboards and prizes for the winners.

Not only did they generate leads faster and increase the number of email addresses collected, but they also got a record of 567,077 website visits in only one week! Read this case study to find out how they did it.

If you’re wondering how to do the same, the good news is that Adact now offers integration with the email marketing tools like Mailchimp, so it’s possible to automate everything.

Sign up today to explore all options.

See also: Ecommerce gamification

Pop-up forms

Blueland pop up form


Pop-up forms on your websites are essential for generating leads. Different types work for different industries, so the best idea is to test all of them and see which one works best for you.

Here are the most common ones:

  • Welcome pop-up that shows when people open your website
  • Exit pop-up to capture emails before they leave
  • Scroll pop-up that moves on the screen
  • Pop-up surveys or short quizzes they can complete
  • Promotional pop-up where you reward them with a coupon or discount for signing up

Pro tip: Custom opt-in forms have a higher subscription rate. Take your time to craft a unique opt-in form related to the page’s content, and watch the number of your subscribers skyrocket.

Lead magnet

Headline lead magnet


A lead magnet, also known as a freebie, is a piece of valuable content that you share for free, asking your customers to provide only their email addresses in exchange. It should focus on solving a particular problem for your customers and over-delivering.

The quickest way to disappoint customers and lose their trust is to offer a low-quality magnet, containing information they can easily find online with a few clicks.

So, here are some lead magnet ideas, both for B2C and B2B:

  • E-book
  • Email course
  • Cheatsheet or template
  • Tutorial
  • Whitepaper
  • Case study
  • Free training
  • Free trial
  • Video course
  • Sample


Cocooil notification email lead generation


If you have an ecommerce business, notifications could be a great way to capture leads from your website. People love to be the first ones to get exclusive offers and real-time updates on sales that you might be organizing.

As they’re checking out, offer them to leave their email address if they want to be the first ones to know about pre-sales, early bird offers, seasonal clearance or when an item that interests them gets back in stock.

Checkout opt-in field

Email lead generation: Checkout opt in field


If you have an ecommerce store, the checkout screen is your last chance for lead capture. Use it wisely and create a compelling headline, something along the lines that you want to stay in touch and hope your friendship doesn’t end there.

Contests or giveaways

Email lead generation ideas: Buffer contest


Contests are a great way to boost engagement, get user-generated content and capture email addresses, as you can ask people to submit their work through email.

Giveaways are also a good option, but the gift you’re offering must be similar to your paid product or service. Otherwise, you’ll attract people interested in getting free stuff, but they would never actually become your customers.

Also, don’t forget to add a button allowing them to share the link with friends who might also be interested.

Webinars and online events

Email lead generation ideas: Neil Patel webinar


In the last few years, webinars and online events have become a widespread way of generating leads. And they work like a charm! Just pick a relevant topic for your target audience and spread the word about the event on your social media, online groups and communities where your potential clients might gather.

Neil Patel is someone who continuously tests different opt-in forms on his website, from pop-up forms to webinars. Check out the words he used in the CTA on this email opt-in form and try to come up with something similar instead of always inviting your users only to subscribe.

Social media promotion

Bali Body social media promotion


The first step of your lead generation strategy could be turning your followers into your email subscribers. Regularly promote your newsletter on your social media channels, and invite them to join if they want exclusive content and special offers.

You could post a quote or snippet of your newsletter to your social media to evoke people’s curiosity and invite them to subscribe if they want to learn more and get in-depth content.

Check out how Australian skincare brand Bali Body uses Instagram stories to get people to sign up for their newsletter.

Also, don’t forget to add a link to your newsletter in your Bio so that everyone who visits your profile can see it!

Loyalty and referral programs

Starbucks loyalty program


Pay special attention and appreciation to your existing customers. Email is the best way to stay in touch with them and make sure they’re the first ones to receive access to your new offers and special promotions and discounts created for them.

Check out how Starbucks does it: when you join their loyalty program, your first drink is on them!

You can also ask your customers when their birthday is and send them a gift card or a coupon.

Email lead generation: Creating targeted campaigns

Segment your email list

Email marketing software allows you to divide your subscribers into different segments based on factors like:

  • Demographics
  • Interests
  • Behavior (how active they are)
  • Acquisition channel

Precisely defining your target audience will help you craft personalized and relevant emails more easily.

You can also do lead scoring to identify where your prospects are in their customer journey. Divide them into marketing and sales-qualified leads and send different campaigns according to their position in the sales funnel.

Create attention-grabbing subject lines

The subject line determines whether someone will open and read your email. Here are a few proven subject line tricks:

  • Evoke their curiosity
  • Use numbers in subject lines
  • Create a sense of urgency
  • Avoid spam triggers (words like free, sales etc.)
  • Use A/B testing to test different subject lines

Craft personalized messages

Personalization starts with addressing your subscribers with their names, but it shouldn’t end there. There’s much more to it. You can offer personalized recommendations, special offers, upsell or cross-sell based on customer behavior, interests and historical data.

Send relevant and valuable content

The end goal of your email marketing campaign is to generate more sales, but that doesn’t mean you should send only promotional content. Instead, you should strive to create valuable content that either educates or entertains your audience, or both.

Clean up your email list regularly

You should regularly maintain your list and delete inactive subscribers who haven’t opened any of your emails in the past six months. This will increase your open rate and it can also have a positive effect on email deliverability.

Email lead generation: Converting email database into customers

Nurture your leads

The lead generation process is only the beginning. Now that you’ve got the email addresses, don’t ruin the relationship by trying to sell something too soon.

Did you know nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads?

Therefore, create an email marketing strategy consisting of at least 3-5 lead-nurturing emails where you offer your best tips, educational content, helping your subscribers solve their pain points or showing them how your product or service works. This sequence serves to warm up your leads even more and prepare them for your offer.

Read this article for more email marketing ideas.

Create an irresistible offer

Now it’s time to create a special offer for your subscribers. The best offers are personalized (based on segmentation) and time-bound. It means you can offer them a special discount or bonus if they purchase your products within a certain period. You can play with scarcity and urgency to provoke the fear of missing out.

Optimize your CTAs

Keep your CTAs concise and simple: there’s no room for confusion as it should be crystal clear what the person has to do next.

Use active verbs to create a sense of urgency and encourage action. Verbs like discover, join, start, unlock, boost, transform etc.

You can also transform your call to action into a call to value by emphasizing the benefits and results they can get.

Here are some examples:

  • Sign up → Get exclusive access to expert tips and resources
  • Buy our SEO course → Unlock the secret to better SEO
  • Get a subscription → Join the community of like-minded professionals using our service


We hope our ideas will help you build your own email lead-generation strategy. Remember the three-step process:

  1. Try and test
  2. Track and measure
  3. Optimize and improve

Whatever lead generation tool you choose, gamification can help you increase your subscription rate and delight your prospects. Sign up today and explore our catalog of customizable no-coding games built for your business.

Email lead generation: FAQs 

How do you generate leads by email?

There are different ways to generate email leads, such as:
– Creating a gamified lead generation form
– Using opt-in forms on your website
– Giving lead magnets in exchange for email addresses
– Organizing webinars or contests

What is email sequence lead generation?

It’s a series of emails that serve to convert your prospects into paying customers. It’s usually done using software for email automation.

What are email leads for?

Email leads are people who have expressed interest in your product or service and you have a much higher chance to convert them into paying clients through your lead-nurturing email campaigns.

How can I generate leads fast?

By creating an effective lead generation campaign: you should offer something valuable in exchange for your prospect’s email address. It could be a lead magnet (e-book, webinar etc.), a game or a competition where they can get valuable rewards.

Does email lead generation work?

Yes, it’s one of the most effective lead generation techniques because you get an undivided user’s attention, unlike on social media, where you compete with hundreds of other brands.

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