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How To Use List Magnets To Attract Highly Engaged Email Subscribers

Jawad Khan
How To Use List Magnets To Attract Highly Engaged Email Subscribers

Just a couple of years ago, Internet marketing experts around the world were wondering whether the growth of social media and smartphones would signal the death of email marketing.

Almost halfway through 2015, we can safely say their apprehensions were wrong. Email marketing isn’t dead; far from it.

The smartphone boom has only increased the importance of email as a marketing and sales tool. Almost 50% of all emails are now accessed using smartphones and tablets — a 500% increase from 2011.

Source: Litmus

  • 91% of U.S. consumers check their email at least once a day (Source)
  • 66% U.S. consumers (aged 15+) have made at least one purchase in the last year because of an email (Source)
  • More than 73% of marketers in the U.S. agree that email marketing is crucial to their business (Source)
  • 60% of marketers believe email to be a critical product enabler (up from 42% in 2014) (Source)

All these stats point towards a simple fact — if you’re not building an email list, you’re missing out on potential sales and revenue generation opportunities.

What is a List Magnet, and Why Should You Create One?

Every smart online marketer knows that an engaged and vibrant email list is crucial for building a sustainable online business. That is why almost every other website or blog you visit, asks you for your email address. Email subscribers are in hot demand and there’s a lot of competition between blogs to get them on board.


This is where you need a list magnet (a list incentive or freebie – whatever you prefer calling it) to differentiate yourself and convince your website visitors to become subscribers. An email list magnet is a freebie that you offer your visitors as an incentive for signing up to your email list. It’s a high-quality resource that provides immediate value to your subscribers and gives you an opportunity to establish a relationship with them.

Note: “Get Free Email Updates” is NOT an email list magnet!

This research by GetResponse clearly shows the effect of offering incentives.

  • 59% of moms in the U.S. say they’d gladly share their email address if they’re rewarded for it.
  • 41% would provide information such as gender, birthday and purchase history when provided with an incentive.
  • 50% of people on Facebook are willing to share brand content when rewarded.

GetResponse also used these insights in its list building program — a 90-day list building challenge for marketers — and replicated the incentive based list building approach to attract subscribers for the program members.

In general, an email list magnet does one or more of the following things for your subscribers:

  • It comprehensively answers a burning question in their niche that no one’s answering.
  • It solves a key problem of their niche.
  • It gives them breakthrough knowledge that can accelerate their business growth.
  • It gives them actionable advice that can add immediate value to their business.

When you have a high-quality list magnet, you can build your content marketing and promotional campaigns around it, and use it for fishing subscribers.

The Key to Building an Effective Email List Incentive

A large number of blogs, even with email list magnets, struggle to convert their subscribers into paying customers (which should be your ultimate goal). In my experience, this has a lot to do with the nature of your email list incentive.

As a business owner, you don’t just want subscribers, you want leads — people who are potential customers.

For this you need to create the buying intention in your subscribers from the very start, using your email list incentive. You can do this by creating an email list magnet that is a sample version of your paid services/products. Or something that draws your subscribers toward your services and creates the urge to pay for them.

Here are a few examples to make this simpler for you:

  • If you’re a professional SEO consultant, your list-building freebie can be a free website SEO audit, or a checklist that helps your visitors identify the loopholes in their SEO strategy.
  • If you’re selling a keyword research application, you can offer a limited version of your product for free.
  • If you’re a copy writer, your freebie can be checklist on creating high-conversion homepage copy.

All these freebies are limited versions of your paid products and draw your subscribers towards your services. They instill the buying intention in them from the very start and convert them into genuine sales leads for your business.

Types of Email List Magnets You Can Create

Your email list freebie doesn’t always need to be an e-book. There are many other types of email list incentives that you can use to attract subscribers. Here’s a quick look at some of them.

  • Cheat sheets

Short eBooks that zoom in on a particular topic and share useful hacks about it. Example, Jon Morrow’s Cheat Sheet for Getting Email Subscribers.

  • Checklists

A list of key factors, related a particular aspect of your niche, which your subscribers need to consider. The 2015 SEO Checklist by ClickMinded.

  • Toolbox

A bundle of useful worksheets, e-books and free tools that your subscribers can use. Example, CopyBlogger’s Blogger Toolkit.

  • Templates

Ready to use standard templates that your subscribers can use. Example, Invoice Generator Template by Shopify.

  • Detailed Guides

An in-depth eBooks that cover a certain topic in detail. Example, WordStream Traffic Guide.

  • Email Courses

A series of automated emails with step by step guidelines for the subscribers. 

These are just a few examples of different email list incentives. There are dozens of other ways you can create effective email list freebies to attract subscribers.

Wrapping Up

To create a sustainable online business, you need to focus on building your email list. But to attract the right subscribers to your list, who already have the buying intention, you need to create an email list magnet that is in line with your paid services. The higher the quality of your email list freebie, the better your chances of converting your subscribers into paid customers.

What techniques have you applied to build your email list? Do you offer any incentives to your subscribers? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

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Jawad Khan is a content marketing consultant, a certified inbound marketer and a freelance blogger. He helps SaaS companies, tech startups and entrepreneurs find their voice online and connect with their target audience using high quality content. Follow him on Twitter, Google+ and his blog, WritingMyDestiny.
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Well, This is an interesting article. To add up I would even suggest to use 'First Party Data' effectively for Email-Marketing.
Jawad Khan
Hemanth Malli
Hey Hemanth,

Yea, that'll make the campaigns more precise. Thanks for reading :)

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