If you were building your dream house, you wouldn’t start digging the foundation or raising the walls with just your hands.You might use a shovel and a hammer. Some nails. In other words, you’d use tools.

When you’re building your email lists, there’s no such thing as too much help. Email capture is hard. It’s not just an email address you are trying to collect, but a customer you are trying to connect with.

And to build a structurally sound list (AKA one that will actually want to engage with you), you need more than just your brilliant marketing mind.
You need the right tools in your toolbox.

Knowing the best ways to do email capture is only part of the equation. You can’t follow best practices without the tools to get them done.

You can’t build that dream house without the proper tools. The same logic applies to building your dream email list.

Email capture is about to get easier. Because you’re about to learn:

  • The best email capture software tools – we know the top 5!
  • Why you should even be doing email marketing (this should be a no-brainer, but it’s that important)
  • The leading ways to grow your email list using those tools (and a few examples to inspire you)
  • The biggest mistake you can make with email capture that will undo all your hard work

email captureWhen you’re done reading, you’ll have a complete email capture toolkit.

Now, let’s go capture some emails.

What tools will help you capture emails?

The first step to email capture is having technology that lets you do it in the first place. The right tools will help you set up the best methods to gather emails. Some methods include:

  • Landing page sign-up forms
  • Floating bars
  • Pop-up forms – overlays and slide-ins and stickies, oh my!

You have a lot of options, but here are the 5 most popular email capture software tools:

  1. OptinMonster
  2. SumoMe
  3. Sleeknote
  4. Bloom
  5. Gravity Forms

1. OptinMonster

Have you thought about and then disregarded the idea of a pop-up faster than one would actually appear? I don’t blame you.
They can be really annoying. BUT, pop-ups can also work really well for email capture, and OptinMonster is a great tool to build them.

sign up form example optinmonsterImagine all of the sign-up forms you could create…

OptinMonster has advanced targeting features, the ability to animate pop-ups and slide-ins, and has a variety of pre-loaded, customizable themes. Don’t want to use those? You can also build your own from scratch with Customer HTML and CSS, and A/B test your different forms.
To learn about easily integrating the OptinMonster app with your ActiveCampaign account, click here.

2. SumoMe

SumoMe offers multiple tools as part of its brand, and it has a couple of ways to help you with email growth by way of list building and header bar sign-up forms. Smart Bar by SumoMe lets you add scrolling header bars to your website.
Top-of-the-fold forms are hard to ignore. They are even harder to ignore when they follow your scroll. Not only is it a free tool, but it also works on any website (including mobile-optimized ones).

header form exampleHello up there. (Source: TwelveSkip)

To keep the sign-up form building easier still, there’s List Builder by SumoMe as well. List Builder lets you do basic customization of your pop-ups, including:

  • Text
  • Font
  • Colors

List Builder by SumoMe is the easiest and fastest way to double your daily email signups (which might explain why 50,000+ sites use it).
To learn about easily integrating the SumoMe app with your ActiveCampaign account, click here.

3. SleekNote

Sleeknote is a lead generation tool that makes adding pop-ups and slide-ins to your website easy. Their simple visual pop-up builder is one of the best available, and you can create customized designs to match your brand.

slide in form exampleIt’s hard to ignore a pop-up like this. (Source: Wisepops)

SleekNote doesn’t just stop at the pop. You can also easily target when and where you want them to appear with their targeting features. And you can see what pop-ups are working well with recently-launched A/B testing.
To learn about easily integrating the SleekNote app with your ActiveCampaign account, click here.

4. Bloom

Inline Opt-In Forms by Bloom can be a real asset to your lead generation efforts. Wherever you want to add a pre-designed subscribe form on your website, Bloom can help you do it.
You can display opt-in forms at the bottom of your page content while also placing inline opt-in forms with shortcodes anywhere within your website’s content. AND, there’s no limit to how many opt-in forms you can create.

 inline form exampleA below page inline form template from Bloom.

Need a form on a blog post? Maybe on a home page, or an About page? Bloom has built-in templates and easy editing to make it happen.
To learn about easily integrating the Bloom app with your ActiveCampaign account, click here.

5. Gravity Forms

Gravity Forms is a premier WordPress plugin that makes it easy to build powerful forms on the fly. As far as form building apps go, this is one of the most advanced for websites that runs on WordPress. What we love about it is how easily it works with the ActiveCampaign platform.

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Just a few clicks will let you:

  • Send new contacts acquired from forms directly into ActiveCampaign.
  • Set submissions to trigger different ActiveCampaign functions like automations, tagging, and sending follow-up emails.

To learn about easily integrating the Gravity Forms app with your ActiveCampaign account, click here.

Why even bother with email capture?

Well, that’s a silly question. But, amazingly, it still gets asked.
Email capture is important because carrier pigeons are just SUCH a pain to deal with.

email capture alternativeNot reliable. They are BIRDS. And easily distracted.

Just kidding (although this IS true).
No, actually email capture and email marketing are important because it is one of the cheapest, easiest ways to connect and stay engaged with customers (and boost revenue).
But, if you need more proof…

email roiNo, that’s not a typo. 4000% ROI is possible with email marketing. (Source: Business2Community)

Actually, even more than 4000% is possible. According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing ROI is around 4,300%.
How is that possible? It all starts with email capture.
To get good email ROI, you need email marketing. To be able to do email marketing, you need email lists. To have email lists, you need email capture.
And, despite the fact that there are still unopened and unengaged email campaigns out there, listen to this:

Ok, that was a lot of numbers (albeit helpful numbers, but still). Here are some non-numerical reasons why you need to prioritize email marketing.

  1. You can create an experience, not just a click. It’s important to create the best subject lines and a good email design, but think beyond the click goal.

Email marketing lets you create an entire user experience from landing on a product page to subscribing to a blog. Don’t get stuck on just one email capture form. Think about the journey connected to your prospective customer.

2. Targeting people with the right messages builds a stronger customer list. All the email marketing in the world doesn’t matter if you are sending them to people who don’t matter. Targeted email marketing lets you connect with people who want to hear from you among those you capture who turn out not to be interested.

3. Anyone can do it. Amazingly, Neil Patel gets asked frequently who should use email marketing (which is CRAZY). Pretty much everyone can (and should)– authors, content marketers, software developers, public speakers, consultants, digital marketers, information marketers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers. It’s not industry- or business-specific.

So instead of asking “why bother with email marketing?”, the better question to ask is “why wouldn’t you use email marketing?”
BUT– none of these efforts will pay off if you make one big (and common) mistake.

The one big mistake to avoid with email capture

Picture it: Your beautifully designed sign-up forms have convinced people to give you their emails and subscribe. They’re opening your emails and loving them! They’re reading your content and clicking through to your site. It’s a new adventure!
They arrive on your site, ready to soak up even more, only to return and see…the very same form they already used to subscribe the first time asking them to subscribe…again.
Get ready for the most disheartening 30 seconds of your website’s life.
Subscriber: “Wait…what the what? But I already…Stop appearing!! Bye…*Unsubscribe*
You: “Oh, crap…what happened to my email list??”
What’s the one big mistake you just made?

Your email capture strategies aren’t being tailored to accommodate returning visitors.

In other words, you keep re-engaging with customers who have already signed up.
Imagine how you’d feel if you met someone, built a connection, exchanged contact info, and then the next time you saw them, they said: “It’s nice to meet you, want to exchange contact info?” Um, we already did…

sad pugYou don’t remember me?

This is what it looks like when an already subscribed customer comes back to your site and is greeted by the same form that they already filled out the first time. Talk about annoying (for them, and for your email lists).
If you’re showing the same sign-up forms to all visitors (and over and over again to returners), you’re missing valuable opportunities to acquire more newsletter subscriptions or maybe even reach additional readers.
Once someone has subscribed to your email list, it’s important to make sure that they get content (and other opt-ins) that are relevant to their progress with you.
Don’t let all of that email capture effort go to waste.
One way to do make sure they are properly engaged is to have an automation ready for them to join once they’ve subscribed.

activecampaign automationThe journey continues on a nice, easy automation.

Depending on how they arrived at your form, there could be different automations tailored to taste, or they could all go into a welcome automation and be further segmented from there.
This automation could lead to relevant lead magnets or another email they might be interested in getting now that they have joined your subscriber universe.
Here’s the bottom line: email capture goes beyond just that first form. It’s a constant Rubiks cube of delivering the right content and continuing to engage customers the right (and not repetitive) way.