How to make B2B email list building a success?

Admin Jan 15th, 2019

Where’s the best ROI in online B2B lead generation? Blog posts? Twitter? LinkedIn? Facebook? White papers? Case studies?

Where should you spend lots of your time?

No need to get complex. Think simple. It’s actually your e-mail list.

And absolutely, positively, unequivocally, (say that 3 times fast out loud) no other channel even comes close.

That’s because e-mail has an incredible ROI of $38 for every $1 spent, or 3800%, according to the 2015 DMA National Client Report.

So if you’re not driving prospects to your list, you’re making an embarrassingly bad mistake.

But, the problem becomes, as with anything, knowing what to do to get more prospects on your list.

Don’t sweat! I got you covered. And it’s not super-hard to build your list.

What you need to do:

1. Give Away Freebie Content (Obvious, but what should it be?)

You know you need a “lead magnet” or “free report”…some kind of incentive to get prospects to sign up.

But what would work best?

Ultimately, you never know what could get the max number of sign-ups.

One thing is for sure: your freebie needs to solve a pain for your prospects.

You know what bothers them. So give them the solution.

Try a couple different ones if you obsess with perfection.

2. Strongly Consider “Soft-Gating” Your Content

You know how most B2B, tech, and software companies gate their content, right? Your prospects have to cough up their e-mail addresses just to get at it.

That’s not necessarily wrong.

However, some evidence indicates it may annoy prospects moreso than anything else.

For example, a LinkedIn Business Solutions report suggests 75% of tech pros say they’re less likely to buy from a vendor that gates all content.

That in itself doesn’t mean you shouldn’t gate all your content. After all, tech pros are simply less likely to buy. But it doesn’t say anything about subscribing.

On the other hand, it could show prospects are less likely to subscribe.

The solution? “Soft-gating” your content. That means simply giving your prospects a checkbox option to sign up…or not.

You’ll have to test whether a hard gate, soft gate, or no gate at all entices the most subscribers.

3. Did You Remember “Content Upgrades?”

Do you know what a “content upgrade” is? They’ve caught on a lot for solopreneurs and small B2C or business-to-marketer companies.

But I honestly can only recall one B2B company in the last several months who uses them.

The concept’s simple.

You create a “lead magnet” specific to a blog post. If you write a post about the “Top 9 Benefits of SaaS Recruiting Software,” you could include a free download called “A 20-Question Checklist to Help You Buy the Right SaaS Recruiting Software.”

Helpful tips: You don’t have to create a “content upgrade” for every single blog post. Although you could (and it wouldn’t be a bad idea) if it makes sense.

To understand whether content upgrades would work for you, go to your analytics. Check the following:

Visits (find the blog posts with the most visits)
Time on page (find posts with a good time on page of 1 min 30 seconds or greater)
Bounce rate (look for posts with a bounce rate of 70% or less)
Generally, if your stats fall in good ranges on those, you know those readers like you. So, you have a pretty darn good chance of them signing up.

With the top post, create a content upgrade for it. Content upgrades don’t need to be a huge effort like writing your blog post.

That 20-question checklist from before? That’s all you need – 20 questions. That could take 15-30 mins to write, brand, and save as a PDF.

You’ll want to link to the content upgrade strategically a bit into your blog post. At that point, you know the reader finds the content interesting, and you’re much more likely to get a subscriber out of it (versus placing the upgrade at the end of your post).

After that, all you do is head on down the list of blog posts creating content upgrades until you find it no longer worth your effort.

That’s the gist of content upgrades. Here’s another great resource for further reading and learning on content upgrades.

4. Strategically Use Sign-Up Forms

Do you do what most B2B marketers do and simply slam a sign-up form on your home page and near the bottom of your blog post?

That’s a start. That’s great…but you miss out on floods of sign-ups if you stop there.

Other places to put your sign-up form, and why:

• As an optional embedded form on the right sidebar of your blog (Just look to the right to see this on mine). It works because it gives readers the option to sign up after they’ve found value in you. But it’s not as effective as this next method…

• As a small box that pops up in the bottom right of your screen after a specified time. Again, this gives readers the opportunity to get to know you and like your content first. Then, you ask for the subscribe when they like you more. And finally, the pop-up box captures their attention after getting lost in your content…without being as obnoxious as a pop-up in front of your face in the middle of your screen.

• As a popup in the middle of your screen. This one’s somewhat controversial. All the big-name marketers say it works like a charm. Much better than not-using a pop-up at all.

On the other hand, I have a strong personal grudge against these damn things. They really irritate me. They make me feel like I’m getting scammed out of my e-mail address so the other guy can make some money.

That might not be the truth. But it’s the way I feel. And I wonder if other B2B buyers feel the same way about pop-ups?

If you’re going to use them, as they may be worth a test, I’d again make them a timed release. For example, they only pop up after you’ve been reading for a minute.

If they come the instant you visit the site, you haven’t had any chance to build a relationship. You reader hasn’t gotten any value. And now you ask them for something already.

In my opinion, that’s obnoxious.

But maybe I’m wrong. Anyway, they’re worth a try.

Finally, aside from the discussion of the pop-up, you should have your sign-up form in all those key places.

5. Promote Like a Madman Using Your Existing Relationships (Often forgotten)

Do you promote your e-mail list? Next to no B2B companies do.

Think about all the current ways you interact with customers. A few come to mind:

Your LinkedIn Company Page


Facebook (maybe)

Your sales team

Your executive leadership


How can you convince buyers to sign up to your email list using each of those?

Some ideas:

Promote the landing page for your lead magnet on social media

Include a link to the landing page on all your e-mail signatures

If leads clearly aren’t ready to close, ask if they’d prefer to sign up to your newsletter instead

Reach out personally to your LinkedIn contacts with a custom message

When you present at a conference, direct everyone to your landing page after you give your presentation

With any close business relationships you have, offer to cross-promote the other company’s newsletter to your list in exchange for the same from them

Now You’re in Prime Position to Build Your List!

For list building, that’s just the start. With the web, you have a nearly infinite number of ways to grow your list.

When you implement those techniques, you’re practically guaranteed solid growth. And your share of that 3800% ROI.