Episode #24: How to Build Your Email List Using Lead Magnets

email campaigns setup the business Aug 14, 2020

Last week we emphasized just how important it is to build your email list. Email provides you with a direct connection to your target audience, with no social media algorithms or trends getting in your way. Your email list will serve as the backbone of your relationships with your potential customers.

But now, it’s time for the specifics. How do you actually build an email list? One way is to use paid Facebook ads to promote a lead magnet, which is something that provides value to your ideal audience in exchange for their email address. We’ll cover how to set up a lead magnet and give you a real-life example of one of our own Facebook ads.

But First....GDPR & Data Privacy

Before you start collecting email addresses, you need to understand the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. This is a key part of the European Union’s digital privacy legislation and helps EU citizens control their personal data while ensuring companies do more to protect that data. Any business that interacts with EU citizens must comply with these rules.

The GDPR has a lot of rules governing the use of data, but here are the most important ones for using lead magnets:

  • You must be transparent about what you are collecting the data for and how you will use it. You must have a legitimate purpose for each piece of data you collect.
  • You must only collect the data you need for your stated purpose—if you just need an email address, you can’t require a phone number too.
  • You must have reasonable safeguards in place for protecting the data.
  • If someone gives you their email address to receive your freebie offer, they must separately consent to receiving emails from your general marketing list. This consent must be distinct from the freebie consent, and you cannot require prospects to opt-in to your general marketing list as a condition of getting the freebie.

Essentially, your prospective customers should have no surprises in what emails they receive from you. They should know exactly what kind of communication to expect.

Although the GDPR is EU law, it applies to any business interaction where one party is located in the EU, regardless of citizenship. Since your business is located online, you’ll need to be GDPR compliant to make sure you can interact with anyone who comes across your website.

Additionally, California recently passed a similar rule, and it’s likely that the rest of the U.S. will soon follow, so setting up these data privacy safeguards now will prepare you for the future. Besides, it’s much easier to have one policy across the board than it is to try and segment your audience so different rules can apply!

Creating a Lead Magnet

Now let’s get to the fun stuff. To build your email list using this strategy, you first need a lead magnet. This is something of value that customers want or need that you can give away for free. It should provide a sneak peek of your business and entice your prospects to buy your product or service. Common lead magnets include worksheets, templates, or even e-books!

When we were planning how to build Bloomdocking’s email list, we created two worksheets to help people begin the process of figuring out their business idea: How to Find Your Sweet Spot and How to Brainstorm a Business Idea. These both attract people who are interested in starting an online business, but we ultimately decided on the How to Brainstorm a Business Idea worksheet because the end result helps people get closer to wanting to start an online business.

As you’re figuring out your lead magnet, think of what you can offer to prepare people to purchase your product or service. The closer you can get them to seeing exactly how your business meets their needs, the more effective your email list will be.

Once you’ve figured out your lead magnet, it’s time to set up your Facebook ad campaign. Listen to the episode to hear Darren talk about the process and how he did it for Bloomdocking.

Our Ad Results & Stats

To help you understand the rate at which you’ll be able to grow your email list, we want to share with you our results from running an ad campaign with our lead magnet. We started this ad on July 6, so these numbers represent 38 days worth of data. In those 38 days:

  • The ad has been shown 13,179 times to 5,704 people
  • 112 people have downloaded the freebie
  • 80 of those have opted-in to regular marketing emails—that's 71% of people who downloaded the freebie!

We have budgeted $10 a day for this ad, and so far have spent $316. All told, this campaign brought us a 600% increase in our email subscribers—before this campaign, we only had 13 subscribers!

These aren’t the only stats that matter though. We also need to look at how well the ad is running to determine if it is efficiently using our budget to reach our target audience. This table shows some of these metrics that we track, what they are, and how our ad has performed so far.




Results 8/12


# of people your ad has been shown to


5704/13,179 impressions


The average # of times a person has seen your ad



Click Thru Rate (CTR)

CTR is the number of link clicks divided by the number of impressions (how many people saw your ad). It’s shown as a “%”.



Cost Per Click (CPC)

the average cost per each time someone clicks on your ad to go to your landing page.

< $1


Conversion Rate on your Opt-In/Registration Page

This is the % of people who are landing on your opt- in/registration page and actually opting in or registering.

> 20%


During this analysis, we also learned that 89% of sign-ups came from women. In the episode, Darren walks through where to find these stats and how to best analyze these numbers.

We used these statistics to determine what changes we need to make to the ad so it’s as effective as possible. In general, our numbers are really good, but we’d like to get our cost-per-click to be lower, since we’re not generating any revenue from this campaign to offset the cost. Since such a high percentage of interested prospects are women, we decided to focus our efforts exclusively on women for this ad going forward and see how that impacts our results.

This kind of analysis and shift is called ad optimization—making small changes to achieve the best results. When optimizing ads, it’s important that you only make one change at a time so you can measure the impact of that change. You’ll also need to wait for Facebook’s algorithm to fully learn the best places to put your ad, which can take about 72 hours.

What To Do With Your Email List

Once you’ve run a successful ad and have a list of email addresses, what do you do with them? First, make sure that you remove any email addresses that have not given you permission to send them things other than the freebie. Here’s what our process looks like for that final list:

  • Each email address is assigned two tags in Kajabi (our web hosting, CRM, and email platform) as weekly subscribers and business ideas sign-ups
  • The business ideas tag kicks off an automated nurture email sequence, following up with interested prospects over seven days to see if they need any help with the worksheet
  • The weekly subscriber tag ensures that they get the weekly email with the latest podcast episode and blog post
  • Finally, we send the entire email list any promotions we are offering

Listen to Episode #24 Now!

Building an email list is a critical component of marketing your online business, but it’s not a particularly difficult one. You may need to do some testing and optimizing to get your ad running effectively, but once you do, you’ll be able to grow your email list relatively quickly. Here are the main things to keep in mind as you plan your ad:

  • Stay GDPR compliant and ask for specific consent to send marketing emails
  • Choose a lead magnet that provides value to your prospective customers—a “taste” of what your business can do for them!
  • Set up a Facebook ad campaign targeting your audience
  • Make small optimizations, one at a time, to fine tune your ad
  • Follow up with your subscribers and be sure to communicate with them regularly

Once you have a solid email list, you’ll be able to build even stronger relationships with your customers. You’ll get to know their needs and goals so you can create the best products to serve them, and be ready to make the sale when the time is right.

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