Capturing emails to build a mailing list is an effective way to grow your business. Nearly everyone has an email address, and it’s a medium that doesn’t experience the drastic changes like social media platforms and their ever-updating algorithms. And the larger the email list, the greater the revenue (provided it was built the right way).
But you’re not here to read about why email list building is effective. You’re interested in knowing how to capture leads without asking for their email address.
Why use other mediums to collect leads?
Simply put—not everyone is ready to hand over their email address. If it’s somebody’s first time on your website, they might not be comfortable handing over their email address. Additionally the market’s become more sophisticated. When people are asked for an email address, they know you’re going to then send them more email that likely has a sales pitch.
There are other tools—some that have been around for a while now—that are starting to see more success because they’re less used (and thus peak people’s curiosity) and also tap into the ways that we communicate with friends and family.
To be clear: I still believe people should focus on their list-building efforts. However, there are other ways than email to get people’s permission to follow-up.
1. Use in browser push notifications to get in touch.
When visiting a website, you’ve likely been asked whether that website can have permission to send you (or “push”) notifications. (You were probably asked when you landed on this blog post.)
It looks like this…
Honestly, I was a bit skeptical when I installed this on our website.
I was surprised, however, to see people agree to it every single day (and it didn’t require time to set-up a lead magnet!). With that said, I only see about a 6% click-through rate when sending a notification, but that’s people who might otherwise have forgotten about me.
It’s an effective way to “capture” people’s attention who might not be ready to give you their email address. We use a free tool called Subscribers, and it took less than 15 minutes to install and set-up (that’s NOT an affiliate link). (Update: Subscribers switched to a freemium model with a free plan that isn’t very good, so we no longer use this tool.)
2. Start a conversation using Messenger Marketing tools.
Messenger marketing is on the rise, and it makes sense since platforms like Instagram and Facebook are investing heavily in building out features around stories and direct messaging (DM).
Think about how you communicate with your friends. My guess is—in order of preference—it looks something like this: text messages, social media messages (Instagram DMs or Snapchat), smoke signals, then email or phone calls. If you show up on one of those platforms consistently, it’s likely a lead has sent you a DM or Facebook message inquiring about your services.
Tools now exist that enable people to build out Messenger bots that can nurture or qualify leads and connect them to the information they’re seeking. It’s similar to email in that you can put people in sequences or send out broadcasts to people who have previously messaged you.
The key difference is that it’s more like a conversation and thus more engaging. It’s also not crazy to see message open rates and link click rates higher than 50%! Far fewer people are using Messenger to build their audiences, so they benefit from having less noise to cut through.
We use ManyChat. There’s a free version if you just want to play around with it first.
3. Collect phone numbers for text message follow-up.
It’s relatively common to see people try to collect phone numbers using a contact form.
However, it’s a bit less common to see it used for text.
Text message services like Textiful make it easy to collect phone numbers by having people text a keyword to a number. You can set campaigns to collect all sorts of information from email addresses to social media information. And you can also have responses trigger certain actions like signing people up for a webinar.
We’ve started using text campaigns at events for giveaways since it gives us an additional, often more effective way to follow up people. Like Messenger marketing, text messages generally see much higher open and click rates. Many people have a “junk” email addresses for subscribing to newsletters or signing up for offers. But far fewer people have junk phone numbers.
There are a number of platforms out there that offer this service such as SlickText and Textiful. We’ve been using the latter, but have heard good things about the former, too.
Just Make Sure You’re Following Up
It’s important to be able to follow-up with people because there’s so much noise on the internet.
Gone are the days of checking in on your favorite blog each day. Even for my favorites, I rely on newsletter or message updates notifying me when a new post is live or a new sale has started. Fortunately there are so many affordable, easy-to-set-up tools that allow you to follow-up with people even if they did not give you their email address.
Have a favorite email alternative tool for lead capture that I didn’t list? Let me know in the comments!