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Email Data Capture

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There’s a wide variety of ways in which you capture readers, and how you get their data, their details.

  • Website subscription boxes: You’ve seen these all over the web. They provide you the option to put in a wide array of your personal details as a leader, from name, email, website, company, phone number, and so on.
  • Contact form opt-ins: First and foremost, of course, for email marketing purposes, you want to get name and email. Some of this could come in the form of contact form opt-ins.
  • Competition entry forms: You may have seen those on the web, where if you want to enter a contest or a competition, you can enter in your email, enter in your name, and that’s a requirement and that’s how people build the list of subscribers.
  • E-commerce checkouts: That’s where you’re purchasing something, you’re at check out and there’s a little check box and it says, “Would you like to hear more about the products and services of our company?” E-commerce checkouts are a great way to build an email list because people already have an affinity typically, for whatever it is that you’re selling or the products you’re putting forward, because they’re already there on your site. They’re making a transaction already, and so the getting them to subscribe to more information, more emails from you is a little bit easier.
  • Twitter Cards: The Twitter Card is something that marketers can use to build a tremendous email list because think about the context of Twitter. Think about the audiences that are on Twitter. It’s very specific, very niche, and so if someone is following you, or if someone sees a retweet, odds are they already have an affinity towards your brand, your products, your services, your company. Now a Twitter Card enables you to build your list in a relatively short amount of time, targeting people specifically on Twitter.
  • Customer care touch points: These are the sort of the physical in-person opportunities, where you can get people to, either with a touch pad or even writing it down on paper, their email address and their name to add themselves to your email list.


For example, I’m a reader of a website called, The Next Web, they talk about new technology, and digital marketing, and social media and the other day I was on Twitter and I saw a tweet from them and it had a Twitter Card. Now, a Twitter Card looks pretty much like any other regular tweet, except it has a call to action built into it, or something special that makes it stand out from a regular tweet. And this particular one, from The Next Web, had a little link that I could click on saying, “Do you approve to send your email address?” And it didn’t say this on the Twitter Card. It just said, “Click to subscribe.” But when you click to subscribe, it basically sends your email address that is on your Twitter account directly to The Next Web, to populate and subscribe you to this particular newsletter that they wanted you to subscribe to. It’s a great way to build an email list as a marketer, as an advertiser.

Sign-up forms

Now, what are some of the attributes of a good signup form, things that you want to think about in terms of making it easy for your audience?

  • Easy to find: That’s one of those things where you think it’d be so simple! You think everybody would do it, but not everybody does. If you want to be a successful email marketer, you want to make it easy as possible for people to find your signup forms.
  • Easy to see: Is it something I can find relatively quickly?
  • Non-intrusive: It’s easy to overdo it, where at every point along the journey of your website there’s a place where people are almost being forced to enter in their details. You don’t want to make it too intrusive.
  • Requires little information: You don’t want to scare people away! It’s one of those things where you want to make them feel welcome. You want to make them understand that, “Hey, we just want your name and your email and we’re going to have you opt in.” We don’t necessarily want your life story. Sometimes, as marketers, our tendency is to ask for everything, because we know we might want those bits of information, right, those different data fields.

Make it simple, make it easy and make it non-intrusive for your reader when it comes to your data capturing methods.

Common customer touchpoints

Customer touchpoints are places where customers will interact with you. Think of them as entry places, the places where they’ll come in and interact with your company and maybe buy something, or meet people, or read your content.

Sales Department

From e-commerce to an actual physical store, the Sales Department is historically the place where your customers interacted with you first and foremost. And it could be in a physical location, or it could be in a digital location. But again, these are those common touchpoints for your customers.

Marketing Department

These are the people who will be getting the word out about your company, your services, your products, and so on. And it’s their job to make sure that your content, your name, your branding, your imagery, and your ads are getting out there. A lot of times, customers might come through sort of the front door of data capturing, via marketing. And that’s fine and it happens a lot. You want people to be able to come in whichever way works for them.


There are a lot of conferences and there are a lot of events, and at events you’ve got people coming up to your table, coming up to your booth. Maybe there’s email lists for a conference and you can ask people, “Hey, do you want to opt in to this other email list associated with our company?” Conferences are a great way, because you have an audience of readers who match up with your content. If people come to a conference, they already have a natural affinity or an interest in a particular area. And you can then align those people with your email list. It’s so much better because it gives you a richer email list than just a sort of broad net that you might have cast it.

Meeting points

There are also various meeting points with customers. There is a wide array of ways in which you connect with customers. It actually doesn’t really matter how you connect. What matters is the funnel in which you capture their data. You capture their details, and then you align that with their particular affinity or interest with whatever it is that you’re trying to generate and do from a strategic level with your email list.

Collecting email addresses

This is all about incentivizing opt-ins, and getting people to opt in with the goal at the end of the day of getting more and more email addresses.

So how do you do this? You can offer something of value as an exchange. This is an effective way of collecting someone’s email address. You’ve got to give them something in return for something. And the something that you want is their email.

Common products and services offered in exchange for an email address include the following:

  • Short and simple forms: This could just be some information.
  • Social media logins: This is connecting your Facebook account, connecting your Twitter, and so on.
  • Entry into a prize draw: This is a kind of a contest. If you sign up we’ll put you into a draw for something of value to you. Because you want to incentivize the opt-in.

A lot of times that’s the thing that motivates people kind of beyond the fact that you may have great content, you may have great information, you may have the best newsletter, or your email might be a thing that everybody wants to read. But if they don’t know about it, if they don’t know why they should be reading it, you might have to incentivize them a little bit at the beginning to opt in and these are some things to think about.

Email collection software

You can use email collection software. These are companies that you can use to collect emails, that will help you in this process. They’re certain software solutions and they can basically set up a specific page for a pop-up. You may have seen this when you’re browsing the web, where an email, a little box pops up and it says here we’re going to collect some details.

Some of the companies that are involved in this activity are:

  • PadiAct
  • Hello Bar
  • Sleeknote

This is just a snapshot of some of the ones that are available, but you can just Google this, too. There’s a lot of companies that come up that do this.

Remember, it’s not necessarily how you collect that’s important. It’s about why you’re collecting, what you’re trying to accomplish, and then who’s going to help you achieve your goals.  

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Eric Stoller

Eric Stoller is a Higher Education Strategic Communications Consultant and Blogger at Inside Higher Ed. With a background in student affairs, academic advising, wellness, technology, and communications, Eric educates clients and audiences on digital identity development. As a blogger, he generates conversations, answers questions, and provides insight about a variety of tech topics, including Social Media Strategies and Email Marketing.

By the end of this topic, you should be able to:

  • Evaluate inbound and outbound email marketing techniques and how they are used in marketing campaigns
  • Critically reflect on practices for managing email data and building an email subscriber base
  • Critically appraise how to optimise email delivery and email open rates for marketing campaigns

    Data protection regulations affect almost all aspects of digital marketing. Therefore, DMI has produced a short course on GDPR for all of our students. If you wish to learn more about GDPR, you can do so here:

    DMI Short Course: GDPR

    The following pieces of content from the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library have been chosen to offer additional material that you might find interesting or insightful.

    You can find more information and content like this on the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library

    You will not be assessed on this content in your final exam.


      Email Marketing Strategy
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      The Email Marketing Strategy module will introduce the key concepts of email marketing and enable you to develop the knowledge and skills to build highly effective email campaigns. You will learn how to think like an email marketer and recognize that your subscriber list growth and quality is a key metric for the success of your campaign. Finally, you will recognize the role of various email delivery techniques as well as the importance of balancing frequency and volume of email sends.