"Money is in the list" that's what marketers say. I wouldn't agree more. Having an emails list (leads as you named it) Is crucial to any online business nowadays.
LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram... All worth that much thanks to the data they've been gathering for years, and thanks to the large email lists they have.
Building an emails list can be tricky. As it depends on your own business model, alongside at which stage of building a list are you now. Below I've listed some ideas that will help you grow your email list and your business:
0-100: New Email List Or Less Than 100 Leads
In case you're just getting started, or have a tiny list (less than 100 emails). Then here are the techniques I would suggest to get started with:
1. Get An Autoresponder
An Autoresponder will help you a lot to follow up with your leads and will save you tons of work. There are tons of autoresponders out there, some of them being (SendLane, Mailchimp, Aweber, ActiveCampaign...etc). In case you're on a shoestring budget then I would defiantly recommend starting with MailChimp since it's free for your first 2,000 leads. Otherwise, a more sophisticated autoresponder such as SendLane and ActiveCampaign would serve you best thanks to their advanced automation workflow.
P.S. I highly recommend at this stage to avoid spending too much money on optimization tools that you won't need. A Free autoresponder (like Muatic) will really do the job and help you reach your first milestone (i.e. 100 Leads).
2. Opt-in Form
Most autoresponders (if not all) allow you to integrate an opt-in form into your website. It's highly recommended that you have some opt-in option on your website. It will get you tons of high-quality free leads to your list, especially if you already have an established website.
3. Invite your previous customers
It's going to be a great idea to invite your old customers to join your list. And you can also add them manually to your emails list. In this case sending an incentive to them will help you out a lot.
4. Be Social
Maybe joining new Groups in Facebook and Linked in will help you increase your social reach and know more people. You can then invite them (politely without spamming) to join your list for an incentive.
100-500: Active Emails List
At this stage you must have an active list, An Active list means whenever you send an email to all your leads you'll be getting decent open rate and CTR that can be generating a bit of income on a regular basis. At this stage we can do:
1. Add more call to actions
Encourage your website visitors to opt-in, by adding more incentives and more opt-in fields to your website. Use Popups to drive even more signups, and to make your opt-in form appear whenever a user is heading to leave your page.
2. Ask for emails more often
Instead of providing all the information on your website for free, you may actually ask any user trying to access that information for their email in return.
3. Discount Codes
It works really well if you have an e-commerce business, Asking users to provide their own emails so they can get a discount code will certainly help you out. It all falls into offering more valuable incentive to get a user's email in return.
4. Host a Contest
If your business model allows to, you may think of hosting some sort of contest. In which a single winner is withdrawn. But you still get tons of emails from other contestants.
...More to come