Josh Earl is SitePoint's business editor and a programmer, writer and entrepreneur. He runs The Sublime Text Tips Newsletter and blogs about marketing and entrepreneurship at

Josh's articles

  1. How to Grow Your Email List with Twitter Lead Generation Cards

    The first time I tried to use Twitter ads to grow my email list, I felt like I was stepping up to the roulette table and putting it all on red.

    Yes, I’d earned money from this email list in the past, but plunking down my hard-earned cash in the hopes of increasing my future earnings felt like a big gamble.

    After starting the campaign, I kept a close eye on my Twitter Ads dashboard, and the early results seemed reassuring. It was working! People were clicking my ads by the hundreds!

    But then I checked my MailChimp account, and something seemed very, very wrong. Instead of the dozens of new email subscribers I expected, I found just a small handful.

    What the … ?

    So I started asking around. I checked with friends. I contacted the company that made the landing page software I was using. I even contacted Twitter.

    As it turns out, the culprit was simple conversion math.

    Why would someone click on my ad and then not sign up?

    When I created the ads, it seemed pretty simple: I was just asking people to click on a link and enter their email address.

    Here’s what I didn’t factor in to my thinking: According to the latest stats from Twitter, 78 percent of active Twitter users are on mobile devices.

    And the standard email list opt-in process is pure P.A.I.N. on an iPhone.

    First, you click the link, which bounces you over to a browser.

    You wait while the page loads, probably for several seconds because you’re in a spotty coverage area.

    As the form starts to appear, you cross your fingers and hope it’s optimized for mobile viewing.

    It’s not, so now you’re pinch-zooming and scrolling to find the email input form.

    Then you peck out your email address (twice! Thanks for nothing, autocorrect!) on that tiny keyboard.

    Then more pinch-zoom-scroll to find the Submit button.


    And as it happens, most people just don’t want to be on my email list that badly.

    But what if people could instantly subscribe with a single click?

    That’s what you get when you use Twitter’s lead generation cards.