How to Gather 100,000 Emails in One Week (Includes Successful Templates, Code, Everything You Need)

This story is about the launch of Harry’s, a new men’s grooming brand.

Specifically, it will explain how they gathered nearly 100,000 email addresses in one week (!).  This post includes all the email templates, open-source code, and insider tricks that you can use to replicate their success.  It’s similar in depth to my previous how-to post, Hacking Kickstarter: How to Raise $100,000 in 10 Days.

This post is of great personal interest to me, as I’ll be doing a ton of fun stuff with email soon.  For a sneak peek, click here.  Now, on to Harry’s…

Harry’s started small and grew quickly.  They now have 40 domestic employees, an online store, a barbershop in New York, and a thriving online magazine called Five O’Clock. Harry’s also recently raised 100+ million dollars to buy the 94-year-old German factory that makes it blades.  By doing so, they added 427 people to their team. Today, you can find Harry’s products on, in select J Crew stores, and at more than 65 men’s boutiques and hotels across the country.

This is piece was written by Jeff Raider, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Harry’s, with input from key members of the Harry’s team.

Prior to Harry’s, Jeff co-founded Warby Parker, a brand offering designer-like eyewear at lower prices, which also helped pioneer the “buy one, give one” model.


Enter Jeff

We can’t launch to crickets

We opened the digital doors of our shaving brand, Harry’s, in March of 2013.  In the weeks leading up to the launch, there was one persistent worry: Were we going to launch to crickets? Would anyone notice?

My co-founder, Andy, and I had spent the better part of two years researching the global men’s shaving market.  We’d found the nearly century-old German manufacturer who would make our razor blades, we’d worked with talented industrial designers to create an ergonomic handle inspired by fine pens and knives, and we’d laid the groundwork for the direct-to-consumer online brand that would become Harry’s.  We were excited to offer our customers a quality shaving experience at an affordable price.

Fortunately, Andy and I had a team of 10 who believed in our not-yet-existent brand as much as we did. We needed people to find out about us and come to our website to find our products. After all, a direct-to-consumer brand isn’t anything without the consumer. We couldn’t launch to crickets. We had to figure out a way to make sure that didn’t happen.

That also meant a lot of pressure.


Click for full size


Thanks to what you’ll learn in this post, our first week at Harry’s was a huge success. We were inundated by tweets, emails, and—our favorite—customer phone calls. It was an incredibly exciting time.

Much of the success of week one was due to what we did beforehand. One week before our e-commerce site went live, we had gathered emails from nearly 100,000 people who were eager to learn more about Harry’s.

We had collected those email addresses thanks to a one-week long prelaunch campaign, the focus of this post.

Since launching the campaign, we’ve shared it with friends and other entrepreneurs. Now, together with Tim, we’re excited share the details of the campaign —the thinking, the code, our strategy, and the results—with all of you. One of our company values is transparency. We believe in open source, not only for code but also for ideas.  And we hope this might help you or your business reach and engage with more people in a fun and constructive way.

Just one large disclaimer: we can only share what we did. We’re sure we made lots of mistakes (we make them a lot) and have no doubt you’ll be able to improve on our template.

Now, without further ado, here we go…

The Most Credible Source

The idea for our campaign was built around our belief that the most powerful and effective way to be introduced to our new company was through a credible referral.  Thus, we focused on building a campaign that helped people to spread the word to their friends.

Ahead of our launch, Andy and I spent a couple of months meeting friends, entrepreneurs and virtually anyone else who would listen to us talk about Harry’s. Whether or not they were interested in razors, we tried to interest them in our story.  That list of people was probably a couple hundred long by our launch, and we created the campaign to help that group of people publicly share in the excitement of our launch.

We also took inspiration from other startups that we looked up to. Michael Preysman at Everlane is a friend and has built an amazing company. Early on they’d had success with referral mechanics. We also admired Fab’s launch and the manner in which they had success in promoting sharing.

So, inspired by those closest to us and some other amazing startups, we created a referral campaign.

The General Campaign Design

The user interface of the campaign was relatively simple—a two-page microsite.

First, users entered their email addresses on a splash page. This first step was essential since we wanted to capture emails both for our list and so that we could use it as an identifier for tracking referrals.

Harry's Prelaunch Microsite

Click for full size

The second page was where the referral mechanisms lived. It contained a shareable link to the splash page coded specifically to the user. Below the link were buttons to share the link through email, Facebook and Twitter with the click of a mouse. By sharing the link with friends, users had the opportunity to earn free product. The more friends who signed up using your unique referral link, the bigger the prize you earned.

Harry's Prelaunch Microsite

Click for full size


Here is all the code for the campaign.  If you have trouble with that link, you can also download the files here.

[Note from Tim: Modifying and deploying this app requires some technical knowledge, BUT if you’re non-technical (like me), you can find people to help you. If you aren’t familiar with editing HTML and CSS code, or have never deployed a Ruby on Rails app, I recommend finding a partner with design and Ruby skills in either the Heroku Partners Directory (if you want a team), or ODesk (if a single freelancer will do). ODesk will have more options.]

The mechanics are simple. It automatically generates a unique code for every unique email address entered, and it appends that code onto the given URL. In our case, the link looked something like this:

When a referral—say, a friend of that first user—comes to the site using a unique link, we save it as a cookie we can use to find the email address responsible for the referral. For the engineers out there, you can see our engineering team’s explanation of the code here. As for the code itself, check it out here.

The code is, of course, important to creating a campaign.  In addition to sharing the code, we wanted to provide a few insights into how we thought about using it to drive growth.

Step 1: Make Special People Feel Special.

We saw prelaunch as a way to make people feel special.

And the first people in the world to find out about our brand were really special to us. We wanted our first customers to feel like they were getting insider access.

Splash Page Messaging

The copy on the splash page said, “Respecting the face, and wallet since like right now.” These words were intended to be playful and introduce people to the purpose of our brand but also leave an air mystery as to what we were all about. We paired the line with photo of one of our razors, but we included no more information about our company or product.

For the call to action on the button, we chose the words STEP INSIDE. Above the field was a small drawing of a key. We wanted to reinforce for our early customers that they were getting insider access.

Referral Page Messaging

Our referral page had more enigmatic design and copy. A picture of a wooly mammoth was coupled with the words: “Shaving is evolving. Don’t leave your friends behind.” Again, we wanted people to feel that something big was happening to which they had front row seat and the opportunity to invite friends to join them. Our first customers were insiders and we wanted to make them feel like insiders.

Step 2: Choose Tangible Rewards And Make Them Achievable.

The fundamental mechanic of our campaign was a game: complete the challenge of referring friends and earn prizes. It seems pretty straightforward—and it is—but we think that what those prizes are, and how they are doled out, is critical to getting people excited play. Not all reward structures are created equal. Here are a few things what worked for us.

First, we tried to make our rewards tangible: free Harry’s product. On the page, we very clearly emphasized, “Invite Friends and Earn Product.” It was the one message on the page where we did away with mystery and left nothing up to interpretation. We didn’t want there to be any doubt about what people might receive.

Second, we paced out the rewards so that they were attainable, appropriate for actions taken, and increasingly exciting. The first award was easily attainable and each subsequent tier wasn’t discouragingly difficult to achieve. To earn the first tier prize—a free shave cream—you had to make only five successful referrals. The next tier was only five further referrals. If you signed up ten friends, you earned a free razor. The jump between tier two and tier three was more significant but still not overwhelming: 25 referrals and you’d receive a shave set with our more premium handle, The Winston. Finally, even the grand prize was within reach: a year of free shaving for those who referred 50 friends.  Indeed, over 200 people achieved our highest referral tier. At one point we had considered offering a lifetime of free product for 1,000 referrals. We ultimately decided to scrap that tier, worrying that it would discourage people from participating at all, and — though we can’t prove that that decision bolstered the strength of the reward structure — I strongly believe it did.

Harry's Prelaunch awards

Click for full size


Step 3: Make Sharing As Fun As Humanly Possible.

We wanted the entire experience to feel like a fun game. To amplify the experience, the campaign page included a tracker, pictured above, where users could see how many friends they had referred and what prize they had achieved—or not yet achieved. This dynamic progress tracker served the dual purpose of (1) giving users faith throughout the one-week campaign that we were good for our word and (2) keeping track of their referrals while also incentivizing users who were close to the subsequent tier to keep sharing.

It also amplified the fun people might have with the interface and campaign as they compared their progress to their friends and strived to reach the next tier. We heard from some friends that they took the referral campaign like a personal challenge.

Step 4: Make Sharing As Easy As Humanly Possible.

Through the campaign, we wanted to encourage friends to tell friends, and those friends to tell their friends, and so on and so forth.  Any barrier to sharing would hinder the campaign, so we did a few things.

First, we included social sharing buttons. You can’t rely on the user cut and paste the link (though do make it available for the user who prefers that method).

Right below the custom link field on the page, we included icons for Twitter and Facebook. We had learned that using the standard Twitter and Facebook icons for sharing yields higher engagement than if you design your own.  People are used to them and recognize them immediately.

Clicking the icons pulled up a dialogue box with a pre-populated message.

This seemingly small measure was really important. It removed a barrier-to-sharing for the user and allowed you to push forward a message.

Harry's Prelaunch tweetClick for full size

Ours was really, really simple: “Excited for @harrys to launch. I’m going to be #shaving for free” with a shortlink back the campaign site.

Here are a few quick ideas that were helpful to us:

  • Include an @ mention of your company or initiative
  • Include a link to your prelaunch site
  • Resist the urge to be salesy. We tried to let the mystery of the message drive traffic through the link.

Step 5: Start by Telling Your Friends–Use E-mail, Social, Etc.

This post isn’t one where you learn brilliant tactics for generating and closing media leads (for that, check out “Hacking Kickstarter: How to Raise $100,000 in 10 Days”).

In fact, by our count, there was one article about the campaign while it was live. We didn’t have anything to do with the piece, and, while it wasn’t fully accurate, we liked it because it added to the fun around our launch and helped to amplify the social sharing that was already underway.

While we love the press (and they have been generous to us at Harry’s), for this campaign we deliberately decided that we would focus on our friends and let the groundswell build organically. We thought that having the referral come from a publication would be counter to the campaign’s ethos.

We started there, with our own friends. We had our team of 12 employees seed the campaign to their friends. Here’s a breakdown of how we suggest approaching those two mediums.


A few days before the campaign, we walked the whole team through the process of creating groups of contacts in Gmail. Everyone on the team added all of their contacts to two groups—a group that was familiar with Harry’s vs. a group that hadn’t heard of Harry’s. We wrote a sample email (see template below), though we really emphasized making the messages personalized. We wanted people on our team to share the news of our company and brand in the most comfortable way possible for them. We did all of this a day or two in advance because we wanted to be able to simply hit send on the day prelaunch went live.

Here are some tips for these emails:

  • Make it personal. These people are closest to you and, thus, to your product or company. They’re friends—so write to them like they are!
  • This is for friends, not press. If you send your prelaunch campaign to friends who are part of the press, make sure they know it’s not the time to “break news” about your company. If you can’t trust them not to do so, don’t keep them on the list. You want press when your company is actually live.
  • Encourage your recipients to spread the word. Make that ask explicitly—don’t be shy!
  • As a rule of thumb, assume the email will be forwarded, and craft your message accordingly (i.e., don’t disparage the competition etc., etc.,).
  • Set up email signatures—with links back to the prelaunch site and social channels—before emailing the world.
  • Consider appending a visual asset. We included a simple product shot of our razor with the phrase “Harry’s is coming,” hoping to pique interest.

Title: “Harry’s is Coming!”

Friends and Family,

After months of closely examining the weight of razor handles, natural ingredient mixtures in shaving cream and angles of razor blades, we are really excited to only be days away from launching Harry’s. 

You’re important to me and I wanted you to be the first to know about our plans for launch. We have just put up our pre-launch site, you can check it out at

Our full site will be up in about a week and I’ll be sure let you know when it’s live!

In the meantime, I’d love your help in spreading the word! Here’s how: 

1) Go to our website 

2) On the first page of the site, enter your email to join our mailing list 

3) On the second page, refer friends using your own custom link back to Harry’s – and as a bonus you can earn free Harry’s products!

Thank you so much for all of your help and support. I can’t tell you how much we appreciate it. Look forward to continuing to shareHarry’s with you and appreciate you telling the world! 

All the best,

[Your name]

We also reached out to a number of people individually.

We wanted to tell them ourselves in a personal way. For example, some of our friends could reach entire companies. We’d ask people individually share Harry’s with their teams. For an example of what this email could look like, see below for an actual email (in looking back maybe I got a little carried away in the excitement of the moment).

Hey [CEO],

Hope you’re great and everything is going really well at [Company]. 

I wanted to drop you a quick note and let you know that we just put up prelaunch site for Harry’s – check it out and sign up at We plan to launch in about a week. Super excited. Would love for you to pass the prelaunch site on to the [company] team and anyone else who you think might appreciate it. 

Thanks for your help. You’re the best. Hope to see you soon.


Social Channels

We launched our Facebook page and Twitter handle the day that prelaunch went live in an effort to capture social followers from the prelaunch buzz. As part of our seeding, our small team made a concerted effort to interact with our new social pages and handles. Our whole team did the following:

  • Like your company’s page on Facebook
  • Follow your company’s Twitter handle
  • Tweet about the campaign with an @mention of your company
  • Update your Twitter and Facebook profiles to say you work at your company
  • Track @mentions of your company and respond with a thank you—from your personal handle—if you see anyone you know tweeting about the campaign
  • Post a personal Facebook post about the campaign. We encouraged people to frame the launch of the campaign as a personal life event, i.e. I just started working at Harry’s and after a lot of hard work our pre-launch site is finally up! Check it out:

Step 6: Protecting Yourself Against Fraud

When you’re giving away free stuff, you’re opening yourself up to the risk of being scammed and the liability of people gaming your system. We took a few simple precautions to protect ourselves against fraud.

First and foremost, we set up IP blocking. This means our code looked at the IP address of every sign-up, and if a single IP address had signed up two email addresses to the campaign, we blocked the ability to create any more sign-ups from that IP address.

Second of all, we used SendGrid to send a simple transactional email to every email address entered.  If that transactional email bounced back—a data point that SendGrid provides—the email address was interpreted as illegitimate. Unsurprisingly, we saw the most fraudulent activity in the highest tier.

Step 7: Cross Your Fingers. You Never Know What’ll Happen.

Before the prelaunch, our small team set wagers on how many emails we would collect.

We wrote the figures on a whiteboard: Three thousand. Five. Seventy-five hundred. One bold person thought we could get 15k. (I think that might have been me!) We broke that high bar in the first day. When all was said and done, we had collected by our estimation over 85K valid email addresses (and over 100K emails in total) in the span of seven days.

Harry's prelaunch referral sign ups by day

Harry's Prelaunch Number of Referrals

Click for full image


The referral mechanics were amazing. As the first graph above shows, 77% of the emails were collected via referral, meaning about 20K people referred about 65K friends. This means referrers, on average, referred more than 3 friends.

Yet there were a lot of people who referred well above that average: More than 200 participants referred more than 50 of their friends, achieving the highest tier reward. These were largely people who were close to us with large followings or access to companies that sent out blasts on our behalf. Even in the lower tiers it was pretty amazing how many people participated. In total we gave away product to about 3,000 people and believe that those folks are still some of our most ardent supporters.

Two More Things…

The heavy lifting really started after our prelaunch: we had to get product to customers.

We sent out coupon codes to customers for the rewards they won. In this way, we redirected our customers to our full, live site where they could read the backstory of the mystery company whose prelaunch they had just participated in and browse our full suite of products.

We handled reward fulfillment through the distribution partner we continue to work with today.  We selected a distribution partner based on these four key principles:

  • Scalability – Can they grow with us?
  • Flexibility – Are they willing and able to play around with process to work toward our vision?
  • Price – Are they in-line with the market across all their services (not just pick/pack but also receiving, inventory, etc.)
  • Partnership – Do they require minimums and do they mark-up any pass through costs like outbound carrier costs?

In addition to a reliable distribution partner, a second critical element to our prelaunch campaign was customer support. We used—and continue to use—a platform called Zendesk to manage tickets from customers. We had fully a functioning customer support operation where customers could contact us via e-mail, phone, Twitter, Facebook, and even text message. On our first day in business, we had literally everyone on our small team manning Zendesk and replying to inbound tickets.

Thanks Where Thanks Is Due

It was truly amazing to see the impact that our friends and their friends (and their friends) could have on our brand.

We’ve thanked them numerous times, but if you’re reading this, and you participated in our campaign, then thank you again. It was instrumental to us building Harry’s.

While it’s very difficult to attribute its success to one specific variable — the code, the tactics, the idea — we thought we’d share our story in the hopes it might help you with your future endeavors. We have no doubt that you can tweak and improve this early experiment, and we look forward to learning from your future successes.

Most sincerely,

Jeff, Andy, and The Harry’s Team


Afterword from Tim:  For an advance look at what I’ll be doing with e-mail, click here.  I am also creating my own micro-site (a la Harry’s) and will be sharing all of my tweaks and findings with you.

Look forward to your thoughts and questions in the comments!

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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209 Replies to “How to Gather 100,000 Emails in One Week (Includes Successful Templates, Code, Everything You Need)”

  1. Great! I do a monthly giveaway and I have always loved the idea of referrals in general. I think referrals are the best way to grow quickly and get quality leads! Implementing this strategy just as soon as I can!

  2. Thanks for a great detailed article. Lots of value here for anyone wanting to grow their business with referral or viral strategies

    1. Any VPS with 1-2GB memory will work just fine for your prelaunch website. For my projects I prefer to use Digital Ocean and it costs $10-20 per month.

  3. Hi Tim,

    thank you very much for always sharing your best practice experiance with us. Today I tried to recunstruct the method with all the tools you reccomend, but it seems, that Harry’s prelaunchr ( is not updated anymore. Are there any other WordPress Plugins you (or anybody in this comment forum) can reccomend for generate leads by recompense, tracked by personalized links?

    All the best


    1. Hi Tim,

      I know that a lot of people experience exactly the same problem as you because Harry’s prelaunchr uses old versions of Ruby and Rails. I have rewritten the code of original Harry’s project with small updates and support for Rails 4, you can find it on Github – github(dot)com/Techofficer/prelauncher

  4. Amazing article. Reading articles like this keep my spark lit and when I reach a point to where I have accomplished something as you guys have I will continue the kindness of sharing success in hopes to keep someone else’s fire lit too. Keep up the amazing work!

  5. Truly enjoyed reading this! Very noble of you guys to share this with the world. It certainly gave me some ideas for our referral project.

  6. Tim : We are big fans and love your work.

    As you are a man of quality and integrity, and because I care about the work that you do, I thought it would be prudent and productive to share our experience following this blog post.

    As I am a non-technical founder, I paid much attention to these 2 sentences in the post’s title:

    1) “Includes Successful Templates, Code, Everything You Need “, and

    2) “ [Note from Tim: Modifying and deploying this app requires some technical knowledge…]”

    For me I place much emphasis on “ Everything you need” and “some technical knowledge”.

    Accordingly, I hired a Ruby On Rails developer to help us use the code provided on your blog and to modify it for our URL, logo, images etc. After 6 weeks, $ 2,000 of costs and 5 developers in 3 countries later we were finally able to wrestle the code to work for us.

    The issue is that the Harry’s code is no longer current and does not optimize for mobile smart phones or tablets. Hence lots of re-working required.

    In the spirit of reciprocity, we would like to offer you and your readers the revised source codes that we have paid for. This can help ensure that no one going forward has the same challenges as we did.

    The only stipulation on this offer is that we request that you change the words “some technical knowledge” to “a deep proficiency in Ruby on Rails” in your note to the blog readers.

    The end result is that we are happy with the pre-launch page and we are now sharing it with our social networks with the hopes of capturing lots of emails. I think you will like what we did. Please contact me and we can share the codes.

    I am grateful for all that you do and I look forward to reading, watching and listening to your future content.



    1. Hi Jeff,

      Sorry, but $ 2,000 of costs and 5 developers seems unrealistically. Average freelancer can do this work for $150-300 for 2-3 days. There are dozens of exactly the same jobs on freelance platforms.

      1. Yes agreed. We had to hire 5 of them as none of them could work with the code. Eventually we got it working after many updates and modifications

    2. Hi Jeff. You mentioned you might share the revised more current code. Are you able to provide a link as the OP did in the article?

  7. Love this post. Love the links to all the code… love the focus on prelaunch (5Ps)… and in particular… the authenticity in the approach. Know your worthy and ask friends to help support your genuine mission. Thanks guys.

  8. Hi,

    I was very impressed by the precision, at how this was accomplished! It was just ingenious to have great, free products. To launch, a social media campaign, with tiered prizes, for asking friends to sign up their friends, was priceless! What a great idea. It was an easy task for those that signed up to involve many other sign-ups. I will remember this, when advertising. This is very well thought out, right down to the last details. Thanks for the detail, and this so very well written!

  9. That code snippet is exactly what I’ve been looking for. Bookmarked and ready to use when I’m able to actually decide on a product launch. Have any of you found alternative codebase solutions to the same tracking system? Say, for example, PHP? All of my websites run on WordPress and this would really help, in my opinion, reduce code conflicts or hack-workarounds.

  10. Big thanks for this post! Currently using this method in a slightly modified manner to launch a new company in the e-cigarette industry. Should be ready to launch in a week or so!

  11. Where did the traffic come from? 100k email even if you were converting at 50% that’s 200k clicks in a week, Google doesn’t allow squeeze pages anymore. So was it solo ads or facebook or a combination of the two im guess you guys spent around 100k collecting emails is this just a pay to play sort of thing?

    1. As the article explains, it was effectively a ‘viral’ email campaign started from a base and encouraged through incentives for additional email addresses to be provided.

  12. This is one of those articles I read twice trying to grasp all the pre-planning that went into this. This is all great stuff and a few thing I will def try. Had know idea Harry’s did this thought they were just an old brand I continually heard on Podcasts. I have a beard so I do not need to shave but if I do I will def look to Harry’s they are a transparent brand and I respect that.

  13. Awesome post! I love how they remove the barrier to sharing with a pre-populated message. Definitely using this.

  14. Can somebody explain me the use of SendGrid? Is it absolute necessary?

    As its mentioned that they already restricted the use of single IP to not more than 2 registrations. Someone familiar to this do please explain.


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  21. In the code section of this article just before Step 1 (See below) it says the code can be found “here” in two different spots but there isn’t a backlink. Does anyone have this? Thank you

    [Moderator: Commenter’s link removed]

    When a referral—say, a friend of that first user—comes to the site using a unique link, we save it as a cookie we can use to find the email address responsible for the referral. For the engineers out there, you can see our engineering team’s explanation of the code here. As for the code itself, check it out here.

    The code is, of course, important to creating a campaign. In addition to sharing the code, we wanted to provide a few insights into how we thought about using it to drive growth.

  22. Can you clarify whether the people referred had to purchase a product or whether they only needed to signup with their email??

  23. Good article, lots of great tips. BUT, how did you get people to the pre-launch website in the first place.?That is the true First Step that is missing here

    1. There are lots of ways to go about this. The best one is to engage potential fans of your product in online discussions and to leverage other online influencers for the space your product is aimed at. You don’t have an audience yet… so you have to go to them.

      If you’ve looked and found that more than 15% of your business comes from Adwords it’s time to consider some alternatives to building your tribe online. Here are just a few ideas that we frequently coach our customers on.

      1. Participate on behalf of your company in online discussions related to your business.

      About 35% of our business has come from simply participating constructively in niche communities related to the business of online marketing.

      Answering questions on Quora, industry blog comments, and other online marketing forums helps you build a reputation around your business as an expert as well as driving traffic as people discover those conversations. Don’t be spammy… just add a link in your signature or specifically to a resource on your web site that helps answer the question.

      2. Contribute and promote content on sites like Slideshare or 9Slides.

      In this case, rather than discussing content, you are contributing it to a larger audience. Somewhat accidentally we posted an early pitch deck on KickoffLabs to Slideshare and every month that presentation tends to refer a couple more customers. It’s not that big each month, but relative to the time spent creating the content after a couple of years it’s been very worthwhile.

      You can convert these people even better if you send them to a dedicated landing page that targets the content that was published. The folks at Makerstool posted a good overview of this strategy here.

      3. Capture beyond your landing pages.

      Think about all the other places on your web site where you could be promoting your newsletter, offer, etc. This is why we’ve built widgets you can leverage to compliment dedicated landing pages.


      We sign up about 50% of people to our landing page course from the landing page and another 50% from the widget that non-customers see on our website. A landing page is NOT a campaign… a campaign is something that’s unified across your properties.

      4. Blog with a call to action.

      Unless you are blogging for the personal satisfaction of writing every piece of content should have a call to action. Remember that every page on your site is, itself, a landing page. You should be making good offers to your blog readers just like you would on your primary marketing site. Check out all the great calls to action on the side of the KissMetrics blog. (I hear the post is pretty good too! )

      5. Leverage existing customers

      This is why we build a referral program into every conversion generated by KickoffLabs. Your existing customers/subsribers are your best source of new customers. Give them some incentive to share your link with their friends or simply make them so happy they feel compelled to do so.

      6. Advertise somewhere else.

      Google is NOT the only game in town. You still have all the problems that come with advertising, but you could find the barrier to success lower by advertising on Bing, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Stumbleupon, etc. At least your costs will be lower to reach a comparable audience.

      You can even directly advertise on several niche communities. We run, for example, one cheap add directly on a website dedicated to the Bootstrap web framework. This ad is profitable every month and costs much less than adwords for compatible results. Check out and find a site that speaks directly to your customers.

      It’s also possible to advertise directly in niche newsletters. There is a service called LaunchBit that we’ve used in the past with success as well. They sell in-email advertisements that will let you reach out to your target audience.

      Founder – KickoffLabs

  24. what a great article! never expected that a word of mouth is such an effective way for free advertisement towards your company. i would like to ask is whether you were concerned of your page ranking on Google? Would using email marketing be the most effective way to generate sales instead of worrying about being on first page of Google?

    1. No – It has to be sefl hosted. There are products (KickoffLabs) for example that make this something you can setup in minutes.

  25. How did you initially get people to land on your landing page to enter their emails? how did you distribute the landing page?

  26. Great idea, i will really try this method to gather a heavy list for the email marketing as it is secure way of getting traffic and it provides continuous traffic to the website.

  27. Jeff, thank you! I haven’t (yet) tried Harry’s but I wanted to thank you profoundly for your post and supporting code. It is EXACTLY what I have been looking for!

    I hope that we cross paths again in the future. Your story is inspiring and I hope to be able to repay your kindness one day.

    All the best


  28. I must say this is the most authentic and workable tip I have found. It actually work for me also. Letting subscribers invite more subscribers and offering them free ebooks is helping to gain more subscribers.

    Thanks for sharing

  29. Helloきてぃw。



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  32. This website was… how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I’ve found something

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  33. Thank you for all your great advice. You have been one of my top influencers in starting my own site. So much I can learn from this article. Thank you again for all your work.

  34. I was wondering what type of promotion you ran to get the buzz out there… You didn’t run any social media promotions at all?

  35. Hi there, thanks for the reading, definitely a very actionable plan! Just have to take action to see results, agree with that, but what about quality of the list?

  36. Hey! Great read – what is your advice on timing for a pre-launch campaign. Do you think it will be just as effective if you are list building 6 months prior to your Crowfund launch? Or do you think it needs to be jut before the campaign?

  37. Great detail on the middle part of your campaign but I still have two unanswered questions:

    1) How did you get visitors to your brand new lead page in the first place? (did you pay for clicks?)

    2) Was there any explanation of the product? If all they saw is a picture of a razor and the phrase “respecting the face and the wallet” what got them so excited about sharing it with 10 friends?

  38. I don’t know whether it’s just me or if everybody else

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  39. Hello! Quick question that’s totally off topic. Do you know how to make your site

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    1. Hey, I personally started the free wordpress blog page, works good for now, have an option to switch to paid in the future.

  41. Hi, I am working on a referral campaign for an upcoming crowdfunding project we’ve already developed. I am curious to know what conversion rates should we expect from captured emails (or what was your experience during this campaign). I’d like to use this information to estimate how many free products we can give per qty of people signed up. Thank you and great article.

  42. Did participants receive each reward they achieved, or always just the highest level? (So e.g. with 25 referrals, did they get 1 reward or 3?)

  43. For years I have been hearing, you should have an email list. For years, I have resisted. Finally, I have given in and created one. Now I have so much to learn. Thanks for the inspiration on creating an effective email campaign.

  44. Inspiring story, I am looking to create marketing strategies like this. The key is to make people feel special.

  45. This is one of those things, like a perfect golf swing that looks simple enough when you’re reading it or watching it, but the subtle differences in skill are what made it amazing.

  46. I’d love to read an updated case-study on email collection/email funnels for when I launch my crowdfunding campaign.

  47. This blog blow my mind.
    Thanks for sharing the whole process to grow Email marketing.
    @Tim “Well written tips” on your blogs.
    How to convert email list persons into Custombers?
    [Moderator: link removed.]