We Need A Bootstrapped 100k+ Email List

Chris Herbert
3 min readJul 14, 2023

Every startup needs to have a healthy email list if they want investors to take an interest in their products or services. However, building an email list can be daunting, especially if you’re a bootstrapped company. To make matters worse, many startups need to compete with larger companies that seem to have an endless budget just for lead generation. If you’re in the same boat with a similar problem, then read on…

When my startup, Shine, had to build an email list to attract investors, we knew that we needed to be strategic since we were still bootstrapped. To maximize our eCPL for our $10,000 budget, we had to collect leads at a rate much lower compared to other companies who were spending $2-$3 per lead. To achieve this, we conducted surveys to figure out what our potential customers were interested in. The results showed that there was an interest in self-cleaning options and people wanted discounts at launch.

To make lead generation fun and interactive for our customers, we created a game. We designed a sign-up experience where users had to share to receive discounts on the upcoming product launch, and they could potentially earn a free device. We limited the number of freebies by implementing milestones, and this helped the company generate buzz and increase sign-ups.

We streamlined every part of their sign-up and share process to minimize drop-offs at each stage and maximize sharing (I believe that compounding is the greatest force in the universe). The result was a $0.10 eCPL rate with over 100,000 sign-ups in two months.

As a startup founder or a CMO, you can take a few lessons from our approach to generating leads:

Firstly, conduct surveys to understand what your potential clients want. This information will help you to design a targeted campaign that appeals to your audience.

Secondly, make the sign-up process interactive and incentivize shares from your sign-ups to increase word-of-mouth marketing for your brand.

Lastly, believe in the power of compounding and streamlining the process at every stage, making it easy for your potential clients to participate.

Building a bootstrapped email list can be a daunting task, but with the right strategy, it’s achievable. Shine’s game-like approach to generating leads was imaginative, interactive, and effective. By getting insights from surveys, designing an interactive sign-up process, and streamlining the process at each stage, Shine was able to achieve an eCPL rate of $0.10 and over 100,000 sign-ups in two months. As a startup founder or CMO, you can implement similar strategies to build a healthy email list that will be attractive to investors.

Want to see some of our lead gen flows in action?

You can visit https://www.squallgrowth.com and the team can help create a lead gen flow that works for your business

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Chris Herbert

Squall Growth Marketing for Startups. Previous 3x startup founder - TrackR, Cliq, Shine