How To Build Your Email List To 10,000 Contacts in a Year (or less!)

Reading Time: 12 minutes

Now that a couple of months passed by and I kept our social media posting on a consistent basis(thanks team – not!!!), it is time to start bringing the big guns out.

You probably don’t know, but back in 2020, we used quizzes to bring leads and sales to our website and our customers as well. By the term “quizzes”, do not assume we use funny or entertainment quizzes like the ones you see at Buzzfeed.

What I am talking about is quizzes that address a specific problem for the end customer.

It is a quiz that, through “self-discovery” via well-thought-of questions, we uncover the truth and we “prescribe” solutions to the people that take it. We cal lthis a “quiz funnel”.

Why quizzes? And what is a quiz funnel?

If you ask any small business owner to tell you what they wished for, then you would get two answers:

  • One is that they would wish for more time.
  • The other is money.

Quizzes solve both of these problems.

A well-structured quiz solves the issue of time, as it generates leads that are qualified, and if you have a CRM connected, you can add these leads to remarketing campaigns, email sequences and lead nurturing. You do not have to rely on cold calling, messaging groups on Facebook or adding friends and sending DMs.

Coupled with a few good ads, you can get leads day in and day out.

Quizzes also solve the issue of money. You see, when you generate leads – any type of lead, being to sell them an appointment or to sell them a product – you end up converting most of the (if your quiz and your sales process are optimised).

Quizzes were responsible for generating 958.976 Euros for a fashion brand we promoted back in 2020, in just 6 months! And now, after a period of re-structuring our own agency and repositioning it to better serve a bigger portion of our market, we will be launching several quizzes (which I will explain in other posts.)

A quiz funnel is simply the entire process of taking someone who has no clue about your business, through to generating sales.

We would describe the process as:

Ad > Quiz > Segmentation Based on Answers > Result > Upsells > Email WorkFlows > Remarketing.

But how does a quiz produces such amazing results?

When rookie or wannabe marketers throw a quiz, they do not know what to expect. They are not strategic about it. They do not know what questions to ask because they know shit about their customer.

Simply put, when a quiz is well structured, serves a goal, is aligned with the business objectives, and is aimed for sales, not some general haha moments, then it is a Lead Generating-Machine.

A well-thought quiz is a system to ask questions designed and positioned in such a way that helps you figure out exactly what your customer wants.
In other words, it’s a way of discovering what your customer wants to buy by guiding them through a series of questions and customizing a solution for them so they are more likely to purchase from you.


And it’s a way to do it that is completely automated and does not require one-on-one conversations with every single customer.

The advantages are a three-way-street:

  1. A quiz helps you get valuable feedback about your product or service. In the case of products, customers will tell you which products they want to buy. If you sell services, like appointments or coaching, they will tell you if they like what they see and book or not.
  2. The biggest revelation of having a quiz for lead generation and sales is that you can find out why they didn’t buy. You will have plenty of time to revise your sales plan, product, services, pricing and the campaign itself, and relaunch.
  3. When you optimise the quiz, all you have to do is scale-up and you are on your way to the Maldives, sipping a mojito.

Wait, what? Isn’t an ad doing that same job? Why do I need a quiz funnel?

Nobody’s perfect. An ad is simply showing a product with the hopes that the targeting, copy and image are the right ones for most people to buy. You are simply telling people to buy – or book an appointment.

A quiz funnel, on the other hand, aims in uncovering your audience hidden problems and prescribe them a solution – with the goal of buying what you are prescribed them or booking an appointment.

Here is the big revelation of the day: People have no clue what they want. They might need something but they do not trust you enough to buy it from you. And they do not know if your solution is the best, and whether your solution is what they want.

So you need to ask them: What is the biggest challenge you are facing?

And they will tell you (I am speaking from experience).

Ok, enough talking. Show me how to create a quiz funnel!

Ok, the first thing you need to do is establish what your goals are. Is it more sales? Is it more leads? Is it brand awareness? What is it?

For the sake of argument, let’s say it is more sales (every business owner loves selling stuff – and if it is automatic, with no effort on your part, wow!)

We will be starting the process with a workflow diagram.

The workflow provides a guide for what we want to achieve:

A typical funnel we create at Centis

There are more complex workflows than the above and it all depends on your product or your service – how sophisticated you want things to be.

A workflow includes:

  • A traffic source, like Facebook, Instagram, Google Ads
  • A landing page for the quiz
  • The quiz itself
  • An outcome of the quiz, which is generated either from the quiz or based on a custom page – the outcome can be a product recommendation, an appointment (i.e. if you are a doctor looking for more patients, after the quiz and the results you will be directed to book an appointment) or a voucher, a coupon, you name it.
  • A sequence of emails per outcome – where we follow up with the leads automatically
  • And several different landing pages after that.

What we do at Centis, is we always start at the end. After visualising the funnel, we create the end (outcome) sales pages, and then we create the email sequences, then the quiz and outcomes and only after that do we create the ad. In this blog post, however, and for whoever doesn’t have the time to read the whole thing which may sound abnormal we will start by creating an ad.

We always recommend you have a CRM to send email sequences so that you can also move customers according to their type (unless you are an eCommerce store, so there is no need to). If you do not have a CRM and you are looking for a powerful one, with unlimited contacts, leads and automation, Centis offers one with each subscription to one of our plans:-)

The Quiz Ad:

In the ad that features A LINK to your quiz, you need to try and assume what the biggest problem your target market has:

  • Do they need more leads?
  • Are they having skin problems?
  • Which product is best for them for their haemorrhoids?
  • Should they select a desktop or a laptop computer?
  • Do they need more traffic or conversions?
  • Which type of diet do they need?

and so on.

See some example ads I found for you on the internet to get an idea (and no, I do not have permission from our clients to use their ads, BUT I will create one just below these three 🙂

Aweber quiz - quiz funnels from Centis.net
Aweber quiz on the writing style
skin care quiz - quiz funnels from centis.net
Children's Hospital Los Angeles quiz - quiz funnels from Centis.net

and here is mine:

A Facebook ad featuring a quiz for lead generation

As you can see, the copy of each ad above (including mine) is addressed a unique situation that your audience needs help with.

Now, let’s move to the building of the landing page.

Quiz Landing Page Design

When people click on your quiz ad, they need to land on a specific page (hence, the landing page), where IT MUST match the copy, colour, text and images of the ad. Otherwise, you will cause them a disconnect and they will bounce off.

I would love to have found the landing pages of the above examples, but I haven’t so what I would like to point out are:

Your landing page needs to be clean. Not many graphics, not too much text (unless your quiz and your product require an explanation).

You need a headline that essentially repeats what you told them in the ad. So if on the ad you wrote “What skincare cream is right for you” your headline must be EXACTLY the same.

Overall, our landing pages have a headline, an image and the quiz embedded. See a screenshot from our quiz (you are welcome to take it if you like):

quiz funnel from centis.net

If you want some more inspiration I have provided two hand-drawn layouts to get your creative juices flowing:

Option 1: with opt-in at the start

quiz funnel sketch driagramm - centis.net
This has a big headline, an image on the left, text that explains the quiz on the right and an optin to start the quiz.

Option 2: Headline, Image on top, button to start, no opt-in

This has a big headline, a big image and a single button to take the quiz. Useful when your products are mainly visual.

Now that we discussed the landing page design let’s move to the quiz itself. Oh boy.

How to design your quiz for maximum results

As stated before, quizzes are excellent means of getting leads and sales and increasing your list – as well as retargeting your customers.

However, if you do not structure your quiz correctly then chances are that you will fail in generating leads (and then you will say that “quizzes do not work, I tried!!

1. Everything starts with a lead-generating title

Whether you are sending an email to customers, writing a blog post or posting on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, your title is the one which will get the attention of your readers.

So with attention spans that shrink day by day, you need to know the basic copywriting rules in order to catch your reader’s attention.

Here are some ideas about titles:

  • Replace “We”, “Our” or “I” with “You” and “Your” in the title: It’s simple but effective. Make it about them, not you – for example, “Are you having soggy skin”, “Is your bank ripping you off?”, or “What’s your dream job?” – these titlers will instantly get more attention and get more filled, than ones with bland, impersonal titles like “The Business Quiz”.
  • Place numbers in from of your headlines.: Numbers attract the eye, and a weird rule is that odd numbers work a bit better, for example, “7 Questions That Show You If You Are Prone To A Heart Attack”
  • Make your titles short. The main objective of the title is to guide the reader to the next paragraph! So whatever you write on your title must lead to what you will say next, where you will expand what you said before (in the title, get it?)

2. Make a quiz last up to three minutes or less

It would be great if your quiz could hold the attention span of your target market for more, but we do not live in an ideal world. As attention spans shrink, so is our patience. It is easy to be carried away and start asking questions about every conceivable problem you may think of – but your customers need fast solutions.

So keep your quiz short – 6-8 questions, lasting less than three minutes. That’s the idea rule. You will see more conversions than by asking 10-15 questions. If you do not believe me, just test it 🙂

3. Add visual elements to make it more appealing

Nobody likes a dry environment. Adding images, animated gifs and short videos that evoke a response, surprise and delight in the customer experience is a must. Statistics show us that if you add images, you will see at least 40% more conversions than if you don’t.

Some tips:

  • Images should fill, but not outweigh the question. The question must always be clearly visible.
  • Do not use stock photos that were used in the 90s. Use images with people looking, laughing and “speaking” at each other, not looking directly at you with their hands crossed.

4. Your lead form must be short

Do not use more elements than necessary to gather your leads. Most of the time, a name, an email and at best a phone number should be enough. The reason? Since your quiz is going to show people an outcome (either to book an appointment or purchase something) you will get more information during that phase than with the lead form.

Make the lead form short, so that you can have more lead responses – and then sync with your CRM, Facebook custom audiences and email marketing to market them again.

5. The quiz must lead somewhere

In our case, we do not design quizzes to be entertaining. In some cases, there is an entertaining element baked in, but the quizzes we create have two purposes: to prescribe a solution and to grab someone’s email.

In order to prescribe a solution, the quiz must be created in such a way that a combination of answers will lead to a specific outcome. Let me explain:

A client of ours who is selling collagen is offering 3-4 different products: two types of collagen powders and a couple of mixed collagen powders with other ingredients to boost results, all with different packaging.

The quiz is structured in such a way as to address the benefits of each product. Say that you have dark spots.

Then we know for a fact that Product A and B solve the dark spots issue, so when you take the quiz and amongst other questions you click the “I have dark spots” button, then the quiz will take you to Product A or the product B, depending on the other answers you provide.

The quiz software you are going to use must enable the use of outcomes – products with purchase options, discount options, a calendar link for those who book calendar meetings and URL redirects, in order to redirect someone to a page you want.

Now, the hard part: Emailing and staying in touch!

Email is responsible for nearly 45% of revenue or more for every business we work with, including ours. The one thing that you, the business owner, must realise is that one of the biggest assets you have is your list. It is in your best interest to see it growing – and in retrospect your bank account.

Why? Well because you own 100% of this asset. It is not followers on a Facebook page which can be wiped out in a day by someone who reports it, or your Twitter account or your ad account which can be shut down for no reason.

You control the emails that are subscribed to your database, and they belong to you. I can’t stress it enough.

So, imagine this scenario:

Someone clicks on your ad. They take the quiz, and in order to see the results, they must fill in their name and email.

Great – now you have another lead!

Upon filling in their email, they are redirected to the page where you prescribe them the solution. They see the product or they read part of the solution to their problem (i.e. they suffer from back pain and you propose them to do some exercises – but for more, they need to book a free consultation at your clinic).

Let’s assume for a moment that you sell a product. So the user sees the product, but he either wants to think about it, is not ready or doesn’t have his credit card with him/her.

So what do they do? They close the quiz page and move somewhere else.

Yes, but what have you accomplished? You got their name and email.

So what happens next is entirely up to you, but we generally advise to:

  • Design and send a customised email per outcome, that is personalised based on the selection the lead made, i.e. if he selected “I prefer pills” and “I have soggy skin” then you place these as tags into your email saying “You said that you prefer pills and your skin is soggy. In that case, as the result suggested we proposed the ACME Pill For Soggy Skin”
  • Send more than 6 emails per outcome that are following up. If the user finally buys, these are automatically stopped.
  • At the end of the sequence, make an offer to gain them as a customer. The offer could be similar to the offer on the outcome page, or even lower – the objective is to win them as customers.

This leads us to the final element of our funnel. The Sales Pages.

Design Sale Pages At The End Of The Customer Journey

Ok, now we are near the end. It is where the customer has seen the outcome, probably did not buy and we are going to get the big guns out 🙂

As described above, if a lead did not buy your offer at the outcome page, then you sent them a series of emails, which all lead to a final sales page.

The sales page must have three elements:

  • A headline
  • Image of your product or a video
  • A description of the benefits of the product or service.
  • A buy button (oh wait, did I say three elements? I meant four)

Here are some examples of sales pages:

An example of a sales page

If you really want to up your game, you should also consider adding remarketing to the mix. When a lead is registered, your email program grabs the lead and adds them to the remarketing list on Facebook, and if you have a remarketing ad activated, you can start showing ads immediately to people who didn’t buy.

The same thing can happen when a lead abandons the quiz since they are pixeled.

Overall, Quizzed Work

If you follow the process above, you can have a lead or sales-generating machine in no time. Depending on how you structure your ads, you can easily scale this to the number of thousands of leads per month- and we have seen lists exceeding the 5,000 per month if you do it properly.

If you want your own quiz in 14 days or less from the day of reading this post, we have completely standardised the whole process. It is as we describe above, but after doing hundreds of quizzes for our clients and us, we can make your list explode and consequently, your sales.

Yes, I want to have my own quiz created!

With ads, landing pages and emails, the whole nine yards

The 12-Month Growth Strategy For 2022- centis.net

The 12-Month Growth Strategy Plan For 2022

Reading Time: 9 minutes

In this post, we reveal what our plan is for growth for our new business model – and in the subsequent posts we will lay out what worked and what failed.

So January started very slowly – at the time of writing, we are on the final week of January 2022, and apart of strategising, writing blog posts and working on all aspects of the business, no one even touched the prospecting engine we created:-)

The team and I are trained on giving demos for the new product – the objective of the demos is to identify the needs of the customer and if she/he is a fit, then invite them to signup.

Following our shared goal for the year, which is quite ambitious – to reach 10,000 paying customers by the end of 2022 – we all agreed that the product, our value and our brand must mean something for all those people to jump in and commit.

I sat with the team in late December (yes, it was BEFORE Christmas) and we brainstormed on how exactly we will do it.

As with every customer before, we spend a lot of time with our heads down, drafting plans and scenarios that include all possible situations and hypotheses for 6, 12 or 24-month goals, strategies and action plans.

So this time, WE are our own customer.

After six hours of brainstorming sessions of GoogleMeet (ok, not in one go for God’s sake, who do you think I am?) with our partners, developers, designer, coders and PPC guys we laid out a plan.

But first an overview of what we have achieved since 2017 when we first started Centis:

  • We entered the nutraceuticals industry long before anyone else. As far as we know, we were the only agency globally that exclusively served that industry, just before COVOD hit
  • We have customers that love us and we hold the record of having 35 paying clients that none of them left up to now (the average paying client for an agency is 2 years), except when we announced the new product
  • We have a team of 32 people, from all over the world, and since 2017 just two people left the business to seek something else – all with very good terms.
  • Because of a very diversified team and a lengthy hiring process that I personallydeveloped, our success was higher than any other agency entering the market (that’s why our customers love us, I asked),
  • But we also had our fair share of failures, and did a few things wrong. One of these things was focusing on a small industry with few players and little room for growth – and we were too scared to be bold, afraid that we will lose ground. Big mistake.

So our focus for the next twelve months is very simple: to develop, acquire and nurture 10,000 paying customers that use and love Centis.

This is how we plan on doing it.

But First, Strategy

You will hear me talking about setting strategy when you meet me in one of our demos or if we take you as a client (at any package). As I have been educated in an American school, I tend to follow the guy that I studied – this is no other than the legendary Michael Porter and his Textbook on Strategy.

Of course, a few things need to be taken under consideration here. First, things have changed since 1989 when I was at college, and second – if you are a little bit smart, you need to find ways to improve what you have learned so in our case I am also using the Japanese method of Kaizen which teaches continuous improvement.

1. European Leadership

During our years in the nutraceuticals space, we learned a lot about very demanding customers. Customers that made a fuss over a spelling mistake and completely marketing-unaware customers that still live in the 1980s.

This gave us two things – first, experience dealing with difficult and demanding customers, always meeting their needs and aligning with their goals. Second, processes and standardisation, which we adapted for the new business model.

So our focus is to stop marketing aggressively outside of Europe, as we are based in London (and soon will be moving to central Europe), and focus (ok, not exclusively) on all European countries.

Our mission is to become the preeminent resource for small & medium-sized businesses when it comes to marketing.

2. Build the Centis Brand

Let’s face it, business come and go. We believe that our product, our efforts will help small & medium businesses to grow, and we’re focusing on that. Below you will read that, we have plans to provide a huge amount of value to our European and (later) international community. Our mission is to become the preeminent resource for SMBs and startups when it comes to marketing and growth.

3. Rely on Data

Centis was and will always be relying on data to achieve things. Digital marketing gives us this possibility. It is what we teach our clients to do, and it is how we make decisions together with our clients. However, now we do not plan on having just 35 clients. We plan on having 10,000, and it is not difficult to achieve.

Yes, it may sound crazy to you, but we have seen growth in other businesses similar to what we plan.

So using data, we need to have predictability. We need to dig deep into data and know that when we do one action, we will expect this set of results. We can’t depend on luck; this will be the only way to make our growth systematic.

When I was a marketing manager for a toy company back in 2015 in the UK, I came across a book called “Freakonomics”. I will not write about it here, but on the back, there was one paragraph that defined who I am.

“Assume Nothing, Question Everything”

This resonated deeply with me, and in order not to forget I printed this phrase and stuck it in front of me, in every place I was hired.

This is more important than ever, now in this age of digital and data.

The Biggest Bottlenecks We Need To Address

1. Hiring Faster To Accommodate The Needs Of The Many

Up to now, our agency had a very lengthy process of hiring people because we wanted to hire the best for our clients. With the new plan, will we be doing everything that we can to put together the right mix of talent to take Centis to 10,000 clients?

How can we hire the right employees as we grow?

It is not enough to be good marketers anymore. We all need to think like what we do affects the business and everyone’s wellbeing – our own and client’s alike.

2. Working Faster While Keeping The Clients Happy

Our new services do not allow for length processes or meetings. We now have three specific tasks:

  1. Build a website to clients’ requirements based on our templates;
  2. Write effective email newsletters for them;
  3. Manage their paid acquisition to get them leads and sales, exactly as we would do for us.

However, to be able to help more clients we need to be moving faster than we are. To do that, we’ll need to set more regular milestones and timelines that need to be checked weekly, monthly and quarterly. This will keep us focused on the right tasks to progress toward our 12-month goal.

Constantly Improving Our Product

When we entered the world of website development and hosting at the start of 2022, we knew that we opened a door to the unknown.

For starters, any website will be having bugs, plugins will not work at some point and connections between services will be lost. That’s why we are increasing the number of developers and client care specialists – so when anything happens, it will be reported immediately and sent to the developers for fixing within hours. That’s our objective.

At the same time, we think that upon someone signs up on any CORE plans, it is not enough to simply be faced with a website and expect them to just add content. So our plan for the year is to create an onboarding experience with goal setting and free courses with videos on marketing.

How Will Our Goals Be Achieved?

We tend to break our goals into small actionable steps. This is what we always advise our clients to do as well. By breaking our goals to small tasks they become more manageable day by day, week by week, month by month.

Step 1: Increasing Our Blogging Activities

We KNOW for a fact that blogging brought us 100% of all leads in the previous years. I admit that this practice takes time and patience so if someone needs leads and sales NOW, they should resort to paid acquisition.

We’re going to grow our blogging activities by doing:

  • Extensive keyword research to validate blog posts subjects
  • Write at least one short form (1,000 words blog post) per week and one at least 2,000 blog post (this will be detailing our journey)
  • Closely tracking blog metrics and movement of blog visitors through our funnels
  • Build up relations with other small & medium business-related bloggers so as to write guests blogs

Step 2: Community Building

Writing blog posts is nice and eventually brings much needed organic traffic, but it is essential to build the Centis’ brand outside of our own web property:

  • Developing a data-driven social media strategy (which platforms are best for us?)
  • Asking customers permission to write case studies to be published around the web
  • Creating a community for entrepreneurs (this is in the works)
  • Building the relationships we need to get more high-profile customers using Centis

Step 3: Putting More Efforts On Organic SEO

We never really tried to do anything with SEO. So far, we got the majority of our leads by targeting specific keywords through our blog. From February 2022 we are going to be taking a more strategic approach to organic SEO by:

  • Doing keyword research to find out what our prospects are searching for
  • Building blog/webinar/video content and targeted landing pages specifically for those interests

Step 4: Affiliates & Partners

A year back, we tried (unsuccessfully) to target the marketing managers of large and medium nutraceutical manufacturers and bring them on as “resellers” to Centis.

Basically, we said to them “Look, you only care about selling your supplements to brand owners, and you do not really care if the brand owner knows how to sell them to their customers. Let us change that. We will install a virtual marketing team to you and you will resell white label marketing to your brand owners, helping them succeed”.

It spectacularly failed.

As our new business model does not allow us to do the above, we can only offer a percentage to people that refer business to us. What we need to do is find out what incentives and programs are out there so that anyone who osigns up as an affiliate will have a good incentive to do so.

Affiliate marketing is something we push to every customer – we set up their affiliate/referral system so as to expand faster, without advertising.

In our case, our first step is to look into our network, our software and whatever we use and ask these people to work with us.

Step 5: Driving Paid Traffic

We have never ever tried paid traffic for Centis before. For starters, our Facebook page has zero Likes, because we never promoted it. Our Twitter sucks, for the same reason.

So now, what we will focus on is:

On Facebook:

  • Getting our page Liked by 10,000 people by the end of the year through paid ads (we tested doing this only with hashtags and works very very, bery slowly)
  • Create lead ads that focus on getting appointmens with qualified prospects that DO NOT have a website (our Full stack offer is too high for Facebook ads)
  • Create retargeting campaigns

On Quora:

  • Answer as many questions as possible and create ads there

On Twitter:

  • Focus on getting our Twitter page get the same followers as on Facebook
  • In the past, we tried twitter ads for customers, but didn’t work out. We will try to see if it will work for a service-based product.

Native Ads & Adroll:

For native ads, we will explore networks like Outbrain and Taboola, including sponsoring newsletters.

Adroll is working perfectly for all our customers, producing more than 350% ROI.

Google Ads:

Google ads are definitely on our top priority list. What we have done for clients is – before anything – we put up a highly converting landing page that has been tested hundreds of times, so we know it will convert. Then all we have to do is run search ads with the pain problem and the solution together in the ad.

Then retarget using Google Display ads.

Step 6: Leads Nurturing

During the years that passed, I personally developed an appetite for email marketing. Through many experiments we came up with a sequence that we install to all customers – the only thing that we change is content.

Selling a service is a bit different, but I have purchased marketing, apps and coaching via email also I know that it works. All we have to do is:

  • Implementing drip campaigns for new subscribers that drive them toward signup
  • Creating more “middle-of-the-funnel” content for qualified leads

Here is our biggest issue -how to choose the right email service that works. Mailchimp is out of the question, as it is too basic for us.

We have been Klaviyo partners for years with impressive results, and we tried to use it initially on our own site, BUT we have found that leads do not easily enter the CRM and the Klaviyo environment was built for eCommerce, not agencies selling services.

Currently, we experiment with ConvertKit. I will update this post accordingly.

Now What?

This year is going to be different.

We broke all big strategy items into smaller parts and now each one of us has a clear task to do.

Reporting from the team meeting, everyone feels excited as we have an entire continent to target with no limitations and no fear of alienating our small prospect pool as before. As of today, every small and medium business – with or without a website – is a potential client.

I can’t wait to see what this effort brings.

I do hope that this transparent way of peeking inside our business, has got your business and creative juices flowing.

Of course, feel free to copy any of the ideas above for your own plan. I hope it’s as useful for you as it has been for us.