email marketing with twitter cards

Grow Your Email List with Twitter Lead Gen Cards

Posted 27 September, 2014 in Blogging Tips / 10 Comments

Welcome to post #2 in Bumblings Blog Tips! (Almost) every Saturday, you’ll find a new post waiting for you here about different ways you can grow or improve your book blog. Last week, we talked about how to use Trello to organize your blog. This week, we’re talking an awesome list building tool, Twitter lead gen cards.

Email subscribers are a really, really valuable thing to have. For any blog. Facebook may change their algorithms, Twitter might change the way their timelines work, but email inboxes will continue to function similarly to how they always have. I’m not going to spend this post boring you with the different reasons you should have an RSS newsletter. Partly because I’ve already done that.

If you don’t want to read that post (even though it’s amazing, in my completely unbiased opinion), just know this: email is one of the best ways to reach your readers. (Tweet this)

Even social networks know that email subscribers are important to businesses and blogs alike. They offer a lot of ways to help you grow your email marketing lists. One of which is Twitter lead generation cards, often called lead gen cards.

If you use MailChimp (which I highly recommend as the best email marketing provider for bloggers), setting up a lead gen card can be done in as little as fifteen minutes, and I’ll show you how today.

(Note: I’ll admit that this idea didn’t have a lot of votes on my idea board on Trello, but Twitter redesigned their ads interface recently and made finding the Twitter cards area more difficult. I just re-found it this week, and wanted to write the post up before I lost it again. :P)

In This Post:

What are Twitter Lead Gen Cards?

Twitter cards are a way to add more info to your 140 character tweet. When you see a photo attached to a tweet, that’s a Twitter card. When you see a tweet with a link and below that a preview of the link, with a thumbnail photo and short description of the web page, that’s a Twitter card.

The lead gen card is a type of Twitter card that adds an email opt-in form to a tweet, so that a Twitter user can sign up for your email list without leaving Twitter. To make it even easier, Twitter uses the email associated with the account to fill out the form for them, so that all they need to do is click one button, and they’re subscribed!

Twitter lead gen cards let your followers sign up for your email list in one click, without leaving Twitter. (Tweet this)

Here’s an example (view the actual tweet here):

bumblings blog tips twitter card

Ways You Can Use Lead Gen Cards

There are a lot of different things you can do with the card once you’ve created it:

  • Create an advertising campaign. – You can target your current followers in order to make them more connected to your blog (emails are more personal than a tweet, and they’re more likely to see it than a random tweet). You could also target new people who may not know of your blog yet. You can even use an ad targeting method called retargeting to show your ad to Twitter users who have visited your blog before (this requires tracking cookies on your website and a little bit of online advertising skills).
  • Use the Twitter card’s permalink as a landing page. – If you want a simple, one-click way for readers to subscribe to your book blog, you can link to this wherever you would normally link to your Mailchimp sign-up form or an opt-in form embedded on your blog.
  • Pin it to the top of your profile. – Pin a tweet with the Twitter lead gen card to the top of your Twitter profile, so that the sign-up is the first thing someone sees when they go to your profile (like I did here).
  • Put it in a “thank you.” – When someone tweets about your blog or shares one of your blog posts, reply to them with a quick “Thank you” and ask if they’d like to join your email list, with a link to your Twitter card. While this may seem pushy or self-promotional, think of it this way: if they’re tweeting about your blog, they clearly already like it a lot. There’s a good chance they’d love to get your emails, but just haven’t signed up for them yet.
  • Use it in a contest or giveaway. – You know how you can pre-write the tweet people share when conducting a giveaway with something like Rafflecopter? Instead of a generic tweet with the title of the giveaway post, try writing a tweet that has the Twitter card, so that contest participants are helping you grow your email marketing list.

How to Create Twitter Lead Gen Cards with MailChimp

Depending on how much detail you want to go into when creating your privacy policy and the graphic for your lead gen card, you can quite possibly get through all these steps in 15 minutes or so.

1. Go to Twitter’s ads interface. Click the gear icon at the top of any page on Twitter, and click on “Twitter Ads.”

twitter lead gen cards step 1

2. Go to the cards area by clicking on “Creatives” and then “Cards.”

set up twitter cards

3. Create a new lead gen card. Make sure “Lead Generation” is toggled in the main section, then click “Create Lead Generation card.”

create lead generation card

4. You’ll now be taken to the card creation interface. This is where you’ll enter all the information for your card.

create lead generation card5. Come up with a description for your card. This will appear bolded at the top of your card. It should provide a description of what the Twitter user is signing up for. For the card I’ll be making in this demo, I’m going to describe the blog posts they’re signing up to get.

6. Add an image. You can mock up something quick in a tool like PicMonkey or Canva. I like incorporating the blog or feature’s logo to keep branding consistent. For this one, I decided to switch it up a bit, but still used my site’s usual colors and fonts. The image needs to be a minimum of 800 pixels wide and 200 pixels tall.

7. Write your call-to-action. This is the strong statement that holds the final words to convince the user to take an action (in this case, to subscribe to your blog). You want it to be catchy, but short, and use a powerful action word. Try timely things like “Subscribe today!” and “Sign up now,” or something fun like “Gimme!”

8. Link to your privacy policy. Since this is technically viewed as an advertising asset by Twitter, you need a privacy policy explaining what you’re doing with the data (name, email, and Twitter handle) you’re receiving from the card. If you don’t have one, you can quickly create one using Iubuntu’s Privacy Policy Generator. Throw the link into your site’s footer or on it’s own page, and you’re good to go.

9. Enter a fallback URL. There are some places, such as third-party Twitter platforms like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck, where the Twitter card won’t be fully displayed. This field lets you enter a URL that will be displayed instead. I like to use the regular sign-up form URL for the mailing list.

(Optional) Enter Destination URL settings. If you want to direct people who sign up to a certain webpage afterwards, like a “thank you” page, you can enter it here. You can also enter a short “thank you” or confirmation message.

10. Enter data settings. This step is optional but highly recommended. If you don’t connect the lead gen card to your email list, you’ll have to manually add the signups from Twitter to your list by downloading a spreadsheet of signups, and then importing it into MailChimp.

10a. Navigate to your list’s signup forms in MailChimp. After logging in, click on “Lists,” select the list you’re creating the lead gen card for, and then go to “Signup Forms” and select “Form Integrations.”

mailchimp form integrations

10b. Copy the submit URL given to you in MailChimp’s Step 2 and paste it into the submit URL field on Twitter. Make sure the drop-down list below that has “POST” selected.

mailchimp twitter card settings


10c. Select the data to be sent between Twitter and MailChimp. Under the section titled “Information below will be sent to your Submit URL,” select “Add hidden field” and enter “id” into the field on the left. In the one on the right, paste the unique code given to you in MailChimp’s Step 3.

10d. Name the data being sent to MailChimp. You’re almost done! Now it’s time to fill out the rest of the information being sent to your Submit URL. The only mandatory thing you need to do is put your merge tag for email (“EMAIL”) in the email field. If you want the user’s name and Twitter handle to be passed along, enter your merge tags for those pieces of information in the appropriate boxes.

11. Name your card. Since you may want to create more than one card, make sure this is something more descriptive than “Lead Gen Card.” I usually put the name of the mailing list in there.

12. Test your card. Twitter will now test it with the email associated with your account. If you have a double opt-in (which you do, if you use MailChimp), you won’t get a notification about new subscriber. But if Twitter says it worked, you can probably take their word for it. 🙂

13. If it worked, do a happy dance.


You should now have something like this:

book bumblings twitter cardSee the live tweet here.

I didn’t write a tutorial for other email marketing providers because 1. Except for the data settings part, it will all be the same, and 2. I don’t have accounts with them, so a step-by-step demo with pictures couldn’t really be done, and 3. MailChimp is what most of us already use, and if you’re not, you might wanna start. 😛

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How to Grow Your Email List with Twitter Lead Gen Cards

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10 Responses to “Grow Your Email List with Twitter Lead Gen Cards”

    • Yeah, I don’t think you can get around that. It won’t charge you for anything though. It’s just because the cards are part of their ad platform. I actually have a Visa gift card that I always use for stuff like that. It has like $5 on it, so if I’m charged for something I don’t know about, it probably won’t go through and I’ll be notified and can decide if I want to update the payment info or not.

  1. bex

    Awesome tutorial! Have you noticed an increase in subscribers since implementing the cards? I’d love to hear your results. 🙂

    Thank you!

    • Thanks! I don’t use them as much anymore, but when I was adding them to tweets thanking people for sharing my content, a lot of people signed up. Now it just sits pinned to the top of my profile, and I think growth has slowed.

      • bex

        Thank you so much for your reply. I think I will give them a try. I am new to book blogging, so I am still learning and trying to build my followers/subscribers.

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