little girl raising hand in class

How online quizzes can grow your email subscriber base

4 min read
Josh Haynam

When you hear the word “quiz,” how do you react? Even though you might have been out of school for a while, the idea of taking a quiz can instill nervousness or dread. But, in the online world outside of school, people love to take quizzes to test their knowledge and see how they compare to others. Online quizzes get great clickthroughs and can help you get new subscribers to opt in to your email program. New subscribers who are interested in your particular field are potential customers, so popping a quiz is a great way to grow your business.

So, how do you create an online quiz? Read on …

Brainstorm quiz topics

To get started, you’ll need an idea for your quiz. Here are two things to remember as you’re brainstorming quiz topics:

  1. Make the topic relevant. Being in sync with your readers is much more powerful than creating a quiz that appeals to the masses.
  2. Make the topic fun. The more fun and interesting, the more likely it will grab attention and get taken.

Write quiz questions

This is where you get to have a conversation with every single person who takes your quiz. It’s an opportunity to prime every visitor and prepare them to enter their contact information. Here are my top tips for writing quiz questions:

  1. Keep it short. Eight to 12 questions is the optimal amount — any more and you risk losing customers, any less and you don’t have enough time to make your quiz believable.
  2. Inject some personality. Pick a tone and use it to endear your readers. Be goofy, be oddball, whatever you have to do to establish a connection.

Write the quiz call to action

When it comes time to ask for an email address in return for showing the results of your quiz, it’s your time to shine. Follow these two steps to nail it:

  1. Keep it in context. A quiz provides you the unique opportunity to present an offer that makes perfect sense in context. For example, if your quiz is about losing weight, your call to action could say, “Enter your email to get weekly weight-loss tips.”
  2. Make it compelling. You are already trading the quiz results for the quiz taker’s email address, but you can do even better by offering additional value. Even if it’s just a newsletter, pose it as a valuable product. For example, “Get weekly tips from industry experts.”

Write the quiz results

After you’ve collected an email address from your quiz taker, you can ask that person to share your quiz. That’s where the quiz results come in. Here’s how to create shareable results:

  1. Prepare for sharing. Don’t write embarrassing or strange things in your quiz results. Quiz traffic is primarily driven by social media, so sharing is what you need.
  2. Stay positive. Be honest, but be upbeat. Make sure your quiz results make the quiz taker look good so they’ll be more likely to share.

Three examples of using quizzes to build an email list

SkilledUp uses a quiz to spice up content.


SkilledUp was receiving thousands of hits per week on an old piece of content that covered Microsoft Excel in depth. The problem? All that traffic only drove about 60 new email subscribers each month.

They introduced a quiz within the content and connected it up to their email list to collect leads before showing quiz takers how they did. The result was an increase from 60 to more than 700 new subscribers each month.

Death Wish Coffee uses a quiz to provide product recommendations.


Death Wish Coffee has created a cult following of people who crave the strongest, most delicious coffee in the world. They speak candidly and have a great brand personality. Death Wish marketers translated that candor into a quiz, asking people, “Do You Need a Death Wish?”

Worth Global Style Network uses a quiz to help customers with their businesses.


Worth Global Style Network helps big fashion brands make data-based decisions — I really don’t know what that means exactly. What I do know is their customers are interested in topics related to market research. That’s why WGSN created a quiz to help their customers discover who their customers are (customerception). It was a smash hit. While running for just a couple of days, the quiz generated 233 new email subscribers and more than 1,300 total views.

OK, are you ready for quiz time now?