10 Surefire Ways to Get More Opt-ins & Grow Your eCommerce Email List

Growing your eCommerce email list is a common topic in the eCommerce and blogging community alike.

It’s easy to understand why.

Email has repeatedly proven to be the most effective form of communication and the best marketing channel for ROI. And in eCommerce where competition is most fierce, being able to start off growing your list right out of the gate can be a game-changing move.

No matter where you are in your email marketing — just starting out or been at the game for a while now — there are always areas for improvement.

As an email marketing tool, we’ve had the chance to send and study billions of emails while working closely with many in the eCommerce industry to find methods for helping grow your eCommerce email list.

Would you like to know what they are?

Great!

We’ve compiled our list of the hands-down best ways to grow your email list in 2020.

1. Pop-ups

So let’s start with the most obvious tactic for growing your email list:

Pop-ups.

Pop-ups and opt-in forms are the most important part of growing your list because without them, you’ll find growing your list to be similar to walking up the down part of an escalator.

Basically, it’s an uphill battle that’s pointless.

Therefore, when it comes to growing your eCommerce email list, using pop-ups are your best friend.

That’s tip numero uno.

Now, it’s one thing to just add a pop-up to your site. It’s another thing entirely to add a Pop-up that’s going to get people to sign up.

So when placing Pop-ups in your site, look for intent.

Exit-intent pop-ups or pop-ups that show after a bit of inactivity are a great way to portray opt-in forms that aren’t boring or stale. When you target the behavior and intentions of your viewers, pop-ups can perform even better.

We’ll be diving more into types of pop-ups and opt-in forms and ways to best utilize them.

So just hold tight to learn more tactical approaches for your email marketing.

2. Offer First Purchase Discounts

Want to boost your subscriber count?

Then incentivize your opt-in forms by offering people a chance to save money if they sign up.

70% of subscribers open emails in hopes of finding a discount code to use. By offering that right off the bat, you increase the chance of gaining a subscriber.

The other upside to using a promo code is that you can usually track them to see how they’re impacting sales and where they’re most effective (e.g. thank you form or welcome email). So while this tip will help with growing your email list, it can help you find areas for improvement in your sales funnel too.

It’s a win-win, and doing this is relatively easy.

In the initial pop-up use the copy to offer a discount on their first order from you. After successful form submission you can either send them the promo code via email or display the promo code in the second thank you form that usually appears after sign up.

Many email marketing or opt-in form tools will (or at least should) make doing either one nearly effortless.

3. Optimize Opt-ins: Timing, CTAs, and Placement

Now, usually, when thinking of email opt-in forms, we tend to think in the narrow field of pop-ups only.

Sure, pop-ups are a type of form and they’re effective at achieving a result, but…

They’re not the only type or always the most effective. There are a lot of placement options for email opt-in forms and people have had great results from trying them out.

Here are a few form types and where you can place them:

  • Header Opt-in. The opt-form is in the header, above the fold.
  • Notification Bar. This can be a form that shows as a bar at the top or bottom of the screen.
  • Slide-in or floating opt-in. As the names sound, these are less invasive when compared to a full “in your face” pop-up, but the movement of these coming into the screen is enough to catch the eye.
  • Stock Item Reminder. Another powerful way to grow your email list is to give people a chance to sign up for a notification when a certain item comes back in stock. You can include these forms on a case-by-case basis on product pages.

Depending on the opt-in form you’re using, the options available to you could be more or different, but these form types provide a great alternative for adding subscribers to your list.

Now, let’s chat about optimizing the other parts at play here.

Opt-in form placement is just one part of the puzzle. You also need good timing with appealing CTAs to make your opt-in engine to run smoothly.

As far as timing goes, here are a few tips:

  • Pop-ups that display shortly after landing on a page tend to have a better conversion rate. Don’t wait for more than 10 seconds before a pop-up or welcome mat appears.
  • For mobile, test switching from a pop-up to a notification bar that appears as soon as someone lands on the page to see how that converts. These are less intrusive and provide a better mobile viewing experience without losing out on gaining a subscriber.
  • Trigger your opt-ins to show based on behavior. Exit-intent Pop-ups, as mentioned earlier in the post, are a great way to time a pop-up based on someone’s behavior.

Powerful CTAs is the other part that you shouldn’t miss out on nailing. However, it’s hard to set strict rules about what to include and what to avoid since it all depends on your audience.

Offering a discount for a first purchase is always worth a shot if it doesn’t hurt your bottom line.

4. Newsletter Sign-ups

Some people want deals for promotions.

Others want information.

And if someone wants information, they probably want to be included in your newsletter.

Some eCommerce brands don’t offer a newsletter separate from their regular promotions, but if you create a lot of content or share updates about your brand, then a newsletter is a great thing to have and offer.

If you have a blog for your eCommerce store and put out content there, gaining subscribers through a newsletter opt-in is a smart move. You can put the opt-in form anywhere it makes sense.

The header, the sidebar or footer, or in the blog post itself.

If you create this kind of content, make sure you’re taking advantage of the traffic you push at it by using forms and pop-ups to grow your list.

5. Run Giveaways

People love free stuff.

We really do.

Have you ever been to rummage sale? I’ve seen people fight over a bag of old, used hair rollers just because it was free…

All jokes aside though, the chance to get something valuable for free gets folks all sorts of amped up.

And if you offer the right type of giveaway, you can skyrocket your subscriber count with your prime audience.

eCommerce company, GroMo, launched their giveaway and made $8K in sales while 6x their email list growth.

So, yeah, it’s safe to say these can work.

There are a few ways to run a contest, but the best ones for our purposes are when you’re able to collect email addresses rather than garner social likes and shares.

Tools like KingSumo or Gleam.io are perfect just for this purpose and most of them are gamified to add to the fun nature around your viral-focused giveaway.

6. Create a Landing Page

You might think building a landing page dedicated to gaining email subscribers a bit odd for an eCommerce store, but it’s actually very common practice.

A lot of brands, especially those in the subscription or grocery-delivery verticals use this tactic to drive up email conversions with the aim of turning people into customers.

A landing page like this can always be used for PPC ads or other marketing purposes. What’s important is to have the CTA buttons connect to an email opt-in form.

After someone signs up on this landing page, you can have it trigger a specific welcome email series to help convert the user into a customer.

And you can have more than one of these landing pages.

If you have a few types of products or if you have different customer personas, having various landing pages for each one can help increase your conversion rate as you can change the copy to appeal to each consumer type.

If you need some landing page inspiration, here is a great article to read over.

7. Try a Spin-to-win Option

This is a relatively new opt-in form type, but it’s proven to be highly effective — at least for the time being.

Why does it work so well?

One word: Gamification.

With a spin-to-win form type, viewers are introduced to a new and unexpectedly fun way to engage with your brand. And the reason they’re willing to enter their email is for the chance to “win” something from you. (See how much people love free stuff?)

It could be Free Shipping, X amount off an order or some other enticing offer that they can get just by offering up their email.

A gamified option like this has been shown to increase email opt-in conversions up to 30-40%. There are a lot of options around and they’re pretty simple to add to your website.

A good way to see if it’s effective is to add the spin-to-win options to your we, site during a time when you’re running a promotion and a lot of traffic is coming in.

Compare it to the data from your other pop-ups during a similar promo and see if there’s an increase. Either way, a gamified option can be a fresh and fun thing to add to your branded site which is something many consumers will appreciate.

8. Try Text-To-Join

If you’re scratching your head and wondering, “but this isn’t collecting email addresses...” trust me, I get it.

via Looney Tunes on GIPHY

But here’s the funny thing.

A lot of email marketing tools, including ours at Sendlane allow you to collect phone numbers to send SMS messages to your customers and it’s all controlled inside your email marketing platform.

So while it’s technically a text that you would send and not an email, it’s still a managed part of your email contacts and email marketing strategy.

Do you want to know the good news about this?

SMS texts have been seen to have as high as a 90% open rate.

90 percent! That’s almost unheard of in the marketing world, and yet SMS messaging can give you that.

As mentioned, some email marketing tools have this option built into their platform so it would be rather easy to add an opt-in form to your site. Another way to gather more numbers is to add number-only forms to show on mobile devices.

9. Offer a Rewards Program

This tactic builds on some of the ideas above.

Only, instead of winning or getting something for free, you get rewarded based on certain actions or purpose via a rewards program

Do these work to grow your eCommerce email list?

Yeah, they do!

Here are just a few examples of some online brands that, according to Shopify, have had some success from using rewards programs:

  • “Pura Vida Bracelets increased referral sales by 300%”
  • “Evy’s Tree generated 83X ROI and lifted return customers 58%”
  • “Dr. Axe’s members spent $2.35M more than non-members in 90 days”

And how to do you think those sales are facilitated? Through gathering email addresses to send personalized offerings to rewards program members.

Rewards + email = sales

I’m not a math person, but I like how that adds up.

The only drawback to this tactic is that it does take a heavy investment in time to do it right so there is a need for strategy and direction to make this an effective use of your time.

Shopify’s Loyalty Program article and guide provide some great insight and direction if you want to take this tactic seriously.

10. Pull Email Subs from Social

Now you can do this, one of two ways.

  1. Push organic social follower to sign up to your email list, or
  2. Use social media ads to push both those inside your organic reach and those outside of it to your list

One is free but requires time and effort. The other requires time and effort but isn’t free. Neither one is better than the other here, but both work to grow your email list.

The first you can and should be doing as part of your overall social media strategy all the time. (Social should always be supporting other marketing initiatives where it can.)

The second requires a paid advertising budget which not every brand has the means to do.

However, it’s still an option when email is at the focal point of a marketing strategy and the budget is there for it. Running ads for this sort of thing doesn’t have to be something out of the norm.

You can run ads to a viral giveaway or for a promo and have that trigger a welcome email series.

There are many who have had great success doing this, but it takes a real test or two for your brand to find out whether or not it will work for you.

Growing Your eCommerce Email List Fast Could Be Just A Few Tweaks Away

Marketing is a bit of a science — you gotta test things to find something that works.

There’s a lot of great advice out there that can help you grow your email list, but they’re ones we’ve seen work on a number of occasions for many Sendlane eCommerce customers.

This post lists are a couple of handfuls of ways to grow your email list.

No doubt at least a couple of these ideas resonated with you.

If you’ve found that your growth has stalled out, why not take the ideas that you liked and test them out to see how your audience likes them.

Every eCommerce business is a bit different in what will work or not. But until you try, you’ll never know what will work best for your brand.

So, take a shot.

Do something different.

You just might be surprised at how much growth your list will go through when you do.

Ready to get started? Grab your free trial of Sendlane right here! (14 days no credit card required!)

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Caitlin Hutchinson
Brand Marketing Manager
Sendlane

A native of San Diego, California, Caitlin has a passion for developing creative and engaging marketing content. Primarily responsible for overseeing the development, execution and delivery of digital content across all of Sendlane’s channels while maintaining an online presence of Sendlane's team culture. Host of The Marketing Automation Hustle Podcast and Sendlane Youtube Training Channel. Works closely with the marketing team to manage creative projects and develop creative assets/solutions to enhance the brand. Collaborates at the intersection of marketing, product, content, and sales to develop powerful and memorable stories and interactive experiences that bring the Sendlane vision to life.

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