Email marketing is vital for eCommerce.
You know it. I know it.
Even the kids next door probably know that’s true.
But if your brand is going to thrive in this market, then your marketing strategy has to include email acquisition, AKA growing your email list.
There are plenty of ways to get a boost to your lead generation, but there are a few ways that continue to work when you put in the time and effort.
Here's what you'll learn in this article:
- 5 proven strategies that eCommerce brands use to skyrocket their lead generation
- Actionable steps you can take to implement each strategy
- A few of our favorite third-party tools that will make implementing these strategies even easier
5 Tried and True Tactics for Growing Your eCommerce Email List
2020 was an odd year. But as our podcast covers, email marketing offered a lot of value, and it will this year.
While we’d all love a magic button, we could push that automatically generated a huge list of happy, ready-to-play customers, the truth is that button doesn’t exist.
It’s gonna take time and effort to generate the leads you’re wanting, but not every idea out there works or will work for you.
So we dove deep into our own findings and what’s been working for our customers, then boiled it down to five of the best, time-testing tactics to help you grow your eCommerce email list.
1. Take advantage of high traffic pages
I know, I know. This isn’t anything new, but it does work… if you can do it right.
When the name of the game is gaining new subscribers, you need to go to where the people are on your site.
The higher the traffic on a page, the better chances you have of collecting an email address from the people visiting your site. Which is exactly what Caraway Home did with their pop-up shown here.
To target your high traffic pages, you usually need to look at Google Analytics (or any other analytics tool connected to your website, like HotJar) to discover your pages with the most traffic.
If you haven't set up analytics on your site just yet, this guide is really helpful.
To find your highest traffics pages in GA, do the following:
- Login to your dashboard.
- Click Behavior--> Site Content --> Landing Pages or All Pages
- Review the report or edit the date range
Okay, so, here’s the deal…
Pages with the highest traffic can change from time to time.
For example, one month, you may be running social media or Facebook ads to pages on certain product categories or a landing page, so the traffic to those pages may go up while others go down. Or, you may find that someone else wrote about you, and traffic on the page they linked to is booming.
With that in mind, it’s a good idea to continually review the traffic on your site to see where you might best be able to take advantage of things.
We often find that eCommerce brands will show the same opt-in with the same copy throughout their website.
It’s quick, it’s easy, and it seems like the best way to make sure you’re covering all your bases.
But if you look at the opt-in metrics of those forms, you may feel like they could be better — and they probably could be. Even though it may take a bit more time and planning, getting a bit more creative can help crank up the opt-in conversion.
Look at the page's content, why it’s high, where the traffic is coming from, and if the sales are high or low. Doing this can give you a clearer idea of what sort of changes to copy could help bump up conversions.
Even something as simple as changing up the opt-in form type could be useful on high traffic pages.
Here are a few to consider as a lead magnet type if you’re not using them already:
- Fullscreen (like the image shown above on a homepage)
- Floating bar on top or bottom
- Sidebar sign-up form
- Slide-in or slide up form
- Exit-intent popup
Opportunity is always knocking for small businesses and big businesses alike, and if you keep looking for it, you’ll be able to snap up more conversions.
Action Steps For Marketers
- Review analytics twice a month. You don't have to stare at your analytics too much. You can use a tool like Google Analytics or Hotjar. Usually, reviewing things twice a month and around the time when you're doing promotions is a good balance. If you notice an uptick in traffic to certain pages, review the opt-ins there and what the conversion rate is. You can easily A/B test a different form or copy on that page if need be to see if that gives things a bump.
2. A/B test your opt-in form types and offers
As much as we’d all love to set and forget our forms and chant, “grow email list, grow!” we really can’t afford to.
If there’s anything that the past year has taught us, it’s that we should sit back and expect things to go on as they normally.
And that applies to everything in your lead generation funnel, including your opt-in forms.
Continuously A/B testing both our form types and the offer in question is a great way to grow your email list. Does it work to increase conversions?
You bet your sweet Uncle’s Volkswagen it does.
One simple A/B test helped this guy increase opt-in rates by 37%! That was only with a few minutes of work on one form. There are other examples of this working too.
A couple of simple tweaks can do a lot more than you think. Here are a lot of ways to go about doing what should seem like a simple A/B test. So to make it easier for you, here are some suggestions.
Action Steps For Marketers
- Test one form type vs. another form type. For instance, if you always use a pop-up, test using a floating bar with the same copy/offer. If you use a slide up offer, test a full page (AKA Welcome Mat) form type. With Sendlane's Intelligent Pop-Ups, you can easily create on-brand opt-in forms and your dashboard analytics will track which ones are top-performing!
- Test the offer. Here, you can keep the form type the same but simply change the offer itself. If you’re offering a % discount to sign up, change the incentive on the action button or in the heading to something like Free Shipping or a free gift. You could also try adding social proof to the form to see if that impacts things.
- Change the offer on mobile. Do you get a lot of traffic through mobile devices? Test an offer for mobile uses. For instance, make subscribing to your list easy by letting shoppers subscribe by text message. (Psst, Sendlane does SMS as part of our platform too!)
3. “Personalize” the offer on product pages
Ooo, this is a fun one.
What do we mean by “personalize” the offer?
Well, there are two ways you can do this. The first is usually dependent on the features of your email opt-in tool, and the second is something you can do no matter what tool you’re using for email capture and growing your email list.
Let's chat about the first one. This is where you will display a pop-up specifically for people who come to you through another site.
Some tools make this easy to do. A form tool like Justuno can help you create this type of opt-in for email subscribers but also get access to onsite personalization and even gamified forms (more on this in a bit.)
If you don’t feel like switching opt-in tools or searching for something that does this, then the second option is to add a touch of personalization to product pages.
What do I mean?
For example, let’s say your eCommerce brand specializes in selling wine.
Your product categories can easily be split into two main things: Red wines and white.
So on the product pages for red wines, you could have a form that directly mentioned their interest in red wine. And on product pages for white wines, mention their interest in white wines.
In addition to that, you can bend the offer around each interest to incentive the opt-in. Each offer has a touch of personalization without being overbearing.
You can do something similar with the products on your site. It can take a little bit of creativity on your part to find a way to change the tone on product page popups to be more personal, but it could be well worth the test to see how well it does.
Action Steps For Marketers
- Consider an email signup form tool like Justuno for onsite personalization. Personalized offers do wonders for the customer experience. Giving onsite personalization can also give your open-rates a good bump up as well.
- Get creative with product category opt-ins and calls to action (CTAs.) If you don't want to use a tool like the one mentioned above, you can still find ways to add a personal touch to your content. Take time to review the categories on your site. Do certain demographics always view these pages? Would a more playful tone insight more signups from your target audience? There's no wrong answer. Asking questions like these will help you spin the wheels a bit and get creative in optimizing your forms on these pages.
4. Offer “In-stock” notifications for list growth
Want to hear a gut-wrenching number?
Online retailers lose $1.75 trillion dollars annually from a few things, including out-of-stock items.
It’s no one's fault when something goes out of stock. That probably just means that you’re selling a great product people can’t wait to buy.
But if that product is out of stock with no options for getting their hands on it, they’re going to go elsewhere.
That’s where stock alert notifications can come in handy: both for sales AND for growing your email list.
Depending on the online store platform you’re using, there are various third-party tools that make adding this option to your products easy.
When the product is unavailable, you can automatically place an option for website visitors to add their email or even a phone number so you can alert them when the item they’re interested in is in stock.
The great thing about having this available is that you can create a highly segmented list and bring more sales back to your store with these alerts. It also offers you a chance to get people into one of your various email automations too.
Action Steps For Marketers
- Find a "Back in stock" app for your website. There is a lot to choose from nowadays, and they're not all made equal. To help you find the right one for you, here are 10 apps for Shopify, the top plugins if you're using WordPress, and a free option if your site is running on Miva.
- Create an automated funnel for anyone who opts in. The goal of this is to build a great relationship with potential customers. If they can find your product elsewhere before yours is back in stock, they're probably going to buy from your competition. BUT if you can be just 1% better at communicating, offering help, being likable and genuine in your emails, you can still win them over. Go for the long game and create a funnel for this that's designed to build trust and leave a good impression. If you're using Sendlane, you don't need to start these from scratch. You can use our pre-built email automation templates to get started.
5. Gamify your opt-in options for list building
Growing your email list faster could be as easy and turning it into a game for your visitors.
Gamifying your opt-in forms isn’t as hard as you might think, PLUS, they offer a fun, new way to switch things up.
As far as gamified options to grow your list goes, there are two that stand out:
- Run a giveaway (yay, for giveaways)
- Spin to win opt-ins, or something of the like
Running a giveaway takes some planning, but they can come with a huge payoff for gaining subscribers.
Health food brand, GreenBelly, ran a giveaway that drove 4.1k email subscriptions plus a 50% increase in product sales from new customers.
And the plus side to all of that was they spent a mere $75 on everything with a huge return.
That’s my kind of opt-in form!
Tools like Viralsweep, Gleam, or KingSumo can make it easy to set up your own giveaway. But if you want to make the most of things, then you can also consider joining forces with other brands who aren’t direct competitors to make the most of it.
The viral nature of giveaways makes them super effective for bumping up your email list size. And in this economy, you better believe people are looking for a way to win some free stuff!
The second way to gamify your opt-ins is to try a spin-to-win or play-to-win email capture form on your site. You may find Wheel of Fortune something only your grandma watches, but there is something about spinning a wheel and being rewarded by fate that is rather addicting.
And that’s pretty much what spin-to-win options are. Again, Justuno offers this option, and they easily integrate with Sendlane.
Your visitors give their name and email. Then, after handing that over, the wheel in the opt-in form spins, giving them the chance to win something on the wheel.
It could be free shipping, a gift, 50% off their next order, or whatever you want.
But the idea of playing and winning something no matter is enough to hand over that email list.
Again, this type of email form is available through many third-party tools. It's been working for many eCommerce brands, and it can work for you too!
Action Steps For Marketers
- Plan to run a giveaway for list building optimization. Notice the word "plan." That's because you do need to spend some time doing the math and planning things out before you just up and run with this. We could get all into the nitty-gritty of things for how to run a successful online giveaway, but Gleam has a great tutorial that's well worth the read if you decide this is worth the effort for your online business.
- Swap forms on your high-traffic pages for a gamified option and compare the opt-in rates. Gamified forms can be a fantastic way to boost signups. They're a simple enough switch with a decent impact on email marketing campaigns that it's well worth the test for list growth.
How Do I Grow My Email List? Simple: Creativity and Consistency
Growing your email list for your eCommerce business can feel like trying to climb Mt. Everest. In both cases, though, there’s one thing that’s true:
Others have done it and you can too!
As with just about everything in life, when you start to feel a bit stuck, you need to stay consistent and try to look at things from a new angle. And if you’re fortunate enough to have a team or group of people in a similar industry you can bounce ideas off of, take advantage of it!
Ready to start implementing these strategies? Test them out in Sendlane today! Sign up for your free 14-day trial here.