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July 21, 2022
Email marketing is one of the oldest digital marketing strategies, but it’s also the most effective. The average conversion rate for traffic sent through email is over 6%, which is double the standard conversion rate of 2.5% to 3%. In terms of ROI, email marketing brings in $44 for every dollar spent. As an ecommerce store owner or manager, you can’t sleep on email marketing.
When a visitor arrives at your store, your first goal is to get them to make a purchase (obviously). But most people aren’t ready to buy, especially on their first visit, so your secondary goal is to capture their email address. Once you have their email, you can nurture them with email content and offers over time, thereby slowly convincing them to make a purchase.
This means your email list is one of your most valuable assets as an ecommerce marketer. But it must meet two important criteria:
If you use tried-and-true methods to build your email list, you’ll capture relevant and quality addresses of would-be buyers. Then you can focus on collecting as many as possible.
These are the key steps you should follow to start and grow your email list:
In order to send marketing emails to your list, you’ll need an email marketing platform. These tools offer tons of great features to manage, organize, and make the best use of your data. They also provide forms you can embed throughout your site. There are lots of options, but some common email platforms are Klaviyo, Omnisend, Privy, SmartrMail, and Shopify Email.
Create opportunities for visitors to subscribe to your email list by placing forms in key locations throughout your website, such as your navigation, sidebars, or footer. If you blog regularly, add a form to the bottom of each post. For an extra conversion boost, give away something valuable in exchange for their email address, such as a discount or gift card.
Popups may give you pause, but consider that they convert at 3% to 10%. They can have a profound effect on your list building. You could design a popup that gives discounts to new visitors. Or you might use an exit intent popup, which is a popup that triggers when a visitor indicates that they are about to leave your site.
You collect an email address each time a customer completes their order, but you aren’t allowed to market these customers without explicit permission. Fortunately, this isn’t difficult. Simply add a checkbox in the checkout form that says something like, “Email me with news and offers.” You can even pre-check the box for users. In Shopify, this can be done in the Checkout Settings.
If you have a physical store or attend an in-person event, give shoppers an easy way to sign up to your list, even if they don’t make a purchase. You could bring a tablet that’s queued to a sign page for them to submit their address, or simply ask them to write their name on a piece of paper. Try to offer something in return for their address, like a free product or giveaway entry.
Contests and giveaways are powerful ways to grow your ecommerce email list. People are happy to submit their addresses for a chance to win something. This is particularly helpful during the early days of your store when your audience is small. For an extra boost, partner with other brands to increase the value of the prize.
Another option is to work with influencers who have followings that match your typical customer. Many will promote your giveaway in exchange for a free product for themselves.
Keep in mind, however, that while this method is quick and simple, it doesn't produce the most valuable email subscribers. Many people will enter your giveaway in hopes to win free stuff, but have no interest in buying from your brand in the future. It’s a good idea to watch these subscribers carefully and remove them if they don’t open your first couple emails.
Whenever you want someone to take a step, it’s always better to personalize your call-to-action. Personalized CTAs have a 42% higher form submission rate than generic CTAs.
You can personalize a sign-up CTA by creating a unique landing page that speaks to the type of traffic that uses the page. For example, if you’re collecting emails at a trade show, use a landing page that specifically mentions the event. If you’re hosting a Facebook giveaway, the landing page’s message should refer to the contest.
If you use a chatbot or a live chat app on your ecommerce store, the first question you ask during the chat should be for the visitor's email address. This gives you a way to follow up with the visitor in case the chat gets disconnected, but you can also add these addresses to your list provided that you ask their permission.
If you have some budget to spend on email list growth, consider using paid ads on Google, Facebook, and other popular platforms. Link these ads to landing pages that you create specifically for the ad, with matching messaging and offers. As always, pair the sign up form with an offer so visitors have a good reason to subscribe.
As the owner of an ecommerce store, you’re also an expert. You can drive traffic to your store and convert those visitors into customers by creating valuable content that solves their problems. For instance, if you sell travel gear, you could create packing lists, travel tips, location guides, and other useful content.
By producing content, you become an influencer, and people want to follow influencers. They will subscribe to your email list in order to learn about your latest content and offers. After some time, they will trust you enough to become paying customers.
Your audience follows you on social media because they want to stay informed. Give them another opportunity to engage with you by encouraging them to subscribe to your email list. Most social media platforms offer a button or form to subscribe to a list, you just have to activate the feature. For example, you can include a call-to-action button on your Facebook page.
An easy way to boost your subscriber account is through word of mouth. Include a link or button in each email that says “Forward to a friend.” If your content is good, your subscribers will send it to any of their contacts who might find it valuable.
When it comes to building an e-commerce email list, you'll find that what works for other stores may not work for you. The strategies and techniques that work best depend on your audience and your brand. In the beginning, it's smart to spend some time experimenting with different techniques until you find one that works well for you. Once you figure out the formula for your store, invest heavily in order to build your email list as quickly as possible.