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8 Tips For Successful eCommerce List Building In 2021

A website’s visitors or users can provide email addresses to build a mailing list using email list building. By doing so, subscribers will increase their database and future business communications will be enhanced.  

Building an email list is a key strategy for marketers. In comparison to other marketing methods, marketing emails are positively influencing or negatively influencing consumers’ purchasing decisions, according to studies. Email marketing increases customer retention according to 80% of businesses.

Consumers claim that marketing emails have a positive or a negative impact on their purchasing decisions.

Owned media is the best asset a business has because this is a channel that your business has full control over: an engaged email list. Owned media has the advantages of being immune to algorithm changes, allowing brand storytelling, having a broad reach, and being more cost-effective than paid media. Even in the worst case marketing scenarios, an email list remains untouched, whether you are penalized by Google and begin to fall out of the SERPs, or a social network algorithm suddenly favors organic content over sponsored content.

Building an email list, however, is a complex process. A lead generation form cannot generate thousands of subscribers over night. It is important to develop a strategy before building an effective email list. 

Why is email list building so important?

As per DMA Marketer Email Tracker, $1 spent on email marketing typically returns $42 in return. PPC advertising offers a low return on investment – $2 for every $1 spent – whereas emails offer a high return on investment.

Email marketing brings an average return of $42 on every dollar spent. PPC advertising, on the other hand, yields $2 for every $1 spent.

An email list of prospects, no matter what size your business is, can be crucial to your marketing success. Marketing professionals can track performance metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates to determine how well they’re doing and what they should work on.

When marketers analyze click-through rates and open-to-click ratios in emails, they can determine whether their audience finds their content interesting. You can test the impact of subject lines such as “20% Off” and “Free Shipping” on your customers by A/B testing email subject lines.

The 8 best ways to build an email list from scratch

It is impossible to build an email database overnight, but you can start building one equally quickly and effectively using methods other than traditional email sign up forms. The following methods are popular:

  • Enticing content upgrades
  • Exit intent pop-ups
  • Fully or partially gated content
  • Squeeze pages
  • Loyalty and referral programs
  • Discounts and deals
  • Exclusive notifications
  • Social media

The majority of businesses build their email list through their website, whether it’s static or dynamic opt-in forms.

The results indicate that even the smallest changes to your website can affect your list building efforts significantly.

List building on checkout page

How to build an email list using your website

1. Use embedded signup forms

The most traditional method of getting email subscribers is to embed signup forms. For best results, embed forms on high traffic pages, like headers, footers, sidebars, and splash pages.

You might want to consider adding a form here if you have a blog post with high traffic.

Signup forms embedded in websites have the benefit of not being intrusive.

These signs serve as a gentle reminder to visitors that signing up is the only option available to them. They should be used with more proactive and dynamic methods of building lists, which we will cover below.

A sign-up form embedded in your list building website

In cases where the landing page meets the user’s needs, provides a solution to their problem or helps them with a problem, they will be more likely to engage with your brand.

Thus, if there were a sign up form, they might be more likely to enter their email address.

2. Deploy pop-ups and overlays

The average conversion rate of pop-ups is 3.9%, and the top 10% convert at around 9.8%, according to studies. Even though these statistics are mouthwatering, you should exercise caution when using pop-ups and make sure that you follow Google’s guidelines for interstitial advertising. In the absence of compliance, you will be penalized.

From Google’s perspective, the guidelines explain how pop-ups should be used. We will focus on:

If you want to cover the main content, do not show a popup right after you land on the page from searching or while you are scrolling.

Avoid displaying standalone interstitials users must close before accessing content.

Page layouts that appear like standalone interstitials above the fold, but have content inlined underneath the fold, are not recommended.

The company stated that if these interstitials are used correctly, the penalty will not apply. Below are some examples of how to use it correctly:

An interstitial that must appear due to a legal requirement. Using cookies or verifying your age, for instance.

A login is required on sites where the content isn’t publicly indexed. You can think of paywalled content as an example.

They should be limited to those that use a reasonable amount of screen space and are easy to dismiss.

In order to build an email list for your eCommerce business, let’s look at some of the most common types of pop-ups and overlays used by eCommerce businesses.

Welcome pop-ups

Visitors to the site are welcomed with pop-ups about 15 seconds after landing on the home page. To avoid being dismissed as a disruption, welcome pop-ups need strong calls to action. If you would like to exchange their email addresses for yours, you can offer them a discount, a sales notification, and more information about your unique selling points.

List building example from Bonobos

Keeping welcome pop-ups simple can lessen their intrusiveness. User email addresses are usually entered in a single field. Many fields on complicated forms and weak copy reduce conversions.

You should implement this pop-up at the right time for the specific page you will be using it on. Utilizing Google Analytics, you can find out the average amount of time users spend on a page to decide when to implement a welcome pop-up. 

How to view Time on Page using Google Analytics

As such, you might want to serve it immediately if you are doing this on the homepage – a page that visitors are likely to leave fairly quickly. You can, however, set the welcome pop-up to appear after 7 seconds or once the visitor has scrolled 30% of the page if they land on a product listing page that you’d like them to dwell longer on.

Before you add a pop up to a certain landing page, make sure to review it. A pop-up form appearing straight away on a blog post, for example, might not be the best idea due to the user’s desire to read the content before engaging with the pop-up.

Exit intent pop-ups

Conversion Sciences reports that a well-crafted exit intent pop-up can be used to save 10-15% of lost visitors. Typically, exit-intent pop-ups are presented when a site detects a user about to leave. 

Pop-ups with exit intent prevent visitors from leaving your website by capturing their attention and allowing them to stay on your page or submit their details. Offering discounts and offers is a good strategy for eCommerce owners, but depending on their niche, they can offer much more.

Exit intent overlay – Save your cart

Your exit intent popup will depend on the landing page you are using and the message you place on it. Your email list can be built with these types of pop ups.

A pop up requesting an email address in exchange for a personalised discount upon exiting a product page, or having a substantial basket value, will seem like a wonderful deal to users.

Next, you have the following options.

Promotional pop-ups

Pop-ups that feature discounts and offers can appear throughout the customer journey. Promo pop-ups, however, do not appear when you first land on the site nor do they appear as you exit the site. They appear while you are browsing content on the site.

Pop-ups must be relevant for them to convert well. Your promotion should be tailored to match the stage of the buyer’s journey your customer is currently in.

Overall, promotional pop-ups play on people’s emotions: They want unique items and to receive discounts as a result of granting their data to them.

3. Introduce gamification

By gamifying an email sign-up form, you can encourage engagement by adding interactive elements to it. There are several examples of gamification, such as quizzes, tests, surveys, pop-ups that let you spin to win (such as wheel of fortune games) and scratch cards. 

By entering their email address, shoppers can earn exclusive prizes, such as 10-50% off discounts or other freebies. Gamification appeals to the psychological needs of consumers. When prizes seem easy to attain, customers are more motivated to participate. As a result, visitors will be enthralled by this condition and eagerly sign up to take advantage of it.

You can build an engaging email list with these types of sign up forms.

  • Spin to win popup example
  • Scratchcard popup example

Gamification strategies for list building include contests, giveaways, and sweepstakes as well. Companies like to host joint promotions in order to offer an attractive prize and thereby increase their subscriber base.

In fact, 33% of contestants are open to receiving further marketing communications from the brand and partners. Thus, these subscribers are able to help improve your overall strategy and performance for email marketing.

4. Create squeeze pages

You might not be familiar with the concept of a squeeze page. Nevertheless, the meaning of a squeeze page is encoded in its name – a squeeze page is a dedicated landing page designed for lead capture, which restricts access to desired content or offers by placing them behind the gate, such as a sign up form.

High exit rates are to be expected with squeeze landing pages. Unless they’re capturing much information about visitors, then you don’t need to worry too much about them.

It is possible to include links to the homepage or category pages if you wish to allow visitors to browse other pages.

List building strategies – Squeeze page

Cult Beauty provides an example. A dedicated squeeze page was created for the brand’s Black Friday marketing campaign so that consumers could get on its ‘waitlist’. The page includes an opt-in form and a short explanation of what the customer is signing up for. Straightforward.

These landing pages will require traffic, though. You will do well to build your email list with this method by placing relevant CTAs across your website, highlighting a specific page in a blog post, and even running social media ads to reach potential customers.

5. Invite to sign up for notifications

Different types of notifications are one method that works well for growing mailing lists. They may be placed as an overlay on landing pages, embedded statically in product pages, or included in a slider on a page’s header depending on what type of notification it is. 

Pre-sale notifications

It uses convenience and psychology tactics, such as urgency, scarcity, feeling of exclusivity, and urgency, to build eCommerce lists. 

Customers who are too busy to refresh your landing page in anticipation of your sale benefit from pre-sale notifications as convenient reminders. Shoppers will be more inclined to share their information for the sake of convenience, so they don’t lose out on bargains.

List building strategies – Pre-sale notifications

Additionally, people are attracted to joining because they feel like they have first dibs. Being allowed to join anything before anyone else can is a powerful tool in millennial psychology. Acne Studios provides an excellent example of how this works. Shoppers were invited to sign up for notifications of a 48-hour sale running by the brand.

Social media is an excellent way to spread these pre-sale notifications to current and potential customers. A lot of buzz will be created around your upcoming sale through posts and ads.

New collection notifications

Signing up for new collection updates is another way to give shoppers exclusive access to new collections. Visitors and customers might be interested in learning about new arrivals early if you’re selling particularly in-demand items that sell quickly.

By only inviting users to sign-up for the latest additions to their collection, Yieldify client Petal & Pup achieved a 116% uplift in new leads.

Overlay for New Arrivals – Petal & Pup

Notifications of restocking

Consumers who can purchase but are unable to convert due to unavailability of product can be reached with back in stock notifications. An email with back-in-stock information is one your subscribers always look forward to receiving.

It has a number of useful benefits that can be used by marketers and product managers as it offers a number of ways to build an email list and manage product demands.

A retailer, for example, can plan to develop and sell items that are similar to the most-wanted type, if a larger audience has offered their email address to be notified about it. Increased revenue and customer retention are likely to result from using this information.

6. Offer content upgrades

As a lead magnet, or content upgrade, a business offers its website visitors a gated piece of content in exchange for their email address. You can gate content in eCommerce, such as guides, catalogs, and more, from exclusive access to members-only sales. 

List building strategies – Content upgrade

This list building strategy was used by electric bike manufacturer Evelo to create a buyer’s guide for electric bikes in the example above. The content has been incorporated on their product detail pages, so visitors should find it useful as they’re probably currently in the research and consideration phases of the purchase cycle.

The information provided to visitors won’t necessarily push them into buying a bike right now, but their trust in Evelo will increase when they’re informed before they buy. In Evelo’s case, they get people’s email addresses who are interested in electric bikes, so they can nurture those e-mail addresses through email marketing and EDM campaigns to try to eventually turn them into paying customers.

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7. Include opt-in fields at checkout

Checkouts take personal information at checkout for most online shoppers. Obtaining a confirmation of our order via text or email makes us all feel more at ease, and receiving an update on the order’s progress also makes us feel more secure. 

By offering an option to join an email list, shoppers are already familiar with the security of a secure checkout environment. 

8. Utilize loyalty and referral programs

You can also increase the size of your email list by implementing customer loyalty programs and referral schemes. With rewards programs, you can attract new customers and encourage existing ones to upgrade, resulting in a higher lifetime value.

Programs for rewarding loyal customers

Building email lists and driving repeat business are great ways to establish loyalty programs. Technology Advice reports that people prefer to shop with stores that offer loyalty or rewards programs.

According to new research from CFI Group and Radial, 38% of consumers choose not to join loyalty programs because they do not perceive the programs to be valuable. According to KPMG, this is what the millennial generation has to say about loyalty and reward programs:

Millennials and loyalty programs

Using your loyalty program as a list building tactic requires making it easy for new members to sign up, offering some really noteworthy perks, such as access to members-only events, discounts, and free gifts. After a person has signed up, be sure to personalize their experience.

Your email marketing strategy can also be improved by incorporating loyalty programs. Subscribers will want to know if their new rewards are close, so by sending them a quick reminder when they are close, you can help drive more revenue.

Referral programs

You should utilize the power of word of mouth marketing once you have built a loyal customer base. Make your loyalists and advocates more loyal by allowing them to refer their friends to your products and services. As a matter of fact, data shows that people tend to rely more on recommendations from their friends and families than on brand communications.

Consumer trust study – Nielsen

Referral programs work by rewarding customers who successfully refer new people to your business. Usually, you’ll have to offer an incentive for both, the referral and the referee. This can go something like: Give $20, get $20; or Get $25 when your friend spends $75 or more, etc. The reward will only be issued once the referee submits their details or makes a purchase. 

Referral campaigns can also be structured so that users can invite their friends to events prior to the sale and invite their friends to meet up with them. Thus, you won’t have to discount initially, but you can contact those who were referred.

Referral programs for customers

Using social media to build your email list as a bonus

Marketing through social media can drive traffic to your website and grow your subscriber base. You can generate email signups through social media by:

On social accounts, embed signup buttons. Add a call-to-action on your social profiles to advertise your newsletter to social media users for free. Both Facebook and Instagram feature “Sign Up” buttons on their profiles, but you can always share posts that invite people to sign up for your list.

Contests and giveaways. With social media platforms, brands are becoming more reachable, more personable, and more interactive. Users can take part in Instagram stories through polls, quizzes, and Q&As. Traffic can be directed to a landing page where followers can sign up to participate by promoting a contest, giveaway, or even a limited-time event.

Using Facebook ads to generate leads. Lead form ads are run through Facebook Ads, meaning users can subscribe without leaving the platform and convert. A lead form ad is known for its high conversion rate due to convenience.

If you want to build your email list, then your website will be your best option. That does not mean you must rely exclusively on it. Making the most of offline channels is also an effective way to grow your email list. 

Some easy ways to do this are: 

In-store. If you have signup sheets at the checkout desk or in your store, you can convert foot traffic into mailing list subscribers. You may want to suggest signing up for stock updates or new arrivals if someone asked for an item currently unavailable at the changing booth. If you collect this information offline, be sure to get their consent.

Trade shows. In addition to offering networking opportunities, trade shows provide an opportunity for businesses to sell directly to consumers. The same sign-up forms can be used to capture email addresses, when purchasing, hosting giveaways, etc. Additionally, if business cards are being handed out, you could encourage people to sign up for these as well.

Direct mail. Your business might want to consider adding a QR code or call-to-action to direct mail marketing collateral that links people to signing up for paperless news. Generally, consumers prefer to receive information about sales digitally rather than traditionally, and a digital record of promotions makes management easier.

In summary

In summary, email list building will continue to rank high among the most effective and popular marketing tactics even through 2021.

Email marketing excels at engaging customers personally. You can be certain that your eCommerce website will see repeat sales from highly customized and curated email lists.

Though it is not possible to build an extensive list of email subscribers in one night, these strategies will help you start building your email list.

To build your email list, make sure to carefully select and review what landing page you use. Switch things up if you need to. Test and learn works great.

The first step is generating leads. In order to keep your subscribers engaged and paying customers, you need a successful email marketing strategy.

You should find these eight strategies very helpful in kickstarting the process of building an email list effectively and reaching your target audience in a different way.

Aishwar Babber

Aishwar Babber is a passionate blogger and a digital marketer. He loves to talk and blog about the latest tech and gadgets, which motivates him to run GizmoBase. He is currently practicing his digital marketing, SEO, and SMO expertise as a full-time marketer on various projects. He is an active investor in AffiliateBay.

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