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Growing your ecommerce email list: 7 Tips for Success

Izabelle is a Content Marketing Associate at G2, a B2B review marketplace for software and services. She specializes in sales, marketing, and real estate content. After earning a degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri, Izabelle moved back to her hometown of Chicago, where she currently resides

Expert Diaries from Zoho Campaigns connects avid email marketers to the experts in this space, and help them learn some best practices and tips. Our aim is to connect email geeks and form a community that learns email marketing from one another.

It’s safe to say having a digital marketing strategy is essential to driving growth for most businesses. For ecommerce companies specifically, you don’t have the opportunity to engage and interact with customers in the same way that you can if you have a brick-and-mortar store. It’s necessary to double down on your digital efforts since they’re the primary way you’re going to be able to connect with your target audience.

As one of the oldest and most cost-efficient digital channels, email continues to be an effective way to reach customers. A strong email marketing strategy can help you establish long-term relationships with your customers, build trust, and ultimately boost sales. 

The foundation of a successful email marketing strategy is your email list. After all, you can have the best content in the world, but if you have no one to send it to, it’s not going to be effective.

7 tips for growing your ecommerce email list

Growing your email list may seem like a daunting task, especially if your existing customer base feels disengaged. Luckily, asking someone to opt in with their email address is much easier than asking them to buy from you. 

Not sure where to begin? Follow these tips to kickstart your efforts.

Leverage on-site popups

Your website is one of your most valuable tools when it comes to gaining email subscribers. Since not all of your website visitors are ready to buy just yet, prompting them to give you their email is a much easier ask. One of the easiest ways to do this is through popups.

Popups often get a bad reputation for being annoying, but if executed correctly, a good popup can be one of the highest-converting sources for getting email subscribers. It’s effective because it requires the website visitor to read the copy and make a decision before they can continue browsing on your website. 

Remember to keep customer experience at the center of your popup strategy. You don’t want to go overboard and come off as clickbait. Make your message clear in the copy and provide immediate value. Experiment with different opt-in offers to see which ones your audience is most responsive to. We’ll discuss different types of offers that are proven to be effective further down.

Add an email sign-up prompt in your website footer

Although it may seem like the footer of your website isn’t the most exciting place to ask for email subscribers, it can be very effective. The footer is where users go to learn more about your company or to find contact information. If a website visitor makes it to the bottom of the page, it’s safe to assume they’re engaged with your brand and the content that they are viewing. It’s the perfect place to add a quick and simple opt-in field.

Schedule periodic contests and giveaways

To put it simply, people like free stuff and are willing to give their email address for a shot at winning a dream vacation or shopping spree. Remember the popups I mentioned earlier? This type of offer would be a great fit for an on-site popup ad, set up through your marketing automation tool. You’re interrupting the user as they browse, but it’s justified because you’re notifying them of an exciting contest or giveaway. 

It’s important to make sure any contest or giveaway you decide to launch is directly related to the product or service your business sells. This ensures that the people signing up are already interested in your offerings, meaning they’re more likely to buy from you down the line.

Offer rewards and coupons

Offering a reward or coupon for a first-time website visitor is a quick and effective way to get them on your email list. Everybody loves a deal! A coupon could be the difference between a customer choosing to abandon their shopping cart and choosing to make the purchase because they want to save money.

Launch a referral program

Turn your happiest customers into your biggest brand advocates. When launching a referral program, the goal is to identify your most loyal customers, ask them to refer people in their network, and offer an incentive in return. This incentive could be free shipping on their next order or a coupon for money off. In order for the referral to count, require new customers to give their email.

This is an effective way to reward your existing customers for their loyalty and grow your email list simultaneously. A referral program is easy to implement using customer advocacy software, which helps drive referrals and keep track of your program’s success.

Create an account at checkout

Customers value convenience during their shopping experience. Before checkout, prompt users to create an account on your website. This will require them to sign up with a username, password, and their email. What’s in it for them? Faster checkout, personalized settings, and the ability to connect any rewards programs (if applicable). If they want to opt out, simply create an option to “check out as a guest.” Most ecommerce platforms offer an account creation feature that makes this type of list-building strategy easy to implement.

You add a valued customer to your email list and they get a much better experience while shopping on your website. It’s a win-win.

Promote on social media

Social media is an essential tool when it comes to growing your email list. Using a social media management tool, schedule daily posts that highlight current offers or promotions and lead users directly to the applicable landing page where they are prompted to sign up. Include your social media handles at the bottom of every marketing email you send to your database. If you have an active email newsletter, encourage readers to share your content on their social profiles.  

If you want to take things a step further, consider allocating a small budget towards paid ads on the social platforms that are most relevant to your audience. Be sure to watch the analytics of your ad campaigns so you know which ads are bringing in email leads and which ones are falling flat.

Concluding thoughts

Your email marketing is only as good as your email list. With these tips in mind, don’t be afraid to get creative with your list-building strategy and make adjustments along the way. Always keep your customers at the top of your mind and aim to provide them with the best and most seamless experience when they shop with your ecommerce brand.


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