By Neil Patel
It’s important you recognize the significance of your email marketing strategy.
It’s an essential method of communication with your ecommerce customers.
Email will probably be your most profitable channel if you nurture it right.
Don’t believe me? Activewear brand Rone is able to generate $80,000 in sales during product launch purely from its email list.
But before you can start sending out emails, you need to build your list.
Not sure where to start?
Don’t worry—I’ve got you covered.
I have a ton of experience building email lists for my companies: Crazy Egg, Kissmetrics, Hello Bar, and my blog.
While none of these businesses have an ecommerce store, you can still use many of the strategies I used in your list building.
I even have some other methods specifically designed for gaining exposure and increasing conversions on your ecommerce platform.
Here’s what you need to know before you start building lists.
Signup forms on the website
You’ve got to give your customers plenty of options to sign up for your email list.
Having a signup form on your website is a pretty standard option.
While it may not be the most effective way to build your email list, it’s a necessity and has to be somewhere on your site.
But where do you put it?
The most optimal location to place your signup form, which will show up on each page, is in the footer:
While the number of companies using the footer form to solicit signups is slightly down in 2017 compared to 2016, the footer is still by far the most common placement for an opt-in location.
By the time your customers reach the footer, they have already had a chance to browse through your site and get a feel for your brand and product.
Now, they can make a more informed decision if they want to be on your email list.
This is different from having your opt-in form in the header because your visitors may feel spammed or forced to sign up too soon.
Chances are, joining your email list is not the first thing on someone’s mind when they visit your website.
The customer has other priorities and intentions.
So ease them into it, and put your opt-in form at the bottom of your page.
Here’s an example from the Adidas store:
If you want to sign up for their email list, you can enter your email address at the bottom of their page.
Notice that Adidas also gives you an incentive to sign up.
Get news and 15% off.
It’s a great way to get more people on board.
We’ll discuss incentives in greater detail shortly.
If you have an ecommerce store and you’re just getting your feet wet with your list building strategy, adding an opt-in option to your footer is a logical place to start.
Use standard popups and incentive-based popups
Based on the graph we looked at earlier, popup ads are the second most popular method of gathering email addresses on websites.
I think they are more effective, so I’m surprised more ecommerce sites aren’t using this strategy.
Don’t believe me?
Well, the numbers don’t lie.
Brian Dean at Backlinko added a popup to his website, which looked like this:
The results were undeniable.
The popup had a conversion rate of 3.42%.
Before implementing the popup, Brian was getting 35 people subscribing to his newsletter each day.
After he implemented the popup strategy, this number jumped to 75 subscribers per day.
He’s not the only one who had success with popups.
According to a case study by OptiMonk, companies like BitNinja got 65% more leads and saw a 114% improvement in their subscriber rates.
This was all done with a simple popup.
Companies may be hesitant to use popups because they have a bad reputation.
The word popup can sound like spam—something intrusive and unwanted by the users.
While this may hold true for harmful, malicious, or unwanted advertisement popups, that’s not the case with our list-building strategy.
The consumer is already on your website.
Your popup isn’t opening a new window or spamming them with irrelevant content.
In fact, the information may be extremely useful for the visitors, especially if your popup adds an incentive.
“Sign up for emails” isn’t the most effective way to build your list.
Why should the consumer provide you with their email address?
You need to give them a reason.
Look back at some of the examples we saw earlier.
- Adidas – “Get news and 15% off.”
- Backlinko – “Get exclusive strategies for more traffic.”
What’s your incentive?
Forever21 offers customers 10% off with this popup strategy:
Don’t think of popups in a negative way.
You should be using this strategy to build the email list for your ecommerce website.
Just make sure you give your customers a good incentive to subscribe.
Collect email addresses from customers making a purchase
People are hesitant to give out their information.
There’s a good chance your customers have had some negative experiences with other companies after giving out their email addresses.
A few bad apples ruined it for the rest of us.
They got a hold of their customers’ email information and abused the trust.
Sending out way too many promotions.
Your customers do not want many emails.
It’s the biggest issue reported by consumers.
After some bad experiences, people may not be so willing to hand over their email addresses to every brand that asks for it.
You may need to get creative.
Ask for your customers’ email addresses while they are finalizing the order.
But give them a reason.
You’re not adding them to your email list just yet, but you’ll need to send them an order confirmation.
Here’s a great example from SAXX:
The email address is required to check out.
SAXX will send you a confirmation of your order.
They also don’t force you to create an account.
Forcing the customer to make a profile in order to check out is one of the top reasons ecommerce sites experience shopping cart abandonment.
So it’s an added bonus that this checkout form specifies that.
All right, let’s get back to building your email list.
You have an excuse to send them some emails now.
Specifically, you can email your customer four times before they officially sign up for your email list or newsletter.
Here’s what you send:
Each of these emails is a chance for you to get these people on to your subscriber list.
Make sure you have an option in each message that allows the customer to join.
You already have all their information, so it should be a simple process taking only one or two clicks on the part of the consumer to sign up.
But keep in mind, the majority of people don’t want to disclose personal data.
That’s why most of the top Internet retailers are only asking for email addresses and names.
Requiring too much personal information to join a subscription list could be the reason why a customer decides not to subscribe.
If your customers are hesitant, just ask for their email addresses while they check out and finalize their purchases.
Then you can send a drip campaign with subsequent messages about the status of their orders.
This is a prime opportunity to get more subscribers.
However, if the customer still doesn’t sign up, don’t keep harassing them.
You’ll have another opportunity to send the same drip campaign when they make another purchase in the future.
Develop a segmentation strategy
Once you add someone to your email list, make sure to segment the user into a specific category.
Not every message you send will be applicable to everyone on your subscriber list.
This is why a proper email segmentation strategy is absolutely essential.
These are some of the top benefits of segmenting your email lists:
- increased open rates
- improved unsubscribe rates
- higher customer retention
- fewer spam complaints
Email segmentation will ensure your content is relevant to each subscriber.
Let’s look at an easy example.
If you have customers all over the world, sending a promotion for the 4th of July is not relevant to everyone.
Independence Day in America is only relevant to your customers in the United States.
Geographic location is an obvious way to create segments, but it’s not the only way.
The graph above shows you some other data you can take into consideration when developing your lists.
It’s a great reference to make sure your content is relevant to all subscribers in each segment.
So before you start building your email lists, think about some general segments you’ll want to use.
Keep in mind, as you continue to add subscribers, you may slightly change or tweak your segmentation strategy.
It’s not a perfect process, and you’ll still get some customers who’ll unsubscribe or feel like they’re getting irrelevant emails.
But the key is making sure you minimize these instances.
It’s a difficult strategy to master, but it needs to be a top priority.
Improving segmentation and increasing subscriber engagement are the top two initiatives for email marketers.
Engagement and segmentation go hand in hand.
Proper segmentation will ultimately increase engagement.
It’s important you recognize all of this before you start building your list.
Don’t just start mass emailing everyone until you can figure out what messages are relevant to each subscriber.
Create interactivity with your email marketing campaigns
Once you have customers on your email subscriber list, you’ll want to make sure you keep them there.
Don’t give them a reason to unsubscribe.
You spent all this time and effort acquiring their email addresses, now you need to keep them engaged.
How can you accomplish this?
Follow the trends.
Use interactive emails to stay relevant.
This is the top email marketing trend of 2017.
Here are some of the best ways you can increase interactivity in your emails:
- use real-time marketing
- incorporate reviews, polls, and surveys
- run scratch card advertisements
- add menus to the message
- incorporate videos within the email
- use live shopping carts
- add GIFs
These strategies will keep your ecommerce site relevant.
You don’t want to send dull emails to your subscribers.
Use interactivity to retain users who signed up for your messages.
It’s awesome you’ve recognized the importance of building an email list for your ecommerce site.
But before you jump in, think about some of the things we discussed.
If you don’t know where to get started, add a signup form to your page.
The most common place to include this is in the footer of your website.
While it’s a necessary feature, it’s not the most effective.
You also need to add popups to your website.
Just make sure these popups give the consumer an incentive to join your email list.
If your website visitors don’t take the bait signing up through your popups or footer, it’s not over yet.
Get their email addresses when they check out.
Develop an automation strategy, like a drip campaign, to send them messages about the status of their orders.
You’ve got several chances to add subscribers during the following emails:
- order confirmed
- order shipped
- order delivered
- order follow-up
If this strategy doesn’t work, it’s okay.
Try again the next time this customer makes a purchase.
You need to develop a segmentation strategy before you start sending out emails to your subscribers.
Not every message is relevant to every subscriber.
Segmenting your lists will help you increase opens and conversions.
It will also improve your unsubscribe rate.
Interactive emails will help prevent customers from unsubscribing.
Creating interactivity will keep the subscribers engaged.
Follow these tips before you start building an email list for your website.
What popup incentive will you offer to your site visitors to encourage them to sign up to your email list?