Imagine having a direct line of communication with your customers.
No paid ads for traffic.
No social media algorithms to cater to.
Just a straight channel where you can engage, inform, and inspire them.
That’s precisely what an email list offers and it holds immense potential for your ecommerce brand.
Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur or an established online retailer, harnessing the power of email list building can be the game-changer you’ve been searching for.
Let’s talk about strategies for building a profitable email list for your brand.
The Psychology of Getting Emails
First, let’s talk about the psychology behind email collection.
Understanding the motives, desires, and concerns that guide consumer behaviour can help you tailor your opt-in incentives.
To help you align with their expectations and deliver more significant value.
- The Principle of Reciprocity: Reciprocity is a fundamental principle of human interaction. It’s the idea that if someone gives something to us, we feel compelled to give something back in return. In e-commerce, if a business offers a discount or a free gift, customers may feel obliged to reciprocate by making a purchase or giving their email address.
- Scarcity and Fear of Missing Out (FOMO): Scarcity refers to a limitation of quantity or time. If an offer is scarce, it becomes more desirable because people fear missing out on a good opportunity. Limited-time offers flash sales, or ‘only a few items left’ incentives play into this psychology.
- The Desire for Exclusivity: People tend to be drawn to things that are exclusive or unique. Offering access to ‘members-only’ deals, limited edition products, or early bird specials can tap into this desire.
- The Power of Social Proof: When people are uncertain about a decision, they often look to the behaviour of others to guide them. Featuring customer testimonials, ratings, and reviews, or highlighting popular items can serve as powerful incentives.
- Loss Aversion: People typically prefer to avoid losses rather than acquire equivalent gains. Thus, showing customers what they stand to lose by not opting in (such as missing out on discounts or exclusive deals) can be a powerful motivator.
- The Liking Principle: People are more likely to say yes to those they like. In e-commerce, creating a likeable brand persona and establishing a positive rapport with your audience can foster loyalty and incentivise customers to opt in.
- The Commitment Principle: Once people commit to something, they are likely to stick with it to remain consistent with their previous actions. Free trials, money-back guarantees, and easy returns can incentivise customers to commit by minimising perceived risks.
While each psychological driver isn’t necessarily used for each opt-in you…
Your job is to understand them and leverage these principles to convince more people to sign up.
Let’s cover some specific examples.
Different Types of Incentives You Can Use
A plain sign-up form WILL NOT convert that well.
Yes, you can get away with it.
But understand that there is still an exchange of value.
You are asking for an email.
You have to give or have given something of equal exchange.
Let’s talk about the different incentives you can use to drive sign-ups.
Opt-in incentives can take several forms, each with its advantages and unique appeal to customers:
- Discount Codes: Perhaps the most common form of incentive, discount codes offer customers a reduction in price for subscribing, making a purchase, or referring others. These discounts could be either a flat rate of the total cost or a percentage reduction.
- Free Shipping: E-commerce consumers often face the frustration of added shipping fees at checkout. Offering free shipping as an opt-in incentive can lead to higher conversion rates and decreased cart abandonment.
- Loyalty Programs: These programs reward repeat customers for their continued patronage. Accumulated points can be redeemed for discounts, free items, or exclusive access to new products. This type of incentive strengthens customer relationships and encourages repeat purchases.
- 4. Gifts or Samples: Customers love the concept of ‘free.’ Offering free gifts or samples can incentivise customers to try out new products, thereby increasing their overall spending.
- Exclusive Content: This incentive involves giving access to premium content like expert guides, webinars, e-books, or early product releases, providing value that extends beyond the typical shopping experience.
Understanding your customer base is crucial to determining which opt-in incentives will be most effective.
For instance, discount codes might be most appealing to price-sensitive customers, while exclusive content may better suit customers interested in the lifestyle your brand promotes.
Here’s a table to help you decide which to use. 👇
|Incentive||When To Use|
– Encourage first-time purchases
– Promote seasonal or clearance sales
– Reward referrals
|Free Shipping||– Reduce cart abandonment
– Compete with other online retailers
– Increase order value
|Loyalty Programs||– Retain existing customers
– Encourage repeat purchases
– Foster brand loyalty
|Gifts or Samples||– Introduce new products
– Stimulate trial and conversion
– Increase overall spending
|Exclusive Content||– Build brand authority and expertise
– Provide added value to customers
– Encourage engagement and loyalty
Note: these recommendations are general and can vary depending on:
- The specific brand
- Target audience
- Market conditions
It’s important to analyze the brand’s unique circumstances and customer preferences when deciding on the appropriate incentive to use for increasing sales.
Opt-in Form Placements
Where you put your opt-ins are as important as the offer you present in them.
Let’s quickly cover different locations that brands place their forms on their website.
Note: the placement of these will depend on the overall design of your website.
Here are a few places where you can put your opt-in form on your website to increase sign-ups:
1. Above the Fold: This means placing your opt-in form where it’s immediately visible when someone lands on your website, without the need to scroll down.
This placement increases the chances of capturing their attention and encouraging them to sign up.
2. In the Sidebar: Another popular spot for opt-in forms is the website’s sidebar.
This placement allows the form to be visible as visitors scroll through your content, increasing the likelihood of sign-ups.
3. Pop-ups and Exit-Intent Forms: Pop-ups can be an effective way to capture email addresses, especially when timed correctly.
Exit-intent forms, which appear when a visitor is about to leave the site, can also help capture leads that might have otherwise been lost.
4. At the End of Blog Posts: Placing an opt-in form at the end of a blog post offers an opportunity for visitors who enjoyed your content to sign up for more.
This placement is an excellent way to target engaged readers who are likely to be interested in your ecommerce brand.
5. In the Footer: Including an opt-in form in your website’s footer ensures that it’s visible across all pages.
This placement can capture sign-ups from visitors who scroll to the bottom of the page.
Statistically These Are the Best Spots for eCommerce 👇
- Website homepage : Make sure to have a clearly visible signup form on your homepage to capture visitor’s attention.
- Exit-intent popups : Display a signup form when visitors are about to leave your site, which can help encourage last-minute signups.
- Welcome gates : Show a fullscreen signup form when visitors first arrive at your site, while still allowing them to access other parts of your website via links at the bottom of the page.
- Floating header and footer bars : Add signup forms in sticky header or footer bars that remain visible as visitors scroll through your site.
- Sidebar : Use the sidebar as a consistent place for your signup form across different pages of your website.
- After blog post content : Place a signup form right after a blog post’s content to target interested readers who are more likely to subscribe.
- About or Contact pages : Include a signup form on your About and Contact pages to encourage subscriptions from visitors looking to learn more about your brand.
Optimising Opt-in Forms
- Keep it Simple: A cluttered optin form can deter visitors from signing up. Keep the design clean and straightforward, asking only for necessary information to minimise friction.
- Offer Incentives: Encourage sign-ups by offering incentives, such as discounts, freebies, or exclusive content. Make sure the incentive is relevant to your ecommerce brand and valuable to your target audience.
- Use Compelling Headlines: A strong headline can grab the attention of visitors and persuade them to sign up. Use action words and highlight the benefits of joining your email list.
- Mobile-Friendly: Ensure your opt-in forms are mobile-responsive, as a significant portion of your website visitors are likely browsing on their smartphones.
Monitoring and Improving Performance
- Track Conversion Rates: Monitor the conversion rate of your opt-in forms to gauge their effectiveness. A low conversion rate may indicate the need to adjust the design, placement, or incentive offered.
- Analyse Traffic Sources: Understanding where your website visitors are coming from can help you optimise opt-in form placements for different traffic sources. For example, if most of your visitors come from social media, you might want to prioritise mobile-friendly opt-in form designs. So top bar placements and such won’t be the optimal route.
- Test and Tweak: Regularly test different opt-in form elements, and make adjustments based on the results. Continual improvement is the key to maximising sign-ups for your email list.
Glad you made it this far!
It was a lot to take in so I’ve compiled quick actionable checklist.
Follow this and you should see a pick-up in your signups immediately.
Here’s a quick checklist for building your ecommerce email list:
☐ Understand the psychology behind your customer’s motivations, tailor your opt-in incentives accordingly.
☐ Choose the right opt-in incentives for your customer base, typically a discount codes, free shipping, loyalty program, or exclusive content work best. Note these aren’t mutually exclusive and can work together.
☐ Use exit intent pop-ups, and checkout offers to drive more email subscribers.
☐ Keep opt-in forms simple.
☐ Monitor and improve the performance of your opt-in forms by tracking conversion rates, analysing traffic sources, testing and tweaking regularly.
Follow these steps and you should see an increase in your email list subscribers in no time!