5 Steps to Building an Email List for Ecommerce
While social media marketing may cast a wide net, email marketing still provides a higher return on investment than any other channel, which explains why ecommerce experts strongly recommend you start building your email list as soon as possible.
Building a list requires a couple of essential starting blocks – building up traffic to your website and creating decent capture forms.
Ultimately, your revenue will be dictated by the length and health of your email list. Loyal and engaged customers are lucrative because of something called customer lifetime value. There is a reason why marketers still stand by the adage “The money’s in the list.”
The following steps will help you to cultivate a loyal email subscriber base.
Step 1. Choose an email service provider
Obviously, this is the first key step. Pick an email marketing provider that works well for the business you’re in and one that you find easy to work with.
Whoever you choose, it is important that your email marketing provider includes a variety of signup forms and the metrics to measure the effectiveness of each form. You should be able to segment subscribers according to buying habits etc. and send automated messages to each segment.
A healthy email list is full of contacts who know you and are engaged with your brand, having opted-in to your blog or newsletter. These qualified leads are your best chance for converting to sales.
Note that 30% of subscribers change email addresses every year. So, however long you have been diligently collecting emails, you need to regularly clear out those inactive email addresses. We recommend at least once a year. Always focus on quality, not quantity!
Step 2. Create an opt-in form
One of the simplest ways to start building your email list is to use a standard opt-in form on your website. Most Shopify sites will already have an opt-in form set up, but for other blogs and sites, be sure to include this in the design of your site.
To prompt a visitor to sign up, it’s common to use a popup form. You may yourself have visited sites where a popup appears after a few minutes or when you click to close the site. The popup may offer a discount for subscribing to the newsletter, or some websites might offer what is known as a lead magnet.
Lead magnets sweeten the deal for your site visitors by offering a valuable resource like a PDF guide, eBook, cheat sheet or stock image at no cost. To get the resource, a visitor simply gives you the email address to send it to and agrees to join your mailing list.
Please note: whatever lead magnet you offer must be directly related to your niche.
If you sell shoes, the lead magnet shouldn’t be a recipe for chicken pot pie! Even if your audience happens to enjoy cooking, there is zero relevance to your shoe collection and a recipe is not providing any reason to come back and buy shoes!
Step 3. Create a Landing Page
Instead of sending visitors directly to your homepage – where they may get busy reading through all your good content and forget to join your mailing list – you might choose instead to send them to a landing page.
When running a specific marketing campaign, it is worthwhile to have a dedicated funnel set up with a targeted message for subscribers. This might be a special offer or sale that is only available for a limited time.
A targeted landing page like the one above will have fewer elements than your regular pages and can be carefully designed for high conversions. You might send customers that are interested in one specific product to a limited-time special offer on that item.
Tweak and test your landing pages and offers over time to improve conversion rates, boost sales and continue to build your email list.
Step 4. Social Media Giveaway
If you would like to go a step further than an opt-in box or lead magnet, you might decide to give away something even more valuable once in a while. A giveaway might be best promoted through Facebook or Instagram for a wider reach, cheaper advertising costs, and to maximize your chances of going viral.
You will want to make sure that the prize is targeted to your audience, not just a random item that is unrelated to your products and services. A giveaway that appeals specifically to your potential customers will attract qualified leads who need what your business has to offer.
Below you will see a giveaway offered by the jewelry candle company JewelScent with a simple entry form:
Step 5. Referral programs
Another great way to grow your email list makes use of the assets you already have, namely, your current subscribers. Word-of-mouth marketing is very powerful, so why not go one step further and set up a referral program.
This clever tactic helped the likes of Uber, PayPal, and even Tesla to become successful in their fields. With referral programs, you are offering bribes (loosely speaking) to the contacts on your email list to spread the word to their friends and family.
For maximum impact, you might offer something valuable in exchange for a referral. You have probably seen coupons and discounts on offer, or even a free gift, for sharing a service or product with other people.
There are also ways to get referrals at no cost, where you don’t need to actually bribe your subscribers with gifts – simply add an option to share a newsletter with friends.
You can use a mixture of simple and more sophisticated ways to build and grow your email list. As long as it’s legal, it’s all good! The vital thing at the end of the day is to have a strategy and work consistently at it. Test everything along the way and keep track of your metrics so you can see what is working for you to improve your signup and conversion rates.
An email list that focuses on quality will help you to nurture leads until they become customers, and build relationships with existing customers to increase sales and profits, that’s what it’s all about after all.
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