The ROI for email marketing remains the highest among all marketing channels $40 for every $1 spent. No other channels come even close to these heights.
Deciding to build an email list is one thing, but actually seeing success can be quite hard for retailers. This is especially true since there are often so many other aspects of running an ecommerce store.
The two main conditions for successful email list building are the following:
Best Practices—the Do’s and Don’ts of an Email List
1. Get an email service provider
Honestly, before we even start, it’s very important that you get an email marketing provider that you’re comfortable with and which can really help you to build your email list.
Of course, at this point we’d recommend our own service, Getresponse to fulfil that need, but for the purposes of list building, there are many options to choose from.
This is one of the top list building strategies, but it will require a bit of homework from your side. What is important is that your email marketing provider has the following capabilities:
- a variety of sign-up forms
- the ability to send the signup to different lists
- the ability to monitor the effectiveness of each sign-up form
- the ability to segment your subscribers based on various behaviors
- the ability to send automated messages based on these lists and segments
With that, you’ll have everything in place to start building your email list from scratch.
2. Keep your list healthy
A healthy email list means that you approach those people who are aware of you, engaged with your brand and have signed up for your newsletter. Only these kinds of contacts will provide you with high conversion rates and generate strong ecommerce marketing results.
Even more, 30% of subscribers change their email addresses every year, even after they join your list. So no matter how long and hard you have been collecting your emails, you should delete any inactive subscriber on a regular basis.
3. Never, ever buy an email list
Most marketers are looking for ways on how to build an email list fast. Remember, neither a free mailing list found online nor a buyable one can be your way to go. It might be fast but it’s not right.
This one is such an important point to make, and one that many new ecommerce marketers are falling for. Repeat after me: this is not how to build your email list.
There are many shady people on the internet who will sell you email lists with hundreds of thousands of “quality” (read: not quality) contacts that are perfect for your business.
But you know they’re not. You’re just hoping that at least some of them are (maybe 2% wouldn’t be bad, right?).
But that’s bad thinking.
- If you’re buying an email list, there’s a huge chance that other people are buying the same email list.
- That email list may be a pure spam trap, or have spam traps, meaning if you send emails to those contacts, your sender’s email address and IP address will be blacklisted as spam.
- Those people may not be spam traps, but they’re unfortunately not quality leads for your business and they mark you as spam. Think about it: 100,000 contacts marking you as spam. Your sender’s reputation is as good as dead.
- With enough spam complaints, your email service provider will terminate your account. Your goal of building an email list is dead in the water.
- You are violating the GDPR, as those contacts (who reside in the EU) did not opt into your list. You don’t have proof of their signup, and you can face heavy penalties.
- You will spend a decent amount of money on acquiring that list, and for sending your campaign to the contacts on that list. But instead of sales from your email marketing activities, you will get all the consequences mentioned above.
If you want to kill your email marketing career before you’ve even started, go ahead and buy an email list. This cannot be on any brand’s list building strategies.
However, if you want to be a smart marketer, follow these proven tactics on how to build an email list from scratch.
Getting Visitors to Your Site First
Building an email list necessarily requires one thing: that you have visitors to your site. While this article focuses mainly on converting existing site traffic, we’ll quickly go over some proven methods for getting that traffic in the first place.
For the most part, you have a few options:
- Use ads, most likely Facebook ads. Ads allow you to target your perfect audience at the time and on the platform most suitable for them. However, some ads can be quite expensive. For that reason, many ecommerce businesses opt to use Facebook ads which are cost-effective and can easily scale as your needs and business grow. Read more about the most effective ecommerce ads.
- Create engaging content. If you create great content that has the possibility to go viral, then you can use that to bring visitors to your site. You can distribute this content as you please—on YouTube (if it’s a video), TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and anywhere else. You just need to ensure that you have a clear call to action and a link that goes directly to your store. This can be either to the home page or a specific product or landing page you’d like your visitors to see.
- Create engaging content via SEO. Another option is to create great content on your website consistently and wait as Google and other search engines pick it up. This is a much slower strategy. It can take weeks, months or even years to see considerable growth in your organic traffic. However, the major benefits here are that it’s completely free and platform-agnostic. This means that, no matter what happens to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. (such as policy changes or reach restrictions), you can still get traffic directly to your site.
Email List Building Tactics
1. The under estimated standard opt-in form
On most ecommerce platforms, you already know how to build an email list. That’s because one of the first, and default ways to collect email subscribers is by having a standard opt-in form on your site.
Pretty much every Shopify site will have this opt-in form enabled, normally at the bottom or in the middle of the screen.
2. A surprise pop-up form
While the opt-in form is important, it is nonetheless still quite passive. You are hoping that your visitors will sign up for your newsletters by their own will.
Furthermore, you can’t really gauge whether they’re already interested in your brand. Instead, you should be using a pop-up form.
Pop-up forms are dynamic in nature. You can set them to pop up at certain times or for certain events, and they are a great way to deliver lead magnets for lead generation.
3. The power of incentive
If you want visitors to subscribe to your email list, you need to give them something in exchange. Something that they would find relevant.
The most common incentive is to offer a discount, sale or free shipping for a limited time to incentive someone to join your list.
But don’t offer “free updates.” No one really cares about free updates, and it might even seem spammy.
In order to build an email list, you need to attract and engage your visitors. Sometimes, however, discounts and sales are not enough.
In those cases, it’s a great idea to think outside of the box. There are now many interactive sign-up forms that are fun for visitors and effective for ecommerce store owners.
5. A targeted landing page
You can also build an email list outside of your home page.
When you are running your marketing and advertising campaigns, you should be focusing on specific funnels to get your sales or subscribers.
6. Powerful lead magnets
People are generally skeptical of new stores and normally quite reluctant to purchase anything the first time.
That’s why the average conversion rate for many ecommerce stores is around 3%, which means that a full 97% of visitors will leave your store and most will never come back.
In order to avoid that, you can convert your visitors into subscribers—at no cost to them—with a lead magnet.
A lead magnet is a valuable resource—like a PDF guide, ebook, gift guide, stock images, etc.—that your visitors really want and one of the best ways to build an email list.
7. Giveaways that work
Another great tactic that all ecommerce stores should be considering is to utilize the powerful giveaway, especially on your audience’s favorite social media channels