5 Website Optimization Tips to Help You Grow Your Email List Before Cyber Weekend


Editor’s Note: This article is a contribution from Hannah Stewart, vice president of global marketing at Yieldify

While Black Friday and Cyber Monday might seem like they’re a lifetime away, it’s time to start getting ready for what’s likely to be a peak season unlike any other we’ve seen before. In fact, 77 percent of retailers will already have started preparing for it.

There are many familiar elements to the preparation process: reviewing merchandising, testing website speeds and structure, and looking at acquisition budgets. But the smartest ecommerce professionals will be integrating an extra element: capturing more leads to grow their email subscriber lists as early as possible.

Why? You can boil it down to one simple word: nurture.

Sixty percent of customers who made purchases on Cyber Weekend 2019 engaged with an email from that brand prior to Q3 that same year, according to Klaviyo’s research. This in mind, it’s crucial to engage your prospective customers early and keep re-engaging them until peak season arrives.

Of course, the best source for those new email subscribers is your website—more specifically, your website visitors who would otherwise leave without making a purchase. Find a means to capture email data from this segment and you have a great opportunity to secure more conversions during peak season.

Here’s how you can turn more visitors into subscribers.


1. Flex your formats

Almost any ecommerce website will have a nifty little “subscribe to our newsletter’ form somewhere on its homepage—usually a single-field on the footer. The average success rate of these varies, but the general consensus is that their submit rate is between two and four percent, so not particularly high.

The first thing that you can do to change that conversion rate is to change where and how you present your lead capture form. By showing your lead capture form in different formats, you get the dual advantage of making it more visible and getting more digital real-estate to work with.

Here are a few options that are the most effective:

Overlays (aka pop-ups, lightboxes, modals). When deployed correctly, these can do a great job of attracting attention without being disruptive (more on the latter shortly). Here’s an example from Domino’s:


Floating buttons. These are an effective way of attracting visitor engagement in a more subtle way. Here’s a great example from Essie:


Sticky bars. These are page elements fixed to the top, bottom, or side of a page that are shown to the visitor upon entry, exit, scrolls down or up, on a timer, or after clicking a link or button.


Try a couple of these options in addition to your usual embedded subscription form. 

The next important thing to consider is how you deploy behavioral targeting to make sure that these new forms appear to the right person, at the right time.


  1. 2. Don’t try to get a lead out of every website visitor

We get it. This sounds counterintuitive. If you want more email subscribers, why wouldn’t you make sure that your lead capture form is in the face of every website visitor? This is because email capture is a delicate dance: push your call-to-action (CTA) in front of your visitor too aggressively and you can end up turning them off altogether. 

An example of this that most of us can relate to is when you’re presented with a “SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER!!!” pop-up within seconds of landing on a new website that you’ve never been to before. 

At this point, you probably have next to no idea about what this site is all about, let alone whether you like it enough to hand over your precious data. This kind of approach is all too common and it can have a devastating impact on your bounce rate. 

The other side of the coin looks like this: zone in on those website visitors where you want the lead and where you’re likely to actually get it. For example, you could target those visitors who are: 

  • recent cart abandoners AND 
  • on their second session (they know your site well enough to be likely to share their data) AND
  • about to leave the site 

By analyzing our data, Yieldify found that the sweet spot for a high submission rate is using three to five different targeting criteria.

Source: Yieldify

Don’t be afraid to be selective. You have competing goals on your website, so make sure your lead capture strategy knows its place.


3. Create CTAs that clearly convey value

The rising tide of privacy regulations is a reflection of something important to remember when you’re reviewing your lead capture strategy: personal data is a commodity and nobody gives it away for free anymore.

As someone asking for data, think about the value you’re offering in exchange for it. That means that if your email capture efforts currently consist of just asking your visitor to “sign up,” then you’re probably not offering enough value.

The goods news is that you don’t have to offer a discount-focused incentive, although that’s still very much an option and can be a good one if you’re targeting it at the right kind of visitor. Rather, it can be just as effective to clearly articulate the value that your visitor gets for handing over their info.

Here’s a great example from Kiehl’s:


As you can see, they’re not offering anything out of the ordinary. The difference is that they’ve communicated it clearly.

In the run-up to Cyber Weekend, consider making your offer specific to the season—giving early access to discounts is a powerful incentive.


4. Don’t be afraid to ask more than once

By this point, you’ve introduced a new lead capture format to your website, developed a great CTA, and adjusted your targeting so that it’s appearing to the right audiences. You’re getting a good submit rate, but you have a feeling there’s yet more untapped potential on your site to get more email subscribers.

You’d be right.

The next step in your strategy is to start to employ a layered email capture approach. Here’s how it works:

  • You initially trigger a more prominent format to ask your target visitor to sign up, such as an overlay.
  • If they decline, you trigger another, more subtle notification at a later stage in their session such as how Sol de Janeiro does on their site.


The result is a 10-20 percent increase in your lead capture rate, according to Yieldify’s data.

Source: Yieldify

The reason that this works is actually pretty simple and it’s the same reason that you don’t ask a visitor for their email data on entry: your chances of getting an email address are better the more engaged a visitor is.

While earlier in a session your visitor may have been unsure about whether they’re interested in subscribing to your email list, a few more pages in they may well decide that this is something they’re interested in.


5. Capture extra data

Finally, let’s look at the kind of data you’re capturing. While your priority is to capture the visitor’s email address, you can make those follow-up email campaigns more effective by capturing and using more data.

There are two ways of approaching this.

First, you can consider adding one or two more fields to your form. Here’s an example of how that could look:


There’s a big caveat here: Yieldify’s data shows that single-field forms have the highest submit rates; add more fields and you may decrease your submit rate.

Second, you can use behavioral data. For example, if your visitor submits their email form having browsed predominantly on women’s apparel-related pages, you can feed that data into your email service provider and use it to target your emails. Yieldify’s integration with Klaviyo supports this and it means you can send smarter emails without taking a hit to your submit rate.

Final thoughts

If you execute on all the above steps, your submit rate could be heading into the double-digits relatively soon. It’s best to start as soon as possible—getting to your sweet spot for submit rates will require some test-and-learn, which in turn takes time. Good luck, and have a great Cyber Weekend!

Learn more about three marketing basics you should optimize before you put a cent toward paid advertising. 

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