7 revenue-ready list building strategies for ecommerce

Ott Niggulis |

Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to sell. Studies have shown that for every dollar invested, email has an average ROI of $38.

With stats like that, it’s pretty clear that email list building is important and you cannot afford to ignore it anymore. Or maybe you’re already actively building your lists and simply looking for inspiration and new ways to grow it even faster.

Either way, we’re here for you. We’ve put together a list of 7 tactics for list building that ecommerce entrepreneurs can use to grow their lists.

Before we can get started with the tactics, though, we need to talk a bit about the legal side of email list building. Getting that side of the equation right is crucial as being in breach of the law can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. Not cool.

Laws governing email marketing

The exact laws you need to follow depend on the country of the recipient as well as the location of the server that is doing the actual sending of emails. For example, if you’re sending marketing emails from the US  to customers in Canada, you’ll have to follow US laws as well as Canada’s laws regarding email marketing.

It’s also worth noting that these laws and regulations do not apply to just bulk email. It covers all commercial messages, including email that promotes content on commercial websites (including blog updates!).

As laws differ by country, it’s hard to have an ultimate list that covers everything, so instead what follows is a list of steps that should make you compliant in most jurisdictions:

  • Use double opt-in whenever possible
  • Include your contact information and business name inside every promotional campaign you send
  • Include clear opt-out instructions with every campaign
  • If the email is purely advertisement, disclose it clearly and conspicuously in the campaign email

Additional reading:

Tactic #1: Add a Klaviyo sign up form to your Facebook page

Before you start, you will want to tackle the following two steps first:

  1. Create a Facebook Page for your business or organization, if you don’t have one already
  2. Choose which Klaviyo list you want new subscribers to sync to, and customize this list’s Subscribe Page so you can then easily embed this form in Facebook

Tactic #2: Add a signup box to your main landing page

The main landing page is the first page that visitors see when they arrive at your online store, so it’s a good place to put your newsletter sign-up boxes.

Different companies go about it in slightly different ways. American AF, for example, displays theirs above the fold in a prominent and clearly visible place:

While GymShark has theirs just below the fold (need to scroll down to see it):

And J.Crew has theirs in the footer area:

You’ll have to test it out on your site and your audience to find out which works best, but the main idea stays the same – have a signup box somewhere on the main landing page.

Tactic #3: Use social media

Facebook has over a billion daily active users, you might as well use that size to your advantage and add email signup options to your profile. The platform has many third-party apps that let you add custom tabs (like list sign-up) to your business profile – use them!

While Facebook is the only major social platform that utilizes actual tabs and thus enables the use of custom menus, other social media platform at the very least include an about section in the profile section – use it.

Tactic #4: Use order confirmation emails

When you offer guest check-out, you’re not legally allowed to use that email address for anything else besides for matters concerning the actual order status.

To get around that and encourage newsletter signups, include newsletter signup information in your order confirmation and shipping confirmation emails. That way you’re maximizing your opportunities of getting more subs.

Tactic #5: Use out of stock for email capture

Out of stock messages are the stuff that nightmares are made of. You got people eager to buy from you only to be shown an out of stock message. Normally after seeing such a message that prospective customer leaves, never to be seen again.

Smart ecommerce entrepreneurs use those same out of stock messages to capture new emails. It’s good for the prospective customer – they’ll be notified when the merchandise is back in stock, and it’s good for you – another one to add to your email list. Happy days.

Tactic #6: Set up a loyalty program

A loyalty program is a rewards program offered by a company to customers who frequently make purchases. In exchange for loyalty, the customer can receive free merchandise, rewards, coupons, advance released products and more.

One part of such a loyalty programs are refer a friend campaigns whereby your customers will invite his/her family and friends to join in exchange for coupons and other rewards.

The same principles of refer a friend to get rewards can also be used to launch new products like Harry’s did. They design their campaign in a way that handed out more and better rewards the more people you referred. In the end 77% of all emails collected during the pre-launch time came through referrals with 20,000 people referring ~65,000 friends.

Tactic #7: Use pop-ups

Popups are those little annoying boxes that pop up when you’re comfortably browsing a store. As annoying as they may seem, the thing is that they work and work well.

In real life they can look like this:

Or this:

Or like this:

Pop-ups come in different shapes and sizes and they can use different user actions to be triggered. Some of the most popular ones include:

Time-Based Pop-ups
This method will show your pop-up after a predetermined amount of time. Setting it to 60 seconds or more can work the best as the visitors has had time to look around and engage with your store and may thus be more open to offers.

Content Based Pop-ups
The pop-up will show on specified pages, search terms etc. You can set up different offers for different categories/pages.

Scroll Based Pop-ups
Will show up when the visitors has scrolled to a specific percentage down your page.

Exit Intent Pop-ups
Shows up at the exact moment that a visitor is about to leave your store. This can be especially useful on check-out pages with a percentage or dollar amount off type of offer.

Opening Offer Pop-ups

This one shows up when you first arrive at a page as a kind of “thank you for visiting us” gesture.

When it comes to usage, there isn’t one that is guaranteed to work every single time and one that brings in the most new subscribers. It all depends on your audience and the type of merchandise you sell. So, the best advice I can offer is to test out different styles of pop-ups and stick with one that works the best for you.

As for what the offer should be on the pop-up to entice new visitors to subscribe, I’m sorry to disappoint you but there isn’t one that is guaranteed to work.

Companies have had success with the offer being a percentage or monetary amount off with their next purchase, by offering free gifts, free shipping with a first order, a chance to win money, staying up-to-date with a new offering, simply join newsletter etc. The offer itself doesn’t seem to have a big effect on the number of sign-ups, but again, test different offers and stick with the one that works best for you.

Ott Niggulis
Ott Niggulis is a freelance writer who focuses on business, marketing and CRO. Marketing is a numbers game, and he loves numbers.

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