Email List Building Techniques: The eCommerce Edition

Raúl Galera
Raúl Galera
June 18, 2019
2 min read
Email List Building Techniques: The eCommerce Edition

In this article

So, you’ve decided that you’d like to go through with an eCommerce store. Maybe you’ve already got one and don’t know how to keep it up and running.

Or maybe you want to go for eCommerce world domination.

Whatever your intents and purposes are, one thing is for certain: You cannot do this without email marketing. And let me tell you why:

ecommerce list building value - email marketing roi is 3800%


Email marketing is the fastest, most foolproof way to score sales and generate revenue, while not breaking the bank when it comes to your marketing budget. And eCommerce list building is key for this.

Of course, in order to utilize email marketing techniques, you’ll need to come up with two things:

One, an email marketing platform like Moosend, a great MailChimp alternative, and two (and most important), a mailing list that can grow, convert and thrive.

So, let me show you what kind of email list building techniques you could follow, in order to help your list go from nay list to A-list!

Simple List Building Techniques for your eCommerce Store

1. Utilize your Social Media profiles find list-building opportunities

Yes, email marketing is everywhere. Even in social media profiles (which, at first, were thought they’d replace the very use of emails. Little did they know.).

And even though social media marketing has many enemies, if marketers use all their tools in unison, amazing things can happen.

Email marketing is no exception, of course.

The most successful of all social media platforms, Facebook, has indirectly admitted that fact by adding the option of an email signup form on your brand’s or product’s Facebook page:

facebook landing page example

By utilizing your Facebook followers, you’ve surely got an audience that already likes and, possibly, uses your product.

So why not start there?

Another thing you can do is do it like GAP!

gap facebook cta example - ecommerce list building strategies

Their button is not a “Sign up now” button. Rather, pressing on it redirects you to their official page.

Where you will see the following:

gap discount offer popup - ecommerce list building strategies


So, GAP is not in for the kill, not right off the bat at least. Rather, they’ve got all the tools a user needs to go through with a purchase with less clicks.

By showing the user the sign-up form upon entering, GAP is targeting those impulse buyers-offering a 25% discount code, no less.

Don’t forget to use your Instagram bio as well-a link can redirect your followers to your homepage, where your committed followers will definitely find something of interest.

And the won’t pass up on the opportunity to get it with a discount.

That link in bio can be useful in more ways, of course. By hosting an Instagram giveaway, for example, you’re bound to get tonnes of subscribers and tonnes of referrals as well, so long as you ask your followers to “Tag a friend”.

Another thing you’ll need to remember is that the term “exclusive” goes a long, long way. VIP treatment doesn’t need to be a privilege that only already existing subscribers know.

How about letting your followers know what they can have if they subscribe to your email newsletter?

Whether you decide to do this through an ad, or through a sponsored or a normal post, make sure to let your followers know that they’re only a hit of the “Subscribe” button away from being treated like family, by a brand that they can trust.

2. Use a landing page for email capture

Email marketing goes way beyond marketing. It’s a means of communication, non-unsolicited communication, no less!

And eCommerce is a thriving business, with a 10.2% total share of retail sales in the US for the first quarter of 2019:

stats ecommerce share of retail sales growth in united states


Now, since eCommerce is so profitable and since landing pages are the way to go, in order to capture an email, why not use them for your eCommerce store?

What do I mean?

Let me define the term first, in order to clarify: A landing page is one specific website page that is specifically designed to get traffic from an ad, email, any campaign really.

Hence the name “landing page”, as the user will land there.

So, instead of having a visitor look around for the signup form, why not just put the form right where they can see it? Ie, on the page they’re going to land on anyway?

The landing page and the email form itself doesn’t really need to have too much information. Like this:

signup form


This landing page is very pretty!

It’s eye-catching, there’s a lot of space for the eye to rest and focus on those beautiful flowers and there are elements that are bound to convert, to boot:

The form informs the potential subscriber about what is going to happen if they fill it and click “Submit”, right off the bat, complete with a starting price and all.

This landing page is designed to not only make someone order the flowers, but also make them sign up, build their list and then, BOOM!

Grow it and nurture the leads accordingly.

3. Single VS Double Opt-In (to improve the value of the lists)

First off, an opt-in form is the “tool” you’ll use to capture the person’s email and the placement plays a major part. But this is not what I’d like to talk about in this section.

Many times, marketers are faced with a dilemma: Do we need single or double opt-in?

Many would answer and argue that the double opt-in is the only way to go, others would tell you that a user that makes a lot of unnecessary clicks is a lost user.

Both statements are true and, at the same time, not true. What do I mean by that?

Want awareness and a lot of volume for your eCommerce store? Are you just getting started and need to make a name for yourself?

Then, you need to go ahead with a single opt-in, as it won’t make the user do a lot of clicks or confirm their email address and need to enter passwords and access their inbox and so on and so forth.

email list building


However, this is a bit risky, seeing as not confirming an email would ultimately mean that you may end up with a lot of emails that may be wrong, have typos, anything that would make your subscribers send your email straight into the “Spam” folder and harm your reputation and deliverability.

The other option is, of course, double opt-in. Use that, if you want to have leads that are more likely to convert.

By giving your potential subscribers the option to confirm their email address, you’re pretty much doing the minimum there is to do, in order to prevent spam.

Also, by getting your prospects to confirm their preferences twice, you’re making sure you get more dedicated subscribers, seeing as that confirmations that is needed is, indeed, time-consuming.

4. Build Word-of-Mouth With Advocate Customers

There we go, word-of-mouth, again! Which shouldn’t come as a surprise, seeing as this is the oldest and, at the same time, most efficient way of advertising.

Of course, word-of-mouth comes with a variety of forms, but the one I’d like to mention at this point is the referrals. So, how do these little buggers work?

Referrals are to email marketing what Influencer marketing is to social media marketing professionals all over the globe. And let me explain the statement:

Influencers receive a product or a subscription to a service, go forth with a review and then recommend the product to their audience.

The recommendation usually comes with a discount code the influencer is willing to give out to their audience or, if there is a need for the brand to go viral, there probably will be a giveaway.

What kind of similarities can you see between word-of-mouth and influencer marketing?

First of all, there is someone that can and will recommend the product to one or more people, someone that is to be trusted.

Now, the person who recommends, won’t recommend the product to just anyone, but they will go the extra mile for people they like.

And that extra mile could, perhaps, be in the form of an email that the subscriber could forward.

And it could also contain a discount code for every person that subscribes… Like so:

discount offer example for lead generation


This is of benefit to both the subscriber and the referrals themselves, so don’t be above incentivizing your efforts.

Remember that loyal subscribers who are willing to help you grow your list like this, essentially agree to becoming brand ambassadors.

This means that they’ll need something in return, in order to do your promo work for you.

And you do need that promo work:

ways of discovering new products


Word-of-mouth is the second best way for a consumer to discover a new product. So, don’t bash it in favour of other techniques.

What is more, if you use referrals correctly, you’ll get more subscribers than you’d think, seeing as everyone would love to be a brand ambassador, especially if there’s a little something involved.

5. Pinterest is a category all on its own

And let me tell you why: Pinterest and eCommerce are two peas in a pod. Or perhaps, you could say that Pinterest is the platform for eCommerce.

This platform is used as a platform to draw inspiration from.

It can be used for pretty much everything a user would want, but it works beautifully for eCommerce stores that have to do with DIY or fashion, even gardening.

And there are a lot of people using Pinterest:

ecommerce list


This means that you can set up your own Pinterest profile, make boards that will be showcasing not just your products but their uses and how people can draw inspiration from them and entice the prospects to click on the pins with clear CTAs and fantastic visuals.

Once they click, they’ll be redirected to (drumroll, please) your landing page!

Seeing as these boards provide something that satisfies the user’s intent without even trying too hard, it’s only logical that you will apply to the users’ impulsive nature that way.

Therefore, once they land on your landing page and see that, by signing up, they’ll get fantastic little freebies:

get free sample lead gen method


They’re most likely to convert, whether by simply signing up or (most likely) by signing up and purchasing something.

Pro tip: If you’ve still got some questions, or would like to consult an expert, John Doherty has created a platform, Getcredo, where you will be able to find those broader eCommerce agencies.

And now for some Don’ts

Let’s assume that you did everything by the book. I am willing to bet that you never thought that failure was an option, after all this hard work, but you were there and you experienced it, right?

Well, let’s see where you went wrong:

1. Don't be a Plain-Jane: Put some design work in

I understand that you didn’t want to complicate things too much. But there is a difference between simple-which is sometimes the hardest practice-and plain.

Plain won’t work, it never works for anyone, as it makes things look like there has been zero thought to them.

Therefore, a button that says “Register” without mentioning what the prospect will get by registering, is not the way to go.

Think like a potential subscriber here and not like the marketer: The prospect has zero idea what your brand is useful for.

If they can’t answer the question “Why should I?”, then you’re in for a bad surprise.

email marketing

This is, to me, an example of a not-so-stylish or converting sign-up form. And without a sign-up form that catches the eye, there is no sign-up. And without that, there is no mailing list.

If one has billions of options, why would they click your subscribe button? Why would they go for your newsletters? Think about it.

You’ll need colors and design that stands out, but is still relevant to your website and your services.

2. Avoid too many options: Simplify the CTAs

Such as too many CTAs for the same thing, as one or two on different forms on the website are more than enough.

On CTAs again, make sure that they’re consistent with the brand tone and don’t confuse the prospect.

Don’t give the prospect any option but to either close the form or sign up. There really is no in-between on that one, as all the rest can and will be confusing. Not to mention that they’ll work against you, in terms of satisfying the prospect’s impulses.

This means that links to your social media pages, listing more than one lead magnet or making a point to showcase different offers that are currently trunning for signups, a lead magnet, and some links is not an option, seeing as they can confuse your potential subscriber.

3. Don't be impatient with A/B testing: you have to optimise

You either didn’t A/B test, A/B tested a lot of parameters, thus not knowing which one was the one that made all the difference or you committed the ultimate sin: You bought your first leads!

Which is wrong on all levels, seeing as it can hurt your reputation by making people think you’re a spammer.

And I’ll let you in on a little secret: Nobody sells what works for them. Therefore, if you bought your list from someone else in your niche, know that this list was a throwaway to begin with.

If you didn’t do something like that, don’t ever consider it, as it can mess with your email deliverability, get you into a lot of trouble with your email service provider and make your brand be considered as a “Spammer” brand.

And I think we’re done here

I think the point is quite clear:

Make an effort to use your social media platforms correctly, have faith in your product, make sure to explain why you’ve got that faith and tempt users into becoming brand ambassadors.

Also, landing pages are your friend and don’t forget to inspire your users with beautiful boards and visuals.

These tips will make your eCommerce store’s list skyrocket and you’ll get all the value you deserve!

So, what do you think of all these tips? Do you have any extra ones you’d like to share with us?

Go ahead and tell us in the comments! And don’t forget to share your knowledge with your favorite marketers!

Raúl Galera
Raúl Galera

Raúl is ReferralCandy's partner manager.

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