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5 Email List-Building Strategies That Actually Work

Shae Henrie

Content Strategist @ AdRoll

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Email marketing is a tried and true way to build an audience and, ultimately, your brand. Not only is it relatively cheap and easy to manage but studies have also found that average conversion rates for opened emails hover around 15%, making it an incredibly effective marketing tactic. 

To reap the benefits of email marketing, however, you’ll need to have a robust list. Use these five strategies to get started on fleshing out your list!

1. Attract Subscribers Using Enticing Deals

One of the most effective ways to grow your email list is by offering enticing incentives (such as special discounts, limited-time offers, or custom promo codes) and letting shoppers know they’ll receive the offer in their inboxes upon sign-up. 

10% off coupons in exchange for an email sign-up has become the norm in the ecommerce world.

Remember: The email capture form on your website doesn’t just need to be easily accessible from every page; it also needs to be mobile responsive.

2. Offer Exclusive Content

Another way to grow your email list is via exclusive and gated content that people can unlock by offering their email. This can be in the form of a meaty ebook, helpful tool, useful checklist, must-have template, informative video, interesting infographic, or something else that’s valuable and compelling to your target audience.

Pro tip: All too often, shoppers will subscribe to your emails for the sweet welcome deal or piece of attractive content… only to unsubscribe immediately after. Make sure to be upfront about all the perks they receive from being on your email list over time, such as early access to promotions, exclusive subscriber-only discounts, and first dibs on new product launches.

Take a page from Glossier’s playbook on setting expectations early!

3. Incorporate Exit Intent Pop-ups

Exit-intent pop-ups are one of the easiest ways to build your email list. Think of them as an extra opportunity to draw shoppers back to your site and encourage them to convert.

Some exit intent triggers include:

  • Pressing the back button

  • Scrolling back up to the top of the page

  • Switching between browser tabs

  • Leaving a page idle

Having “wait, before you go” copy can also help increase FOMO.

The key is to use exit intent pop-ups only when shoppers have yet to take an action — pop-ups triggered at the wrong time can be annoying. Additionally, make sure to

  • Be strategic about what data you collect from users. When building your pop-up, try to focus on the basics: email address and name. You can ask for their birthday or phone number later once you’ve established a relationship with the shopper.

  • Don’t inundate your site experience with pop-ups.

  • Be clear about what shoppers unlock upon sign-up (such as the enticing deal we mentioned earlier).

4. Launch a Loyalty Program

Launching a loyalty program isn’t simply a fantastic way to encourage existing customers to come back for more and stay engaged with your brand, it’s also — you guessed it! — an A+ way to nab more emails.

Learn all about email list management here.

That said, it’s critical to ensure your loyalty program is relevant, useful, fun, and worth the effort of signing up. (Learn more about designing effective loyalty programs here.)

5. Promote Email Sign-ups at Events

Hosting a pop-up? Have a booth at a local event? Or maybe you have a brick-and-mortar store in addition to your ecommerce site? These are all massive opportunities to build your email list!

You can even consider inviting members of the sales department to major events with the goal of chatting up potential customers and capturing emails on an iPad. If you’re a one-person team, having a clearly labeled and prominently displayed clipboard for shoppers to scribble down their info will also suffice.

Just like the digital strategies mentioned above, you can offer them an incentive for signing up, such as a small freebie or discount.

Hello, a Bigger and Better Email List!

Remember: It’s not just about the list-building strategy you choose, but how well you use your list to power your email marketing efforts. AdRoll’s dynamic list-builder feature lets you create defined segments based on your email contacts’ attributes and behaviors and other criteria you set. From there, you can launch more effective ads and email campaigns to reach them at the right place and time. Check it out today!

For more email marketing resources, check out our guides below.

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