As an e-commerce business owner, it’s wise to invest time and energy into your email marketing strategy. Why? Because email marketing provides an extremely high return on investment (ROI) — 122% or 4x higher than other forms of marketing. But to find success, you need to build an email list that’s strong and healthy. 

While you may be tempted to purchase an email list instead of spending the time to build one, don’t do it. There are a lot of reasons why purchasing lists isn’t a good idea:

  1. While this may seem like a quick fix to your problem, this purchased audience hasn’t shown any interest in your brand or any buying intent. Thus, the ROI won’t be as high as you’d like or expect with a healthy email list. 
  2. Since these emails weren’t given to you voluntarily, chances are you’ll see higher unsubscription rates than usual, and you’ll likely be marked as “spam” quite often.
  3. If you blend purchased and owned email lists in one campaign, your analytics may be skewed, and it’ll be difficult to tell what worked and what didn’t. 

So with that in mind and without further ado, let’s explore six smart ways to establish and grow a valuable email list.

Provide Email Opt-In Options on Your Website 

The most common and wildly effective way to capture email addresses is through opt-in options on your webpage. By using a standard opt-in form or pop-up banner, consumers are given the opportunity to sign up for your newsletter or announcements if they choose. 

Be sure to make this process as clear and straightforward as possible for the consumer. While you may want to capture a lot of information about them, it’s best to stick with only their name and email address. The faster and easier it is for someone to signup for your email list, the more likely they’ll do it — and the more time they’ll have to continue shopping around on your site.

Note that potential subscribers should feel like their personal information is taken care of — the last thing they need is for you to share their information with other vendors to spam their inboxes. Make sure to add a Privacy Policy link to the signup form and a blurb saying you’re committed to their privacy. This statement can be the first step to building trust with your subscribers.

Pro tip: Consider searching for a free tool that enables you to legally collect emails from your website visitors to grow your subscriber list and build relationships with them.

For additional reading on how to find your email audience:

Email Marketing 101: Audience Building and Email Content

Always Include an Incentive 

If you’re looking to build your email list quickly, always include an incentive to signup for your emails. Whether it’s something as simple as 10% off their order, free shipping, or another lead magnet — like a relevant PDF guide, ebook, or gift guide — you want to give your customers something valuable in return for their email address. 

Everyone likes free stuff, which makes including an incentive one of the most effective ways to quickly build your email list. 

For additional reading around discounts and promotions:

A Guide to Discounts and Promotions for D2C Brands

Get Emails With Giveaways

Speaking of free things, promoting a giveaway on your website and social media pages is an excellent way to capture email addresses. All you have to do is decide on what you’ll give the winner — perhaps one of your best selling products or a gift card to your e-commerce store — and then instruct people to enter their email address to be entered in a drawing.

For faster results, you can cross-promote the giveaway on your social media pages and even put some money behind it for a greater reach.

Pro tip: Stay focused on giveaways. We often see brands losing sight of their goal and focusing on the number of leads rather than the quality. Make sure your incentive is always related to your brand. You could quickly build an email list by promoting a giveaway of a mobile phone or an Amazon gift card, but this isn’t the point. You want to build a list of fans and potential loyal buyers.

Capture Emails During Checkout 

Your checkout page is a prime place to capture email addresses. A customer is most likely already giving you an active email address to receive their receipt and order and shipping confirmations. It’s the perfect place to provide them with the option to opt-in or out of promotional emails as well. 

If someone has purchased an item from you, they’re already a great candidate for emails since they’ve shown an interest in your brand. So, by informing them that they can receive additional discounts and promotions through email, they’re likely to opt-in right then. This tactic will help you build a healthy email list, filled with active email addresses from those who’ve already shown an interest in your products. 

Add Landing Pages and Calls to Action (CTA)

Every page, blog post, and landing page on your website should have a CTA. Studies show that the more landing pages you have, the more engagement and leads you’ll receive — up to 55% more! 

More landing pages means more opportunities for conversions; therefore, each landing page should have a compelling CTA. Rather than using the traditional “Subscribe” and “Sign-up” language, try one of these CTA phrases to switch it up and get more clicks:

  • Use exciting language: “Score Free Shipping!”
  • Write the CTA in first-person: “Yes, I Want Free Shipping!”
  • Ask a “yes” or “no” question: “Do You Want Free Shipping?” 

For more on how to craft effective CTAs: 

Writing, Testing, and Refining an Effective Call to Action

Promote Your Business to Gain Attention

Promoting your brand and products on social media can also help build your email list. This can be done with organic posts or with lead ads that allow you to find people who are interested in your products or services. When available, we highly recommend using instant forms. This way, you can quickly collect contact information such as name, email address, phone number, and more

To learn how to maximize your email campaign performance, read more here.

Evi Katsoulieri
Author

Evi is the Email Marketing Associate at AdRoll. She is passionate about testing out growth strategies that enable users to leverage AdRoll capabilities across the lifecycle stages. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, cooking Mediterranean specialties and spending time with her dog.