How Online Retailers and eCommerce Brands Start and Grow an Email List

How Online Retailers and eCommerce Brands Start and Grow an Email List

The Money Is In Your Email List

You’ve probably heard this phrase a million times before. That’s because it’s tested and true. As an online retailer, your email list is going to be one of your major channels for revenue. Your customers are rarely going to buy on the first visit to your store. Some will be wary to buy even the second or third time your items pass their eyes.

That’s why it’s important to create touchpoints with them through email. Of course the only way to do that is by getting their email address. It’s even better to get their phone number too. But, you’re probably wondering…

What software should I use for my email list? And…How exactly do I grow my email list?

Great questions. Let’s go over some of the email software you can choose from to manage your list.

If you’re looking to stay lean and keep costs low…

We recommend Mailchimp. Mailchimp has been around since 2001. It’s the only option with a forever free plan up to 2,000 subscribers and a daily send limit of 2,000 emails.

Mailchimp allows you to create email templates, and integrates seamlessly with most eCommerce platforms – Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, 3dCart, Squarespace and more.

The automation features are limited and creating email templates can be time consuming with their editor. Regardless, it’s an all around good platform to get started with.

If you’re all in and want the best of the best…

If you’re ready to do some more advanced list building and marketing to your customers then we recommend choosing between Klaviyo, Drip and Omnisend. We usually recommend Klaviyo for the brands we work with.

Klaviyo is basically an eCommerce CRM built to help you market to your customers through email. Klaviyo has a ton of automation features based on your customer’s actions such as abandoned shopping carts, suggestions for people who view certain products, upsells and cross sells.

It also integrates with Facebook’s custom audiences so you can target any of your customers (or groups of them)and create workflows, segments and even product landing pages. Pricing is not an issue in our opinion because Klaviyo pays for itself if you ‘re serious about marketing to your email list.

If you’re an influencer who’s blogging and building a boutique…

If you’re an influencer planning on running a boutique and placing a large emphasis on your personal branding then Convertkit is your best bet. It offers plenty of content upgrades and customizable signup and opt-in forms. It is much simpler to manage than Drip or Klaviyo because it is subscriber based.

Now that you have different email marketing software to choose from, let’s explore how to actually grow your email list.

Time for the nitty gritty details on how to actually grow your email list.

Let’s get straight to it so you can start running your newsletter numbers up. You don’t need to plan a huge launch or campaign in order to begin attracting subscribers.

The Pop-Up On Your Store’s Website

You’ve seen a coupon pop-up before. Take a look at a great example below.

Coupon popup from

Yes, these actually work.

Coupons are a good option because it’s a direct incentive for a potential customer to provide you with their email address. They get to shop at a cheaper price and learn more about your brand through your newsletter. But be careful. This can devalue your brand if your only hook is to have everything on sale. You want to build a genuine connection and experience with the people who buy from your shop.

An alternative is to offer something more specific and interesting in your copy. Here’s an example –

“Enter your email and you’ll receive access to our newsletter club where we’ll showcase our sweater designs for the next season. You can also purchase them before they’re available to the public!”

You just offered them access which makes them feel exclusive. And you mentioned a huge benefit, they get to see pre-released sweaters and purchase them before anybody else. This implies the sweaters will be cheaper too.

You just created a loyal and engaged customer without having to convince them to buy because you’re cheaper than the other boutique.

Here’s another pop-up example below

Pay attention to Brandless’ copy – they use free shipping and recommendations

Get creative with the process and you’ll have subscribers pouring in. It doesn’t end here.

Create Landing Pages Dedicated To Signing Up Subscribers

With a landing page you can focus on a theme, expand on your messaging and explain why joining your email list is an awesome idea. The page should have no additional links or buttons on it besides the sign up button. You don’t want your potential subscribers (or customers) to take any other action.

This can work extremely well while your brand is in it’s ‘Pre-launch’ or ‘Coming Soon’ phase.

Check out the example below.

Only one action to take, sign up!

Yes, these work!

Better to do this than to have a half-complete store or website up with very few products and no design.

Trade Shows And In-Person Events

If you’re attending a trade show or an in-person event, bring a laptop or tablet and use that landing page! We have done this for our clients at events they’ve attended in Turkey, Dubai and China. It was SO much easier to get people on our list while also creating a small yet memorable experience.

Since we couldn’t talk to everybody that passed by our booth, we would direct them to the laptop and say

“Hey, sign up and we can answer any questions that you have or keep you updated on our store.”

It worked 99% of the time.

If you don’t have a laptop, pen and paper will work just fine. Print out a sign up sheet for people to write their name and email. This is more manual work upfront but it pays off in the long run. You’ve gotta do what you gotta do! Don’t underestimate the potential in live events.

Business Cards And Social media

Take advantage of your business card by using the URL to your newsletter landing page or specific product page as your business card’s website. Our business card leads directly to a designated url with utm parameters so we know who’s actually checking out our card.

This means the same can be done on all your social media profiles. Add it to your bio instead of just a link to your website. Always give people an action to perform, this will set you apart from those who rely on their “creative” to do all the speaking for them.

Blog Posts And Checkout Page

These are pretty straight forward. Your checkout page should have an email sign-up. Your messaging and copy is incredibly important here. The same applies to your blog posts. At the bottom of every post should be a sign-up form for your newsletter. Take every opportunity to have shoppers or visitors sign up before leaving!

Referral Giveaway Or Contest

Throwing a contest or giveaway just for an email sign-up isn’t the greatest trade-off. Instead, make it a referral deal. Whoever can refer the most people to your newsletter will receive a gift of some sort.

Think swag, an exclusive item or a VIP ticket to an event. This is how fashion shows and launch parties came to be. Make sure you can track the amount of referrals people are bringing in. Things can get hectic really fast when customers believe they’ve brought in more referrals than they actually did.

Again, the possibilities are endless. Don’t waste any more time.

Go grow your email list! It’s low effort, low cost and has HUGE return on investment.

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