Email Marketing

28 No-BS Ways To Get More Email Subscribers in eCommerce

To maximize returns from email, your eCommerce business needs enough subscribers—in this piece, we tell you how to get them.

28 No-BS Ways To Get More Email Subscribers in eCommerce

Think about this for a moment:

A Facebook post only has about 2% chances of being viewed. 

On Twitter, posts stand even lower chances. 

On Instagram, a post lasts for just a few hours (unless a customer regularly interacts with your page there). 

On the other hand, 96% of emails get delivered and an email sent to 1000 people gets almost 35 clicks. (For more stats, check this.)

What even better: it’s super easy to share ‘em and they fetch gangsta-level ROI

What we’re saying here is not new information: email is by far the most cost-effective marketing channel. 

But to make it work, you need the right number of subscribers—and that’s what this post is about. 

It'll cover:

1. Create lead magnets they can’t refuse

2. Give them reasons to sign up 🙂

3. Ditch the usual landing pages 

4. Try “newsletter swaps”

5. Give shoppers the power of choice

6. Personalization quiz works!

7. Nudge shoppers on cart page 

8. Run a video contest

9. Run contests on Facebook

10. Feature sign up tick box at checkout

11. Host a great offer on your header 

12. Use your first fold as a hook

13. A/B test opt-in elements

14. Un-boring loyalty program 

15. Leverage “Notify me” 

16. Use a wishlist pop-up

17. Float a sign up form

18. Ask for feedback

19. Feature social proof across sign-up prompts

20. Create social media *hooks* 

21. Have affiliates promote your newsletter

22. Get on Pinterest 

23. Offer a % discount for newsletter forwards

24. Be likable as a brand

25. Gate your “best” content pieces

26. Use “learning” as a long-term hook

27. Promote videos you already have

28. Bring people into the fold with a great email signature

Other questions people ask

How do I get More Email subscribers for eCommerce?

1. Create lead magnets they can’t refuse

Like discounts, in bold unignorable font, right when they land on your site. 

Fenty Beauty does it well: 

fenty beauty features strong lead magnets to draw email subscribers
fenty beauty features strong lead magnets to draw email subscribers

Here are a few ideas: 

Sign up & get an extra 20% discount the ongoing sitewide discount

Sign up to download this member-exclusive checklist (ONE-TIME ONLY)

Sign up to get 15% additional discount on seasonal bundles

Want to entice a first-time visitor? 

“Still getting used to us? Here’s a unique chance for you to enter a giveaway & win a <product>!”

Ensure the microcopy mentions how many entries will receive this giveaway—for example if it’s for a sampler, say that the first X number of sign ups will receive a free sampler and X lucky winners will receive a full kit. 

When you don’t want to offer a discount: 

Tell them you’ll send them deals, new releases, content— anything that you know your shoppers would see value in. You know what they want! 

And make it bold, unignorable. 

Cuvee Coffee uses bold opt-ins with benefits to attract more email subscribers

BTW, the above example doesn’t have a close button, which is not a great idea. Please add one to yours 🙂

A couple of more ideas to grow your email list with lead magnets: 

Sign up & get a free pass to <name of member-only event>.

Sign up to receive a FREE expert consultation.

2. Give them reasons to sign up 🙂

Show social proof 

Say something like “x number of email subscribers & counting.”

Clarify benefits 

Tell shoppers you’ll send them helpful/trending content if they sign up.

Offer value-add content 

If you’re declaring a 10% off on makeup products, also give away a 10-page FREE makeup manual.

Don’t make it just about discounts

For example, if you’re a nutritional brand, create an eating plan & offer that up as a “challenge.”

3. Ditch the usual landing pages 

And check out Squeeze pages to grow your email list.

Squeeze pages usually come with zero scrolling, making them cut out distractions & frustration—here’s an example from Daily Harvest. 

Daily Harvest uses a targeted squeeze page for potential email subscribers

Where to feature?

Use the alert bar above the primary navigation. 

In your Instagram “link in bio.”

In your primary navigation dropdown menu. 

Across blog posts that organically link to the squeeze page content. 

On product pages. 

In order to build a squeeze page, use a landing page builder like Leadpages

Choose a template, edit color, text and other parameters, upload the lead magnet you want to deliver after the sign up—and you’re done!

4. Try “newsletter swaps”

Now, where do you find a newsletter to “swap” with? There are multiple ways to do this:

Get in touch with a brand you’ve already collab-ed with. Seek out a brand with a similar audience profile. 

Use newsletter marketplaces & platforms. One like Swapstack can be an all-in-one exhaustive resource—they even enable instant partnerships with brands and other publishers.  

Look up brands on aggregator sites. If your business features on an aggregator site, you could look at other brands they stock up—and which of them seem to have similar audience profiles. 

Check out: Top 20 lead nurturing emails in eCommerce

5. Give shoppers the power of choice

It’s now a recorded fact that segmented emails bring in 2X clicks compared to unsegmented emails. 

And it makes the shopper feel like they’re in control. 

Here’s an example from eCommerce brand Elvie. 

Elvie uses a choice-based opt-in to segment email subscribers

Looking for other ways to segment on-the-spot and grow your emal list?

Here are some ideas:

Offer different geographic locations as choices. 

Offer two or three interests as choices. 

Create preferences around promotional emails they’d like to receive. 

Offer choices for different roles. 

6. Personalization quiz works!

Barkbox does a great job at asking questions:

Barkbox features an engaging personaization quiz as an email opt-in method
Barkbox features an engaging personaization quiz as an email opt-in method
Barkbox draws email subscribers by featuring a highly engaging product quiz
Barkbox draws email subscribers by featuring a highly engaging product quiz
Type image caption here (optional

Here are some ideas you can use: 

“Find the shade closest to your skin” (for makeup)

“Discover frames that’ll flaunt my face” (for frames)

“Find the best weight loss meal plan” (for meal kits)

We're sure you get the drift. 

7. Nudge shoppers on cart page 

A simple “Get an instant discount code for this purchase” could work just fine. 

Note: The more immediately redeemable the offer is, the more attracted shoppers will be.

See how American Eagle talks about “saving time” here: 

American Eagle tells shoppers the benefit of signing in on the cart page

You could also:

Offer a free sample— “you’re eligible for something extra” types. 

Create a “save for later” prompt, and ask for their email address.

But: don’t interrupt the checkout flow, keep any nudges away from primetime view. 

8. Run a video contest

Create a video contest: ask your *most active* subscribers to share what they like about your newsletter. 

You’ll need a great incentive: free shipping for a full month of buying, or 20% additional discount even on sale days

Ask them: 

1. How long have you been a subscriber?

2. What made you subscribe?

3. Why do you look forward to each newsletter?

4. What’s your favorite section in the newsletter?

5. Why would you recommend someone to subscribe?

Pick 5 of the best answers and feature the video wherever you promote your newsletter.

9. Run contests on Facebook

And do what’s known to work: 

Promise to feature shoppers.

For example, if you’re a decor brand, run a contest where each participant creates three home looks and you feature the best 5 of all the entries. 

Announce an interesting incentive.

Only % offs may not gather as much interest—but let’s say you announce a % discount on build-your-own-bundle—offering more control to your followers there can make more of them sign up for the entries. 

Make the contest highly visible.

Turn your brand page’s cover photo into a lead magnet with a link to enter the contest in the description. 

Feature the winners in your newsletter.

This can be your hook to ask the winners to refer their friends and family to the newsletter—and grow your email list in the process.

10. Feature sign up tick box at checkout

With compelling copy: 

“Send me emails with deals & offers I would love around the year.”

“Yes! Send me an email with a discount code for my next purchase.”

“Look forward to better discounts sitting in my inbox every week.”

“Yay! Sign me up for the best seasonal offers!”

Please remember not to make newsletter sign up auto-checked—makes you look bad. 

11. Host a great offer on your header 

Like Bonobos does. 

Bonobos features a great offer on their header to attract email subscribers

12. Use your first fold as a hook

Gymshark, for example, uses their alert bar to highlight a 10% student discount. 

Gymshark uses the first fold to feature email subscriber only discounts

It’ll help you draw inferences from the kind of products they’re clicking on repeatedly etc. 

13. A/B test opt-in elements

Whether it’s a pop-up, a slider or a category on your navigation bar, test what works best: 

The headline - Make one variant more direct like “sign up & save” while another can be experimental: “Don’t miss out!”

The microcopy - Does a paragraph work or is a bulleted list better?

The CTA - Test to check text, color, shape and positioning—bring in a secondary CTA in one saying something like “Nah! I will pay full price!”

The visual - Test with and without visual as well as between two visual variants. 

The colorscape - Take inspiration from the mood you’re trying to create for the potential subscriber—how can you align it with the offer? The message?

The offer - Check between a $ discount & % discount as well as either of those alongside a freebie. 

The form fields - If it’s a quiz, compare between the number of questions you ask.

You might like this: Email A/B Testing: Elements to Test + Mistakes to Avoid

14. Un-boring loyalty program 

Nobody wants to enter your loyalty program—unless you tell them they’ll save money: 

Wayfair highlights pro pricing for those who become email subscribers

15. Leverage “Notify me” 

Back-in-stock emails often have a pretty high open rate (over 65%) — “notify me” is one of those perfect nudges. 

16. Use a wishlist pop-up

Not across the site though—not even when you're trying to grow your email list. 

The pages where wishlisting pop-ups could work: order confirmation or thank you page.

And write simple, straightforward copy: 

Dharma Bums features wishlist reminders to get more email  subscribers

Also, when you email them their wishlist, you can add a “share wishlist with a friend” option—works very well for apparel stores.

17. Float a sign up form

And make sure you have a great opening line: 

“view exclusive deals”

“unlock a mystery discount” 

This can be classy or annoying based on how you do it—make sure not to interrupt shopping (please remember to add a big close button). 

Check this exit intent form out by The Oodie—they feature a mystery discount as well as a secondary CTA that’ll make ANYBODY think twice about exiting.

18. Ask for feedback

On the order confirmation page, with a small 2-3 seconds delay, with a solid opening line: BEFORE YOU GO 🙂

You could ask: 

- How easy was it to find the product you wanted?

- Did you find the recommendations useful?

- Was it easy to checkout?

- Would you recommend us to family & friends? 

And please incentivize shoppers for sharing feedback—$X or X% off coupon code over email. Ta-da! 

19. Feature social proof across sign-up prompts

Whether it’s a floating bar or a squeeze page, your email sign-up prompts need to show potentials others believe in you. 

So to grow your email list, consider using statements like:

“100000 have subscribed by now for the weekly joy of exclusive updates & offers”

“Our newsletter has featured in the top 50 of…” 

Bring in labels of popular publications or if it’s a product guide, mention the number of downloads that have taken place over the last month/week etc. 

20. Create social media *hooks* 

Here are a few tried and tested hooks that’ll get you more email subscribers through social media:

Feature gated content 

But don’t gate all of it—use parts of it in your blogs and social media posts to lead your audience to want to download. 

Offer priority access for a brand collab

You’ll get double the eyeballs, you know.

Push out exclusive offers through influencers

In this case, the link they feature can be a way for their followers to land up on your squeeze page to sign up. 

21. Have affiliates promote your newsletter

Preferably, choose those who have a decent subscriber base and open rate—because otherwise it just beats the purpose. 

Ask your affiliates to carry a sign up CTA in their own newsletter. 

Create an angle/pitch for the affiliate's subscribers to get interested in. 

Hooks like “get the updates from the horse’s mouth” or “here’s a one-time sign-up offer when you do it RIGHT NOW” can propel their subscribers to take notice. 

Other ways to promote your newsletter through affiliates:

- Make them carry a sign-up CTA at the end of tutorial videos

- Have their pages carry a preview of your newsletter

- Declare an exclusive affiliate only % discount for email sign ups

You might like: eCommerce Newsletter: 20 Ways To Stand Out And Actually Drive Sales

22. Get on Pinterest 

Ah yes it still works, especially if you sell apparel or jewelry. 

Check out which industries use Pinterest (easily available info). What works on Pinterest—useful content, like Mejuri does here: 

Mejuri uses Pinterest to hook potential email subscribers through great content

And remember to post consistently, especially when you're trying to grow your email list. 

You’ll need amazing visuals—goes without saying eh!

23. Offer a % discount for newsletter forwards

Create a % discount offer and put a threshold to it:

For example, only when an existing subscriber forwards a current issue to 10 people, will they be eligible for a 10% discount. 

This also makes your current subscribers happy about working towards an incentive. 

24. Be likable as a brand

Give them a chance to experience liking you (before you ask them to sign up):

Fix persistent UX issues across the website (and prioritize responsive design for mobile.)

Bring out the good and bad of social proof to earn instant trust. 

Show them the most relevant recommendations (and introduce deals on these.)

Tell them more about  how your products will solve their problems—and less about why they’re special. 

Make your customer support so timely that they want to be a part of your email list. 

25. Gate your “best” content pieces

Like your hero products, line up your “hero” content pieces & gate them. 

Run an analysis to find out what kind of content your customers are engaging with the most. 

Run a similar analysis on customers & subscribers of competitor businesses. 

Add value to the content that brings you maximum organic traffic—and gate them. 

Alongside, keep creating & refreshing ungated content to keep interest levels up. 

26. Use “learning” as a long-term hook

For audiences who’ve been buying from other similar brands, there needs to be something “extra” to subscribe to yours. 

Most of these mature audiences would like it if you offered them a short course. 

Run a makeup brand? Have them sign up to access a long-ish tutorial. 

Also consider hosting live webinars with the condition: Sign up now—this won’t be a recorded session!

27. Promote videos you already have

Gather them on Youtube and make sure your other channels link to it. 

Embed the right videos into the right blogs. 

Use your existing videos in creating retargeting ads on Facebook and Instagram. 

If it’s UGC video, with some smart edits, you can create a section on the homepage itself to drive social proof. 

Feature a video thumbnail across your transactional emails. 

28. Bring people into the fold with a great email signature

Who said you can’t convey the essence of your brand within 650 x 150 pixels space?

For an effective email signature, factor in:

- Your social handles

- Your email & phone coordinates

- A link to your blog (especially if you have one that shoppers love!)

- A clickable image that leads to an ongoing sale/deal

Here’s an example we’d recommend:

an optimized email signature can increase sign ups

Other questions people ask:

How do I get 100 subscribers in 24 hours?

When you're seeking 100 subscribers for your eCommerce business in a single day, you're essentially looking for *high visibility*.

You'd want to target audiences across your entire funnel to grow your email list—here's how:

- Test the current signup process personally (and see that it's super easy)

- Feature an opt-in on every page of your website

- Leverage the header & footer of your primary navigation (and make the callout super attractive!)

- Feature an opt-in in all the emails you send (and call out the *top benefit* for subscribing)

- Change all social media profile links to the "squeeze page" link for one day

- Make all discounts code-based for a day

How do I get 5000 subscribers?

If you work towards it, getting 5000 subscribers is possible, even if it's not a cakewalk.

eCommerce businesses can take anywhere between a week and a month to attract these many email subscribers—only with the right efforts.

Here's what we've seen to work:

- Make your exit-intent popups do some *really good* sales talk

- Highlight long-term benefits across your opt-ins

- Leverage a sense of mystery by saying something like "sign up & get a surprise exclusive discount"

- Limit your free content to up to X number of reads

- Talk about why your newsletter is great (and show a preview of it for more effect)

- Be specific about the *most immediate* benefit (and make sure it's actually super easy!)

What is a good number of email subscribers?

While a small business can make money with as little as 100 subscribers, it's not as easy for an eCommerce brand.

Since you thrive on repeat purchases for the money ball to keep rolling, a minimum of 1000 subscribers is necessary.

However, to get your emails to really begin converting and impacting your bottom line, 10,000 subscribers is what you need to aim at.

What are the best ways to monetize eCommerce email subscribers?

If you can convince your subscribers to convert from the emails you send, then that's a massive battle won.

Here are a few tested ways to make that happen:

- Send personalized deals based on past behavior

- Apply the deals on products they'd actually like to buy

- Feature limited time offers

- Offer content that helps them see why a purchase can be great (and include a few recommendations & a CTA)

- Push member-only immediate discounts

- Offer tiered discounts

- Feature back-in-stock discounts

Recommended reading:

eCommerce Email Design: 25 Beautiful Examples (& Why They Drive Sales)

17 Proven Ideas to Improve Email Marketing Conversion Rate (+ Examples)

What is a Good Open Rate for eCommerce Emails?

Transform Email Marketing Into A Revenue Machine

Most eCommerce store owners don’t see email as a serious revenue stream.

Ask them about the importance of email marketing, and you'll hear: “we don’t really have a major strategy,” “we mostly use generic templates,” or “we just send emails to people on our list.”

BUT AT THE SAME TIME:

There are stores out there that drive 30%+ of their revenue from email marketing.

Engage can help you do the same - Book a free demo.

We’ll show you:

  • workflows we can create for your store,
  • proven ways to drive 30% or more $$ from email alone, and
  • successful templates and strategies from your industry (and others).
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