chapter 4

Growing Your Email List

This is when you start getting creative. To grow your list of future recipients, you need to make it easy and exciting for anyone to sign-up. Enticing offers need to be clear and concise with a simple action item: the opt-in form.

One of the most important elements for driving opt-ins on your website is strategically placed opt-in forms. Opt-in forms are just a fancy word for those email sign-up boxes you see on almost every site.

Popular email marketing software solutions will have handy opt-in form generators that will provide you with a snippet of code that you can just paste into various places around your site. While it may sound excessive to add multiple opt-in forms to your website, it’s really not. If you had eye-tracking analytics monitoring every visitor to your website, you would see that they do not look at every inch your website from header to footer.

They may look at the content on a blog post or your about page, your navigation menu, or your sidebar. Hence, you need to make sure that any one spot they look at has a conversion point for your mailing list: the opt-in form.

Where to Place Opt-In Forms

So where should you place an opt-in? Here are good places to consider.

Your header or navigation bar

Your opt-in form can be as simple as an email field that uses the filler text as a call-to-action.

(faucetface.com)

Your sidebar

You can also place an opt-in form in their sidebar with a sentence to “sell” your free incentive or what your mailing list has to offer. It’s a good way to use this real estate on your website.

(bohemianguitars.com)

Your About page

After telling visitors about your business and the benefits of your products, you might have created enough interest to entice them to connect and learn more by subscribing. This can be just an email field, or a name and address field with a few sentences about why people should subscribe.

(chrisducker.com)

Inside your blog posts

If people make it to the end of your blog post, chances are they enjoyed your content and are ready to take action. Having a strategically placed form here gives them a clear path as to what to do next.

Your website footer

Let’s say your visitor bypasses all of the above fields. If they do make it to your website footer, they’re still interested. Capture them as subscribers. It’s one way to use this often-ignored space on your website.

(mammoth.co)

Your checkout page

One of the best ways to build your list is to simply make sales. Most email marketing services can be integrated with your store, either using a built-in integration or through a third party app, that will allow you to add customers to your email list after they make a purchase.

Pop-up form

As controversial as pop-up forms are, when they’re done right, they work. The best way to drive opt-ins is to put the opt-in form in front of every visitor. If you have something of value to give away, you have every right to show it to every new visitor.

If you’re using Shopify, check out the App Store for popup apps.

SumoMe also contains a free suite of tools to help you build your email list, which includes a popup tool called “List Builder”, as well as a full-page “Welcome Mat” that displays when a visitor lands on your site that you can use to capture emails from visitors.

Offline opt-ins

Also, if you run a brick and mortar store, don’t forget about offline opportunities to build your list.

Email service providers provide apps that allow you to capture subscribers in-person. One such app is Chimpadeedoo from MailChimp, which lets subscribers enter their email address on your iPad or Android tablet. Even if you’re offline, it will collect the email addresses and import them into your MailChimp account the next time you're online.

Growing your email list will be slow in the beginning. That’s why it’s important to incorporate “lead magnets” into your strategy to incentivize opt-ins and accelerate your list building efforts.

Accelerating Sign-Ups with Lead Magnets

How do you go about getting people to join yet another newsletter — let alone actually buy your stuff once they've signed up? At the end of the day, you need the right mix of incentives, signup forms and high quality, valuable content to send out. Let's take a look at how to put all these ingredients together so you can drive more signups and sales.

Step 1: Choose Your Incentive

The first step to building your email list is choosing the right incentive, or “ethical bribe”, to offer people in exchange for joining your list. These are traditionally called “lead magnets”.

There are many options to choose from, but the key is to make it worth the price of admission: an email.

Offer exclusive deals and discounts

For most ecommerce businesses, a compelling lead magnet is usually an immediate discount or the promise of getting future discounts and information about future sales.

(ugmonk.com)

You can position your call to action so they’re opting in to receive members-only special offers delivered by email.

Run sweepstakes or a contest

Running sweepstakes and contests can potentially bring in a lot of sign-ups, but they might not be interested in receiving promotional emails from you or buying your product.

There are a number of email marketing and incentive-focused apps and services you can use to help make this step easier, like Incentivibe and ViralSweep.

Just remember that you should be looking for quality signups versus quantity signups.

Give away free content

A better incentive is a free piece of content that contains irresistible value for your target customers and would put your subscribers into a buying frame of mind.   

Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:

  • Women’s clothing store can create seasonal fashion guides to help women learn the latest trends and how to coordinate outfits and accessories — specifically, outfits and accessories that they sell.
  • Booksellers can offer sample chapters of their best sellers.
  • Musicians can offer a free MP3 download of their new song.
  • Photographers can offer a free high-resolution wallpaper download.
  • Guitar stores can give away a free chord book to help new and intermediate guitar players.

The best converting lead magnets offer something that visitors can immediately consume and get value from.

Having a visitor subscribe to your email list after they get their lead magnet, gives you permission to market to them. From here, you can start to develop a relationship with your email subscribers and promote your business to them.

Step 2: Build a Dedicated Landing Page for Your Lead Magnet

Once you’ve decided on your incentive, your next job is to create a landing page; a page on your website that is 100% focused on getting people to subscribe to your mailing list. It has no distractions and no other objectives.

(whitehouse.gov)

Your landing page content should include:  

  • A persuasive headline
  • A testimonial to establish social proof 
  • Some text or a video about your incentive 
  • The benefits of joining your mailing list 
  • And, of course, an opt-in form

Everything else that could steal attention — like your sidebar — should be removed.

Step 3: Direct Traffic to Your Landing Page

You can create a killer lead magnet, but it won’t do you much good if no one sees it.

Luckily, there’s no shortage of ways to drive traffic to your lead magnet in the hopes of converting subscribers and growing your list. Here are some proven methods you can try:

Add a link in your social profiles

Pinning a Tweet or a Facebook post lets people see it at the top of your Twitter or Facebook Page’s feed, making this a prime spot to showcase your lead magnet.

Facebook pages also allow for call to action buttons. Be sure to take advantage of these and add a link to your landing page.

Get creative with how you share a link to your landing page on social media. Pique people’s interests by using images and attention-grabbing headlines.

(justgiving.com)

Advertise using Google AdWords and Facebook Ads

If you’re struggling to get traffic, the quickest and easiest way is to pay for ads.

If you’ve never created ads before, or have little experience in running advertising campaigns, you’ll want to read up about online advertising before taking the plunge and putting money down.

Ideally, your ad will address a pain point your customers might have and provide your lead magnet as the solution. For example, if you run a guitar store and your landing page is offering a free chord book for new and intermediate guitar players, you would be targeting new guitar players struggling to learn chords.

Link to it in blog posts or use it as a content upgrade

Using this same guitar chord book example above, a guitar store creating blog posts or videos to teach new guitar players should include a link to the guitar chord book landing page within relevant blog posts.

This is also called a “content upgrade”. If your incentive upgrades the existing content in the blog post, your reader is more likely to click the link to the landing page and provide their email to download the incentive.

For example, a guitar shop with a blog post teaching new guitar players proper finger placement for chords could include the free chord book as a content upgrade in exchange for information.

Link to it in your emails (within the body or your email signature)

It’s likely you are sending and responding to a lot of emails as an online store owner. This creates an opportunity to include a link to your landing page and get a lot of people to see it.

The email signature is an often underused piece of marketing real estate—one you can use to include a call-to-action and link to your landing page and latest offer to capitalize on every email you send.

If you want to make your email signature stand out, use WiseStamp.

As you collect a massive list of emails, it’s important to start thinking about how you’re going to use it. This is where list segmentation becomes your best friend.

Next chapter

5. Segmenting Your Email List For Better Engagement

4 min

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