How to Grow Your Ecommerce Business with Email Lead Capture

It doesn’t matter how you spin it: email is still king. While email marketing is the oldest sales channel, it still vastly outperforms any other channel. Email is personal, direct and heavily transactional. When you look at these three factors alone, it’s hard to ignore email as a viable marketing tool.

However, to have effective email marketing campaigns, you need a list of leads. Here’s where email list building becomes a necessary marketing activity. You must be building your email list at all times.

In this post, we’ll review a few key reasons as to why you need to actively build your email list on a daily basis. Then we’ll jump to several list building strategies that will rapidly increase traffic conversion and email capture.

Why is email so valuable?

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Email is, by far, the most valuable sales channel, outperforming all major channels by nearly 2x the ROI. Email also converts 4X higher than social and over 1.5x higher than search! But before you can reap these kind of returns from email marketing, you need an audience. The best place to start is by increasing email list growth.

Just look at the numbers. For every $1 spent on email marketing, there’s a $40 dollar return! It’s clear where you need to be investing your resources. Build your list and then build it some more! By marketing to a larger email list of leads and customers, you can capitalize on the incredible effectiveness of this channel.

Traffic conversion and email capture are a dynamic duo!

One of the most difficult aspects of digital marketing that ecommerce businesses face is converting traffic. On average, 98% of new traffic leaves your site without converting into a lead or sale. Even if visitors are interested in what you’re selling, they may end up forgetting about your website. (Consumers are easily distracted!) With most ecommerce sites receiving a larger proportion of new traffic, it only makes sense to invest in converting these visitors.

By simply engaging visitors and asking them to subscribe to your mailing list, you can drastically increase email capture while simultaneously converting a higher percentage of traffic. Once you get that email, you can market to these people and drive them back to your site resulting in more sales opportunities! This also opens the door for driving sales from shoppers who need to be marketed to over a period of time.

Common Question: Why would I ask for an email when I could ask for a sale?

The vast majority of new shoppers aren’t going to purchase during their first visit. While some shoppers may buy in that initial visit, this is a rarity, so it’s important to get a marketing conversion out of as many new shoppers as you can. Getting an email is, hands down, the most valuable marketing conversion for an ecommerce business.

How to build your email list

The most effective way to increase email list growth is through the use of email pop-ups. This practice is widely used by marketers in ecommerce for its effectiveness in list building, traffic conversion and sales influence.

Email pop-ups can convert from 5-10% of daily website traffic and can also be used in promotional and content marketing strategies. Many retailers will use pop-ups to offer a discount or free shipping to shoppers. Other incentives include content upgrades, contest entries, product updates and more. The versatility of the email pop-up provides marketers with a variety of uses making it accessible to any ecommerce business.

Another beneficial use of email pop-ups is the ability to gain more control over your shopping experience. Think about it: you spend all of this time and money driving traffic to your website. But once people get there, you have limited control over their sessions. Email pop-ups allow you to engage with your shoppers throughout their visit, convert them into leads and incentivize them to purchase.

Using email pop-ups without annoying visitors

It’s important to realize that using email pop-ups is a numbers game. The more visitors you engage, the more conversions you’ll receive. However, this doesn’t mean you have to annoy your visitors. There are ways to engage shoppers in a relevant way that provides value.

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Here’s a quick list of best practices for displaying email pop-ups:

  • Present email pop-ups to new visitors only.
  • Display a pop-up after a number of page loads. This allows time for browsing.
  • Add a delay. Show your pop-up 7-15 seconds after a visitor lands on your site.
  • Use an exit pop-up. This will only display when a visitor is about to leave your site.
  • Use a scroll pop-up. The pop-up will display when a visitor scrolls a percentage of a page.
  • Only display pop-up on certain pages.
  • Only display pop-up after a visitor takes certain actions.
  • Display specific pop-ups to visitors landing from a specific traffic source.
  • Use a signup bar.

    This list only scratches the surface on the targeting and segmentation of email pop-ups. Take a look and brainstorm some ways that you can deliver a more relevant email pop-up in a moment where shoppers are more likely to convert!

    Best Practices for Mobile pop-ups

    As mobile traffic becomes more prevalent, it’s important to have email capture tools in place to convert mobile traffic. Mobile pop-ups are a great way to build your email list, but you should know a few things first.

    Mobile pop-up design should be catered to the mobile browser. There should be less text, larger text size and a larger call to action. If you simply use the same design as desktop, your mobile pop-up will not be readable and will take up too much of the browser window. This also goes for mobile responsive pop-ups. You can no longer think of mobile as secondary. Specifically design a pop-up for mobile.

    As of January 10th, 2017, Google has updated their policies regarding mobile search and mobile pop-ups. Google wants mobile search content to be more accessible and wants to discourage the practice of displaying a mobile pop-up immediately after the visitor navigates to a page from search results.

    The example shown below is in compliance with Google’s mobile policies and can be used to engage your mobile search traffic.

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    This ONLY applies to mobile search traffic from Google and only applies to the first page viewed from search results. This means you can display mobile pop-ups to traffic from other sources without any issues. For organic search traffic from Google, you can either present the compliant mobile pop-up (shown above) or display a full mobile pop-up to a visitor on the second page loaded on your site. For a full breakdown of this update and mobile best practices, check out this blog post.

    Finally, understand that while mobile traffic is increasing, conversion rates will be slow to catch up. Many shoppers will browse on mobile and complete a purchase on desktop. This puts even more importance on capturing an email from mobile visitors, so don’t forget about them!

    Design for more conversions

    Your pop-up should represent your brand well and have clear, concise copy and a strong call to action. Focus on these three aspects and you should see high conversion rates with your email pop-ups.

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    It’s also important to keep your designs up to date with the time of year. This provides seasonal or holiday relevance, keeps your promotions up to date, and also shows shoppers that you’re a reliable retailer!

    Now go get those emails!

    By now, it should be clear that investing in building your email list is going to help you grow your ecommerce business. By crafting intriguing and strategic pop ups, you're sure to generate more leads for your store!

    About the Author

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    Grant Thomas is the Director of Digital Marketing at Justuno. His work on conversion rate optimization, email capture, and ecommerce marketing can be found on the Justuno blog.
    Follow him on Twitter for tips and updates: @GSThomas22.