The fact that an email list is essential for all ecommerce businesses should not come as a surprise.
Hacking growth for your ecommerce business should start with a focus on the email list and this should be nurtured in the right way over time if you want to build a successful ecommerce business.
An email list allows you to grow and cultivate a list of people who have, at some stage, shown an interest in what you have to offer on your store.
The advantage of this is that when marketing new products it becomes easier to reach out to people who are already familiar with your brand and who may have purchased from you in the past.
It has been proven that someone who has already bought from you in the past is more likely to buy from you again. If you have sold products to customers before, they should already be on your email list.
Building a Targeted Email List
When building an email list, the quality of the list is what should be at the forefront of your mind. This is a concern many small business owners recognise.
It is important at the outset that you try to focus on building a targeted email list if you want to properly grow your ecommerce business.
The reason for this is because it is easy to build a large email list but your list may not be focused; subscribers may never want to buy from you because they are the wrong demographic anyway.
Not only will this give you poor data (i.e. low open rates, low click-through rates, and low conversions on offers etc.), but it will also end up costing you more for your email service who typically price on the basis of number of subscribers.
With having a more focused and targeted email list, you can see the trends and wants of your target customers easier, so you can serve them better.
This means you have a better chance of taking decisions for your business with products and services that are likely to be materially valuable for your customers who will end up buying from you.
Information to Ask on Email Forms
Irrespective of what method you use for collecting emails, a golden rule is not to ask for too much information upfront.
We have seen forms where people are asking for details that might include address, phone number, etc. This is too much and can turn people off from subscribing in the first place. There may be some email forms on your store site where you ask for more information, but your primary email sign up form should be simple and straightforward.
That bare minimum information to ask for is likely to be the email address, and perhaps also the first name.
Check out the form below that we use at Syntellio to get people to sign up to our list. We made a conscious effort to keep this simple so as to make it easy for anyone wanting to sign up with us (feel free to sign up to learn more about how you can grow your ecommerce business).
Learn More About How to Grow your Ecommerce Business & Dominate in your Niche
Building an email list can be done in a number of ways. There is no right way and you may find some methods work better for your business than others.
The key is to try and see what works for you and not to be afraid of experimenting.
With Ray-Ban, the sunglasses brand, a pop-up window appears on their site asking you to sign up to get member benefits. This is a strong strategy as it proposes giving exclusive benefits in exchange for your email.
The most straightforward is to have email sign up forms on your main website or a landing page. These forms should be prominently placed on the site so that visitors see them straight away.
Having one placed ‘above the fold’ is a good idea as that area of any website gets all the attention. Another idea may be to strategically place the email sign up form once or twice more on the main page.
All landing pages will inevitably have sign-up forms as that is the main purpose of a landing page, also known as a squeeze page as it ‘squeezes’ email information from visitors, with that being the primary objective.
Again, ensure you only ask for the limited most information in order to ensure visitors sign up to your page. In fact, the logic of landing pages is such that there should be no other distractions on the landing page so the visitor is driven to sign up with you.
If you can provide a massive amount of value for visitors to your ecommerce business, you could gate the content behind an email capture in order to collect emails this way.
This is a useful technique to deploy but you should be careful in using this.
It is best only to use this in circumstances where the content you are gating adds real value and is detailed enough that it will add a lot of value for visitors.
An example could be if you’re in the fashion business, trends in fashion for the coming season with examples and high-quality images could be something considered useful for someone also interested in this space.
If your niche is in technology equipment, it could be a detailed breakdown of key laptops in the market for the professional and full reviews of these. Customers in the market to buy a laptop would be very keen to get access to this, and so would be willing to share an email for that information.
Another very popular method is to collect emails via your blog. Assuming you operate a blog for your ecommerce business with fresh content that is updated, renewed and refreshed frequently, collecting emails through it is a good idea.
Visitors to your blog will be able to see the great value you provide around your niche. Assuming you are offering a lot of value on your blog, it is in some ways the natural place for people to subscribe to your list.
As such, ensure you place sign up forms optimally so that they don’t interfere with the actual content itself.
Again, at Syntellio we use this method and you will see at the bottom of all blog posts (including this one), a sign-up form that we use to ask for peoples emails. The logic is that if someone has made it to the end of one of our blog posts (most of which are very detailed), then they are interested in what we share, hence would be keen to stay in touch to learn more.
Keep the Email List Engaged
Once you’ve started to build up your email list, it’s key that you then keep that list engaged.
Too many email lists become stale and lose subscribers after a while, or the subscribers become disinterested in the content and so don’t even bother to open emails.
The best tactic to keep an email list engaged is to send out fresh and relevant material on a regular basis related to your ecommerce business.
How regular you email your list is something you will know best based on the niche you are in and the market you are appealing to. However we would suggest that there is at least one email a month, and ideally at least something once a week.
In terms of what to email your list about, this could be about a new offer or promotion you are running, but subscribers also want to learn more about the sector and niche and your skill-set relating to your ecommerce business.
This is an opportunity for you to demonstrate authority (very important to building trust). So think what will really benefit your subscribers and send out material that they will find beneficial.
This will make them into better customers and they will build a stronger relationship with you and your ecommerce business.
A good practice to adopt is to develop a basic ‘funnel’ of emails that new subscribers can turn to when they initially sign up. These include welcome emails, referring subscribers to some of your more popular content, and thought leadership.
This ensures the relationship gets off to a good start and gives your subscribers high-value content at the outset, conditioning them to appreciate the value you bring.
If you do have a blog, then notifying your email list of new posts to your site is a great way to stay in touch. Not only does this increase eyeballs and engagement with your content, but it also demonstrates to your audience that you are committed to your niche and are constantly developing new and fresh content.
Cleansing your Email List
As mentioned earlier, it is important to have an engaged email list for a number of reasons.
One of the most important of these reasons is so that data from your email list is clear and can be used properly to help you make decisions in your ecommerce business.
As your ecommerce business grows, you will inevitably collect more email subscribers as well.
It is not unusual for engagement levels to drop off a little as you are trying to appeal to a larger group of people, which has difficulties.
Consequently, the quality of data you get back is likely to be diluted which can lead to inaccurate conclusions being made on the back of this.
This is one of the main reasons you should consider cleansing your email list from time to time. You can do this in the following way.
Firstly, it is prudent to ask those subscribers who haven’t opened your emails in a while if they still want to be a part of your list.
We have found text such as that below works well:
We’ve noticed you haven’t opened any of our emails recently. We want to make sure we provide value to your inbox so write us back to let us know if we are not covering areas you are interested in to help your ecommerce business.
We routinely cleanse our email list so if we don’t hear from you in 7 days, we will take you off our list so as to stop bothering you.
For those who do not reply after a given period of time, it is fair to say they are no longer interested and as such, it is right that you delete them as a subscriber from your list.
Many ecommerce business owners shy away from this as they feel they are getting rid of someone who could at some time be a customer for their business.
Having an email list as an ecommerce business is a critical part of ecommerce success. It is one of the first activities we suggest you focus on when starting your ecommerce business.
However, building a sustainable email list takes time and you should focus on building a list that has quality as opposed to just trying to build the largest list in a short period of time.
This approach will ensure you have an engaged email list that reacts to your offers and promotions, and this is what will help you grow your ecommerce business to the next level.
What issues are you having in growing your email list? Let us know in the comments below.