5 Tried and Tested Hacks to Grow your Email List for Ecommerce

Want to grow your email list for ecommerce quickly? Here are 5 tried and tested hacks that are guaranteed to work – and won’t break the bank!

When growing a business, many entrepreneurs tend to spend a lot of time focusing on building an online presence through social media. While that’s great, it’s sad that many people miss out on one important area that could actually boost ecommerce sales – the email list!

What is an email list for ecommerce?

An email is exactly what it sounds like – a list of emails! These are emails gathered from visitors to your website, who are interested in getting updates from your business, like new launches, offers, sales etc.

Having a robust email list is like having access to a gold mine – the email gives you direct access to your audience so you can communicate with them one-on-one. You may be wondering why you should bother with emails when there’s social media – well, here are a few facts.

Email Lists v/s Social Media

  • Social media is constantly updating its algorithms, which affects the way your posts appear on people’s feeds – an email list is completely insulated from this phenomenon
  • A social media company could shut down at any time, or new ones may become popular – this requires constantly building new followers, and running the risk of losing whatever you’ve built so far
  • X/Twitter has 556 million users, Instagram has 2.4 billion and Meta/Facebook has 3 billion users. Email beats them all, with 4.26 billion users as of 2023
  • Almost 40% of consumers check their inbox 1-3 times a day
  • Social media gives you no control over who views your post and often requires paying for ads to reach your target audience
  • With email lists, you can customize and automate emails to reach specific groups of subscribers

So now you know why an email list for ecommerce is so important! Now comes the next question – how do you grow this email list?

Well, this is a question I’ve pondered over for long and experimented with a lot. Finally, I’ve come up with some tired and tested hacks, which have helped increase my email subscribers to 1,50,000.

Contrary to what most people think, you don’t have to do a hundred different things to grow your email list – just 5 tried and tested hacks will get you to where you want, without having to spend a bomb.

How to Grow Your Email List for Ecommerce

Want to grow your email list for ecommerce quickly? Here are 5 tried and tested hacks that are guaranteed to work - and won't break the bank!

1. Design a niche-specific lead magnet

Lead magnets are most entrepreneurs’ first option when trying to grow their email list for ecommerce. A lead magnet is something you offer people in exchange for some information, like their email address, for example.

Lead magnets are powerful because your audience instantly gets some value in exchange for their information. However, this only works if your lead magnets are specific to your niche – that’s the only way they’ll be useful to your audience!

Offering useful content also places you as an industry expert, increasing trust in your audience, especially if they’re on the fence about buying from you. That’s why it’s so important to stick to your niche; for instance, if you sell baby clothes, a lead magnet about DIY haircare recipes isn’t exactly recommended!

Instead, you could send a checklist for baby essentials while traveling, or for winter. Here’s an example from Day Designer, a brand that makes planners and planner supplies:

The lead magnet here is a free daily plan printable, which goes perfectly with their main product. Even the formatting of the printable matches the pages of their planners, which is great for brand recall.

Here’s another example from Organise with Ease, a company that offers home organizing services. Their lead magnet is a checklist for decluttering kids’ rooms – something that is perfectly in line with their niche.

2. Add the lead magnet everywhere

Now that you’ve settled on a lead magnet in line with your niche, it’s time to show your customers what you’ve got. There are many ways to do it – an easy option is on your banners, which is a great spot since it lies above the fold.

Take a look at this example where the lead magnet is displayed right at the top of the page:

Sarah Beth Yoga is a brand that offers yoga classes and also sells yoga apparel and accessories. She’s got the perfect lead magnet – a 7-day yoga challenge – and it’s visible to anyone who visits the website right away.

Besides the top banner, you can also display your lead magnet on the sidebar, like we’ve done here:

The lead magnet here is a set of food charts, which gets sent every month based on your baby’s age. It’s prominently placed, features the brand colors and has copy that encourages the visitor to sign up.

If you have a blog, try out Neil Patel’s idea and insert your lead magnet bang in the middle of your blog post!

The lead magnet here is a free Ads Tracker for your website, and it’s quite cleverly placed in a blog post that talks about AI writing.

Another smart option is to add the lead magnet subscription link to your order confirmation emails. Doing this makes use of the natural email relationship that has been developed through the post-purchase email. You can even add it as a hyperlinked email signature, which leads to a landing page featuring the sign up form.

3. Offer a small discount

Yes, discounts are an excellent way to bring in more customers, but they’re also a great idea for boosting your email list for ecommerce! They work like lead magnets but may be more effective since everyone loves saving some money.

It’s simple enough – your customer signs up, and you send them a welcome email with the discount coupon code that they can use when checking out. This can be a discount percentage like India Circus has done here:

Or, you can give a flat discount of a certain amount, as done by Indya:

One interesting way is to target a specific customer base like ASOS has done by offering special discounts only for students.

Then there’s the classic – the abandoned cart. This works best as an exit-intent popup, as the customer is about to leave the website or switch browser tabs. Milledeux, a hair accessories online store, had a great example of this:

This is quite a tempting offer, and not only do you get a customer, but an email subscriber too!

4. Partner with complementary businesses

We’ve always maintained that there’s enough for everyone to go around, and rather than seeing our competitors as enemies, we can think of them as collaborators. This applies to growing your email list for ecommerce too, as a partnership can benefit both businesses by tapping into the existing audience of each others.

The best way to do this is by hosting a giveaway – everyone loves to win a free prize! You must be partnering with a business in a niche that’s complementary to your own. Instead of a direct competitor, choose someone who has a similar target audience as you do. For instance, a baby apparel store can team up with someone selling baby toys. We did something similar for our store’s first-anniversary giveaway, where Little Moppet Foods joined hands with Shumee Toys to create a Joy Box which became our giveaway prize.

Little Moppet Foods is all about healthy foods, and we got the perfect collaboration with Shumee Toys offering their ‘Eat a Rainbow’ snap cards for the giveaway.

Other examples of giveaway collaborations are the ones by Wanderlust by Nykaa, which sells bath and body care products for women. They’ve hosted giveaways with Supple Room, a feminine stationery brand, as well as with Maisha by Aisha, which sells women’s tote bags. Though not exactly in the same niche, the target audience of these brands is urban women in a certain age group, which makes it work.

Once you’ve decided your collaborator(s), this is how the partnership can boost your email list for ecommerce:

  1. You and your collaborators put forth items or gift cards of a similar value to create a combined gift
  2. All of you send out emails to your respective audiences announcing the giveaway
  3. The emails should contain a link to a common landing page with the signup form
  4. When interested people enter their email, they become eligible to participate in the giveaway
  5. You may also offer a few discount codes to use at your respective online stores
  6. Finally, the winner is selected and all the collaborators get access to a brand new email list; win-win!

Besides boosting your email list for ecommerce, collaborations like these can increase brand awareness while improving your image of being a trustworthy business.

5. Ask existing customers to refer their friends

They say that word-of-mouth is the best marketing strategy, and we couldn’t agree more! This is why it is always recommended to have an ‘Email this to a friend’ button at the bottom of your email. If your content is useful, your existing subscribers will share it, but you can give them a slight incentive to speed up the process.

This is how it works:

  1. Create a custom landing page to receive referral emails and direct your subscribers to it
  2. Once they’ve shared the email addresses of their friends, send them a discount coupon
  3. Send an email to the referred email addresses directing them to the landing page with the sign-up form, and offering a discount if they sign up
  4. If they sign up, send them the promised discount coupon

People are often reluctant to share their friends’ email addresses, and understandably so. That’s why it’s important to make it worth their while with a good incentive. This could be store credit, which is what Rocksbox, a jewelry subscription service offered:

Notice here that they’ve created a sense of urgency, mentioning that the referral offer is only valid for the month.

Another option is to offer a flat discount – that’s what Prima, a supplements and personal care brand, has done in their email here:

This is a great example of using referrals to grow your email list for ecommerce – the copy is engaging and encouraging, the incentive is attractive, and there is a clear button leading to a referral landing page.

While building an email list for ecommerce is a great way to boost your sales and increase brand recognition, you also need to ensure that your subscribers turn into paying customers! An easy way to fast track your way to ecommerce success is by enrolling in the eCom Growth Labconducted by Dr. Hemapriya. This is a step-by-step system that shows you how you can increase sales, scale your business and eradicate obstacles – all without having to spend on ads. Check out the link to find out how you can build the business of your dreams in a short time.

At the end of the day, don’t listen to people who say that email marketing is on it’s way out – it most certainly isn’t! Email marketing is your insurance against social media algorithms, and gives you direct access to your audience. Use this wisely, and watch your business grow in ways you didn’t imagine.

FAQs

1. Why is an email list important for ecommerce?

A: An email list is all your own, without having to worry about the whims and fancies of middlemen like social media platforms. You can communicate with your subscribers directly, making it much easier to turn them into paying customers.

2. Why is email better than social media?

A: Social media algorithms are fickle, and you have no control over how many people view your posts, or where they’re from. On the other hand, email lists can be automated based on customer behavior or details like demographic, buying history etc.

3. What is a good lead magnet?

A: A good lead magnet is compatible with your niche, connects with your target audience, offers value and increases interest in your brand. It can be a checklist, an ebook, a webinar, a cheat sheet or worksheet.

4. Why should I partner with another brand?

A: Partnering with another brand expands your customer base, and gives you access to a whole new target audience. It is a win-win situation, as all the collaborators get a chance to explore new subscribers while boosting their email lists.

5. How to choose a brand to partner with?

A: When choosing a brand to partner with, avoid someone who is a direct competitor. Instead, choose someone in a similar niche, or who has the same target audience as you. Examples include baby clothes and baby food, gym services and workout wear, skincare products and fashion accessories.

About

Hi! I’m Dr. Hemapriya — owner of THREE thriving eCom businesses with over 14 crores (and counting!) in revenue.

I’m also an ADHD, multi-tasking Mom to two adorable kids and wife to one very passionate Pediatric Surgeon.

My eCom journey started in 2014 with the launch of the My Little Moppet brand.

Over the years, I’ve added two other businesses to my portfolio — Ancient Madurai and Soundaryah

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