11 Unique Ways eCommerce Stores Can Build Their Email Lists

You are probably aware of opt-in forms and how they help build your email list. Considering the popularity of email marketing among eCommerce sites, it is important that you also build a list for your online store.

However, what if you are not driving enough subscribers using the so-called “tried and tested” opt-in forms?

If you are having this problem, it’s high time that you approach your list building strategy differently by applying the unique tactics below.

Opt-in bribes

Opt-in bribes give your visitors a very good reason to sign up to your list. The emails you will send them after joining your mailing list has value in and of itself, so you need a bribe that will encourage them to take action.

Opt-in bribes are useful free exclusive content like e-books, white papers, and cheat sheets that subscribers receive immediately after signing up. 

Below are ways that your eCommerce site can take advantage of opt-in bribes to build their email list.

  1. Discount coupons

Discount coupons gives customers a bigger bang for their buck, which explains why the coupons play a great role in influencing the purchasing decisions of buyers.  According to VoucherCloud, 91% of coupon holders will return to the eCommerce site that issued the couples and 62% of customers spend two hours a week for discounts and special offers.

Captialize on the power of discount coupons by running an e-mail campaign allowing subscribers to receive your latest and exclusive coupons straight from their inbox.

An example of a discount coupon e-mail campaign can be found on the footer section of Victoria’s Secret

While offering discount coupons has its advantages, it also has its disadvantages when performed incorrectly. Make sure that you coupon campaign allows you to net a positive ROI.

  1. Offer buyer’s guides

Upon signing up, subscribers will receive your latest buyer’s guides or product catalogs for this season so they will know what products to buy.

Aside from weekly newsletters, a previous opt-in form from Survival Knives Expert sends reviews of survival knives to help subscribers determine the pros and cons of the products. Reviews are excellents ways to educate your readers on the products they should and should not buy. More importantly, they help you develop authority in your niche, which could help in turning more of your visitors into customers.

  1. Lead nurturing

Also known as drip marketing, lead nurturing allows you to send subscribers a series of emails at set intervals in the hopes of converting them into buyers. Lead nurturing has been effective at helping 50% of subscribers to make well-informed choices and decisions, according to Emma.

Storytelling is an integral part of lead nurturing to create long-lasting relationships with subscribers. By weaving persuasive stories that subscribers can relate to, you make them lower their guard and become more receptive to your products and services.

The ability to create affective narrative is the key to Huckberry’s drip marketing strategy. Aside from delivering affordable outdoor gears straight to the inbox of subscribers, they also share inspirational stories as part of their drip email campaign.


To maximize your efforts of reaching out to audiences, reengage and strike new relationships with your old customers to boost your mailing list. Instead of looking for brand new customers, you can just tap into your old database or find ways to reconnect with previous site visitors so you can turn them into subscribers.

  1. Cart abandonment

It is common for eCommerce shoppers to add items on their cart only to abandon it without reason. Regardless, sending them an email to remind of their abandoned carts will not hurt.

In fact, it can help your eCommerce site recover sales – at least half of recipients opened the email about their abandoned cart and a third follow through with their purchase according to SaleCycle.

Fab sends out abandoned cart e-mails to remind and compel customers to complete their purchase.

On the same study at VoucherCloud mentioned earlier, 57% will have abandoned their cart completely if they do not receive a discount coupon. You may want to tie in your cart abondonment tactic by including a discount coupon to sweeten the deal.

  1. Facebook Remarketing

Thanks to Facebook Ads, you can make the ads appear only to your specified demographics for a high conversion rate.

If you aspire for higher conversions, however, you should go with Facebook Remarketing, which lets you show ads to people who have visited your eCommerce site within a period of time. By targeting previous visitors instead of your target audience, you can increase your conversion rate by up to 400%.

Create a remarketing ad that points to your subscription landing page to boost your sign-ups. You can read more on how to set up a Facebook remarketing campaign by referring to this guide at WooThemes.

Social & Outreach

Building your list on a social scale is a much more challenging undertaking. You are required to make a conscious effort finding channels where you can reach out to your target audience. Therefore, you must develop a strategy from the tips below that will allow you to touch base with your leads in a non-disruptive way and provide value at hte same time. 

  1. Email signature opt-in

If you are running an outreach program by sending emails to leads, you need to set up a standardized e-mail signature for all that includes a link to your subscription landing page.

You can use a tool like Wisestamp if your team is sending e-mails using Gmail. As much as possible, limit the information that will appear on the e-mail signature to make the link to your subscription page stand out. Also, you need to be creative to get their attentions and for them to click your link. Here are additional tips from SitePoint on how to craft an effective email signature.

  1. Raffle campaigns

Generate interest in your brand by running a raffle campaign. Find popular items from your online shop that you can use to raffle off so people will be enticed to submit entries to win. 

Using a platform like Rafflecopter lets you create a giveaway that can be embedded on any page of your eCommerce site. Creating a landing page for your contest is ideal so you can promote it on different online channels.

Example of a Rafflecopter giveaway.

Users can enter the giveaeway by signing up using Facebook o their email address, among others. You can then collect the e-mails after the raffle is done and include them in your mailing list.

Here is a general idea on how you should run a raffle giveaway from Maximize Social Business.

Similar to discount coupons, you need to track and measure the results of your raffle campaigns. Launching raffles more often than not can lead to a build up of disengaged subscribers who are merely interested in getting more freebies.

  1. Twitter Lead Generation

Twitter has made it easier for site owners to build a list from their social networking platform though Lead Generation cards. You can easily target your followers with a one-click signup ad that will appear on their feed.

Above is an example of a Twitter Lead Generation card created by Ryan Battles. In his post, Ryan teaches you how to set up your own card and tips on how to get more people to click on your card.

  1. Emailing receipts

Instead of printing out receipts, you can offer customers to send the receipt through e-mail. By accepting, you can include them to your email list. Besides, aside from making a conscious effort to go paperless, receipts are coated with BPA carcinogens that can contaminate the blood.

This is applicable if you have a physical store to complement your eCommerce site. Also, you need a point of sale system that accommodates the ability to send e-receipts to your customers.

  1. Run surveys

If opt-in forms are not effective ways to build your list, then maybe the proactive approach intrinsic in surveys will encourage them to take better action. 

Upon completing a short survey, ask them to sign up to your list and send them a freebie (it can be your opt-in bribe) as a way of thanking them for their time.

Surveys are also used for post-purchasing and post-delivery so eCommerce site owners can gain better insights on what their customers think and feel about shopping at their sites and make the necessary changes.

While this is not necessarily a list building tactic, this approach to surveys helps site owners nurture more personal relationships with customers, which could increase their retention in your email list. This post at eConsultancy provides greater depth on how eCommerce sites should approach post-purchase surveys. 

  1. Write a guest post

Guest blogging is one of the most effective ways to drive more traffic and build online visibility to your eCommerce site. By writing on behalf of your eCommerce site for well-established publications related to your industry (if you are selling clothes, write for fashion blogs), you can entice readers to check out your site and what you are selling.

A crucial part of guest blogging is linking to your subscription landing page on your byline or “About the Author” section normally located at the end of the post.

Writing an interesting byline will also help increase clickthrough rate of readers to your links.

Wrapping it all up

Building your eCommerce mailing list requires you to come up with creative and out of the box tactics to make an impression to your target audience. More importantly, you need to offer value and usefulness to turn visitors into subscribers much easier.

While there are more ideas that will help you build your e-mail list for your eCommerce site, the ways mentioned above offer enough uniqueness and usefulness that will help you develop a winning list building strategy.

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