As data privacy concerns and their corresponding laws continue to roll out, owned channels like email and SMS are taking center stage. Now more than ever, growing your email list is integral to the success of your digital marketing efforts as a whole, and a key driver of success in your email strategy.
In this post, Ignite Visibility Director of Email Marketing, Kelly Olson will explain how to grow your email list to drive more conversions and more attributed revenue from your email campaigns.
What We’ll Cover:
On-Site Email Acquisition
If you’re wondering how to build an opt-in email list, it all starts with on-site email acquisition.
Integral to the success of any email marketing program is creating and maintaining a robust list of engaged subscribers. And to do so, you need to get your website visitors to voluntarily sign up to receive your emails.
If you’re spending any money to drive traffic to your site through acquisition channels (think Facebook ads, PPC, etc.) you’ll want to then capitalize on that traffic and capture those leads through on-site email captures in the form of pop-ups or overlays, nanobars, site footer captures, and gated content.
How to Grow Your Email List Tip #1—Email Capture Pop-Ups or Overlays
Put simply, pop-ups or overlays are small windows that appear over the top of the main content on a web page with the goal of drawing the user’s attention.
One of the reasons why pop-ups are so effective is their versatility. Not only do they make your signup forms unmissable, but they also come with plenty of targeting and segmentation options.
Design Your Pop-Up
Your pop-up should both blend into your site’s existing design and be noticeable enough for users to want to click on it.
First and foremost, you’ll want to include an incentive, such as a discount, free shipping on the first purchase, free product samples, or a free guide download or whitepaper. This is the best way to grow your email list, as most people won’t feel compelled to enter their email addresses unless you give them a good reason. A/B testing the incentive can help you understand what best resonates with potential customers and further optimize for conversion.
And while you may be tempted to add multiple input fields to the pop-up, it’s better to keep your capture fields to a minimum. The more fields you request a visitor to fill out, the less likely a user is to convert.
There are only one or two pertinent fields you need—email address and mobile number (if you are planning to roll out an SMS marketing strategy). Once you have their email address, you have a direct line of communication. From there, you can collect additional subscriber data such as name, birthday, phone number, etc.
Using compelling imagery or animation also increases the chances of visitors responding to your offers and call-to-action. Like the incentive, conducting an A/B test to see which type of imagery performs best (i.e. lifestyle or product shots) can also be useful when designing your pop-up.
Test Your Targeting
Some pop-ups have a scroll-based trigger, while others have a time-based trigger. But when it comes to how to build an opt-in email list, the timing makes a huge difference.
We typically recommend starting with a 5-10 second delay on the first-page visit for desktop users and a second-page appearance with no delay for mobile users. The optimal timing will depend on your specific audience, so be sure to set up a testing strategy before officially rolling out your pop-up.
Depending on the platform you’re using for your overlay (ie JustUno, Sumo, Privy, etc), you may have more robust targeting capabilities, which will allow you to get much more granular with your targeting, as well as your capture strategy based on the first time or repeat visitor, traffic source, etc.
If you are showing your overlay to visitors in the EU, ensure your capture is GDPR compliant, or simply exclude EU website visitors in your pop-up targeting to mitigate risk, if they are not a key audience of your brand.
*Pro Tip: Take your pop-up game to the next level by testing exit intent overlays to capture (and even convert!) abandoning traffic before they leave your site.
How to Grow Your Email List Tip #2—Nanobars or Sticky Bars
A nanobar or sticky bar is the less disruptive cousin of the pop-up.
They stay at the top or bottom of your site and serve as constant reminders for your visitors to take action. Nanobars are a great way to capitalize on the traffic that has closed out of the pop-up or overlay that you initially targeted them with.
For instance, it’s very common for a new website visitor to close out of a pop-up that triggers within 5-10 seconds of landing on the site before they are even familiar with the type of products or services that the site offers.
Once they’ve had a chance to look around, a percentage of these visitors will decide that they’d like free shipping on their first order, for example. If they’ve already closed the pop-up and can’t easily find that discount code again on the site, that may actually, unintentionally, prevent them from converting.
If you have a nanobar or sticky bar displayed prominently on the website offering the same incentive as the pop-up, you will be surprised to see the number of users that did not convert on your initial attempt to collect their email addresses. This is in part because nanobars don’t interfere as much with the user experience, and because they have the email capture field embedded directly in the bar, so the visitor doesn’t even need to leave the page they are on.
*Pro Tip: Depending on the platform you’re using, you may have the ability to target users with dynamic content on the nanobar that aligns with their acquisition source. Let’s say someone clicks to the website from an email campaign featuring a 10% off welcome discount, you can populate the discount code from that email in the nanobar to increase conversion rates once on-site.
How to Grow Your Email List Tip #3—Site Footer Captures
A website footer is a strip of content located towards the very bottom of a web page and is typically repeated on every page of your website. Most brands have implemented some sort of email capture within their website footer.
Optimizing this capture will not only provide visitors another easy way to sign up, but will lead to increased conversion rates of new leads if these captures are correctly set up to trigger the new lead welcome automation.
Ensuring that the footer capture messaging and incentive aligns with the pop-ups as well as any nanobar captures is key—as well as ensuring that this capture is collecting addresses and adding them to the correct segment within your ESP.
Because these captures are typically set up when websites are built, sometimes before ESPs are even set up, there may need to be some backend work to make sure that people signing up through this capture are being added to the correct list and are receiving the correct new lead welcome automation.
Beyond ensuring that your messaging and incentive matches that of your other on-site captures, you’ll want to make sure that this footer grabs viewers’ attention using color blocks, eye-catching imagery, or animation to differentiate from the rest of the page content and draw the eye.
*Pro Tip: Tagging new leads by source will help you identify which of your captures is top-performing. This also gives you the ability to analyze the performance of leads that come in from different sources, enabling you to identify any issues that may arise from one particular source.
How to Grow Your Email List Tip #4—Gated Content
Marketers often use gated content to generate leads and provide prospects with valuable information in exchange for their name, phone number, job title, etc.
For example, if you’re a small business loan broker, you may have a blog where you post helpful content for small business owners. Or maybe you’re an online retailer that specializes in children’s clothing, you may post blogs featuring parenting tips.
All of this content that intrigues your target audience to click and read can be used to grab their email addresses. By “gating” content, you essentially use a piece of your content to entice a visitor to give you their email address, which then triggers an email to be sent with a download of that content.
*Pro Tip: When you’re thinking about how to build an opt-in email list, content is an extremely powerful tool to not only gate and capture email addresses but can also play a huge role across your email marketing strategy. It can be used within calendar sends paired with product features or used to trigger behaviorally-driven automation while giving you insight into what resonates with your target audience.
Need help creating content? Not only does Ignite Visibility offer comprehensive email marketing services, we also can provide content marketing services that are tailored to meet the needs of any-sized business, including content creation, social sharing, and promotion.
Email Marketing Class: 4 Additional Steps to Grow an Email List Fast!
There you have it—4 key ways to build an opt-in email list all in one place.
Capturing email addresses for your opt-in email list is a vital part of what drives the success of your email program. You can have the most robust, sophisticated email strategy, but with no subscribers to send to, no conversions or revenue will be driven.
Prioritizing email acquisition should be on your shortlist for low effort, big impact initiatives in 2021 and beyond.