Today we welcome back Steve Chou, co-owner of Bumblebee Linens and MyWifeQuitHerJob.com. MyWifeQuitHerJob.com reaches over 200,000 monthly readers and has been featured in The New York Times and The Huffington Post.
In his last blog post, he shared the importance of on-site search. Today he shares tips on how to gather more emails for your online store. Let’s get started.
The lifeblood of any online store is the ability to attract and retain repeat customers for your business. Now, there are many ways to entice customers to come back and shop at your store, but the most effective way is through email.
By gathering email addresses, you gain a direct channel into the lives of your customers. And with the right email copy, you can turn a casual customer into a lifelong fan.
But here's the thing. After helping many ecommerce stores with their email campaigns and running my own online business selling handkerchiefs for many years now, I've discovered that very few online shop owners gather email and even fewer actually send regular emails to their customers. Today's post will show you how to maximize email signups for your online store.
Use a 3rd Party Email Provider
First off, if you are going to be collecting and sending emails to thousands of people, you absolutely need to use a 3rd party email marketing provider.
Sending an occasional email here and there from your own server is fine, but when it comes to emailing thousands of recipients, your email deliverability will be horrible if you try to do it yourself.
Email marketing services like MailChimp, Sendinblue, Remarkety or Aweber have hundreds of servers to make sure your email avoids the spam filters and is delivered in a timely manner. Plus, these services also offer essential tools to organize and manage all of your subscribers. Don't be frugal with your business in this regard. Go with a professional.
Collect Emails During Checkout
The most straightforward place to capture email addresses is during the checkout process. If a customer is willing to buy from you, then they are likely to buy from you again, so it's important that you store their contact information appropriately.
Many shop owners make the mistake of only capturing emails from customers who create a customer account. But you should also have a newsletter opt-in box for non-registered customers.
Also, make sure that the emails you do collect get funneled straight to your email provider, as opposed to just your shopping cart database. Most shopping carts (including PrestaShop) offer built-in integrations with popular email marketing services like MailChimp.
Use a Lead Magnet
By default, most people are reluctant to sign up for a store newsletter or a mailing list unless they have something to gain from it. As a result, you have a much better chance of grabbing a newsletter signup if you offer an incentive or a lead magnet.
For our online store, we offer a free ebook upon signup that teaches customers how to make creative arts and crafts projects with our products.
This free giveaway not only provides value, but it also gives customers new use ideas for our products that encourage future purchases at our store. We also only offer coupon codes to people on our mailing list to create a sense of exclusivity.
By offering a lead magnet, you can drastically increase the chances of a customer signing up for your newsletter.
Don't Be Afraid To Use Pop-Up Forms
Most people think that adding popup forms to their website will annoy potential customers. But I've found that most people who are against pop-ups have never tested them on their shops.
The pop-up form is the #1 highest converting signup form for our online store, and the customers who sign up convert at a very high rate. Here's what our pop-up looks like.
Even if you are against the idea, I encourage you to at least give it a try to test the results. If you are worried about annoying customers, then start by only adding the pop-up form on your content pages.
For example, start by only including the pop-up form on your blog and see how it does. I can almost guarantee you that your email signup rate will at least double with a pop-up form and your bounce rate will not be measurably affected.
The easiest way to add a sign-up form is to use a free service called SumoMe.com. It's completely free and is compatible with all websites.
Add More Email Signup Forms in Strategic Locations
Content rich sources on your website such as a blog are great places to entice customers to sign up for your newsletter. But most shop owners are not aggressive enough with their sign-up forms.
If you are trying to actively add email subscribers to your mailing list, then make it obvious. The highest converting places to add sign-up forms are directly above and below your content.
Here's an example of how I add subtle sign-up forms above and below each one of my blog posts and they convert extremely well.
And below the post
Other Ways to Increase Email Signups
In addition to adding pop-up forms and sign-ups above and below your content, you can also add a slide-in. Slide-ins work great because as a customer is consuming your content or browsing your products, an animated form instantly grabs their attention.
If you are dead set against using a pop-up form on your website, then consider adding a slide-in instead. Slide-ins tend to be less annoying than pop-ups and can be set to only appear at the end of the page when you clearly know that you have your customer's attention.
Here's an example of a slide-in from my blog.
Once you’ve collected an email address, the fun begins. At this point, you have the customer's permission to send them targeted emails about your products and services.
For our online store, we have a multi-step email auto-responder sequence set up that automatically emails customers at set intervals. In addition, whenever there's a special event or sale, we can instantly reach thousands of eager customers just itching to shop at our online store.
Sending regular emails also reminds customers that we exist, and we often tell stories about our personal lives to humanize our business. Once you have an email address, the possibilities for marketing are endless!
But you need to take that first step and grab the email.
Which of these email gathering techniques are you going to try? Let us know how many new email subscribers you received in the comments below! Or, learn more about Steve’s blog by checking out MyWifeQuitHerJob.com or by visiting his online store, BumbleBee Linens.