You can’t build a successful ecommerce business by believing that everyone will buy from you within minutes of landing on your website for the first time. If you’re focusing all of your time, money, and energy on tactics that drive more traffic to your website, your marketing strategy is not only incomplete, it’s probably also fairly ineffective.

To really build a profitable, scalable ecommerce business, you need to also implement tactics that allow you to connect and engage with the people who land on your website but aren’t quite ready to buy yet.

Why? Because online shoppers are naturally cautious when it comes to buying from an ecommerce brand they don’t yet know or trust. A lot of them don’t buy right away. A lot of them take their time, do their research, and visit your website multiple times before they finally convert.

Thankfully, there are a handful of great tools out there (like Wisepops) that make it incredibly easy to start collecting emails and establishing relationships with potential customers.

The problem is, a lot of ecommerce business owners and marketers just don’t really know how to persuade visitors to opt in to the forms and pop-ups they create and launch on their websites.

If you fall into this boat, don’t fret. Here are 8 actionable ideas that you can use to increase email signups on your website this month:

1. Create Compelling Offers

The first and most obvious way to persuade ecommerce website visitors to give their email addresses to you is by creating compelling offers that they can’t pass up. In ecommerce, examples of compelling offers include things like:

  • Welcome/New Visitor Offers: Entrance email pop-ups that appear shortly after a new visitor lands on your website for the first time. These pop-ups typically promise an enticing ‘one-time only’ offer that visitors can unlock in exchange for providing their email address.
  • Free Shipping Offers: Expiring offers that can be released from time to time in order to drive a spike in sales. Free shipping offers provide visitors with a special promo code or link that they can be used to eliminate or reduce shipping fees.
  • Abandoned Cart Offers: Pop-ups or alert messages that appear if a website visitor adds an item to their shopping cart but tries to navigate away without completing their purchase. These pop-ups typically also promise a time-sensitive, expiring offer as a way to convince visitors to buy now, not later.
  • Seasonal Promotion Offers: Pop-ups that appear before, during, and after major holidays and seasonal events. Examples include Black Friday, Christmas, Cyber Monday, Easter, Summer, Spring, etc. Sometimes these pop-ups offer deals on exiting or out-of-season inventory, and sometimes they offer special promo codes on brand new inventory.
  • VIP Membership Offers: Pop-ups that offer website visitors special promo codes, deals, and updates in exchange for joining an exclusive, VIP program.
  • Exit Offers: Offers that display right as a website visitor is attempting to leave your website. The purpose is to present them with an enticing offer that will convince them to spend more time looking through your product catalog, and purchase before they leave.

To come up with the right compelling offers for your audience, spend time thinking about what your customers like and care about, what you’re willing to give away, and for how long.

2. Set Expectations by Being Specific

To encourage website visitors to actually opt in to the forms and pop-ups you’re including on your website, set expectations and be as specific with people as possible. Your website visitors should have a good understanding of what will happen if they choose provide you with their email address. Specifically, they should know:

  • What happens to their email address after they hit submit
  • How long will it take to receive an email from you
  • If their email address is being added to a list
  • If their information will be kept private and secure
  • What reward or value they getting in exchange for providing their email address to you

As a rule of thumb, you should try to include as much of this information as possible upfront (i.e. incorporated into the design and messaging of the pop-up or landing page itself). That being said, you could choose to keep things simple and be more thorough and specific in your first follow-up email to new subscribers instead.

Remember: subscribers always have the opportunity to unsubscribe for your list at anytime. If they signed up for your list but didn’t mean to or aren’t interested in receiving updates from you, encourage them to unsubscribe themselves from your list—make it really easy for anyone to understand how to do it.

Don’t let ‘unsubscribe me’ messages or notifications bog you down in any way. You only want subscribers who are interested in your products or the value you have to offer joining your list. The more qualified and engaged your list is, the more ROI you will ultimately see from your efforts.

3. Customize for Different Audiences

Instead of using the same pop-up for every type of person who lands on your website, consider building different pop-ups for different audiences. One of the easiest ways to do this is by building a unique product landing page that prospective customers arrive at when clicking from a Facebook ad or organic post. If you have different demographics in your customer base, create customized pop-ups for each, then launch Facebook ad campaigns that target the various demographics and groups you’re trying to reach.

For help setting up effective Facebook ads for your ecommerce products, explore these resources:

In WisePops, you can also create customized pop-ups that target by location, traffic source, browser, language, operating system and device (mobile, tablet and desktop).

4. Regularly Refresh Existing Pop-Up Campaigns

Online consumers tend to get easily tired of seeing the same pop-up appear on their screens again and again when they visit a website more than once in a short period of time. To grab their attention and reduce the chance of high bounce rates, consider regularly updating your existing pop-ups on a regular basis (weekly, monthly, quarterly). You can refresh your pop-ups by updating these components:

  • Photos and Graphics: Rotate through a few photos and graphics that align with your brand guidelines and style. Consider using graphics that tie in with different seasons, different products, or different deals you’re trying to promote.
  • Headline: Keep everything about the pop-up exactly the same, but change the headline copy. This is an easy way to A/B test the effectiveness of one message that you’ve been using in your marketing material (emails, Facebook Ads, etc.) versus another.
  • Button CTA: Avoid changing the color and actual position of your CTA button, but change the copy that you use. Make sure that your CTA copy is benefits-focused. For example, if you’re an ecommerce brand that sells activewear, don’t use the words “SIGN UP” in your CTA buttons. Instead, use phrases like, “JOIN THE TRIBE,” or “GET HEALTHY,” or “FIND YOUR RUNNING GEAR.”
  • Position & Size: When you use a tool like WisePops, you can easily change the position, placement, and size of your entire pop-up. Consider changing things up every so often to see how it impacts action taken by your website visitors.

Protip: If you’re going to show a pop-up to your website visitors, make sure it aligns with your brand and is reflective of your voice, style, and mission. If you like to come across as funny and edgy to your customers, come across that way in your pop-ups too. Don’t create pop-ups that make you appear desperate or robotic—use them as another opportunity to authentically connect with your prospective customers.

5. Build Trust with Great Content

Most ecommerce brands are trying to grow their list by offering website visitors special promo codes and access to VIP groups, but few are offering exclusive content to people in exchange for email addresses. It’s a big opportunity that you could take advantage of in order to leverage yourself and your company as an influencer or expert in your space. Developing great, original content for subscribers is also a good way to build trust and loyalty.

Instead of only building pop-ups and opt-in forms that offer promo codes and limited-time discounts, consider building additional ones that offer:

  • Exclusive, downloadable ebooks with tips from you that educate your subscribers on a topic they would find interesting (one that relates in some way to your products or category)
  • Email drips that share special videos and informational tips with subscribers that no one else gets access to (these drips could also include the special promo codes you also want them to see)
  • Educational email campaigns that help your customers and prospective customers understand how to use your products to make their lives better, easier, or more fun. The example I often bring up when writing about this tactic is the content currently being produced and shared by the team over at BeardBrand.

When you take the time to offer valuable content to your website visitors, you prove to them that you’re not just in it for the money—that you genuinely care about helping them with their problems or challenges, even if that means they don’t buy a product from you right away.

6. Offer Real-Time Inventory & Price Reduction Updates

Another way to drive email list growth for your ecommerce business is by offering website visitors the opportunity to sign up to receive real-time inventory updates and price reduction alerts on items that they’ve flagged. If a potential customer comes to your website but can’t purchase because the item they want is out of stock, it’s your job keep their interest until you have the item ready and available again.

As soon as someone signs up to receive alerts on a particular item, segment them into a specific list in your email marketing client, then work to nurture them over time. While they wait for the inventory they want to come back in stock, you can be sending them educational emails, emails with promo codes and special offers, and emails that feature related products that they might be interested. Your ultimate goal is to provide them with updates on the item they originally wanted to purchase, but once you have their email address, you should proactively work to build trust and get them to buy other products from you in the meantime.

7. Launch a Contest

If your standard pop-ups don’t seem to be driving the amount of list growth that you’ve been hoping to see, consider launching a contest or giveaway to drive more engagement on your website. In order for this tactic to work (as in it drives a lot of email sign ups for you), you have to be willing to offer an amazing prize or reward. I recommend going really big with your prize and only offering it to 1-3 winners. Examples of prizes could be things like: free shipping for 6 months, a gift package with your most popular items (or a few items that the winners handpick themselves),  or a big prize package that incorporates the product you sell and relates to a specific theme (like fitness, food, or tech).

To launch a giveaway on your ecommerce website, use one of these tools:

8. Make Your Homepage into a Squeeze Page

The final way to encourage website visitors to join your list is by turning your entire homepage into a gated squeeze page. This is a pretty aggressive tactic, so think about it before you decide to implement. Consider A/B testing a squeeze page version of your homepage against the original to see how it impacts email signups and sales. Your squeeze page should be incredibly simple and, most importantly, easy for visitors to bypass if they don’t want to subscribe. Again, a word of caution: it’s a fairly obtrusive way to drive email sign ups, so take some time so consider if it’s a tactic you even want to try implementing based on what you know about your audience. To see an example of a squeeze page in action, visit the Honest website.

Over to You

What other tactics are you implementing to get website visitors to join your email list? Tell me in the comments below.

  • Rob Wormley