An email list doesn’t grow on its own. You have to keep coming up with email collection ideas to get your target audience to say yes to your humble request for their emails. And yeah, we get it — the process can be intimidating.
Which is why we’re giving you a rundown on 8 different ways you can convert your website into an email collection machine. Along the way, you’ll learn some of the best practices to make your ask seem genuine, every step of the way. After all, the overall experience you create for your visitors on the website impacts every tiny decision they make, including signing up for your emails.
Ready? Let’s get into it.
What is Email Collection?
Email collection is as simple as it sounds — collecting emails of your target audience. Once they are in your database you can warm up to them through personalized emails and convert them from being mere acquaintances to life-long customers.
To start collecting emails you’ll need:
- An account with an email service provider like MailChimp, ConvertKit etc., and
- An email strategy so you can make each subscriber that joins your list feel special by sending them tailored messages.
Benefits of Email Collection For Your Business
There are several reasons why top marketers collect emails.
- It’s profitable. Data shows that the ROI of email marketing stands at slightly over £42 for every pound spent. You can start right away without any sophisticated or expensive email service provider (ESP). As it is, most ESPs have free plans up to a certain number of subscribers. If you hit the top mark, you shift to paid plans but also earn more than you invest.
- You get direct access to consumers’ inboxes. Americans spend 2+ hours per day checking personal emails. Appealing to their habits, you can become familiar with them and get them to like you. It’s possible because studies have shown that the more often we see someone, the more we like and are attracted to them. Which in this case means conversions at a later time when you deliver what you promised — unique experiences.
- Email marketing performs better than social media because the power to influence rests in your hands. You can send targeted messages compared to social networks where you cast a wide net with one post hoping to impress every customer segment. In reality, it doesn’t deliver because each target audience type responds differently to marketing aimed at them. Moreover, your reach is not impacted by third-party algorithms.
Recommended Reading: Email Lists: What’s Recommended And What’s Legal
8 Email Collection Ideas You Can Implement On Your Website Right Away
These email collection ideas will supercharge your email marketing efforts. Dive right in to know what they are.
Pop-ups are nanosecond interruptions that are largely used to collect emails. Purists discredit their efficacy, but data shows they convert without increasing bounce rate. Sounds far-fetched? It’s not.
For a good pop-up conversion rate context is everything. Think about it. Don’t we make every small decision based on context? Clearly, if you’re shown a pop-up on a product page you have a strong intent of buying, a pop-up will stop you in your tracks and make you want to sign-up to get an unbelievable 50% discount.
With an app like Wisepops, you can use context triggers and display pop-ups based on visitors’ onsite behavior, traffic source, geographical location, etc.
Curious to use pop-ups then? You have a few options to choose from. First on the list are site-wide pop-ups that chime in within seconds of a visitor landing on your page like this one did on the MeUndies website:
Then come the exit intent pop-ups that make one final request for users to give you their emails before they leave your website, like so:
Finally, you have slide-in pop-ups that pop once users have scrolled past a certain percentage of the page. They are the least intrusive of pop-ups and stay put without bothering the users’ browsing experience. Here’s one from the Nuud website:
But pop-ups—no matter your choice—deliver if you optimize them. Here’s what to do:
- Pop-up design. Stay close to the overall look and feel of your website. As for the overlay, dim the background so that the entire focus shifts to the pop-up. Or, trigger a full-page pop-up that takes over the whole screen, leaving no scope for distraction. One of our clients used this tactic (screenshot below) and reported conversion of 12.3%:
Other than photo visuals, you could use GIFs as long as they complement the copy and offer. The product unboxing GIF by a client of ours is a good example of how to get users excited about a lucrative discount:
- Pop-up copy. Give an incentive, preferably a discount. It makes people happier because the perceived risk is low. They are saving money, not paying full price, after all. Plus you’ll save them the three minutes they spend looking for discounts on the internet.
- CTA copy. Call it what it does. Giving them a discount coupon? Try ‘Activate my discount’, ‘Activate my offer’, or ‘Claim now’. Why? As action verbs they encourage an action that takes browsers a step closer to instantly gratify their desire.
- CTA color. Choose one that pops against the background like blue does in the example below. Unfortunately, there’s no one single color that converts best, so it’s for you to A/B test to find out.
- Speaking of pop-up timing, the shorter the delay in showing pop-ups, the more emails you collect. That’s what an analysis of over 2,900 pop-ups we’ve ran taught us:
|Timing||Average conversion rate|
|Between 0 and 4 seconds||3.88%|
|5 – 9 seconds||1.60%|
|10 – 14||1.30%|
|15 – 19||1.74%|
|20 – 24||2.29%|
|25 – 30||3.14%|
Source: WisePops, internal data, 2020
And while it’s true you’ll collect more emails, it is when you show a pop-up after a user visits more than a page that the subscription rate is higher. Why? Simply because it shows they like what they see and are ready to engage with your brand.
- Pop-up frequency. We recommend you not to show the same pop-up more than thrice per user and cap the frequency to at least a week. But again, this will be different for you, and at the risk of sounding repetitive, we want you to conduct A/B tests.
- Optimize for mobile users. Keep the copy short, its overlay big enough that it doesn’t cover the entire screen, and finally add a visible option to close it.
- Experiment with gamified pop-ups. Spin-to-win popups have an average conversion rate of 23.48% among our clients (!!)
Marketers use sticky bars to make announcements and collect emails, or both. But because they aren’t as attention-drawing as pop-ups, their conversion rate is not impressive. Yet they are a common sight because email collection demands simultaneous site-wide strategies.
To get your bar to do better, choose a color that contrasts with your website as Urban Outfitters have. The text color matters and so does the typographic hierarchy as both improve readability. How so? The visitors can focus on text in order of importance — usually the takeaway first — and do as you request them to.
Next, you could use urgency or scarcity so the users are tempted to join your email list. Are you offering free shipping on a minimum shipping threshold for a limited time period? Tell them and stick a sign-up now CTA with a timer next to it.
You could even combine the bar with a pop-up as in the example from the Helm below. Overall, the idea is to test to power your email collection efforts.
Below the menu bar
Here’s the thing: menu bars are rarely overlooked. First, because they help browsers navigate the website. And second, the search bar which they have the option to use is usually placed near it. Point being — when you add the option to subscribe to your emails below the menu bar, it’s bound to get people’s attention.
Take Nike’s approach to collect emails. The focus is on the benefits — get free shipping and 60-days return. However, to enjoy both you must be on their email list, and it is that which gets people to click join now.
Call it a smart move because free shipping discourages cart abandons. Moreover, free returns and exchanges are the #2 reasons that make consumers more likely to shop online. End result — more sign-ups.
Next, they use the page-wide carousel on product pages too. It works as a constant reminder for browsers to get on their email list.
So you see, Nike not only convinces them to give their emails but also to buy from them by eliminating two of their prospects’ top worries.
Recommended Reading: 7 Abandoned Cart Email Examples that Work Well for E-Commerce
Call to action on Product Pages
Email collection on product pages is subtle because you don’t straightaway ask visitors to give them to you. There’s always a context behind it. Let’s see what we mean by it.
A lot of times customers go back empty-handed because a product is out of stock. For you, this means losing several hot leads. To fix this inadvertent leak, it’s smart to ask for visitors’ emails and alert them once it’s back in stock.
Start by setting an alert on the product page as Taylor Stitch does:
Or, prompt users with on-page text, such as ‘Out of stock in your size?’, like Uggs do. So when someone clicks on it, a pop-up opens asking for their email. But it is what they do next that is interesting.
They use the word waitlist which makes their request for email more persuasive. The word implies scarcity and social proof. Put simply, the product is quite the hit among their customer base. So when a prospect sees it they’re convinced to get on the email list than lose out once again.
If not this, you can always add ‘Get on the Waitlist’ CTA to make your product seem hard to get. People will readily jump onto the bandwagon because the loss aversion principle says that the pain of losing on a good product is much more than actually owning it.
That being said, the product whose perceived value you’re increasing should be well-loved by your existing customers. So make sure you publish customer reviews to further make your call more compelling.
Get on the Waitlist
This one’s a classic email collection strategy that marketers use before or close to their product launch. In fact, some of them go a step ahead to hype their product by giving pre-launch access to a select few. Either way, both help them collect emails because of the element of exclusivity attached to the word waitlist.
Here’s what exclusivity does. Let’s say, you’re among the 50 people invited to an exclusive premiere of a movie by Quentin Tarantino. How does it make you feel? Special and important, right?
Similarly, even though you’ll ask for your target audience’s emails in exchange for exclusive access to your product, they’ll still do it because this is what will distinguish them from the masses.
On a long product page after delivering value
Long product pages give you a chance to showcase your product in an engaging manner both through storytelling and photos. And if you strategically snuck your email sign-up request it’s not much of an interruption…it’s a strategic pause for breath.
Folks at Kettle & Fire, for example, ask for emails right after customer reviews. A clever strategy because it’s when shoppers read real reviews from real people that they actually visualize themselves using the product and enjoying similar benefits. Plus, it influences their buying decision. Podium reports that 93% of people say reviews influence what they buy.
So you see — when they see customer feedback your target audience will likely sign-up to your emails and get to know you on their own.
But unlike me, someone who’s difficult to please could scroll past this point. But again, Kettle & Fire, continuing with good story-telling indulge such difficult-to-please users with engaging pieces of information, like so:
And if even this doesn’t convince them, they bring in more reviews before finally greeting shoppers with the same email offer. Suffice it to say, they don’t leave any chance to grow their email list. You shouldn’t too.
Recommended Reading: How to Collect Feedback on an eCommerce Website
What makes quizzes effective in collecting emails is their format. You ask a series of questions with a promise of an outcome which is usually gated. Despite this hurdle, quiz takers share their emails because of the compulsive urge to close the curiosity gap and experience the buzz out of discovering something about themselves.
But another reason why quizzes actually work is that it makes decision-making easier for your consumer base. Think about it this way. You’re looking for a skincare routine but confused because of a million products in the market. So one fine day when you stumble upon a skincare quiz from a brand you’ve been eyeing on, wouldn’t you take it to overcome the choice paralysis? Do we hear a yes?
Sure, you don’t have to gate the results—Glosier, Sephora, Murad among several others don’t—, but it’s recommended you collect emails because we’re talking about growing your email list. And quizzes give you a chance of filling your list with segmented, warm leads.
Using a quiz, Bourbon and Boots collected 35,752 leads and doubled their sales in 3 weeks. Unbelievable, but like we said — quizzes are the real deal. You too can work this email collecting idea to your advantage.
For starters, you’ll have to:
- Choose a topic that addresses your target audience’s pain points.
- Keep the overall tone conversational.
- Ask questions which when they answer makes them aware of their struggles.
- Show a progress bar to keep them going and not drop out midway.
- Craft an outcome that ties to your product.
- Make the link accessible on your website to get maximum eyeballs.
Warby Parker houses a quiz which is accessible on their homepage and promises to solve one huge problem their customers face — selecting the right frames for glasses and sunglasses.
And without wasting time, they ask seven straightforward questions necessary to determine someone’s taste and preference. Though not a progress bar they show how many questions are left to be answered that keeps the browser going. Plus, they gate the outcome for obvious reasons — collect more emails.
Where they do particularly well is telling me about the process of buying from them even before the results. In a way it’s their way of making sure I buy from them. And why should I not? The copy highlights convenience of shopping from home.
And on the results page too I’m encouraged to buy through the CTA that asks me to complete my order.
So there you go. A quiz sure can help in email collection but you can also sell through results by recommending a bunch of your products.
Getting people to sign-up on footer sounds like an uninformed conversion strategy, the only thing is that it’s not. So what is the conversion rate isn’t impressive, it’s still a widely used email list-building strategy.
than they do above the fold. Moreover, it’s a design prototype that website users are familiar with seeing on the footer. In case they miss signing-up elsewhere on the website, they can head straight to the footer.
Now because it’s the footer, the copy might seem inconsequential, but don’t make that mistake. Make every word count. Focus on creating a wholesome experience for your prospects by sprinkling your personality quirks. Frank Body does that well with their Babe Mail call.
Another thing worth considering is not populating the footer with too much content. It already has tons of important links and information, so be smart and use ample white space.
On Patagonia website’s footer, for example, each element is within a good distance from each other. There’s no competition whatsoever and the email sign-up call is quite visible too.
If a lot is going on in the footer, ask for emails through a page-wide band above the footer. It’s highly visible and makes a good design decision.
On Live Chat Support
Live chats are known to help businesses sell more, but they’re also capable of capturing emails. Why bother? Because you could lose some leads when you’re offline. To avoid this, ask prospective buyers to leave you a message and an email you can write back to.
At this point—and as part of expectations management—make sure you let them know how soon you’ll get back to them.
Typically, you’d think customers want a speedy response, but data says something else. 95% of customers value thorough and high-quality live chat support more than speed. This is pretty much applicable to offline support because you don’t want to over-deliver in the speed department but disappoint with an unhelpful message.
Now, to get started with offline email collection, take inspiration from the folks at Package Free. Keep the form basic and only ask for the information necessary at this time.
Another way to collect emails is by initiating a chat with someone engrossed on a product page. Check if they need help and organically plug an offer or a discount to get them to join your email list. Will they give it? You bet.
Further, if you’re using a chatbot, set triggers based on their responses. For example, from the three options I was presented by a virtual chat assistant on Bésame-Cosmetics, when I clicked on ‘looking for out of product item’, I was first praised for my taste (thanks folks!) and then given the option to join their list.
A squeeze page is a type of landing page, except much shorter and used only to collect emails. Thanks to an isolated call to action that ensures an average conversion rate of 5.86%. So when visitors land on a squeeze page they have one decision to make — whether to get on your email list or walk away.
To get the max out of a converting squeeze page you should:
- Write a crisp headline that states the benefit of joining your email list.
- Have a brief supporting copy that further convinces why sharing their emails is a good idea.
- Lure users with an enticing offer to give to your audience, and
- Show a thank you message after signing up.
Bonus tip: Use a squeeze page to generate leads from countries that you don’t currently operate in. It’s a fantastic opportunity because based on the data collected you’ll uncover where your products have a demand. And if it’s a solid one then you could think of expanding your business.
Here’s how Harry’s do it. When I landed on their website, I was immediately sent to this squeeze page:
And a thank you note popped up after sharing my email. Consider following their steps because it’s basic courtesy and also because you don’t want someone to think you ran away with their emails without telling them what happens next.
You’re Now Ready to Take Your Email Collection Efforts to the Next Level
…because you are now in the know of all that it takes to collect emails on your website. Remember one thing though — don’t rely on one single idea alone. Use them in combination, whether it is pop-ups, hello bar, quiz or all else we discussed in this post.
Now then, over to you. Definitely write to us if there’s something else you’ve been doing on your website to collect emails that has worked for you.
And in case you’re looking to start with pop-ups, hello bars, and smart bars to supercharge your email list, give us a shout, or sign up here to start your free trial.