Growing Your Email List:
The #1 Question You Have To Answer

Written by Franco Varriano.

Note: Parts of this post originally appeared on our sister company’s site here. Emailable is automated email verification created by Rare Logic Inc. to help improve email deliverability, sender reputation, and more!

The most successful way to gain subscribers is to always remember that, by subscribing and regularly receiving your emails, customers feel they are “giving something to you” and will only subscribe, and continue to subscribe, for as long as they see and receive direct value.

It is essential that you always link your request to subscribe to something of clear and immediate value that you are offering in exchange.

While there are near countless ways to attract customers; in this article, we will focus on offering value in discount and information product incentives and how they can apply to new subscribers.

1. The #1 Rule

We all know Marketing Rule #1 is Know Your Customer. And, today, this rule has even more profound application to your online customers — the customers you will likely never meet in person.

However, the #1 Marketing Rule equally applies to new subscribers, a.k.a. future customers. Really, you should look at new subscribers and existing customers as one in the same. Their motivations to act, whether it be to sign up, learn about your products/services, shop on your site or to not unsubscribe, are the same.

So, take the time to begin to identify and understand the subscribers you want to attract. What are the demographic(s) of the subscribers you seek? Where and when do they typically shop? And, for subscription purposes, in which of your media and marketing platforms are you most likely to find them?

The better you understand who and where your prospective subscribers are, the more subscribers you will gain for each advertising and discount dollar you spend to attract them.

(We talk about better understanding your customers and subscribers in Know Your Customer, Know Your Subscriber.)

2. Immediate Benefit

It is essential that you offer an immediate benefit upon subscription sign-up. Very few people will give up their email and their “perceived privacy” in exchange for something that might or might not appear in the future.

Offering an immediate incentive also provides the added benefits of creating a seamless method to authenticate new customer emails and possible new purchases — on the spot.

3. Money Talks

Identify Your Inventory of Available Discounts

We all know that everyone likes to get something for free or at a discount. And as the marketer, you know that the challenge is to determine what benefit is most likely to get a person to take action. So, consider:

  • What kind of discounts can you provide? (See discount types below)
  • What product categories will you discount or not?
  • What are your holiday-related discounts? (Black Friday, Back to School, Graduation, etc.)
  • Are there discounts you’d like to add in the future, but need other information/resources in place first?

There are four general discount types offered online. Experiment. Test different discounts against different product categories and customer types:

  1. Free Shipping: Customers often abandon products in their shopping cart once they see the shipping costs. Offer free shipping for a minimum purchase amount in the subscriber call to action to encourage subscribing.
  2. Percentage-Based Discount: A large percentage of new subscriptions come on first sales offered at an attractive discount. Offer either small incentives (5-15%) to subscribe, or larger discounts (20-30%) that push for more immediate sales. Deep discounts (40% or more) are typically offered to clear inventory or at specific end-of season events.
  3. Dollar Value Discount: Many customers and potential subscribers, see a specific dollar amount as “real money” and they’re not taking advantage of the discount is equal to leaving money behind. Link the dollar discount to purchase minimums, so that, in effect, you are making percentage-based discounts that are easily tracked.
  4. Free Gift: Everyone likes freebies. Test out different product strategies linked with a freebie. Does it help move older discounted products? Or is it best when linked to popular, regularly priced items? Or, is it something you offer just once on subscribing?


Match Discount Type to Subscriber/Customer Type

You want to make sure every marketing dollar and every marketing hour of work have their greatest impact. So, don’t just track which discounts at what time have the most impact.

Dig deeper and understand what discount types each of your customer segments most prefer. For example, you may find that you should send dollar value discounts to certain audiences and free shipping to others.

And, since we are focusing on new subscribers, you may find that discounts for subscriptions work better on some social media platforms and not others.

Note: The illustration at right offers a simple example of “split testing”, a very effective way of testing your landing pages, opt-in forms, etc. We will discuss this in detail in a future article.

4. Offer Information

Informational resources and products are a very popular form of customer reward offered by a variety of businesses and sectors. Blogs, newsletters, tips, how-to articles, recipes, checklists, etc. have all proven as successful methods to build and maintain customer loyalty.

Although marketers need to dedicate some resources for their creation, these information products can be used and distributed on many platforms. They also provide you a great way to maintain regular connect with, and build trust with your subscribers without asking for them to necessarily part with their money.

Figure out what kind of “expert” or friendly information you can share that will be most appreciated by your subscribers. Depending on your products and services, this could range widely from newsletter subscriptions to interviews with industry leaders, household, cooking or fashion tips, etc. The more timely, relevant and creatively you present the information, the better.

Ensuring Your Knowledge Products Matter

Many of your competitors are already sending out lots of information products to their customers. Your competitive advantage will only come when subscribers see your information resources as having ongoing value.

Consider these factors when preparing content:

  • Timely Content: Make sure your content is something your customer will want to act on right away. Are you sending out the seasonal recipes, fashion tips, or checklists during the best time-frame in advance of the particular event? Are you timing this to give your customers enough time to plan, shop and receive delivery of the related products you might be promoting?
  • Create Relevant Content: This seems obvious, but only distribute information that your customers will either see as new and fun or something they can learn from. You will also likely have a diverse customer base with diverse interests, so don’t waste your time trying to write for all of them, target those that are most likely to act on the content and buy your products.
  • Use Content Experts: Fashion-focused writers are usually not well versed with, nor great at writing tips for buying power tools. So use your marketing budget dollars wisely by hiring freelance writers who represent or best understand your key product categories.
  • Customers Know Best: Consider including a simple 3-5 question survey as one of your email blasts to your subscribers. For example, list three topics for future fashion tips, and ask them which one is of most interest.

You can also use this strategy for new subscribers. Offer the choice of 2 or 3 value offerings on your pop-up subscription box. See which offer attracts the most new subscribers, then focus on that.

5. Conclusion

Building an email list takes a lot of work and time. But it’s worth it in the long run. Emails are key to getting new customers – if used effectively!

So don’t miss you chance and make it as simple and personalized as possible with – smart email marketing built for ecommerce!

We’ve helped thousands of stores and ecommerce teams boost their sales with email marketing.  Interested in how we can help  your brand to grow your revenue?  Book a call at your convenience here.

And if you’re one of the thousands of merchants who are already using Rare’s Smart Email Marketing software and want to see how our Customer Success Team can work with your brand to grow your revenue – feel free to book a call at your convenience here.

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