This is Chapter 5 in our free How to Sell Online Ebook. You will also find other tips, methods, 
and tools that you can use to grow your own business in the other chapters. Enjoy!

In Chapter 4, we address 10 effective yet low-cost strategies to drive traffic to your online store. So how to convert your traffic into email leads? Let’s find out in this chapter.

The explosion of new digital channels pushed eCommerce merchants to evolve and adapt. But, email stood the test of time and remained vital up to this day with its ROI averaging at 4400%, outperforming social, tv and paid search in driving sales and customer engagement. Email marketing was reported to account for approximately 23% of online sales.

Converting traffic into email leads is crucial to take email marketing to its optimum potential. How to build an email list for your online store? How do you continuously grow your email subscriptions? What are the new strategies to keep your email list fresh and up-to-date?

In this chapter, we will help you build and grow your email list with 15 best practices that are recent, effective, relevant and out of the box.


download icon  This complete 10-chapter guide takes days to finish. How about downloading an ebook version to read on your Kindle for bedtime reading or while you’re on the train?

Download How to Sell Online eBook


1 – Strategically place email opt-in forms on your website

It seems an obvious strategy to place a signup link on the website’s homepage, but some online stores still neglect or forget to visibly promote an email opt-in form. If visitors are new to your site and they want to hear from you more, they must be able to quickly sign up right in front of your homepage. So How to build an email list by placing an email opt-in form in the right place? Here are the most converting places to consider adding an email request form:

Header or navigation bar

Visitors can easily recall where your sign up form is located just by placing a visible call-to-action on your header. It is a simple approach but will make a whole lot of difference. header email opt-in form

Reformation has an email signup button strategically placed on its header. Once clicked, a form will expand.


A highly visible and strategic location on your website is your sidebars. Be creative in placing a sign-up form, just like how Havaianas places a clickable sidebar form which expands to a popup once tapped.

sidebar email opt-in form

Website footer

If visitors scroll way down to your footer, it means that they are still interested. Make a good use of this often neglected part of your site, place an email signup form and capture visitors as email subscribers.

footer email opt-in formInstead of leaving a space unused, Levi’s effectively promoted an email signup box on its footer.

2 – Entice first time visitors with entrance popups

What is a better way than to pop up a signup form just when visitors enter your site? We’re pretty sure they will never fail to notice that. However, most of the entrance popups are placed without an exciting offer. Remember, what’s in it for visitors if they subscribe to your email list immediately? Match an irresistible value proposition like limited deals, instant discounts, and amazing giveaways to your entrance popups. how to build an email list with Better Coupon Box app

Bkbt Concept store designed an attractive entrance popup with Better Coupon Box tool to entice shoppers to subscribe with a 25% off.

3 – Keep your customers with exit-intent popups

If your entrance popup signup form did not work at the first bait, then exit-intent popups might do the trick. Online shoppers are sometimes hesitant and take their time to get at ease with an online store. So, an exit-intent popup is a perfect alternative. When visitors are about to leave your site, trigger a signup form instantly. How to build an email list with exit-intent popups? Just like entrance popup, make it more enticing by placing irresistible deals and discounts to retain customers.

exit-intent popup

Gap has deployed an exit-intent technology to show a popup message requesting for an email sign up right before a visitor leaves its website. You can build a similar exit-intent popup for your store with Better Coupon Box app.

4 – Subscribe to email list to access wish list or favorite items

Some shoppers do not intend to buy immediately, they take their time and save the items they want to purchase the next time they visit your site. This is where “Wishlist” or “Favorite” buttons come in handy. Allow your guest shoppers to save their items with the favorite button. Offer them to retrieve their favorite items if they sign up.

how to build an email list with wishlist feature


Old Navy does not waste an opportunity with its “Access your Favorites anywhere” strategy to capture new email subscribers by offering them a way to obtain their saved items. You can create and share wishlists with Wishlist app by

5 –  Create exclusive and high-quality contents that can be received via email

If you want to grow your email list, you have to invest in high-quality contents that can be accessed exclusively by email subscribers. This strategy increases your visitors’ interest because they can receive relevant and fresh materials for their hobbies and recreations like recipe guides if you are an online grocery store. Plus, producing customized contents shows valuable lead conversions as 61% of consumer buying decisions are influenced by them.

acquire email with freebie

Evereve creates multiple fashion lookbooks and encourages its customers to access and receive latest lookbook updates by signing up via email.

how to build an email list for ecommerce store

Taste of Home encourages email sign up with a newsletter of its most popular recipe.

6 –  Offer pre-orders, preview or flash sales limited to email subscribers

Be persuasive with your email subscription benefits. Think of providing a long-term advantage for your subscribers like offering preview and flash sales made just for them. If you have exciting new products or fresh promotions, require shoppers to pre-order the items via email subscription only.

build email list by offering email pre-order


To entice visitors to subscribe, Avon Romance offers an email pre-order of its soon to be released novel.

7 –  Ask for email sign-ups for customer support requests or inquiries

Capture more emails by requiring customers to sign up for any customer assistance. This strategy won’t require you to be forceful because it will seem to be just part of your protocol. If you have a phone hotline, always ask for the caller’s email address, so you can send the updates there. You should also do this for your chat support. Customers must have to enter their email address before they can start a chat.

Other creative ways for customer support doesn’t have to be a customer issue, think for example why salespersons are designated in a physical store. Be engaging by offering customer inquiry assistance or like a personal shopper advisor.

ask for email to provide support

Bed, Bath and Beyond is subtle in capturing its visitor’s email address by using a “Shop with an Expert” strategy. A shopper can book an appointment via email.

8 –  Multiply email subscriptions with a referral program

It can be costly to acquire new customers and typically it is a lot harder to convince them to sign up to your email list. But, existing email subscribers are already familiar with your store and know what potential subscribers will benefit if they get into it as well. So, take advantage of your customers by enticing them to refer your store with your referral program.

how to build an email list with referral program

Sperry has a powerful ad campaign “It Pays to Share” which effectively uses the influence of a referral program to capture more email addresses from its existing customers’ friends, family, and colleagues.

9 –  Build lasting relationship with a loyalty program

A loyalty program is a retention program offered to frequent customers. In a nutshell, it rewards customers because of their loyalty. Building a loyalty program can also directly affect your email list by requiring customers to sign up first before they can start redeeming their accumulated loyalty perks. You have the flexibility to create your rewards. It can be a scoring system or a simple do an action to get something in return.

how to build an email list with a loyalty program

Who’s Hoo started a loyalty program focusing on rewarding customers if they fulfill a certain action like signing up their email address.

10 – Add email signup button on Facebook business page

Your Facebook page is also a rich driver to increase your email sign ups. An email sign up form can be easily added to your Facebook page so that your followers or social media visitors can easily subscribe to your email list.

add a Sign up button on Facebook

Step-by-step Guide in adding a FREE sign up button on Facebook:

  1. Go to your Facebook page. Right below your cover photo, look for the “Add a button” widget.
  2. Click the “Get in Touch” dropdown and select the “Sign Up” option.
  3. A form will ask you to link the URL of your website’s sign up form. Click, the add “Add Button”.
  4. Once added, you can test the newly added button and, voila, you have successfully added your sign up button.

11 – Run Facebook lead ads

Another Facebook solution that you need to take advantage right away is the Facebook Lead Ads. This solution is an easy way to run a lead generating campaign with an integrated sign up button which potential customers can easily tap to register. This way you are capturing them instantly.

Facebook lead ads

12 –  Entice your social media followers to sign-up with a contest or sweepstakes

 A social media contest is a good promotional campaign to engage with your current social media followers. But more than that, it also exposes your online store to their social media friends. Thus, reaching as many potential prospects as possible. And not to waste these prospective customers, require your social media contest with a sign up to capture their email address and essential information.

how to build an email list by running contest on Facebook

Coupons Forest runs a “Sign up and Win” sweepstakes to entice social media followers to sign up to their email list and get the chance to win a voucher.

13 –  Reach out to influencers to collect emails from their social media followers

If in case your social media accounts do not have huge social media following, you can engage with influencers to start an email signup campaign on their own channels. This way you are promoting your online store to their vast social media followers and at the same time adding them to your email list.

14 – Seed contents to Q&A sites or forums and link an email sign-up landing page

Take advantage of forums or Q&A sites like Quora or Yahoo Answers. You can freely seed contents like answering various topics that are relevant to your online store. Below your post, you can easily put a link to your store’s sign-up landing page. Encourage readers by adding a phrase such as “to explore more about this topic, visit our site.”

15 –  Put QR Codes on printed materials to link to your sign-up form

Engage with mobile users by using QR codes to transform your printed materials with a signup ready feature. For example, you can put a QR code on your product packages or printed ads, so mobile users can easily scan it to reveal your email opt-in form. Free QR codes can be generated at or

Hitting the subscribe button

Even with the proliferation of modern media, email remains as powerful and relevant as ever. Future forecasts of email marketing state that soon customers will be able to make purchases within the email itself without the need to go to the eCommerce site just to complete a purchase. That is why building an email list for your online store is no longer a question of why, but how.

With various methods how to build an email list, you need to ensure that you have the above best practices employed to your email list acquisition strategy. We have made sure that these email list strategies are relevant, up-to-date, and creative so that your customers will surely hit the subscribe button.

What’s next in Chapter 6: Struggling with low sales even though you’ve already got a pretty nice traffic flow? Let’s deep dive into these 10 strategies (and suggested tools) that work to increase online sales for online stores.

email marketinghow to build an email listhow to drive traffic to your online storehow to sell online