The 4 Most Effective Methods To Grow Your Ecommerce Email List


Building an email list is pivotal in the success of any eCommerce business in today’s day and age. A high-quality email list allows you to reach and connect with your target audience in a personalized way that can’t be matched by any other marketing channel out there. So in todays article, I am going to be unpacking the five most effective ways to build your eCommerce email list.


What is an email list?

In the simplest of terms, an email list is a collection of individual email addresses that have given you permission to send them email campaigns about your brand. 

According to the Direct Marketing Association, Email Marketing sees a 4300% (43x) return on investment (ROI) for businesses in the USA. But how do brands grow and nurture their email lists to see those kinds of returns?


1. Welcome Pop-up Forms

The most common way brands build up their email lists is through a high-converting pop-up form. The reason why this is extremely effective is that whenever a new customer visits your website, this is usually the very first thing they see, hence it’s important to ensure your pop-up form ticks all the necessary boxes in attaining a high opt-in rate. A strong pop-up form can boost your email subscription rate by 317% or more!

Within a Welcome Pop-up form, there are three main elements you want to consider to ensure the best conversion rate possible. The copy, the amount of friction, and the timing.

  • The copy: The marketing copy allows your audience to understand how they can gain value and benefit from signing up to your list. Keep your messaging clear and concise and incentivise your customers by providing some sort of welcome discount to help boost conversion rates.
  • Friction (the less the better) – Try to avoid having a number of different fields for the customer to fill out. If someone sees there is a large amount of information required to opt-in, it may deter them from signing up and your conversion rates will drop dramatically. Essentially, the most effective pop-up forms we have seen are the ones that purely ask for a customer’s email address and offer a welcome discount.
  • Timing: There are two different timing experiments you can undertake, one is a time-based delay and the other is a scroll-based trigger.

With a time-based delay, you can make your form appear after the customer has been on your website for a certain amount of time. I would recommend testing between 6 seconds – 12 seconds as this range is what we have seen work the best. It’s important to put in time-based delay as many customers get annoyed if the very first thing they see on a website before it even loads is a pop-up form. This in many cases leads to high bounce rates.

A scroll-based trigger is even less intrusive than a time-based delay as it only triggers the pop-up when a customer has scrolled through a certain percentage of your home page. This allows customers to view the content on your home page and when they scroll down say 50% of the home page, the pop-up form will then trigger, instead of after a matter of seconds.


2. Exit Intent Pop-up Forms

An exit intent pop-up form is automatically triggered when a customer appears to be leaving the website through either closing the browser or clicking on a different page.

A study conducted by Conversion Sciences found that between 10-15% of “lost” customers can be saved by using exit intent pop-up forms. 

Using creative copy such as “Just before you go” or “Leaving so soon?” can capture your prospects’ attention and convince them to read through your offer. Here are some examples of the best exit intent pop-ups we have come across:

Exit Intent







This example is from The Brand ‘hannah Australia’. What we love the most about this pop-up, is the compelling copy. “LEAVING ALREADY?” catches the attention of the customer straight away as it’s a question being directed towards them. This is followed up with a great incentive by offering their prospects a $10 discount if they opt-in, which will convert a small percentage of the people that were ready to leave the website.


3. Footer Opt-ins/Embedded sign up forms

Footer opt-ins are a more subtle way of approaching your audience and asking them to sign up to your email list. This is one of the most traditional methods for building an email list and although it may be lower converting than your typical pop-up forms, it is less intrusive to the customer.

If a customer has browsed your home page, looked through your products and has come across the footer opt-in at the bottom of your page where they decide to opt-in, you know for sure that they are interested in your brand and want to hear more about you. Over the long-term, this can result in an extremely loyal customer base resulting in greater conversions from your email campaigns, and an overall positive brand image.

Here is an example of a great footer opt-in by Chubbies. If you are a brand that doesn’t like to be intrusive and bombard their customers with pop-ups and discounts, Chubbies footer opt-in is a great email opt-in model you can adopt on your website. 


Chubbies Footer


As mentioned, the opt-in rates will be much lower however, the quality of your email list will be very high as these are your most loyal customers and they actually want to hear from you, not just binge out on discounts.


4. Contests and Giveaways

Moving on from sign-up forms, contests and giveaways are a great way to boost your email list subscribers in a short period of time. Although these are not long-term strategies, periodically creating a contest or a giveaway can significantly boost your email list subscribers in a short amount of time.

Now when it comes to contests and giveaways, there are a number of different ways you can go about planning these. One strategy is a single product giveaway. This can be one of your most popular products, and something people would actually want to buy.

Another strategy is a product bundle giveaway. With this, it’s best to include between 3 – 5 of your most popular products as it will be appealing to a wider range of your audience. 

Now if you have a large audience, you can post this contest/giveaway on your Instagram. One creative contest I have seen is from THE ICONIC. They recently had a contest where you and your friend can win a $1000 gift card each and to enter you had to input your email address and your friend had to do the same. This was extremely effective as instead of just collecting one email and doing a giveaway, they were able to collect two emails per entry as many people were sending this to their friends and family in hopes of winning the giveaway.


Building an email list is the foundation and backbone of any successful email marketing strategy for eCommerce brands. Once you have a consistent, predictable way to build your email last day in and day out, your email marketing ecosystem will begin to flourish and generate results like never before. 

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