Email list

25 Ways to build an Email list for your e-commerce business

Email plays a key role when we speak about online marketing. This happens to be one of the fastest and quickest ways to reach your base customer. Not only this, it is a great way to keep your customers engaged. While you invest in Social Media, which apparently is the primary choice of every e-commerce business, it is equally important to build your email list.

While a lot of people consider Social Media as the best choice, the study reveals that Email marketing gives a better Return on Investment (ROI). A glance at this stats is,


Return on Investment



Tools such as Google Analytics provide you with details about new customers as well as customers which have been retained. You would always find that as compared to new customers, the customers who have retained is higher. Even though you acquire new customers, still the actual increase in your sales figure is more or less contributed by returning customers. This on an average is 3 times higher than new customers.

Stats say a 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75%. This definitely makes it clear why emails play such an important role to improve your e-commerce business. Once you get your customer’s email address, then you can directly get in touch with your customers.

With email marketing, you can control what you send and manage the customer experience better. This is not possible in Social media marketing or rather this is very restrictive. This does explain why having an email list is important. It’s easy to build an e-commerce store, however, creating the email list would require you to research on a few well-known tricks. The benefits of email marketing are so many that you would definitely find a constant need to expand your email list.

Related Article: 7 Email Marketing Tips: Take Ecommerce Conversion To Next Level

Few of the benefits of email marketing are-

  • Email marketing is budget friendly. All you need is to build up your email list
  • You can easily reach an already engaged audience
  • You can customize messages as per customer needs and deliver targeted messages
  • Email marketing has the potential to drive revenue
  • It is easy to get started with email marketing
  • Email marketing can be easily and reliably measured. The performance can be monitored over a period of time
  • Emails are always easy to share. Social proof can be established quickly
  • With emails, you can reach your customers in any part of the world. Remember this is even places where certain social media channels are restricted
  • Such broadcasts have an almost immediate impact
  • The best part about email marketing is the high ROI. Many top brands adopt email marketing techniques

Surely there are many more benefits of email marketing and you would get to know when you personally adopt it. While we speak about email marketing, one important parameter to consider is your email list.

The more exhaustive your email list is, the better the outreach will be.

There are in total three methods of acquiring an email list.

1. Buy an email List

In this, you work with an email list provider to get a list of names and emails based on certain demographic and psychographic information. This could be specific to a certain geographical condition, age category or any such relevant details. In turn, you pay the email list provider.

This is a simple way of acquiring email ids. However, this is not chosen by most top brands. A common reason being, you are not able to get that initial connection with your target audience. Moreover, several potential customers would discard your email as a spam. Most reputable email marketing services do not allow this.

2. Rent an email List

In this, you don’t actually buy the email. Here you do not have any kind of access to email ids or any demographic data. All you have to do is provide your message details to the email list provider. The list provider will send the email on your behalf based on the identified target audience. The target audience is again consolidated using various demographic and psychographic information.

This again is not a very effective way of building your email list. Rather this is much worse than the earlier option. Here you can’t even see the email ids which would have received your email. There is very less control over you. Moreover, it is difficult to establish any connection with potential customers. Again like the above case, most users would discard this as a spam. Most reputable email marketing services do not allow this.

3. Own an opt-in email List

Opt-in emails indicate that the user has provided a consent to receive the emails. Someone voluntarily gives you their email id. These are emails which you have received gradually over a period of time. Not only this, it is also a result of establishing some kind of a connection or communication with users.

Here a user can choose to receive certain types of emails. You can customize your list and send only relevant emails, without bombarding your users with unwanted emails. Opt-in email list also indicates some level of interest prevailing in your users. It is rather easy to convert such users or visitors to become your customers. In most cases, this is not blocked as a spam since most users remember the brand they have interacted with. Reputable marketing services choose this option to be the best.

From the above categorization, it is clear that building your own email list is the most preferred choice. Above we have seen the reasons why it is so important, though it’s never easy to build your own email list.

Through this post, we will describe 25 ways to build an email list for your e-commerce.

1.On page Opt-in form

This is the most traditional way of building your email list. In this, you provide an option to customers by providing opt-in form while they browsing on your site. In most websites, this is placed in the footer.

Placing it in the footer is followed by several e-commerce stores. However, you can choose to add this to the header or side scroll menus. Adding to the footer is not the most optimal way of getting new users subscribed since most of the times it goes unnoticed.


On page Opt-in form


One of the better approaches is to make the opt-in form as the first thing on your page.

-in form as the first thing on your page

2.Standard Popup Opt-in Option

This technique allows you to ensure, every visitor to your website has a chance to opt-in. You can do this by showing a pop-up opt-in form when the user lands on any page. This method ensures that users get to know you have a newsletter.


2. Standard Popup Opt-in Option


While this has its benefits, one must also ensure this does not seem intrusive. You can ensure, the popup appears after a few seconds. This ensures the visitor has settled down and has gone through few things around your website. Similarly, set rules so that the popup appears only once. This has the potential to increase your email list substantially.

3.Live chat, Botnet

This is a technique in which most e-commerce businesses don’t invest much. However, having a live chat is a good option. This is good for your product credibility, allows users to get their queries addressed and at the same time, you can capture email ids.

One of the ways to achieve this is by asking for an email while starting the live chat.


Live chat, Botnet


Similarly, you can embed a botnet which can work as a customer support as well as capture emails. This again is not a very explored option because of its technicalities but is a great way to build your list of email ids. Having said this, a botnet makes your website more customer-centric.

4.Popups with incentives

You can take your popup to the next level by providing incentives while showing these popups. This is a common strategy used by several top brands. Incentives are the most preferred option and most people are happier providing their email id to receive coupon details.


Popups with incentives


An attached incentive urges most users to share their email ids.

5. Slide-up page movement option

A slide-up page movement form is similar to the above methods. Here as well you provide details about discounts, vouchers or coupons. The difference is the way in which it appears.

This seems less intrusive and also is not distracting. This can be made to display on every page until the user chooses to close it.


Slide-up page movement option

6.Discount tabs

Discount tabs are again a great way to acquire email addresses. You can show a discount tab on a specific product until the user grabs it. With this, you can also pick the user’s email id.


Discount tabs


The discount tabs are flashier and eye-catching as compared to opt-in forms. Since this has an incentive attached to it, there are more chances of users signing in.

7.Bonus, Prime membership, VIP incentive

This is a technique to get long lasting customers. You can provide a discounted membership or allow them to join a VIP club. This works especially when you target a customer base who have already tried your product.

Bonus, Prime membership, VIP incentive

provided clear and visually appealing


Also ensure, the description provided here is clear and visually appealing.

8.Targeted popups via personalization

These are again popups but are next level popups. Here you target only a few customers. You can personalize and display your popups. This helps you separate out certain target audience who would like to use your service.


Targeted popups via personalization


This is a popup message which is displayed only to Pinterest users. This increases their likelihood of subscribing.

9.Shopping Cart abandonments popup

A lot of e-commerce visitors, would come to your website and leave without returning back again. This is the worst thing to happen. It would be great if one can convert these visitors into paying customers.

This is a simple technique. From the browsing session, you would know if this is a new customer or an existing customer. Again if it’s a new customer then you would now have access to their email id. In such cases, you can provide a popup which can capture the email id and also show discounts or offers.


Shopping Cart abandonments popup


This is a great way to acquire new customers as well as build your email list.

10.Retargeting emails

As per stats about 75% of carts are abandoned. If this issue is resolved, then there is a huge possibility of generating revenue. A good way to recover this is by emailing the shopping cart details to the customer for a future reference. Or just sending a reminder mail can also help.

Along with this, you can send relevant coupon code or discounts.

Retargeting emails


While sending the details, you can capture the email Id.

11.Email Specific Landing Page

A lot of users prefer to have a look at what kind of contents they can expect after joining your email list. As a first step create a subscription specific page which describes why the user should be joining your list.

This page will be completely dedicated to new subscriptions. The advantage of having this page is, you can direct external traffic to this page via social media channels.


Email Specific Landing Page


This technique along with Google Analytics can help you get more subscribers. This is a great way to build your email list.

12.Webinars, courses

Email Landing pages can also be used to drive registrations by providing other tactical campaigns such as webinars. A lot of users find webinars to be interesting and hence would register.


Webinars, courses


This also is beneficial to improve brand awareness. However, the only downside is, this technique might not be used across all domains. So it depends on what you sell. To give an example suppose you have an Apparel e-store, then probably you might not be able to use this. However, if you provide certain services such as a hosting platform service, then you can use this technique.

13.Email my shopping cart

This is an under-utilized technique. However, this has a great potential to grab customer’s attention. You can email the customers their shopping cart to their email id so that they can make a purchase at a later time.


Email my shopping cart


This is slightly different from retargeting emails. In retargeting emails, you try to hold the attention of customer by providing some incentive over email. This could also additionally send the shopping cart details.

However, over here, we do not make any such offers. All we target is customers who are willing to buy but for some reason have only added it to the shopping cart. These are technically customers who have the shopping cart but have not made the purchase yet.

14.Newsletter Checkbox during checkout

This is probably the most primitive method for getting users on your list, but I still see many stores forget about it. Give your users the option to opt-in to your lists when either creating an account or making a purchase. This hack alone should see you steadily increase your list day by day.


Checkbox during checkout


This is the simplest way to build your email list.

15.Contests and Apps

A lot of e-commerce business create a huge success by providing giveaways. This could be a competition or a contest. This could be discounts or giveaways for early birds.


Contests and Apps


A common technique to drive revenue post contest is to email a consolation coupon to your entrants. This works particularly well when you are giving away one of your own products. Through contests, you can drive engagement.

Similarly creating your own apps also can drive engagement. You can capture the email id while a user is downloading and installing your app.

Another similar technique is to allow users to login using Google. This can also help you get the associated email id. You can integrate Google Sign-in into your app.


Integrate Google Sign-in into your app

16.Rewards, Prize, Gift Vouchers

Instant redeem rewards, work in a similar fashion to contests but there’s one major different – the user redeems them instantly. An advantage over here is its flexibility. You can give users a voucher in exchange for a subscription to your email list.

You can also choose other techniques such as unlocking a specific piece of content in exchange for a subscription to your email list.


Rewards, Prize, Gift Vouchers


Provide incentives to your users to follow you on social networks. Another approach could be to get user feedback in exchange for a coupon code. In each of these methods, you can add your subscription request. This is a great way to build your email list.


Consumers love to give feedback, good or bad. Survey platforms like Qualaroo can allow you to popup questions based on rules that you set. For example, once a user has viewed 5 pages you might ask some questions. Below is an example showcasing the same.



There are more feedback tools available in the market. You can easily setup relevant rules to display suitable popup and get the email id.

 18.Retail/ Live Event Acquisition

This is one of the under-utilized techniques. If you have a retail store with substantial traffic, then you should be doing everything in your power to get their details. Especially when they are making a purchase.

Marks & Spencer UK, have built specific digital booths in-store to capture information from customers.


Retail/ Live Event Acquisition


You don’t need hi-tech technology or POS systems either, here’s a simple template that fits on an iPad that allows you to send subscribers straight to a MailChimp list. There’s also a bunch of apps, that allow you to capture the emails offline then sync with your email list when you get access to the internet again. Simple to integrate.

In a similar way, you can have a live event showcasing your products and its features. For every visitor, you can get a subscription to your email list.

19.Send payment invoice over email

Another way to get email ids is by providing an additional service, where you email payment invoice. This is a security practice, as well as allows you to capture your user’s email id.

This is one of the most explored ways to build a long-lasting relationship with your customers. In certain cases, businesses ensure they send a confirmation email which needs to be accessed by a user within a stipulated time period.

This again lets you capture email ids of your customer. However, this cannot be used for users who have not purchased anything from your store.


Referrals have several positive benefits. This not only improves your subscription email list but also helps you spread across the market as a brand. More people get to know your products.

Nothing works better than referrals. Every new user would have an incentive to get more referrals.




The advantage is, this technique can be used across any domain.

21.Run a contest on Facebook

This is probably one of the first things you should do while starting an online store. You can build your email list and Facebook fans all in one. There are a few ways to run contests on Facebook. Contest For Pages is an app which can be used.

Few other tools included are – RaffleCopter, Shortstack.

Run a contest on Facebook

Provide a discount coupon or cash back on email


With this, you get a fan base as well as a subscription to your email list. You can decide to give a prize, a freebie. Make sure email and Like is required. For others provide a discount coupon or cash back on email.

22.Reviews and Comments

Allowing users to add a review or write comments about your products is yet another way to capture email ids.


Reviews and Comments


Existing user is requested to write a review


As you see both of the above techniques are different. In the first one, the user is also provided with a discount coupon whereas in the second one an already existing user is requested to write a review.

This can also be extended to social media reviews, where you can use Instagram, Facebook or Twitter to write reviews, but at the same time also capture the email id.

23.Categorize customers and Autoresponders and Bonus

Segmenting your list and sending relevant messages is a must. You have to keep a clear separation between potential customers and casual visitors.

So you need to look out for the following two variations-

  • Transactional – These are people that have purchased from you, registered for your store, or abandoned their cart
  • Informational – These are people that want content or deals from you. But have not made the step to purchase

You can create an informational email autoresponder that would include a sale or a discount coupon while you send your 3rd or 4th email. Google Analytics is a great way to know more about visitor behavior.

You can provide bonuses and free services to your loyal and new customers. If you sell optical glasses, for example, you can offer a free eye exam with the purchase of glasses.


Categorize customers and Autoresponders and Bonus


This way you can also request them to drop in their details including email ids.

24.Spin to Win

Spin to Win is a highly engaging and innovative way to provide discount coupons. All you need to do is spin the wheel to get a reward.

Spin to Win


While this is not implemented as of now by many, still is a great way to attract customers. This way you can also capture their email ids.

25.Community Membership

In case you have a community, then you can be watchful for potential customers and invite them to join your membership club. Invite them into your community by providing details of what to expect or receive upon sign up.


Community Membership


This needs to be targeted to customers who show more interest or buy products more frequently. In a way, this is to make the customer feel special.


Email marketing is the most supreme way of acquiring sales. Building your email list is never easy and requires perseverance. This needs to be blended with innovative techniques and at the same time ensure you do not seem to be very intrusive.

Through this post, we have seen 25 ways in which you can build your email list. However, you can employ multiple techniques to capture email ids. Finally building your email list would require you to try several techniques before you know which one works best for your e-commerce business.

Also Read: Infographics-How to Build Email List & Increase Ecommerce Conversion

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