Grow Tips: Building Your Subscriber Lists

Raise your hand if you hate popups. Come on, be honest.

Now, raise your hand if you’ve ever used a popup on your website. See what we did there...

So why use popups despite the love/hate relationship? They are undeniably effective at converting website visitors into email subscribers and helping to fuel your list growth. That's why best practices that make popups less annoying and other list growth strategies are our subjects for this article. 

We’ve tapped ecomm marketing expert Kasey Luck, founder of Luck & Co Agency, to share her insight on building email and SMS lists the right way to fill your subscriber lists with excited, eager-to-buy customers. 

Tried & True Popups 

Popups are, as mentioned, by far the most effective way to grow your list. So how do you make a popup that isn’t annoying? By offering something of real value AND doing it at the right moment. 

First, what not to do… landing on a website and immediately getting hit with a “join our newsletter” popup is a universally irritating experience - not something you want your customers to feel when they land on your page. 

For popup success, the first important factor is to delay its arrival. Setup your popup so it’s triggered by a time delay or exit intent. Exit-intent popups are the best way to go, they are triggered when a customer is navigating towards closing the window. 

Next, offering something of value is a no-brainer. A discount is the easiest thing, but you can also try a gift with purchase, free shipping, join a monthly giveaway, OR simply highlight that subscribers get access to the best deals and product launches. 

An average popup converts at 3%, but the best ones have 8-15% submit rate, so keep tinkering with your messaging and design until you see above-average results. Keep your forms simple, people don’t want to spend too much time on input so ask for the info you absolutely need — like name, email, and phone number. 

With Drip, you can easily start with one of the pre-built popup templates in your account, and then customize the design and behavior to make it truly yours. 

What Offers Win?  

As an ecommerce store, you’ve got so many options when it comes to incentives to subscribe. But you’re probably wondering: what works best? 

Popups with an offer convert 5x better than a popup without one, but it turns out that so long as you are offering something, WHAT you offer is actually not that important. Nonetheless, here are a few top-performing options to try:

  • Discount (both % and $ off)

  • Free gift with purchase

  • Joining a monthly giveaway 

If you don’t want to discount, consider highlighting bundle saving or loyalty points. Even if the offer is available even without signup, it’s a way to show customers how to access the deals and promotions that live on your site rather than having to discover them on product pages or at checkout.

You can use messaging such as “Did you know you could save up to 20% when you bundle? Join our email list so you never miss out on deals and new product announcements.” In the email Welcome Series that follows a subscribe, again highlight and link the bundle savings. 

When it comes to SMS, we often offer the SAME deal as for the email signup. However, since SMS is a much more personal channel we’ll use messaging that indicates they’ll get access to the inside scoop first - whether that is a new product launch, restock, discount, or other promotion.

Plus, we truly make SMS subscribers feel like a part of an insider community by sending photos from the warehouse, early updates on product developments, and other BTS info that make it possible for customers to feel close to the brand. This lets you build a unique relationship with your customer, one that is more personal and makes your customers feel like they are part of something. 

Now as promised, there are other opportunities to enlist that will help you grow your email and SMS lists. So, let’s take a look… 

Footer Forms: Not An Afterthought 

Shoppers now expect that they can find an email signup option in the footer. In case your popup is disabled or didn’t fire for some reason, a super simple embedded form in the footer will save you. It doesn’t collect NEARLY as many subscribers as the popup, but it’s still important because often this is where a highly motivated shopper will look to grab their subscriber deal if they missed the pop-up earlier in their site browsing. 

Special (SMS) List, Special Page

SMS has been grabbing a LOT of attention in the marketing world lately. If you’ve added a phone number field to your POPUP - awesome! But how do you get your EXISTING email subscribers to get on the text list? BUILD a simple landing page, and send your people there. 

Keep it simple, because you already have much of their info. Just make it on brand and embed your SMS form, that’s it. Then get started with fun campaigns, like these: “We’re releasing our new product next week! Can you guess what it is? Join our SMS list and we’ll give you access 2 days early.” 

Last Chance, Big Opportunity

One obvious but super important place to collect subscribers is your CHECKOUT form. If someone has started checking out, they are preeeeet-ty interested in your products and your brands, so you definitely want them on your list.

An important thing here is that you MUST collect consent to send these shoppers marketing content. 

Most Shopping platforms, like Shopify, have a checkbox right under the email field. This is what’s going to let you send those beautiful product launches, engagement, loyalty, and sales email campaigns to these folks. 

Leaving it checked will help you collect more emails, but it’s possible they’ll be lower intent. Nonetheless, if your customer has gotten this far, they likely want to stay in touch with you and a default checked subscribe box will help you do so.

Sign Up Your Social Set

Definitely encourage your social followers to sign up for email & SMS by guiding them to a signup form on your site or texting your SMS enrollment number! This can be through posts, stories, or ads.

Here’s a back-in-stock example from Blume. This is a seasonal flavor that their customers LOVE. So Blume says “sign up for email and be the first one to hear when this flavor drops.” Then they link out in their link-in-bio Linktree. 

Skip The Partner Up 

A final word of warning. A mature marketing strategy knows that deliverability is vital to the success of your email campaigns. When you have a significant number of unengaged emails on your list, your deliverability drops. You might have seen - or maybe have participated even - in a giveaway where multiple brands partner up, put together a big prize, and every partner promotes the giveaway to their own audience, then all get access to the emails that are collected. Though it gets subscribers fast, conversion rates tend to be extremely low. 

Know Your Customers, Grow Your List

So skip giveaways or similar quick-fix strategies and work on building your list steadily using the tips above. You’ll find that putting effort toward initiatives that support your customer's needs and wants is the most effective strategy in building an email and SMS list that converts time and time again. You’ve got this!