“The money is in the list.”
Without a doubt, this is one of the most famous sentences in the world of digital marketing and online business.
However, it is kind of strange if you think about it. Would it not make more sense that the most important thing was selling? Selling is how we get our income, after all.
Well, it doesn’t.
Although it is impossible to deny that selling is important, your email list is one of the most important assets of your online shop.
Do you want to know why gaining subscribers is so important? Or even better, do you want to learn about the best strategies grow your list?
Well then, don’t go anywhere because today we are going to show you a detailed guide about how to do exactly that.
Let’s get started!
Why do we want to gain subscribers?
There is one idea you have to have clear in your head—not everyone who visits your e-commerce is ready to buy.
- Because they don’t know your shop well.
- Because they don’t trust it.
- Because they don’t have all of the information they need.
…or because of a thousand other possible reasons.
But the truth is that even if everything goes as it should, only 1 or 2 visitors out of 100 will end up making a purchase.
And that means that the other 99 users will leave empty-handed. That is why it is so important to gain subscribers.
And if you don’t do anything to make users who visit your e-commerce give you their email addresses—if you just let them leave—you miss your chance to contact them again in the future.
And consequently, you also lose your chance to sell them anything.
However, if you have their email addresses, you can direct them to your shop thanks to an email marketing strategy.
You can still turn them into clients. ;)
Number of subscribers, the most forgotten of the KPIs
E-commerce owners are normally mistaken when revising their websites metrics. They always pay special attention to the “amazing false metric”: visits.
Apart from other vital KPIs such as:
- The conversion rate.
- The average checkout price.
- The shopping cart abandonment rate.
- Acquisition costs.
There is a KPI that you must understand much better than the number of visits, which is: Your number of subscribers!
As we mentioned before, that someone gives you their email address means they are just a step away from making a purchase. And the thing is, to build trusting relationships and extend the customer life cycle, there is no better tool than email marketing.
But of course, it is useless to develop a great email marketing strategy if you don’t have any subscribers or if your database is too small.
And how can you gain subscribers for your online shop?
That’s easy. You just need to start applying the following tricks. ;)
1. Create a blog for your online shop
One of the reasons why your online shop must have a blog is because a blog is a powerful tool for increasing your number of subscribers.
Content marketing creates a buzz, builds trust, and it helps show our clients that we are not just trying to sell, but rather that we are also trying to help them.
Someone who teaches shows authority and knowledge, and that is a great way of promotion.
We have talked about how mass publicity is dying on more than one occasion. Why would you show an ad to someone who has zero intention of buying?
It is inefficient and a waste of both your resources and motivation.
However, when creating relevant content for your potential clients, it would be them who would come to your business through organic traffic, referral traffic, social networks, etc.
Whatever you may be able to add from your blog would be the key to getting that quality traffic, with a real interest in your niche.
For example, imagine that you have a kitchen utensils shop.
If you had a blog where you could explain how to get the best out of those utensils, don’t you think that people would subscribe in order to have all those tips in their inbox?
And, sooner rather than later, they will see how useful a certain product is and they will buy it.
Why would they buy them from another seller when it was you who convinced them that the product was useful in the first place?
They would buy it even if it was a bit (just a bit) more expensive.
If you find it difficult to write, there are alternative strategies such as content curation that can make it easier for you.
2. Create a private club
The feeling of belonging to a private club is really empowering. And it is the same on the Internet.
Just saying that the club offers discounts, unique products, limited sales, and so on will spark people’s curiosity and they will give you their email addresses.
You could do something as easy as a special daily offer for them. You create a page where you upload the offer each day (only visible to your subscribers) and you send an email to your list.
You can also offer weekly or monthly meetings to all of the community members, led by you, about some topic of interest for your niche.
Google Meet can be found in the basic Google suite and is the perfect tool for these types of meetings.
It is a simple technique to gain subscribers and to automatically generate sales. It is also an easy way to get rid of the surplus stock or to sell those products that could never be sold at the same price again.
3. Collaborate with other blogs in your niche market
Guest posting is about writing guest posts for blogs and sites in your niche where you know there are people with an interesting profile that relates to your business.
It is one of the most popular strategies because it generates income for both sides.
- For the blog you are writing in: free quality content in addition to extra visibility from your subscribers.
- For you: Access to all of the community members of the site for where you are guest posting.
Tip: when you do a guest post, put extra effort into it—make it epic.
Let’s go back to the kitchen utensils shop example. If you had a blog, wouldn’t it make sense to write posts for other related blogs about cuisine, recipes, or products related?
Imagine that you know an awesome recipe that can be made using one of your products.
Make two lists:
- The first one should include the top players in your market.
- The second should have those projects that despite not being very well known, seem to be growing fast.
Send a personalized email to 10 or 15 different blogs and offer to write that post for them.
The key to obtaining positive answers is to focus on offering and not receiving. Talk about how interesting their project is and look for topics that they have not yet covered in their blog.
You will just need to wait for their answers. If you are lucky, you will be able to need to pick one, write a brilliant post, and you get to channel traffic to your own blog.
It is a deal with benefits for both sides. Win-win!
Tip: this system works even better when you have a lead magnet in your own blog to capture subscribers.
Don’t you know what a lead magnet is yet?
Let’s jump into the next section quickly!
4. Create an irresistible lead magnet
A lead magnet is a hook, a lure, or literally, a magnet for leads (for example, a free ebook).
A lead is a potential client, someone interested in our product, but who hasn’t bought yet. Therefore, a lead magnet is what turns a visit into a potential client.
As we mentioned at the beginning, not everyone who visits the website is ready to buy. They normally go through this process:
Visit -> Lead -> Client-> Loyal Client
Email subscription is a prior step that helps conversion since the content we send helps to position us as a benchmark in the industry.
A. Why do you need a lead magnet to gain subscribers?
One of the biggest obstacles we have to selling online is mistrust. People are unwilling to give you their email address just because.
A lead magnet is the reward that gets them past that unwillingness to give you their personal details.
You can carry out this A/B test to check it:
- Add a subscription box to some of the blog pages.
- On other pages, add a form containing a small lead magnet (the so-called content upgrade).
Now check which of the two versions gets you more subscribers. ;)
Nowadays, nobody gives you their email address just because—you have to do something to get it.
B. What does a lead magnet have to have to get you subscribers?
Follow this guide and your lead magnet will be an email address-attracting machine.
- Relevant and related to your ideal clients’ interests: if your e-commerce is related to motorbikes, it doesn’t make sense to write a guide about how to raise chickens—obviously. Remember that the base of your marketing strategy will always be to create your buyer persona.
- Practical: choose a very specific topic and offer useful information. An example for cooking products could be “how to get the perfect veggies in three minutes with a steamer”.
- Specific: detect a very specific problem that your buyer persona may have and solve it. Don’t focus on informing, but rather on solving.
- Brief: you don’t need to write a huge post. The key to a good magnet is to solve the problem quickly.
In addition to all that, it has to be easy to create.
Don’t spend weeks working on an idea for a lead magnet that you don’t even know is going to work. Create minimal content and verify that there’s interest. Then, improve it.
C. Types of lead magnets
Here you have some ideas to create your “subscription-hunting bait”.
- Checklist: a list of points or ideas to follow in order to complete a task. It works well because they are easy to consume. Example: Get the perfect sauce and say bye to lumps with these 7 easy steps. [Checklist].
- Ebook or informative PDF: it is not as concrete as the previous one and it is normally bigger. It takes more effort to be created, but if the result is good, users will thank you. It is very useful for technical issues or long processes that cannot be explained with a list. Example: “Master your Thermomix in 15 minutes”.
- Video: if you have never created a video, we don’t recommend it for your first magnet. However, if you want to try, you’ll see great benefits. Every day videos are being used more and more, and they allow you to add a lot of information (if you don’t believe it, have a look at our guide about how to start using video marketing as a commercial strategy).
- Course: another option is to offer 4 or 5 training sessions sent by email. With a course, you add a lot of value, but you have the difficulty of keeping the student/subscriber interested in going through all of the classes.
- Content upgrade: this is what we talked about when we mentioned the A/B test. It is a lead magnet that we create specifically for one or some posts. If we talk about vegetarian food, we can create extra content like “7 ways of cooking broccoli without losing its nutrients”.
5. Create a webinar about your specialized topic
Webinars are getting more and more popular, so take advantage of them!
A webinar is just a lecture, workshop, or speech, typically 1 or 2 hours, where you can explain anything and everything on camera or with a presentation, and people can access it from the comfort of their homes and express their opinion using a chat.
You may be asking how you can gain subscribers with a webinar. Easy! In order to access the webinar, the participants will have to give you their email address!
Let’s finish with the example we’ve been using.
If you create a webinar titled “Learn to cook 10 healthy meals in just 1 hour” and while recording the webinar you use your own products, what do you think the result will be?
Think about it.
That’s right. More subscribers (all the participants) and more sales (from everyone who wants to replicate your recipes).
Automated webinars take things a step further. Once you have recorded one, why don’t you recycle it and use it more times?
Schedule it, promote it with Facebook Ads, and you will be able to get people who sign up to watch it without the necessity of streaming anything live again.
Obviously the conversion will be lower, but you will be taking full advantage of content that took a lot of effort to create.
6. Create a survey
Surveys can help you to kill two birds with one stone. On the one hand, you get information about users’ interests or problems; on the other hand, you get their email addresses.
There are two questions to think about:
A. How can you motivate visitors to fill out a form?
Are you going to offer a gift?
Bear in mind that you have to give them something in exchange for their time and email address.
B. Quick and effective
It has to be a quick and easy to fill out the survey and it should be one that adds valuable insight to your business.
7. Raffles and contests
This one is a very frequent strategy on social networks. You can raffle a product or you can organize a contest in order to get likes and gain followers.
However, you can also launch one on a website.
You just need to have a website with traffic or give it a push with some publicity, but results can be very good in terms of gaining subscribers.
Let’s go back to our kitchen shop example.
If you raffle off a mixer or any other related product, surely you will attract a big number of subscribers. ;)
8. Offer an exclusive discount
If when someone visits your website for the first time and you offer them a 5% discount if they subscribe, it is quite probable that they WON’T do it.
They don’t know the product and they don’t know if they are interested in purchasing, so the discount isn’t worth anything to them.
However, if we add a limited time of validity, the motivation to get the discount increases.
It won’t always be available, but rather in a few days users will no longer be able to get said discount. The so-called FOMO (Fear of missing out) starts taking effect and they start to fear the possibility of missing it.
Tip: don’t offer discounts to just anyone and everyone. Instead, try to make them subscribe to your list and then send them a personalized discount by email.
Time to gain subscribers!
Your email list needs to grow.
But watch out, when you start seeing how your list is growing, the work will have just begun. After that, you will have to segment it, create new content, analyze metrics, and be consistent with your emails.
You will also have to keep the subscribers you are getting interested and keep easing them towards that buy button. But that task is for another chapter…
Use these 8 tips and go get some new subscribers! ;)