Your email sign up strategy is core to new customer acquisition

Over the last year I’ve spoken about the importance of the email sign up at many events, in many webinars, and time and time again on the podcast. But I’ve yet to outline the argument here in a blog – so here we go.

Starting with why email marketing is so important.

Email marketing should always be at the top of your to do list

custora channel stats nov 2016
Nov 2016 eCommerce Orders by Channel – Custora

The graph above is based on over $100B in eCommerce revenue across over 200 US-based online retailers. It shows that Email is the most powerful channel for bringing in the money – in November 2016 (the latest available stats – you can check for updates here) 25% of orders placed on eCommerce websites came directly from email marketing.

From my experiences with 100s of eCommerce and retail businesses through the years the one thing common to all of them is that email marketing is key to sales, success and growth. It drives high volumes of sales, at an amazing ROI (return on investment, aka profit). Yet there’s always more email potential to realise.

How well your email marketing performs has a direct impact on how well your business performs, and for your email marketing to do well you need a quality list.

A quality list is a list full of people interested in your business, your products, your story and who want to buy them.

Often businesses think of their email marketing as being all about getting a repeat order from someone who’s already bought from you.

I see email marketing as having an equally big role in getting the first order from a customer.

That means the first step to creating that quality list is to get those interested people, who’ve never bought, signed up.

Just getting the email sign up isn’t actually enough

listrak email list mix
Listrak “Turning One-Time Buyers into Loyal Customers” June 2016

This graph gives us the average mix of who is on an eCommerce email list.

A huge 65% are non-purchasers. People who signed up and have never got around to buying.

That is appalling.

The longer someone is on your list without buying, the harder it is to get them to buy for the first time.

So it’s essential to work to get the order from an email sign up as quickly as possible. Which is where the welcome campaign comes in.

Really, the key strategy for new customer acquisition is to get as many of your site visitors to sign up to your emails as possible, and then send them a great welcome campaign that turns your enquirer into a buyer.

Why do customers sign up for your email marketing?

To make sure your email sign up strategy works it’s important to think about why customers would want to sign up to your email marketing.

Put yourself into your consumer-shoes for a minute. Think about why you sign up for retailers email lists – is it one of this reasons?

  • A way to bookmark an interesting retailer so you remember them when you need them
  • To find out more about them/test them out, so you trust them enough to take the plunge and spend some cash with them
  • As a part of the research process
  • In the hope of getting a discount!

Every single one of these reasons is a step on the road to purchase.

Every single one of these reasons is the customer saying “I’m interested”.

Every single one of these is the customer saying to the retailer “impress me and make me buy”.

They sign up because they want to know more about you, to get ready to buy.

Whether they want an offer or information, your emails are a service your customers want. Get the sign up call to action right, and send them the right information in the welcome campaign and your new email sign ups will thank you for putting the effort in by buying!

Why should you want push them to sign up rather than go all out to get the order?

It’s easier to get an email sign up than an order

Look at those reasons again:

  • It’s really hard to get someone who doesn’t need your products now, but will in the future, to buy today
  • If someone still wants to know more about your business it’s really hard to get that across on the website and get the order today
  • If someone is busy researching, wouldn’t it better to help them research rather than try and force them to buy?
  • If someone won’t buy without a discount, and you’re not in sale – it’s going to be hard to get them to buy today

Many of those reasons relate to customers who aren’t yet ready to buy – but they think they will be in the future.

Isn’t it easier to convince a customer that they need to sign up to get what they want, than to convince them to buy for the first time?

Logic suggests it is, and the stats back it up – for those businesses actively capturing email sign ups it’s not usual to get a 5%+ email sign up rate. That’s usually a LOT higher than they achieve in order conversion rates.

Gives you the chance to get them ready to buy

Capturing the email address opens up a powerful communication channel:

  • through which you can send the customer exactly the messages they need to hear to persuade them to buy
  • which you ‘own’ – unlike a Facebook page like where the algorythms work against you
  • which should be low-cost in both time and money

Makes the most of all your other marketing activity

How much time and money do you spend driving traffic to your website?

After buying the stock, buying traffic is usually the next biggest cost and frequently the activity into which the most time is invested in a retail business.

With it being straightforward to get 5% of that traffic to sign up so you can market to them again – wouldn’t that be a great way to improve the performance of all your marketing?

Any email sign up case studies you can share Chloë?

Why yes, of course!

I mention my podcast guest Project Repat a lot because it’s such a compelling story (and their welcome campaign is well worth checking out).

Their focus is entirely on getting an email sign up, and then using the welcome campaign to get the conversion. On the podcast Nathan shared their performance stats – they get 8% of visitors to sign up, and convert 25% of them to buyers. So that’s a 2% overall conversion rate. Not bad for a single marketing strategy.

I have wondered in the past if that was a bit of a fluke – so I’m busy pressing my clients to calculate their stats. I can’t name names – but I can tell you that the first UK one to do so shared this with me.

In the second half of 2016 they started their focus on getting email sign ups. In those 6 months they brought in twice as many new sign ups as they had achieved in the whole of 2015! And they’ve already converted 22% of them to buyers – and in their case it’s without offering a discount to get the email sign up…

I’m working on a full email sign up case study – so watch this space.

Finally, in a podcast interview that’s coming out in the next few weeks Australian Judith Treanor of Temples and Markets shared how getting email sign ups was completely key to her launch. In her first 12 months of trading she grew her list to 15,000 and used that to build sales to over $10,000 per month.


3 Quick Email Sign Up Tips

  1. Ask!
    You have to ask for the customers email and make it easy for them to sign up if they want to. Add a sign up box to your footer, contact us page – and anywhere you think a customer would find it useful.
  2. Pop ups
    Love ’em or hate ’em they work miracles. Get one live! But turn it off on mobile websites to avoid Google’s wrath.
  3. Don’t give away margin you don’t have to
    On day one encourage the sign up by offering information not discounts. Your margin is precious. Set the no-promo benchmark then test discounts against it. You might have to give away some margin, but then at least you’ll know if it’s worth it.

If you’d like to know more about improving you Email Sign Up rate – then why not sign up to our emails and get our free Email Capture Checklist?

3 Quick Welcome Campaign Tips

Whilst this blog isn’t really about welcome sequences – but I thought I ought to give you 3 welcome sequence tips too:

  1. Deliver on your promise
    Whatever you offered in return for a sign up – information or discounts – make sure you deliver it straight away
  2. One email is better than none
    You may have sketched out a welcome campaign of 10 different emails – but don’t wait until you have them all before you turn it on, get the first one live!
  3. Expose the humanity
    Look back to those reasons for signing up – the customer wants to know more. They want to feel a connection – tell them about the people in the business. Why you started it, why you chose the products you chose, who’s in the team. It will have a positive impact.

I’m working on a Welcome Campaign Checklist at the moment (should be available in the next week or so) so if you’d like to get that as soon as it’s ready just sign up for free here.