Building a large email subscriber list is one of the keys to online retail success. After all, sales is a numbers game – the more people who are interested in your products and services, the more sales you’ll see on your site.
Having a large subscriber list also provides you with a natural audience for promotions, special offers and other sales-boosting strategies. It’s also the foundation for generating ongoing sales to loyal customers. About 41 percent of online revenue comes from returning and repeat purchasers, according to a recent Forrester study.
So how do you attract prospective subscribers and convince them to “opt-in” to receive your online mailings? Here are six ways to turn casual visitors into prospective shoppers who may become your best future customers.
- Position your site as a source for useful information on topics of interest to your customers. That might mean creating a blog, a newsletter, a market report or some other type of content that visitors will value and appreciate. You can do this on your main site, on a new microsite designed to “snare” passing visitors, on your social media pages – or all three.
- Plan a targeted ad campaign to drive visitors to your blog, microsite or other online content. Review your customer profile, and identify the most popular sites in your category, such as sporting goods, children’s wear or imported gifts, for example. Look at your marketing budget and advertise your store on that site. It’s a good idea to include a retargeting component to your campaign, so your ads follow a visitor from place to place.
- Hold a contest using Facebook, Instagram or another popular social media site. For instance, you could hold a trivia contest on a topic related to your store’s products or services: “In what year was the vacuum cleaner invented?” or “Who holds the record for most cupcakes eaten in one hour?” Each entrant needs to provide his or her email address for a chance to win, and can opt-in for future mailings from your store.
- Make it easy for visitors to sign up for your emails. You could feature a sign-up button in a prominent position on the landing page, along with an easy-to-understand offer, such as “Are you interested in camping and outdoor gear? Sign up for our newsletter to learn about exciting new products,” or “Would you like to learn more about pottery and ceramics? Just type in your email address and we’ll make sure you get the latest information about this great hobby!”
- Give visitors an introductory offer, such as a discount on their first order, in exchange for the email address. But don’t put a short time limit on the offer, so your visitor doesn’t feel pressured to buy. Instead, extend the offer for several months, a year or even longer. After all, you never know when that visitor will be ready to place an order.
- Thank each visitor for signing up. Send out a warm and friendly automated response whenever a visitor opts-in to your store. It’s an opportunity to repeat your brand messaging, remind them about a special offer or welcome them to your online “family.” It’s also a quick and easy way to weed out any bogus addresses before they become embedded into your database.
Remember that a visitor who feels appreciated is more likely to return to your store in the future. So make it easy to sign up, give them information of value, invite their feedback and use your online marketing skills to build those strong personal relationships that generate ongoing sales.