In order to convert a sale, your ecommerce website has to bring in customers. However, it is a well known fact in ecommerce that sales frequently don’t happen on a customer’s first visit. That’s why it’s also important for you to engage customers long-term through an effective email capture strategy.
Why Email Capture Matters
When a customer leaves your website without purchasing, but agrees to give you their email address before doing so, you’ll have the ability to follow up with them at a later point, when they may be more prepared to make a purchase decision. In many cases, capturing an email address can be the first step toward building a profitable and sustainable relationship with a customer.
Email has been proven time and time again to be the most effective channel for reaching customers and driving purchase behavior. But the proliferation of spam mail and unwanted promotional messaging has consumers as wary as ever about giving their email address to anyone.
In order to capture emails, there are three key recommended steps:
1) Convey a level of trustworthiness
2) Make it very quick and easy
3) Provide some sort of incentive
Let’s take a look at a few ways you can go about accomplishing these things, so that potential customers are not only willing but excited to provide you with their email address and receive your communications.
Product shopping guides, white papers, e-books and other thought leadership content can help you meet your goal of beefing up your email list over the short-term, but over the long-term, it can also have the secondary effect of building up your company’s reputation as an industry expert and a trusted partner to customers. After your customers have had a chance to review the thought leadership content you publish, it will build credibility within their minds. In turn, they will likely be more receptive to the email messages you send them in the future.
Regardless of how you’re delivering value, you’ll need to use a registration page or signup field to capture customers’ email addresses. People are busy and tend to be scared away by intimidating forms, so it helps if you can make the process as easy as possible for them. This means cutting down on the amount of unnecessary information you ask them to provide.
Try to keep the mandatory fields on your registration pages down to the email address (the key piece of information we’re concerned with) and a few other pieces of identifying information. Customers are likely to shy away from a registration page takes longer than a minute to fill out, so it’s best to keep things simple for now. You can learn more about a customer as your relationship progresses.
In some instances, the promise of quality content and relevant promotions might be enough to entice a user to give you their email address. In other cases, a little extra incentive is needed to push them over the edge. This might seem like a superficial shortcut, but it’s all about getting in the door. Once you’ve captured the email, you can focus on delivering value and building a sustainable, productive relationship.
What sort of rewards might you offer a customer for sharing their info? Here are a few ideas:
- Contests. Announce that you’ll be holding a giveaway among your email subscribers, with a prize that will appeal to people in your target demographic. People love getting a chance at free stuff, especially when all it takes is typing in their email address.
- Exclusive Deals. You want to make your email subscribers feel like they’re getting access to something special, that isn’t available to the general public. You might consider running special coupons, discount codes or free shipping offers in every few newsletters/communications that are exclusive to list members.
- Freebies. Maybe you go beyond a discount. Maybe you even offer up some sort of free product or service in exchange for an email signup. Long-term, the value of having access to someone’s inbox — especially if that someone has an acute interest in what you’re offering — is likely to more than make up for a small initial giveaway.
- Added Engagement. People like to connect personally with companies. Let them know that membership on your email list isn’t a one-way street. As a subscriber, they’ll have added ability to reach your company and engage from their end.
Since all customers are different, there’s no single easy way to drive greater rates of email capture. The key lies in creating value for your customers, but the different groups of customers you serve may have differing priorities, and as a result will have different definitions of value. Try using a combination of quality content and incentive offers, and see what mix of offers your customers are responding to best. Over time, this will allow you to turn your email capture efforts into a well-oiled lead machine.