It's no longer enough to think of list building as just email capture. Instead, email acquisition is actually a customer acquisition strategy. Old tactics, like purchasing an email address list, simply won't work. What will work is modal lightbox pop-up combined with a series of triggered, personalized welcome messages.
Modal Lightbox Acquisition
Regardless of how you feel about pop-up lightboxes, the simple fact is they work. We've seen retailers grow their email list by 30% or more in a matter of weeks using this tactic. And these aren't random email addresses – they're subscribers with the highest likelihood of becoming loyal customers.
If you're considering implementing this strategy, here are some tips to keep in mind:
• Test the timing and location of the overlay. Try triggering it three seconds after a shopper visits your site's homepage, 20-30 seconds on specific product pages, and even test an exit modal, which detects when the visitor is about to close the site and triggers at that point to re-engage them.
• The overlay should include an email capture form, but may also include additional personalization fields, such as product or brand preferences or the ability to sign up for more than one email list.
• While offering an incentive to sign up is a common practice, it isn't necessary.
• Your first welcome message should be triggered upon subscription. Welcome messages have some of the highest open, click and conversion rates, and the event-triggered email will ensure it reaches customers at the time when they are most likely to buy.
• Modal lightbox acquisition has the added benefit of increasing the reachable rate of your onsite visitors; meaning you'll be able to send remarketing messages, such as browse and abandon and shopping cart abandonment campaigns, to more customers, as you'll have a higher percentage of their email addresses.
On average, welcome messages have four times the open rate and five times the click-through rate of broadcast campaigns, meaning customers are more engaged and likely to take action on these messages. These automated email marketing messages are triggered by the customer's behavior and received at the right time.
Triggered welcome emails can simply thank subscribers for signing up or can deliver the discount or offer promised in the lightbox that was used as the opt-in incentive. However, don’t stop there. These messages have the highest likelihood of being read and acted on, so take advantage of this opportunity by creating a series of messages.
Here are some things to consider as you create an effective automated welcome series:
• Don't think about how many messages to include; instead, think about what messages you want to convey and then determine how many emails you'll need based on the content.
• In most cases, it makes sense to only send new subscribers welcome messages and suppress them from the regular email messages during this time. Only begin sending new subscribers broadcast campaigns when the welcome series ends.
• Think about the timing of the welcome messages and carefully monitor results so you know the right cadence. If your series contains three messages, the first could be triggered upon subscription, with the other two going out in 24 hour intervals. If your series is longer, you could send two messages per day – one in the morning and one in the early evening. We found that first- time shoppers are more likely to place the all-important second order within the first week as long as the experience is positive, so don't feel like you need to wait too long between messages.
• Trigger the first message to go out immediately upon subscription. It will not only reach subscribers when they're most engaged and interested in shopping for your products, but it will also confirm the email addresses, ensuring that invalid addresses aren't added to your list.
• Try to be as personal as possible. Your messages can include items that the subscriber browsed on your site, an invitation to update personal preferences in your preference center, local store information, top selling merchandise based on gender, etc. Remember, customers expect to be treated as individuals, and you'll be getting off on the right foot by customizing the message to each subscriber.
• Update these messages quarterly. It is easy to set up automated messages once and then forget all about them, as they run in the background. But you should have a process in place where you review your triggered campaigns quarterly to be sure you aren't sending information that is outdated.
Converting Subscribers into Customers
Combining modal lightbox acquisition with a triggered welcome series is a strategy that will greatly increase both engagement and revenue. And when the messages are personalized, including information on gender, produce or category browsed, subscribers will feel an immediate connection to your brand. Each message of the series is another change to engage subscribers with new content and messaging, giving you the opportunity to capture additional customer data that you can use to tailor future messages.