Email Opt In Ideas for Online Shops


Email Opt In Ideas for Online Shops

As an online business owner, chances are by now you’ve heard that you need to be growing your email list.

You may have even read it so often that you’re ready to scream if you see it once more.

*takes deep breath*

Guys, the thing is… you need to be growing your email list.

You really do.

In fact, I think email marketing is so important it’s the #1 strategy to grow your business I recommend every shop owner follows.

Here’s a few fun facts if you’re on the fence:

  • Email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter (McKinsey).
  • 72% people prefer to receive promotional content through email, compared to 17% who prefer social media (MarketingSherpa).
  • Email marketing drives more conversions than any other marketing channel, including search and social (Monetate).
  • A message is 5x more likely to be seen in email than via Facebook (Radicati).
  • 4.24% of visitors from email marketing buy something, compared to less than 1% from social media and 2.49% from search (Monetate).

So I assume we all agree now – email is freaking important.

Which is great and all, but how are you supposed to “grow your list”?

Well, since you’re a smart biz owner doing your research you’ve probably also heard about “email opt ins”.

The problem is, most seem to be tailored to bloggers or service-based small businesses and you haven’t quite figured out how to make it work for you, a product seller.

And if you’re asking ‘what the heck is that?’ – don’t worry, you’re in the right place.

Email Opt In Ideas for Online Shops, Plus why email marketing is so important for your online shop and how to grow your email list

What is an Email Opt In?

An email opt in is simply an offer or incentive you promise in exchange for their email address. You’re probably most familiar with “Sign up for our mailing list + get 15% off your first order.”

Ohhh the sign up discount. Super common for online retailers (and effective); but in case you’re not into discounting all the time – I have a few other ideas for you.

If you want to try an email pop up that’s Google-friendly on mobile, I suggest MiloTree (plus it works for growing your social media accounts too!). You can see my review of MiloTree here.


Email Opt In Ideas for Online Shops

1 | The Coupon. Exclusive Discount. Welcome Offer.

This is the “Sign up for our mailing list + get 15% off your first order.”

It’s the easiest, most common email opt in for online retailers. And it works too, as it’s an easy hook to turn a new potential visitor into a customer.

Tip – If you do go this route, encourage action by limiting how long the coupon is valid. We want customers to make a choice and get that sale!

Check out my opinion on why not to do this (hypocritical I know), but ultimately I understand you know what’s best for your business and it isn’t a “bad” strategy – just one to be cautious of.

Also, pay attention to your wording – is there a way to change up “sign up for our mailing list” to make it more exciting and on brand for your business? Otherwise, you’re really just selling the initial discount and they may not care to stick around (which is where you’ll really start building that relationship + return on investment).

2 | The Birthday Discount

Celebrate with your customers! Tell customers to sign up for your list to receive an exclusive birthday discount.

You can set this up in MailChimp using their automation feature – just make sure to include that field in your sign up form.

Tip – Automation with MailChimp is no longer a paid feature! – if you’re interested in setting up your list with MailChimp, grab this link to earn $30 in credit. (affiliate link).

3 | Gift with Purchase

Sign up and get a free gift with your first purchase!

This is one of my favorites as it packs more value into their order, instead of discounting your product.

4 | Free Printable / Download

Have fun and design calendars, notecards, iphone or desktop wallpaper, gift tags, art prints – anything you can dream up + create!

What would your customer find useful or fun in relation to your business?

5 | Early Access

Get on the list to receive early access to shop new arrivals and sales.

This works really well if you create a limited number of pieces, have consistent high demand or early sell-outs, or ‘exclusive to you’ product lines.

6 | How To Guides

How does your customer use your product? What questions may she have? Create a short ebook or checklist they can refer to later.

They can be super product specific; for example, if you sell ceramic planters >> create a succulent or indoor plant care guide.

Or your opt ins can be more general themes that support your product categories.

Opt In Examples:

If you sell beauty products >> 

  • Quiz: Which beauty routine best fits your workday!
  • My Top 10 Natural Beauty Product Recommendations

If you sell jewelry >>

  • 10 Jewelry Storage DIYs to Try
  • How to Care for Your Jewelry

If you sell clothing >>

  • 10 Ways to style   ‘garment’  
  • Travel Packing List
  • Spring Clean Your Closet and Earn $$ – List of 10 places to sell used clothing and my best tips for cleaning + selling

See this idea in action at Ava Grace Fashions: she sends out a free scarf tying video course (in exchange for your email of course!)

7 | Access to a Private Community

You could create a members only video channel with Vimeo or an exclusive Facebook group. By keeping your content private, you’re creating a VIP community feel which people love! #brandinsiders for life.

Videos would work especially well for beauty brands – make up and hair tutorials? Yes, please!

8 | Exclusive Products

Share products ONLY customers on your list have access to. Like a fancy pool club I’m always hoping I’ll make a friend at 😉

Let them know how often these exclusive products will come along so they know what to expect – monthly, quarterly, seasonal offer only?

9 | Free Shipping Offers

Encourage sign ups in exchange for free shipping: Join our list to enjoy free shipping on all orders over $x amount or on your next order.

Related Post: How to Use Free Shipping Discounts to Increase Sales

How to Deliver Your Email Opt In

If your opt in requires promises something upon sign up (a coupon code, a free ebook, link to VIP access, etc.), you’ll need to setup your initial welcome email to deliver it automatically.

I’m going to walk you through MailChimp since that’s what I use, but other platforms will be fairly and most have easy to follow tutorials.

1 | If this is your first email list setup > go to Lists > Create List > complete Fields + Save.

2 | If you already have a list or once you created your first (yay), go to Lists > Select your List > Sign Up Forms > General Forms

How to Send Email Opt Ins with MailChimp. Email Opt In Ideas for Online Shops, Plus why email marketing is so important for your online shop and how to grow your email list

3 | Set up the following forms (each can be accessed from the drop down box shown below):

  • Signup Form – if someone clicks on an email sign up link, this is the page that opens to collect their name, email, etc. I recommend first name only – the less people have to enter, the better. It’s a good idea to remind them again of the benefit/incentive of signing up to your list!
    • This is also where you can grab your email list sign up link — it’s the link in that little “Signup form URL” spot below.
  • Sign Up Thank You Page – this opens as a web page and asks them to check their email to confirm their email address.
    • While you technically don’t have to alter this form, I think it’s beneficial to go in and adjust wording to a more natural, on brand tone. Just be sure they still understand what to do + what to expect next
  • Opt In Confirmation Email – finally! This is the first email they receive, it asks them to confirm and click “yes, subscribe me to this list.”
  • Confirmation Thank You Page – this again opens as a webpage and “confirms” they’re on the list. You have an option here to leave it at that and send a final “welcome” email OR deliver your freebie at this point.
    • To include your freebie, just upload it to your website or a storage app like dropbox, copy the link and include it in this form with a “download here” or “get your free xyz gift”
    • For a link or coupon code, simply include the link or coupon code in this form
  • (Optional) Final Welcome Email – as mentioned above, if you’d rather send your opt in offer through email (instead of it opening as a web page), keep the confirmation thank you page as just that + then complete the final welcome email form.
    • Be sure to check “Send Final Welcome Email”

How to Send Email Opt Ins with MailChimp. Email Opt In Ideas for Online Shops, Plus why email marketing is so important for your online shop and how to grow your email list

If you’ve signed up for my email list (winkyou can do that here if not!), this is the exact process you’ve gone through. For my main list, I don’t have a final welcome email, but you could see how all the other steps look from a customer perspective.

There are also quite a few design options – you can add images, change fonts, colors, etc. Honestly I’ve kept mine fairly simple, but know the options are there to keep everything on brand if you want to play with those features.

If you’re going to be using a lot of opt-ins, freebies, or coupons and want to better track each subscribers interests (not to mention if you don’t want to pay for duplicate subscribers like MailChimp does), I’d recommend taking a look at ConvertKit.

Unlike with MailChimp, each subscriber is only counted once – no matter how many lists or tags they’re signed up for. Plus, ConvertKit makes sending opt-in incentives a breeze as their confirmation link doubles as a “download” button (like if you wanted to send a coupon or digital freebie) and it’s just a simple upload behind the scenes. No funky workarounds to deliver the goods.

Try a risk free 14-day trial of ConvertKit today – offer good through October 2nd, 2017.
(You’ll be asked to sign up, but the first 14 days are free + you can cancel at anytime.)

Boom. How do you feel?

Ready to start growing your list + see your revenue go right up with it?

Customers on your email list are worth money money in da bank… or more accurately: For every $1 spent, email marketing generates $38 in ROI.

So what do you think? Found a new email opt in idea you can use to spice up that boring “sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date” incentive? Let me know in the comments below!


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  • I am so glad you like the Scarf Video Course!

    Email marketing is so so important! If you can help solve your customer’s problem for them, they will sign up for that email list. Then you can build that relationship, solve more of their problems with your products & services & it’s a win-win!

    Great article & thank you for featuring Ava Grace Fashions!

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