5 Easy Email Acquisition Tips to Grow Your Email List Quickly

email acquisition

What would you say if we told you that if you gave us one dollar, we’d give you $70 back?

Now, before you accuse us of running a Ponzi scheme, hear us out! In this guide, we’re going to show you how to make that deal every day without paying us a penny.

And you can probably guess how—email marketing. But there’s not much point in running an email marketing campaign if you don’t have anyone to email. So we’re going to share five email acquisition tactics that you can implement today.

In this guide, we’ll cover:

  1. How much an email address is worth
  2. Why email marketing is critical for your business
  3. Ten proven tactics for growing your email list—including one approach that captures your shoppers’ emails even if they don’t convert!

What is an Email Address Worth to Your Business?

In a Data & Marketing Association (DMA) study, marketing professionals report that they’re getting a return of $67.87 on the dollar through their B2C email marketing campaigns.[1] (And, for any of you who worried that email was dying, that’s an increase of over $14 from the DMA’s previous report on these numbers).

The study found that 71% of marketers—more than ever before—are confidently tracking the results of their email marketing efforts. Based on their data, an email is worth $52.31 on average. But that’s including B2B companies.[2] B2C companies reported a lifetime value of $57.97.[3]

In the e-commerce space, email marketing software company Privy found that Shopify Core members see a return of $16.53 per email. Shopify Plus merchants see a return of $22.82 per email.[4]

The Importance of Email Acquisition

The return on investment can’t be ignored, but that’s not the only benefit of email marketing. Successful email acquisition is vital for your business.

Here’s why:

  1. It’s affordable. Sending emails is much more affordable than other channels like digital advertising. You can even get started for free with an email service provider like HubSpot. The more emails you acquire, the more value you get from email marketing.
  2. It’s yours. Unlike your Facebook or Instagram followers, you own your email list. When you acquire an email, you don’t have to worry about organic reach or changes to Google’s algorithm. If you keep your email list healthy and protect your deliverability and IP reputation, you can contact everyone on your list at any time.
  3. It’s how customers want you to contact them. The customer is always right, and over half of them say they prefer brands to contact them by email. (Social media is the next best channel at a minuscule 25%.)[5] Email acquisition allows you to interact with potential customers in the way they prefer.
  4. It allows you to build relationships. Email marketing allows you to send targeted campaigns to the right people at the right time in a way that improves your brand reputation and keeps your company top-of-mind. When you acquire an email, you’re giving yourself to ability to establish an ongoing relationship with people who are interested in your products or services.

Email Acquisition Strategies and Tactics

A strategy is a long-term plan for achieving a goal, while a tactic is a specific action or approach used to achieve that goal.

Email Acquisition Tactics

Email acquisition tactics are specific actions or methods that are used to acquire new email subscribers. They are the tactics that are used to execute an email acquisition strategy. Some common email acquisition tactics include:

  1. Offering incentives such as discounts, exclusive content, or freebies for signing up for the email list.
  2. Using sign-up forms on the website, and making them easy to find and use.
  3. Utilizing social media to promote the email list and encourage followers to sign up.
  4. Leveraging content by offering gated resources such as ebooks or webinars in exchange for an email address.
  5. Collaborating with other businesses or organizations to promote each other’s email lists.
  6. Hosting events such as webinars or workshops and collecting email addresses from attendees.
  7. Utilizing landing pages for email sign-ups and using them in marketing campaigns.
  8. Using exit-intent pop-ups to show a sign-up offer just before a visitor leaves the website.
  9. Personalizing emails to increase open and click-through rates.
  10. Using website visitor identification to identify the email addresses and mailing addresses of your anonymous visitors who don’t convert.

Email Acquisition Strategy

An email acquisition strategy, on the other hand, is a comprehensive plan that outlines the overall goals and objectives of acquiring new email subscribers and the methods by which they will be achieved. A well-crafted email acquisition strategy considers the target audience, competition, budget, and resources, and outlines the tactics and resources needed to achieve the desired outcome.

For example, an email acquisition strategy may be to increase the number of subscribers by 20% in the next six months. To achieve this goal, the company may implement several tactics such as offering incentives, using sign-up forms, leveraging content, and personalizing emails.

How Do You Scale Your Email Acquisition Program?

So, the value of email acquisition is undeniable. But how do you capture more email addresses to fully capitalize on the opportunity email marketing offers?

There are several tried and true methods. Depending on the resources you have available in-house, many of the email acquisition tactics mentioned below can be implemented without much additional expense.

Five Tips to Grow Your Email List

To run an effective email marketing program, building your email list and keeping your subscribers engaged must be a top priority.

Here are five proven email acquisition tips to help you achieve sustained growth for your email list.

1. Collect Emails on Add to Cart

The first way to build your email list is by collecting shoppers’ emails when they add an item to their cart. E-commerce software company Barilliance, the average cart abandonment rate was 77.73% in 2019.[6]

email acquisition statistics

Imagine that. Someone visits your site, finds something they like enough to add to their shopping cart, and then… poof! They’re gone. Never to be heard from again.

Of course, you probably have cart abandonment campaigns running on display or paid social, but what if you could follow up by email as well?

You can if you have shoppers enter their email address before they add an item to their cart. Over the last five years, cart abandonment emails have had open rates of over 40% on average with click-through rates of over 8%.[7]

Wouldn’t that be a nice supplement to your cart abandonment recovery efforts?

2. Use a Pop-Up Form

Everyone loves to hate pop-up forms, but it’s hard to argue with their results. Sumo studied the results of 1,754,957,675 pop-ups and found that the average conversion rate for these bothersome little forms is 3.1%. Top-performing pop-up ads saw a conversion rate of 9.28%.[8]

email acquisition statistics

Even if you only receive mediocre results and your website traffic is on the low side at, say, 1,000 visitors a month, that’s 30 new email addresses for your list each month. If an email address is worth $16, that’s an additional $500 a month just for adding some JavaScript to your website.

This is one of the easiest email acquisition tactics we’ll cover. And since there are so many free pop-up form providers to choose from, it’s 100% profit.

3. Offer Incentives

To make sure your pop-ups are among the top performers, include an incentive for email signups. Discounts, exclusive offers, free shipping, and free products are all effective ways to increase your opt-in rate.

In fact, the reason 85% of consumers say the reason they sign up to receive emails from companies in the first place is to get discounts.[9]

4. Start a Referral Program

Companies like Morning Brew, The Hustle, and theSkimm have used referral programs as their primary email acquisition strategy. The Hustle used its referral program to grow its list to over 300,000 subscribers (now they have over one million), and theSkimm reports that 10% of its revenue comes from referrals.[10]

Each of these newsletters uses a multi-tiered reward system called a milestone referral program. That means that subscribers refer their friends and receive rewards at predefined tiers.

Implementing a referral program like this is a low-cost proposition. The same incentives you might use to encourage people to sign up for your newsletter in the first place will work as rewards.

For example, an e-Commerce company’s tiers might be:

  • A 25% discount for five referrals.
  • A free product for 25 referrals.
  • Free shipping for a year for 50 referrals.

But that’s just the beginning. For example, the Hustle and Morning Brew each offer trips to their company headquarters to their top referrers.

5. Use Website Visitor Identification

In 2018, customer experience software provider Monetate reported that e-commerce sites have an average conversion rate of 2.86%.[11] In other words, if your site receives a thousand visitors a month, only 29 of them will convert.

What happens to the other 971? In the past, you’d add these 971 people to your retargeting audience and hope for the best.

But what if you could supplement your retargeting campaigns with email marketing?

Well, now you can. Website visitor identification software offers marketers a 100% compliant way to identify up to 40% of their website visitors—even if they don’t fill out a form on your site!

This email acquisition software analyzes the identification signals of anonymous visitors to your website and converts that data into a name, mailing address, and email. Each record is verified so that you know that:

  • The mailing address is deliverable
  • The individual lives at that address
  • The email address is deliverable

And, like all the tips in this guide, website visitor identification is a low-cost way to grow your email list. For example, LeadPost identifies your anonymous web traffic.

So, if Privy is right and an email address is worth $16.53,[12] you’re coming out way ahead ($16.29 ahead to be precise.)

We’ll forgive you if you’re getting suspicious again. It does seem too good to be true. But you don’t have to take our word for it. Sign up for an account and we’ll give you some free leads so you can see for yourself.

It’s as easy as adding a pop-up to your website, but less intrusive for your visitors.

Focus on Email Acquisition to Increase Revenue

If knowing is half the battle, now you’re ready for war. All you have to do is pick one of these five email acquisition tips to implement today. Then you can contact customers the way they want to be contacted and watch your revenue rise.

[1] Marketer email tracker 2019. DMA. Retrieved May 17, 2021, from https://dma.org.uk/uploads/misc/marketers-email-tracker-2019.pdf.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] What’s the value of an email address?. Privy. Retrieved May 17, 2021, from https://www.privy.com/blog/whats-the-value-of-an-email-address.

[5] Leading ways consumers prefer to be contacted by brands in the United States as of July 2019. Statista. Retrieved May 17, 2021, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/750858/us-consumers-preferences-brand-contact.

[6] Complete List of Cart Abandonment Statistics: 2006-2021. Barilliance. Retrieved May 17, 2021, from https://www.barilliance.com/cart-abandonment-rate-statistics.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Pop-up Statistics: Findings From Analyzing 2 Billion Pop-up Examples. Sumo. Retrieved May 17, 2021, from https://sumo.com/stories/pop-up-statistics.

[9] 2016 Adestra Consumer Adoption & Usage Study. Adestra. Retrieved May 17, 2021, from https://content.adestra.com/hubfs/2016_Reports_and_eGuides/2016_Consumer_Adoption_and_Usage_Study.pdf.

[10] Newsletter Referral Programs: An Actionable Guide. Viral Loops. Retrieved May 17, 2021, from https://dma.org.uk/uploads/misc/marketers-email-tracker-2019.pdf.

[11] Monetate Ecommerce Quarterly Report | Q2 2018. Monetate. Retrieved May 17, 2021, from https://info.monetate.com/rs/092-TQN-434/images/EQ2_2018-The-Right-Recommendations.pdf.

[12] see note 4 above