Email Acquisition Tactics That Actually Work

By Ross Kramer

Multichannel Merchant, July 7, 2014

Although a healthy and growing email list is one of every email marketer’s top priorities, there are only a few acquisition tactics that are truly effective. The tips below will help you to make the most them.

Modal lightbox 

The modal lightbox (sometimes called a popup or popover) is transformational for building your email list. Some mid-market retailers have seen their lists literally double by implementing one, and it is by far the most highly recommended acquisition tactic. 

There are several things you can do – or at least test – to make sure you’re optimizing your modal lightbox:

Once you’ve acquired new email addresses, it’s crucial to launch a series of welcome emails to engage with new subscribers early and often, begin merchandising personalized products, and, ultimately, prompt an initial purchase. In fact, you can expect your welcome series emails to drive more than 20% of your email marketing revenue. And as an added bonus, your deliverability will benefit, because welcome emails have some of the highest engagement rates of any email campaign.

Make certain new subscribers aren’t receiving your regular marketing emails while still part of the welcome campaign, and, to optimize welcome email conversions, consider stressing the scarcity of your offer as latency increases. Also, no matter how established your acquisition program, be aware of the average number of days it’s taking you to convert new email subscribers and continually work on improving it.


If a modal lightbox is not appropriate for your brand, a sweepstakes can be an effective acquisition tactic. There are rules and regulations that apply, so be sure to become familiar with and abide by them.

To begin, select your prize carefully. We highly advise making it your product(s) or something related to make sure you’re acquiring subscribers who will want to remain engaged with your brand after the winner has been announced. To optimize signups, consider partnering with a similar but non-competing merchant to create a co-branded sweepstakes.

Other ideas

If you have brick and mortar stores, they can be one of your best acquisition sources. Consider offering e-receipts as a way to gather email signups. Online, grab an email address as shoppers begin to check out (and of course be sure to get express consent if CASL applies).

In addition, while they won’t net you nearly as many new subscribers as the previous tactics, there are a number of others that should certainly be considered as part of your acquisition strategy. Social acquisition (i.e., Twitter Lead Generation Cards) and Back in Stock Alerts are just two good examples of other ways to keep adding fresh addresses to your list.

As with all acquisition tactics, the key to optimizing results is to engage new subscribers early and often and measure, test and repeat what works best.

Ross Kramer is the CEO of Listrak

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