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The first step to growing your email list: the incentive

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Kestrel Lemen
Kestrel Lemen
Senior Strategist
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The first step to growing your email list: the incentive

We know a secret about growing email lists. 

Success is tied to one question. It’s an important one that any Shopify store owner or marketing lead should ask themselves. 

“Why should anyone want to receive my emails?”

I’m not denying that a basic signup form can do the job in building your audience. But sometimes you need to convince a casual scroller or window shopper with an incentive.  

The best way to capture addresses — whether through an email popup or a static form on your site (forms aren't dead, per HubSpot) — is by offering something up. It can be a short- or long-term win, or both. Bake some goodies into your email signup forms, so a potential subscriber isn’t left wondering, “What’s in it for me?”

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Short-term win incentives

Short-term wins are just that: an immediate gift for new email subscribers. 

A Shopify discount that can be applied to a first purchase, such as 10% or 15% off, is a popular tactic.

Free shipping is another common incentive. Consider that 66% of consumers want free shipping on all orders.

Here are some other ideas for enticing an email signup: 

  • Buy one, get one (BOGO) offer
  • Free sample or free gift
  • Enter to win $_ in products (note, with this one, never give away cash; you want the winner to experience your brand and become a customer, after all)
  • Join the VIP list/our fan club
Email sign-up form with "get your free gift" offer
Afonie offers a free gift in its popup


Sometimes a little encouragement is what you need to win over a new subscriber, plus convert them to a new customer. 

If you want to entice with a discount, we highly recommend using unique discount codes and sending them via a welcome email automation.

Long-term win incentives

The immediate reward is the first step. Back it up by stating what comes next. What can a subscriber expect to get over the long haul?

The simplest call to action (CTA) is “find out about sales and new products before anyone else.” 

Here are some other ideas to contemplate (and customize):

  • We’ll send style tips to keep you looking fresh all season long
  • Get how-to tips sent right to your inbox
  • Receive recipes/guides/videos for free on a weekly/bi-weekly/monthly basis
Subscribe to our newsletter section, with text that reads: join and become a VIP Aeva Babe, receive exclusive surprises + more!
Aeva Beauty features this newsletter signup in the footer of its website

We found some great email popup inspiration "in the wild" if you want to go the long-win route.

Serious about growing your email list? Learn everything you need to get started in our free, short course.

What signup incentive is right for your brand?

All of the above sounds easy enough. Take any one suggestion. Put your own spin on it. And done. 

Not so fast. Not every tactic is necessarily right for every brand. 

I’ll explain what I mean. The following fictitious examples show suggested incentives for shops of a few different types.  

The budget-friendly shop 

Let's say I run Kestrel's Closet Co., a stylish fashion boutique with unbeatable prices for women in their 20s. 

Website shot of Kestrel's Closet Co. with tagline: stylish finds at unbeatable prices

Short-term win: Hey kween, get 10% off

Long-term win:
Our shop updates weekly. Be the first to know when a new shipment drops!

I’m doing a few things here. One, I’m talking to this target by inserting just one word — kween. It’s not much, but using the lingo of my audience is a great way to connect. Second, the long-term win satisfies shoppers’ curiosity. They’re guaranteed that they’ll be among the first notified when new products arrive.  

The higher-end brand 

My K&L Jewelry shop features one-of-a-kind jewelry. It wasn’t built to sell goods at an economical price. Higher price points reflect higher value. 

Website screenshot of K&L Jewelry with tagline: elegant pieces you'll keep forever

Short-term win: Become an Obsessed Member

Long-term win: Only Obsessed Members get VIP access to new gems, behind-the-scenes creations and jeweler interviews

Offering a discount doesn’t make sense for this brand. We don’t want to sacrifice the value of the products. Instead, we’ll lean into the VIP list factor. 

The “Obsessed Member” fan club name provokes some mystery. I can imagine reactions of “What’s this all about?” and “Sign me up for this club!” 

The long-term win builds off that, ramping up the intrigue by promising exclusive access to really special stuff. 

The service-centered business

Short- and long-term incentives aren’t just for shops that sell products. They’re just as suitable for businesses that provide a service, too. Here we have The Fresh Lemen, the self-proclaimed, most-trusted local dietitian. 

Short-term win: Free 7-day clean eating recipe plan

Long-term win: Learn more about food and ways to lose weight

This is a classic example of a lead magnet. Anyone who signs up for email newsletters is sent a PDF detailing the 7-day plan. A free piece of interactive content in exchange for an email address grabs interest right away. 

The long-term approach assures subscribers that they will continue to receive health information and practical advice to make wise decisions. This is a super approach for the dietitian to establish that “trusted” provider status.   

Email signup incentive takeaways

A small incentive can go a long way in attracting email subscribers.

So if your goal is to sustain healthy email list growth, think about what you can offer. Return to that first question, “Why should anyone want to receive my emails?”

Then take a good look at these short- and long-term incentives. Let your audience and their interests be your guide. Pick out a few that resonate and customize for your brand. 

create, manage, and track your email marketing—without leaving Shopify.

Seguno is the top-rated email solution built exclusively for Shopify. Grow your sales with high-performing newsletters, email automation campaigns, and integrations with Facebook, Instagram, banners, pop-ups and more. Build and send engaging emails in our easy-to-use editor and take email creation to the next level with our Canva integration. Automate your email marketing and drive more revenue with welcome campaigns, checkout abandonment, post-purchase automations, tag triggers and more.

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