List growth is an ever-present item on any commerce marketer’s to-do list. While many companies rely on the common, yet powerful, practices of using the website header, footer, point of sale checkbox, and pop-up to gain new subscribers, there are other options available. Here are four opportunities that can help you push the proverbial subscriber needle:


While you may do a wonderful job of driving traffic to your site, your customers are somewhere else online most of the time. Connecting with a partner company, either online or brick and mortar, can be a powerful tool for not only growing your subscriber file but also driving sales and reinforcing the value your company provides. If you can identify a complementary company that shares the same demographic, you can continue to convey the value of your company even when consumers aren’t actively engaging with you or visiting your site.

For example, when signing up, the contact agrees to receive emails from both companies. If one company sells mostly accessories and the other sells articles of clothing, the partnership could allow the customer to buy a complete outfit without having to search the web for mix and match pieces. Here’s a great example by Dannijo and Vince: Partnership exampleThese partnerships can work for a variety of products. And you can even bridge the gap between the online and offline world. For instance, you could partner with a restaurant with similar demographics and offer a discount or free item by showing a receipt from an online order or vice versa. The contact can redeem a code from their dining receipt for either a flat discount or a tiered discount based on how much was spent.


Video content makes up more than 50% of internet traffic, and that number is expected to jump to 80% by 2019. Retailers are increasingly producing video content to help connect with and target their customers, whether it be for how-tos, behind-the-scenes segments, or even advertising reach. Why not use it as an opportunity to attract new subscribers?

Including a clickable overlay on the video that directs people to sign up for emails is an underused tactic among retailers. While most simply encourage viewers to share the video after watching, asking for an email sign-up is a great way to provide a more direct call to action. You can even have some fun with certain videos and require a sign-up to see how the video ends. In that case, the sign-up would trigger an email which could contain a link to the answer, another video or an animated GIF. Video overlay When using external video editors, it’s easy to include these clickable overlays, but YouTube’s video editor allows you to do this as well. If you need help, you can find instructional videos on – you guessed it – YouTube.

Facebook Call to Action

Creating a Facebook app and embedding a sign-up form is the customary strategy for generating new sign-ups. However, I would recommend a two-pronged approach, using both the app and the Facebook Call to Action (CTA) button.

The CTA button is one of the three standard buttons that overlay the cover photo. Since these buttons are predefined, I find most retailers opt to use the “Shop Now” CTA instead of focusing on the list growth potential.

The primary benefit of changing the CTA to a sign-up is that it is prominent on mobile devices, whereas the apps are not as easy to find when viewing on mobile. In the example below, you can see how the CTA is front and center when using the Facebook app. While there may be some trepidation in moving away from the “Shop Now” CTA, if your content on your Facebook page is engaging, you’ll soon have customers clicking on posts and redirecting to your site. Facebook CTA examples

Scavenger Hunt

Contests are a great way to grow an email subscriber list. But why stop there when you can allow people to interact with you in a more engaging way? Creating a multi-site scavenger hunt can engage your audience and reward users for doing something other than simply filling out a form. Promote the contest well in advance across your social channels and even in your emails to build anticipation among your audience.

For the contest itself, hide clues across your website and social channels to encourage people to search through each of your online touchpoints. Each clue could require the contact to place a specific item from your site in their cart and have the cart total equal a specific subtotal. But of course, don’t make it all about products. Incorporate some fun as well, maybe with the use of a funny cat picture or silly employee selfie.

Your final clue would lead them to submit a sign-up form, where the winner, or winners, will be randomly chosen. This can be accomplished via workflows. Based on the structure of your scavenger hunt, you could include different fields on the form to request unique information that confirms the contestant completed their search.

As a final step, create an email to send to contacts who were randomly chosen as winners. You could also create a message for those who did not win and offer them a smaller prize. If you combine this hunt with a cart recovery contest, perhaps the clues could build a perfectly assembled outfit. And offering an incentive for the contest or in your abandoned cart messaging could be a great way to convert some subscribers to purchasers at this point.

Be mindful that while a scavenger hunt can be fun, you should not make it too difficult to find the clues. Consider creating a hashtag that members can use to help one another find clues or tweet updates and additional hints.

Final Thoughts

While a commerce marketer’s life is busy, it’s important to consistently devote time to growing your subscriber file. If you don’t prioritize list growth, your competitors surely will. So why not mix it up and have some fun? While list growth isn’t the sexiest of topics, it certainly doesn’t have to be boring.