There are a few key things that every retailer can expect during the holiday season. One of these things is increased traffic to their eCommerce site. With an influx of new and returning visitors, it is an ideal time to focus on your on-site email acquisition strategy.

The easiest way to acquire email addresses on-site is through the implementation of an email overlay. Also known as a “popover,” this overlay displays when a customer hits your site and typically promises an offer in exchange for a valid email address (see examples below):


Most retailers dream of doubling their email list and often prioritize quantity over quality. An email overlay does not require site visitors to subscribe, but it does encourage subscription in exchange for an offer (which is tough for both new and returning customers to ignore).

For one large retailer, an email overlay was the perfect solution to their list growth woes. Upon launching on their homepage in Week 31 of their FY15, they experienced a 297% increase in Welcome email volume and a 401% increase in Welcome campaign revenue. Actual campaign metrics are below:


If you already have an overlay in place on your site, consider the following tips for optimization as you head into the holiday season:

  • Keep the subscription requirements short and sweet – email address and first name are standard; additional account and preference information can be requested via email at a later date
  • Determine the most appropriate time to display the overlay based on the average number of page views and time spent on your site; displaying the overlay immediately might not be the best experience for your customers
  • Consider displaying the overlay upon exit for customers that have not completed a conversion; an offer at this stage is often more effective than one displayed upon arrival
  • Make sure new subscriber data is fed directly to your email service provider so that a Welcome email can be triggered immediately when the overlay form is submitted

Not a fan of popovers? Or, have you already mastered/implemented a popover? Not to worry, testing different ways to engage customers and prospects is easy and effective.

Here are our 3 favorite tips:

  • Measure Your Data – Capture every piece of data. Seriously, it is important because you can look back and see how far you have come or where you can improve! A benchmark, if you will.
  • Personalized Emails – Different subscribers come from different platforms and have varying expectations and reasons they subscribed in the first place. Cater to those needs and expectations. If you email provider doesn’t have the tools to truly segment these people out, bummer, but not to worry! Simply speak to the persona most likely to convert.
  • Give People Reason to Signup – Offer a discount, give them special access to a blog, a gift with purchase, basically something tangible.

So, there you have it! A few simple ways to keep those email signups coming.

**Originally posted September 9th 2015 by Carolyn Meyer. Refreshed for your enjoyment!