How to turn your website visitors into email subscribers

With all the Apple iOS 14.5 drama going on it has become more important than ever to collect emails from your website visitors. This way even if you can’t retarget them with Facebook you can start a conversation via email – and also create custom Facebook audiences using an email list.

It’s important to realise each email subscriber is a real person and that person is giving you permission to contact them. We don’t want to just get people to give you their email, we want to get people excited to give you their email and look forward to the content they are going to receive.

So with every man and their dog now asking for an email, it’s important to stand out and give users a reason to hand over the keys to their inbox. 

Gone are the days of just asking users to subscribe to your email list and expecting them to give it to you – if this is your strategy, it needs to change! 

So let’s take a look at how you can incentivize people to part with their email and join your list.


Exclusive Content

One of the most common opt-ins is offering exclusive content. This can be early access to sales and first to know about new products.

If you decide to offer exclusive content, be sure to stick to your promise. If you say that by signing up to your email list they will get advanced notice of sales, don’t then post to Instagram when your sale goes live, at the same time as sending an email. This then becomes dishonest and is a fast way to lose trust with your potential customers. 

Over-deliver on your promise and set up an email sequence to provide great quality, exclusive content in the days after they sign up.


A discount can be a good incentive for someone to give you their email. However these days, the token 10% off your first order is very overdone. It can still work but, to be honest, I usually close these pop ups when I see them as I’m not interested in a discount until I’ve decided I want to purchase and 10% doesn’t seem like much anymore (even though it can be a big deal for you). 

If you do offer a discount a dollar amount can look far more enticing than a percentage discount as it’s tangible and makes them think of a real saving straight away. Don’t be afraid to set terms such as a minimum spend, just be sure to spell it out clearly and don’t make them jump through too many hoops to use it.

Another way to offer a discount is to offer free shipping if this is not something you normally offer.

If you are offering a discount, whether it be a percentage or dollar amount, be sure to give the code straight away on your website, on the thank you screen. The last thing you want to do is make them go to their inbox to get it where they can be distracted by an inbox full of other brands trying to sell to them. 

Free Samples

We all love free stuff! By providing a free sample, you’re not only collecting an email but also giving someone the opportunity to try a sample size of your product which may entice them to purchase. Ensure you have a great follow-up strategy in place to email them after they would have received their sample and be sure to include how to order when they love it. 

This option works well with consumables where the lifetime value of a customer can be quite high.


Competitions are one of my favourite way to collect emails. They can be really cost effective as you’re only giving away a monthly prize yet, for the cost of goods, you can collect limitless emails. The prize needs to be super relevant to your audience and I recommend you use your own product. The bigger the prize, the more incentive there is for someone to part with their email for a free ticket in the draw.

If you choose to run a competition be sure to include terms and conditions for the competition on your website and follow any state or territory rules and guidelines. 

Promote It

Once you have decided on your incentive – tell people all about it! Don’t just stick your email form in your footer and leave it there to die of loneliness! Here’s some ways you can showcase your email opt in…

Have a popup

This can be a very effective way to collect emails – it can also be a great way to piss people off! So if you’re going to use popups don’t show it straight away ‘cause that’s super annoying. Delay the pop up at least 45-60 seconds to avoid people leaving from frustration. 

Add it to your menu

By adding it as a menu item it’s viewable from every page of your website so even if they close a pop up they can decide later they want to subscribe and click to your opt in page.

Make it sticky

You can use a sticky opt in on your sidebar or footer which means it stays put while you scroll until you decide to either fill it in or close it. Who Gives A Crap does this well

Include it on your pages

Kulture has done this nicely, showcasing it nice and big, above their footer on each page.

Add it to your social bios

Link your opt in page from your social media bios. Having a strong call to action can take them from Instagram stalker to subscriber.


It is super important that you follow anti-spam laws for all the countries your email holders are based in. Be sure to follow GDPR if you’re emailing people in the EU and for Australia check out for all the rules and guidelines. 

The most important is that people must know what they are signing up for and you must only email them what they have opted in for. For instance if you are adding people to your main list and going to email them every time you have a new product then you need to tell them this when they sign up.

When I write what people are signing up for I like to include a note that reminds them they can opt out at any time.

For example “When you subscribe to our email list we will email you our latest news, latest product information and advanced notice of sales. If you’re not feeling the love you can unsubscribe at any time.” 

Having said this if someone has provided their email when making a purchase, you can’t email them regarding anything other than their purchase, unless they also opted in to receive promotional emails.

Use an email marketing software like Klaviyo to help you comply.

Nurture Your List

Once you’ve got someone’s email be sure to nurture them with a welcome sequence. A welcome email sequence introduces someone to your brand and walks them through getting to know you and your products over a series of emails. 

After this welcome sequence add them to your mailing list and be sure to email your list regularly with interesting news, exciting product updates, seasonal content and promotions. 

I hope this has inspired you to shake up your email strategy and find a new creative way to ask for emails. If you’ve seen a great way a company is collecting emails let us know in the comments.

Related Learning

7 Must have email automations for eCommerce

How to write emails that actually make sales

Written by Karyn Parkinson

Karyn (“with a Y!”) Parkinson is an eCommerce marketing specialist with a knack for high-converting Facebook ad funnels and website optimisation.

Through her eCommerce marketing agency Unstoppable eCommerce and on-the-pulse training programs, Karyn’s helped hundreds of eCommerce store owners across the globe boost profits, generate more revenue, and achieve an ad-spend ROI of their dreams. 

eCommerce Facebook ad challenge

About Karyn Parkinson

Karyn (“with a Y!”) is an eCommerce marketing specialist with a knack for high-converting Facebook ad funnels and website optimisation. Through her eCommerce marketing agency and on-the-pulse training programs, Karyn’s helped hundreds of eCommerce store owners across the globe boost profits, generate more revenue, and achieve an ad-spend ROI of their dreams.