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5 Reasons I’ll Share My Email Address with E-Retailers


A prospective customer’s email address is arguably one of the most powerful assets an online marketer could ask for. Despite changes in the online world, email remains an effective and direct way of developing and expanding e-retailers’ relationships with their customers and prospects. Having worked in advertising for several years now, I’ve become particularly aware of the tactics that marketers use to retain my contact information. Fortunately for those marketers, that doesn’t mean I’m harder to rope in if there’s a truly great incentive waiting for me.

So without further ado, here are five reasons I’ll gladly give a web site my email address:

1. Throw in something FREE (no asterisk). Sometimes a free trial or sample can make all the difference, especially when a brand is still trying to make a name for itself. When I visit a site that claims to offer a product or service that I need / want, there’s always a bit of friction there. Is this a brand I can trust? Is their product or service really what I’m looking for?

Example: DistinctiveFabric.com sells specialty fabrics online at very competitive prices. To overcome the anxiety that many consumers will have about buying fabrics online, they have incorporated an option to purchase samples for a mere dollar each. As reasonable as this sounds, it gets even better — if you’re willing to make a free account on their site, you can get your first 5 fabric samples free! This was a great incentive in my opinion, and I gladly shared my email address!

2. Make my life easier. Whether I’m just browsing or on the brink of completing a transaction, offering a valuable service in return for my email address is worth a try. I’ll likely create an account on a site when making a purchase, because I like being able to track my orders. A site that I simply enjoy browsing will get my email address if they offer a wish list service, and so on.

Example: Earlier this year I was looking for a video game that was COMPLETELY sold out from the Christmas season. After much searching on the usual sites (BestBuy.comAmazon.comWalMart.com), I discovered one site that would actually accept my email address and send me a notification when it was back in stock! How much easier than having to comb retail sites on a daily basis! RadioShack.com got my email address, simply for offering this awesome service.

3. Give me exclusive incentives or discounts. I’m all for discounts and special offers. If I’m promised a 10% coupon once a month, not only will I gladly share my email address, but I’ll likely use that coupon every month.

Example: Red Robin (the burger chain) adds a strong value proposition for its regular customers. Since I joined their email list, I’ve received a free burger every year on my birthday as well as exclusive email coupons. When it’s a place I enjoy visiting, it’s definitely worth it for me.

4. Deliver news and information that I care about. When a retail email can double up as a newsletter, both sides win. Whether it’s delivering me the week’s best deals, the store’s newest items, or articles related to topics I’ve shown interest in, I may very well opt in.

Example: Since I made my first purchase there, I’ve received as many as several emails a week from the novelty shop, FredFlare.com. This frequency might sound like a lot, but I’ve never once thought of unsubscribing. Why? It’s because I genuinely enjoy reading their emails. I find their messaging and the products they offer to be interesting, and they very often lead to me browsing the Fred Flare site.

5. Create a community I want to be a part of. Sometimes the opportunity to participate in a conversation or other group activity is all it takes to get me to sign up as the member of a site. It could be anything from a message board to the capability to comment on articles. If the socialization aspect has enough of a draw, I’m there and the site can have my email address.

Example: TripAdvisor.com is a site I frequent for reviews on hotels and restaurants when I travel. I created an account on the site so that I could also contribute honest, helpful reviews that would help other travelers. I gladly became a member of the site so that I could be a contributer… and I don’t mind getting the occasional messaging from the site as a result.

In sum, a good strategy for acquiring new prospects’ emails is one that offers something of value to the recipient outside of the marketing messaging. This is the basis for a consumer / retail relationship that will benefit everyone.

Do you have more examples of clever ways to acquire a prospect’s email address?