Have a simple process in place

While it’s sometimes difficult to obtain the full contact details of your web visitors those people will most of the time agree to leave their email address if you offer them something in return. The good old ‘if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch your back’ idiom will always work great in the online world. So how will you obtain these valuable email addresses? It will obviously depend on the type of business you’re running but here are some generic tips that could work for you.

Verification process

First of all, whenever you ask for your customers’ email address, make sure there is a verification process
in place to make sure they’re giving you a correct email address.If you’re selling them something, let them know that the invoice will be sent to their email address. If it’s a simple registration process, let them know that an email will be sent to them to activate their account. These steps will help you increase the volume of valid email addresses collected.

Transactional emails

Once the email address has been verified have a second automated email (a.k.a. transactional email) in place to tell them they have successfully activated their account. This will reassure the users and also familiarise them with receiving emails from your company.

Don’t annoy your web visitors

Don’t make the collection process too annoying for web visitors – some websites go as far as not allowing their visitors to even view their website or page if they don’t register, this is way too much and will only alienate people who will probably leave the page immediately.

Give something away

Give your web visitors something for free in exchange for a valid email address. Try different things: a white paper to download for example or a free pdf guide. Once you’ve collected these email addresses you will have plenty of time to convert them into proper customers. We’ll have a look at this process later on in this guide.

If it’s their postal addresses you’re after, offer them a free key ring for example, a free sample of your products or a free brochure. Something useful or just something that will make them remember your company and that they will have to receive through the post. Remember to only display this offer when they’re trying to leave your website or this may distract them from placing an order if you’re selling your products online. And don’t forget to ask them for their email address too as you will be using it through the sales process.

Allocate a budget and run this as a test over a limited period of time. Wait a few days and send an email asking them if they have received their gift. Tell them about great discounts on selected products and services for a limited period of time only. Check what sort of reaction you’ve had from that email (openers, clickers or buyers). If you did not get any sales, repeat the process a few days later and ask them if they’re happy with the free gift they’ve received.

Fill the email with special offers once again on products or services they may be interested in. Keep repeating this operation every few days. After 6 months, calculate your ROI on this special campaign and see whether you could keep it as a permanent offer or not.


For returning customers, have a cookie in place and keep a record of their browsing information including the date they were on your website, what pages they looked at, how long they stayed on this page, etc. This will help you profile your customers and will enable you to target them precisely through email marketing.

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