LOVE ’em or hate ’em, emails are a huge part of our lives – the fast, effective way we communicate between family, friends, loved ones, neighbours, colleagues and other businesspeople.

And apart from advertising, they also make up the most opportunity-rich channel of communication between brands and subscribers or potential customers.

Ezra Firestone – a man who runs an eight-figure eCommerce business – is a big fan of using emails to grow business, with the data to back up this claim.

The CEO of Smart Marketers, Zipify Apps, and BOOM! By Cindy Joseph – all companies he founded and grew with no start-up money – says 30% of his revenue comes from email.

Over the last Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales period, for example, email had the highest conversion rate of all the top traffic sources to Shopify (an eCommerce platform).


So, the simple message is: grow the number of potential customers on your email lists and you’ll reap the rewards in website sales and profit.

How we get people on to our email list?

Step 1: A site-wide opt-in.

Ezra says a call-to-action button can be found in the header of every page of his websites, usually with an incentive. For example, “You can join the club: get 5% off”.

That helps persuade potential clients to move across to a simple opt-in page, with words such as: “Hey, opt in and join our website. Here’s what you get – access to discounts, new videos” and the like.

“Just by putting this in the header of our website, we got a 30% higher opt-in rate than before,” Ezra says.

Step 2: Pre-sell engagement pages.

This opt-in starts by running ads – perhaps with content that transitions into talking about products in an article – with the goal of promoting an “open-to-buy” mindset.

At the top of each of these articles, on desktop and mobile, Ezra recommends a call-to-action to “join our club” and get on to the email list.


Step 3: Another way to grow email lists once potential customers visit your website is through an Exit Intent.

So, when the prospective customer begins to exit, a pop-up box appears in the browser window they are already in (this is different to an exit pop-up – something that pops up either in a new window or browser tab, which Facebook and Google won’t allow).

This particular exit intent enjoyed a 16% conversion rate. That means, 16% of the people who saw that, engaged with it instead of immediately exiting. It has generated 72,000 email addresses for Ezra’s BOOM! By Cindy Joseph, proving its effectiveness.

As potential customers are scrolling away – on a content page, pre-sell article, blog, homepage or any page that isn’t about products – you can also offer them more content.

“We say, ‘Do you want to join our club and we’ll give you some tips?’. ‘Yes.’ They click ‘Yes’. We have them enter their email address. And when they do that, we say, ‘Okay, great. Go ahead and read our tips’,” Ezra says.

“We do the same thing if they’re on a product page, a catalogue page of our store or if they’re on our shopping cart.

“If they attempt to leave at this time, we incentivise them to stay by offering them a discount. We say, ‘Hey, wait. We’ll give you 10% off your first order. Just enter an email address’.

“They enter their email address, we give them the coupon code, let them continue shopping. This one has generated 117,000 emails (addresses) for us.’’

(He recommends Optimonk.com or Justuno.com as conversion platform tools for this feature.)

Step 4: Layover pop-ups.

These occur when someone lands on the website: after 15 or 20 seconds, the pop-up offers incentive to join the emailing list by giving a discount.

“If you’re on a page about one of our products, if you’re on a product-offer page, a store page, a cart page … we actually, after 15 or 20 seconds … pop this thing up. We say, ‘Hey, you get 10% off’. Or we say, ‘Hey, are you interested in joining our email list?’. We actually just popped something over. We don’t wait for you to leave.

“And this is double the amount of email addresses that we achieved on site by having a welcome pop-up that incentivises the user by offering them a discount.

It’s a very common strategy in eCommerce and we’re using Justuno for that.”

Other layover pop-ups to encourage people to join an email list are possible at the shopping cart stage.

Or another way, native to Shopify, is when the customer is entering their email address at checkout, but they abandon the process. Then they automatically can go on an abandoned shopping cart email sequence.

Ezra believes most people aren’t effectively using all these on-site ways of growing email addresses, to their detriment.


What you are trying to do as a brand is not just sell products, but also to generate brand assets.

All the money you spend trying to familiarise people with your brand can generate brand assets.

Before you can get a customer, you need a brand asset.

A brand asset can be an email address, Facebook Messenger subscriber, Instagram follower, someone who likes your page on Facebook, a YouTube follower or subscriber, an SMS phone number, anyone who visits your website or watches the video that you can pixel (gather valuable information about as visitors and what actions they took) and follow up.

And of all the brand assets available, Ezra believes an email address is the best.

“Maybe, at some point, SMS or Facebook Messenger will eclipse email in terms of the amount of money you can make from that brand asset, but for now, email crushes everything by a mile,” Ezra says.

“It allows us to follow up with those people and ultimately get them to buy from us by engaging them via emails with content and sale events.”

Let’s talk about a few off-site ways to generate email addresses.

Step 1: Social contests.

These are opportunities to win products. But in order to participate, you MUST enter your email address.

The social contest funnel looks like this: ads, emails and organic social posts are used to take people to an opt-in page. And then those people go on to a giveaway email list, which ultimately sends them over to a product page, gives them a discount to buy the product, and, of course, some of those people win.

“This is a really big way of how we get new people on our list,” Ezra says.

Step 2: Product launches.

Ezra recommends every brand launch between two and eight new products a year.

“One of the cool things about product launches is, you can run email traffic and build anticipation, and get people to opt-in to learn about the new product,” he says.

Step 3: Influencer programs.

With this program, people can sign up to be an ambassador for your brand.

Step 4: Content lead generation.

Ezra says this is the most important, yet easiest, way to grow your emailing list and the one most people should be using.

With content lead generation, instead of running all your ads to try to bring people over to your products, you take some of your budget and use it to amplify an opt-in page with an opt-in box.

The opt-in box is the magnet for generating leads.

Ezra believes 10 to 20% of any ad budget should go towards lead-generation campaigns – “campaigns that are designed to generate email leads and other brand assets, social contests, opt-ins for content, because once someone is on your email list, you can follow up with them with content and get them to buy from you. You can build a relationship.”

In marketing skincare and cosmetics to women over 50, for example, BOOM! Offers a free guide with 10 skincare tips: content related to the products.

“We’re doing content that is related to our products, which is what you should do as well. We’re spending money to generate email leads,” Ezra says.

“There’s only so much you can do with an ad, a video direct to a product page.

“If you don’t get someone’s contact information, you don’t have time to build a relationship with them.

“Most eCommerce business owners and brand owners that I know are not spending anywhere near enough money generating leads and then warming those leads up through content and emails and sale events.

“It’s a really good way to grow your business and it’s something that not a lot of folks are doing.”

Blog Post created from Ezra Firestone’s DMDU Connect LIVE 2020 Presentation.

If you would like to watch the full presentation, CLICK HERE and start your

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