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9 Proven Ways To Grow Your Email And SMS Lists Before BFCM

9 Proven Ways To Grow Your Email And SMS Lists Before BFCM

The more contacts you have, the more revenue you’ll bring in with every email and text you send.

That’s why list growth needs to be a constant priority, but the next few months leading up to BFCM are critical.

And these nine tried-and-true tactics are proven to work.

Because list growth is the #1 thing you can do today to prep for Black Friday.

From popups to giveaways and much more, you’ll bring in additional email and SMS subscribers ASAP.

So you can promote your BFCM offers to more people than ever before. And have your biggest holiday season ever.

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1. Lean into popups

It would be best if you always had popups running on your site. But the incentive matters.

Check out this example I came across in Harry Dry’s Newsletter:

List growth popup examples from Harry Dry's Newsletter

I don’t know about you, but I know which I’m subscribing to!

So whenever you’re coming up with an offer to convert visitors into subscribers, ask yourself: what’s in it for them? And make it hard to turn that thing down.

Heading into BFCM, a great way to encourage people to get on your lists is to tease your offers early (just another reason to lock in your request sooner rather than later).

Something like, “Don’t miss out on our biggest sale of the year,” goes a long way. Here’s a great example (made with Privy!) from the jewelry brand, Mejuri:

Mejuri Early Access Popup Example

Gamified popups, like this spin to win (made with Privy!), are also a great way to get tons of signups:

Define Me Greek Early Access BFCM Popup Example

Are you looking for more BFCM popup examples? We have a massive swipe file with 60+ popup ideas (plus email and text ideas, too!).

Just remember that it’s essential to make sure the experience is excellent. Make sure you don’t have too many things competing for attention! Popups, chat windows, etc., are super important. Just make sure the experience for visitors isn’t overwhelming.

Tabs are an excellent way for visitors to trigger your popup. Popups will often show up right away before anyone has had a chance to check out your products. This means they probably don’t know if they want to join your list yet!

So tabs allow them to poke around and see your products first, then pull up your popup to join your lists. Here’s a great example of a tab (made with Privy!):

Truly Lifestyle Brand Tab Example

You’ll see a “Get 15% off!” black tab on the left side of the screen. When you click on that, this popup gets triggered:

Truly Lifestyle Brand Popup Example Triggered By Tab

Just like Truly Lifestyle Brand, make sure you include a field for SMS, too, so you can simultaneously grow your email and text lists!

You can also target email subscribers who aren’t already on your SMS list with a popup like this (made with Privy):

Truly Lifestyle Brand SMS List Growth PopupYou’ll want to ensure the email field is included so your subscribers’ phone numbers get tied to the correct account!

Then, when your BFCM offers are officially live, try something like this example (made with Privy!) from jewelry brand Mejuri, to showcase your offer and turn the extra traffic you’re getting into subscribers:

Mejuri Black Friday Sale Popup

The possibilities are endless. When you keep the experience top of mind and add real value for your audience, they will be excited to join your lists, not annoyed.

2. Offer early access

As BFCM creeps closer, a fantastic way to get new subscribers is to tease that subscribers get early access to your upcoming offers.

You have to deliver on that promise, but this is a great way to turn your site visitors into subscribers leading up to BFCM.

And the more specific you’re able to get here, the better. How much sooner will subscribers get access? What do you think about SMS subscribers? Remember to make it hard to say no!

Ring Concierge does an excellent job with this. They’re constantly pushing email and SMS signups on social and teasing early access to get their followers to convert.

And they deliver on that. Check out this early access text and email from the last BFCM:

Ring Concierge Black Friday Early Access Text

Ring Concierge Black Friday Early Access Email

These both went out the Wednesday before Black Friday, and everyone else didn’t get access to their biggest sale of the year until Black Friday.

Pro tip: You can drive even more urgency by using a countdown timer to enforce a deadline for people to sign up for early access!

3. Run a giveaway

Getting in front of like-minded brands’ audiences can be an incredible way to grow your list.

Last November, I came across this one with jewelry brand Ring Concierge and skincare brand Summer Fridays.

Black Friday Giveaway Example Email

Both brands have about 650k followers, so they have similar audience sizes and compatible audiences.

This email went out at the beginning of November, meaning Summer Fridays likely did the same thing. You opt into emails from both brands by entering, which is a great way to get new subscribers.

Remember that these new additions likely don’t know much about your brand. So, have a game plan to bring them into the fold. Don’t just start sending promotional emails and expect them to convert!

4. Share on social media

Turning your followers into subscribers is a low-lift way to boost your numbers. And this is something you can do regularly leading up to BFCM.

All it takes is creating a simple landing page. Something like this is perfect (made with Privy!):

List Growth Landing Page Example

Then, you can share the link in your stories and your bio!

Here’s how the candle brand, Canceled Plans, turned followers into SMS subscribers:

IMG_4847 2

This is real value. By subscribing, you get early intel on what’s coming back. If you love this brand, signing up is a no-brainer.

Of course, you can do this for your email list too. Or make your life easy and create a landing page with fields for both! Just FYI, this is super simple with Privy.

5. Work with influencers

Like you might work with influencers to promote deals and products, you can switch up the ask leading up to BFCM.

So instead of, “Hey, check out this product; here’s a code,”  take it a step further and ask them to point people to your landing page with forms to sign up for your lists.

Something like, “Hey, this is one of my favorite products out there, and they’re doing something amazing for Black Friday. Sign up for their email list to be the first to know what they’re up to.”

Coming from the right person, this ask can feel authentic.

Here are a couple of influencer posts with a personal touch that could be tweaked slightly to include a link to a landing page:

IMG_6170 2IMG_6785 2

This will work best if you already have influencers who love your product! But it’s not too late to build relationships now if you’re starting with this channel.

6. Test out a quiz

If you haven’t listened to this episode of Ecommerce Marketing School with Joanne Coffey, you’re missing out.

She breaks down the exact playbook she used to grow Jones Road Beauty’s email list past the 1m subscriber mark with the help of a quiz.

Luckily, you can use a quiz to generate tons of signups leading up to Black Friday.

This play works well for skincare and beauty, consumables with multiple flavors, wellness, home goods, sizing, and fit help on clothes…you get the idea. The only place something like this would be challenging is for single SKU businesses.

Here’s a great example from the clothing brand VETTA. Last November, they sent an email with a style quiz and asked people to share their results on social media to win an entire collection.

BFCM Giveaway Email Example

Not only does this help grow their lists, but it also encourages people to follow them on Instagram!

Quizzes are also a great way to help your existing subscribers (especially anyone who hasn’t made a purchase) choose the right products to purchase during BFCM.

There are so many opportunities here. Not just for BFCM but all year.

7. Drive referrals

Incentivizing your audience to refer their friends to sign up for your list (and, of course, check out your products) is a great play leading up to Black Friday, especially with a killer incentive.

There’s a brand called Artipoppe that sells high-end baby carriers that do a great job with this.

Referral Program Email Example

They don’t offer many discounts (I think this is the only one I’ve seen!), but they value referrals highly, so the deal is meaningful (~$50), mainly because their products are pricey.

So whether you already have a robust referral program or are just getting it off the ground, leverage your audience to help you grow your list this BFCM and beyond.

8. Convert your email list into SMS subscribers

A super straightforward way to get your email subscribers on your text list is to send an email promoting it. Like this one from Kōv Essentials (made with Privy!):

SMS List Growth Email Example

Just make sure you highlight what’s in it for them. In this example, SMS subscribers get hints about Kōv’s BFCM promo before anyone else.

Just remember that you need to deliver on your promise. Whether that’s early access, sneak peeks, or anything else. Otherwise, your audience won’t hesitate to unsubscribe.

SMS is an excellent opportunity to surprise and delight your audience this holiday season. Make sure you’re giving your subscribers real value. Do not just copy and paste what you’re sending in an email.

It can’t just be sell, sell, sell all the time with text. Remember that it’s a way more intimate channel than email.

But don’t stop at a single email promoting your SMS list. You can showcase your text program in all your future emails, too.

Include something like this in any other emails leading up to Black Friday to maximize signups:

SMS List Growth Email Feature ExamplePssst. This is something you can do all year to grow your SMS list.

8. Try a QR code

If you sell through different retailers on top of DTC, you must do whatever you can to capture shoppers’ emails and phone numbers to build a relationship directly with them.

Because, of course, you don’t have complete control or ownership if you’re selling your products at places like Whole Foods or Target, for example.

QR codes can be a great way to capture that! So add a QR code to your products in stores with some clever copy that brings them to a landing page with a form that includes fields for email and text.

Then, you can create a list of anyone who signs up on this specific landing page and nurture your retail audience differently than anyone who signs up through popups or other landing pages on your site.

Get creative here! Chances are, if customers buy your products in stores, they’d be pumped to join your email and SMS lists to hear directly from you.

Start driving signups today.

Now that you have nine tactics to grow your list leading up to Black Friday, it’s time to bring them to life.

Privy is the easiest way to grow your lists and send emails and texts this Black Friday.

Start your FREE 15-day trial to give it a shot.

And be sure to bookmark this page. It’s packed with everything you could need to crush this holiday season.

A full calendar to help you stay on track, 172+ emails, popups, text examples, podcast episodes you must binge-watch, and so much more.



Special thanks to our friends at Privy for their insights on this topic.
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