Email acquisition via homepage lightbox actually works—and not just for gathering email addresses. Smart brands are winning new customers with well-designed homepage lightboxes and follow-up messaging. In fact, 29 percent of Internet Retailer’s Top 500 companies now use “acquisition to welcome” lightboxes regularly.

Five Winning Lightbox Strategies:

Lightbox #1: Gap

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The Strategy: This lightbox aims to capture email addresses and begin regular correspondence with prospective customers.

Follow-up: Gap sends a welcome email thanking registrants for the information and provides a 25 percent-off coupon code. The retailer also offers people the chance to set their preferences on the site and promises to send advance notices of special events and sales.

Why It Works: When people use the email to link back to the website to set their preferences, this allows Gap to personalize the shopping and communication experience for users, and at the same time, the brand promotes the benefits of becoming a Gap cardholder.

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Lightbox #2: HauteLook

The Strategy: HauteLook uses its lightbox to capture an email address, first and last name, gender, and zip code. Registrants get free membership to shop the brand’s specialty events.

Follow-up: Participants get a welcome message that encourages them to invite a friend. The referral earns a $20 credit in return for the friend’s first purchase.

Why It Works: Users feel that the membership gives them access to special deals. The incentive offer also encourages people to persuade their friends to shop at HauteLook, too, so everyone benefits.

Lightbox #3: Forever 21

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The Strategy: Consumers who share their email with Forever 21 earn a mystery deal.

Follow-up: The email that arrives links people back to the website, where another lightbox reveals the discount amount, along with a code to use at checkout.

Why It Works: By taking people back to the website, they are more likely to browse the merchandise and use the code to complete a purchase. In addition, by making the discount a mystery, people are more likely to want to click through to the site to find out the amount.

Lightbox #4: Williams-Sonoma

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The Strategy: Williams-Sonoma asks for an email address and in return provides 10 percent off and free shipping for new subscribers who spend more than $49.

Follow-up: After entering the email, a new pop-up thanks users for their information and invites them to fill out their full name and address to sign up for catalogues from Williams-Sonoma and its related brands. In addition, consumers receive a welcome email that offers the initial sign-up promotion code for the discount and free shipping and directs users back to start shopping.

Why It Works: The retailer gets more bang for its buck by attracting visitors to sign up for information from its entire family of brands in one interaction. This can help multiple retailers build a lasting relationship with the consumer in the most efficient manner.

Lightbox #5: Crate & Barrel

customer-acquisition-strategy-for-brands.pngThe Strategy: Crate & Barrel keeps it simple, asking for an email address to communicate sales and special offers, and offering a 10 percent discount on full-priced items to get the relationship started.

Follow-up: Once users submit their information, they receive a thank you email with a link back to the site.

Why It Works: The interaction is quick and painless and the promotion code is good for only a week, so consumers who are considering making a purchase might be tempted to act quickly.

Follow the Leader

As these savvy brands demonstrate, homepage welcome lightboxes and follow-up emails are a key part of their companies’ customer growth strategies. You can follow their lead and put this method to work with your own target audience, engaging with your visitors and ultimately converting them into loyal customers.