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Lead Generation

How you can use a ‘Breadcrumb’ technique to drive email sign-ups and increase your revenue

By E-commerce Strategies, Lead Generation

Whether you’re a marketeer, brand owner, or manager, you likely spend countless hours thinking about your target audience.

Who they are, what they need, and how you can reach them.

During this BFCM season, we naturally wanted to maximise conversions for our clients.

So, we utilised The Breadcrumb Technique.

Although we used this technique during BFCM 2023, it’s something we use all year round for many of our clients.

Understanding The Breadcrumb Technique

The Breadcrumb Technique goes against much of the conversion rate opinions you see online.

Many people will tell you reducing fields and/or steps will increase conversions.

But often when you take fields away, you’re left with the field visitors find most intimidating:

😰 Your Name

😰 Your Email

😰 Your Phone Number

That can be a shock to the system and many will hesitate and bounce.

However, using The Breadcrumb Technique allows you to break it into easily digestible steps.

We focus on mini micro-conversions.

Let them answer the questions and move through the steps with as little cognitive work as possible.

This method is rooted in the psychological principle of the “Yes Ladder” where agreeing to smaller requests increases the likelihood of agreeing to larger requests.

The Psychology behind The Breadcrumb?

Renowned psychologist, Robert Cialdini, states that making a choice usually leads people to take a path that validates that choice.

We’ll often have a subconscious bias to follow through with our initial commitment.

The “foot-in-the-door” technique comes to mind.

It’s where we use small, low-threat questions to engage potential customers. They answer said questions leading to a higher chance of them continuing to the next question.

In simplest terms, they’ve already committed to the first set of questions, so they might as well answer the next ones until they’ve finished what they started.

Whether you should be using a two-step, three-step, or even five-step form is all based on testing.

Try A/B testing each length until you find your ‘sweet spot’ for conversion rate optimisation.

Utilising the ‘Breadcrumb’ for Black Friday / Cyber Monday Success

During the recent Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales, we implemented this technique across several client websites.

The results were quite impressive.

But, we weren’t the only ones utilising The Breadcrumb Technique this BFCM.

Brands such as Hexclad also opted in for this technique.

How did we structure our breadcrumb?

Below is an example of a pop-up we used for a client this Black Friday.

The client prefers to remain confidential so we’ve removed their logo and some branding.

We’ve also used a placeholder image.

Step 1: Ask a question. E.g. Would you like up to 20% off your order?

This question is to the point and doesn’t ask for any commitment (name, email etc).

Answer >> Yes please (now committed – micro conversion complete ✅)

Step 2: Enter email address and clickSend me the details’

We’ve now collected that all-important email address. This individual has entered our ‘Welcome Flow’ and our conversion process has begun.

At this point, you could also ask for a phone number for SMS marketing.

What our Breadcrumb results looked like

Through A/B testing different forms of pop-ups, we’ve found this style to work well.

We decided to fully utilise it during the BFCM season.

The results were as follows:

  • Mobile conversion rate: 16.6%
  • Desktop conversion rate: 12.0%



Finding ‘True’ Submission Rates

This submission rate is a true result. The ‘Yes’ button does not count as a form submission which may result in an inflated submission rate.

Once the ‘Send me the details’ button is clicked, a submission is counted.

If somebody clicks ‘Yes’ but doesn’t continue and complete the next step, it’s counted as a form ‘view’.

There’s a huge difference between each of the above.

During BFCM, we didn’t drastically change the offer.

We slightly increased the percentage discount but the amount was minimal as profitability and margins are a key focus.

The copy was tailored to BMCM and the intent may have been higher but the results were excellent.

This pop-up along with the BFCM flows were live for 6 days.

Beyond the Numbers: Why Conversion Rates Trump Sign-Up Stats

In the world of email marketing, it can be tempting to be misled by the allure of high sign-up rates.

Although, they’re often nothing more than a vanity metric.

We examined how to increase sign-up rates using methods like The Breadcrumb up above.

However, it’s critical to understand that a high sign-up rate is not the endgame.

It’s a mere steppingstone.

The real measure of success lies in conversion rates.

Vanity Metrics vs Sales

Let’s break down the illusion with some numbers.

Consider two scenarios:

In the first, you achieve a sign-up rate of 10% and a purchase rate of 5%.

In the second, your sign-up rate soars to 20%, but your purchase rate plummets to 2%.

The latter might seem more impressive at first glance, but it’s a classic case of a vanity metric.

It feels good, but it doesn’t necessarily translate to better business outcomes.

The truth is, the majority of purchases occur before the second email in a ‘Welcome’ series is even sent.

This statistic underscores the importance of not just attracting subscribers but converting them effectively.

A lower sign-up rate with a higher conversion rate is far more valuable than the reverse.

Email Marketing’s Bottom Line: Conversions, Not Just Subscribers

While it’s tempting to chase higher sign-up rates, the focus should be on nurturing those sign-ups into conversions.

The real victory lies in conversion – turning those subscribers into engaged customers who contribute to your business’s growth.

High sign-up rates may appear attractive on paper, but without an increase in conversions, they are meaningless.

The key takeaway is to focus on nurturing and converting your subscriber base.

This approach not only ensures a healthier return on investment but also builds a more loyal and engaged audience.

Techniques like The Breadcrumb approach can be valuable tools in your arsenal.

They’re great for boosting engagement and should always be refined through A/B testing to deliver the best results for your clients.

However, at the end of the day, it’s conversions that are the real game-changers.

Remember, while techniques like The Breadcrumb approach can enhance sign-ups, it’s the conversion and customer relationships that truly drive success.

Ready to Transform Your Email Marketing?

If you’re an eCommerce brand owner or manager looking to elevate your email marketing strategy, we’re here to help.

Reach out to us for tailored solutions that not only boost your conversion rates but also foster lasting customer relationships

Book your chat here:

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