You have a gorgeous email design that looks great across most of the major clients. You’ve got the perfect subject line, a thoughtful A/B test in the works, but… No subscribers.

Often, we pay so much attention to the visual and technical beauty of email newsletters, that we overlook the subscribers part altogether. However, as anyone with a soft spot for stats knows, designing an email newsletter subscribe form to attract a maximum number of signups is just as involved as any campaign A/B test… If not more so. After all, with no subscribers, you have no campaigns.

In this round-up, we’ll look at 8 standout-yet-simple email subscribe forms that have been crafted largely by our customers and discuss how each goes about making a great first-impression on potential subscribers. Hopefully you will find them as inspiring as we did!

Less is more #1: Super Funky Monkey

Signup form screenshot

First of all, lets start with Super Funky Monkey – an upcoming site for finding desktop wallpapers. What we find so gorgeous about this form is its absolute simplicity – the whole page is dedicated to finding out about their launch, a little about the site and that’s it. There’s no clutter, no scary product descriptions and the signup form itself is impossible to miss.

Less is more #2: TapPlace

Signup form screenshot

Same goes for TapPlace – an iPhone app which has been released since this screenshot was taken. The lack of detail here is almost a selling point – the less they tell, the more you want to know. According to a Smashing Magazine survey, 61% of designers use this minimized approach to sign-up form design – the central idea being that anything that doesn’t help the user to complete the form, shouldn’t be there at all.

Less is more #3: Luxylight

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Finally in this category, we have Luxylight, an iPhone app that’s currently under development. We love the use of glowing buttons, great use of type and modern, textured look to create an enticing signup form for a rather mysterious product…!

The downside of this zen minimalist approach is that it doesn’t really let the subscriber know what they’re in for. It’s worth considering how to strike a balance between aesthetics and context (ie. that you’re going to respect their privacy, how frequently you’re going to email, what kind of stuff you’re going to email), if only to steer clear of potential permission issues.

VaultPress: Who doesn’t love mad-libs?

Signup form screenshot

Who can’t feel a soft-spot for this playful signup form? Talking about striking a balance between aesthetics and context, this VaultPress piece gives you all the information you need as a potential subscriber, without being dry about it. Before you dismiss this approach as novelty, mad-libs forms have been shown to increase conversion by 25-40% – plus they can be a lot of fun to fill in!

Think you’ve seen this approach before? Huffduffer had a great shot at it, too.

The Incident: Adding video to increase signups

Signup form screenshot

Although the subscribe form may not be the star-attraction of this page, the video is certainly full of compelling reasons why you should sign up for The Incident‘s newsletter. In fact, one comparison by ABtests.com found that featuring a video could increase conversion by 81% – so next time you’re in a design jam, perhaps you should change your focus from the form itself, to what’s near it.

Flight of the Conchords: The most beautiful form in the room

Marry me, Jemaine!

Love them or hate them, lightbox-style forms like this one from Flight of the Conchords simply command attention, while not forcing users to navigate away from where the action is. We love the large, bold type, plus the complete lack of distractions. And Jemaine. Sigh.

Pixel Creation: Skip to the good stuff

Signup form screenshot

What’s unique about Pixel Creation‘s site is the floating ‘subscribe’ tab on every page. Clicking on this tab scrolls the browser window smoothly to the footer of the site, where the signup form is located. It’s a subtle visual cue on a site that doesn’t assume that everyone will scroll to the bottom of each page. Yes yes, I know, we’re guilty of this!

4 Pines Beer Club: Raising the glass to custom fields

Signup form screenshot

Finally, if you’ve seen our date-based custom fields, you may have already started thinking of some neat ways to use the 20 fields available to you. 4 Pines has made the most of at least 3 of them, by tastefully collecting date of birth, mobile and postcode/zip code details from their subscribers. Not only does this prevent 4 Pines from marketing alcohol to minors, but it also allows them to gather demographic information and run targeted campaigns based on age and location.

We hope that this round-up has provided some food for thought and a little inspiration when you’re next designing a subscribe form. Attracting subscribers to your email newsletter is a central part of the game, after all! If you’ve got a favorite form or approach to collecting signups, please share it with us in the comments below.

  • Darren

    Some nice subscribe forms – really like Pixel Creation and the curved / wonky custom fields for Pines Beer Club.

    Some food for thought.

  • Yoosuf

    woow nice collection! newly released web designs of Jonatan Castro also here ;)

  • Trent Carlyle

    i love the vaultpress one. what a creative way to interact and gather information from prospective users.

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