Email is considered the most effective digital marketing channel for building awareness, boosting acquisition, and increasing conversion. But the foundation of any effective email is a rock-solid list. And any good list is grown the right way — with an email sign up form.

In this post, we share five tips to improve your email sign up forms to power your email marketing.

Why should you use an email sign up form?

Before getting into how to improve your email sign up form, it’s important to know why you should use an email sign up form in the first place.

There are many reasons a sign up form is a strategic marketing move, but the main reason is to balance out attrition rates and grow a list of permission-based, engaged  subscribers.

The average attrition rate each month for an email list is about 2%. However, it’s important to note that sign up forms are permission-based. This means when a visitor sees your sign up form and enters their information, they are actively giving you permission to send them content. In other words, they want to hear from you. When subscribers want to hear from you, your attrition rate decreases, your open rates increase, and your conversions are more meaningful and robust. It’s a win-win, and one of the best ways to stay in touch with active and engaged subscribers.

5 ways to improve your email sign up form

Now that you know the “why” behind using email sign up forms, here are five tips to improve yours:

1. Focus on your end game first

Before you start planning the copy and layout of your sign up form, consider what you want to accomplish from your email campaigns. Will you be using the list to gather data from your customers? Are you using it as a lead magnet with a free download to pique interest in your products? Are you hoping for an immediate purchase or sign up?

When you define your goals from the get-go, you’ll be more successful in creating and writing copy for your sign up form.

2. Confirm the sign up

Typically, when you create a sign up form, you have two options. You can either select a single opt-in, which will add subscribers to your list as soon as they submit their details. This option will help you grow your list more quickly, but it also can decrease the quality of your list by allowing illegitimate email addresses, spambots, and errors.

The other option and the more highly recommended option is to select the confirmed opt-in (also known as double opt-in) method. This list type is where someone subscribes and you immediately send them an email asking them to confirm their subscription. This option will protect you from invalid and inaccurate email addresses, giving you a more accurate list to send to. However, it’s also important to note that nearly 20% of initial subscribers will not complete this first step.

As you decide which option is best for you, you can easily pick either single opt-in or confirmed opt-in as you set up your list in Campaign Monitor.

Additionally, keep in mind that Campaign Monitor will keep track of your unconfirmed subscribers.

3. Keep it simple

After you’ve considered your goals and which opt-in method works best for your campaign goal, it’s time to create your sign up form.

The most important piece of advice is to keep it simple. Regardless of if you are collecting email addresses on social media, through a landing page, or on your website, your subscribers will expect a simple form.

Keeping it simple means keeping your form intuitive. Make it easy to understand what value subscribers will receive for signing up, and any other relevant information like how often they will hear from your company.

Consider the sign up form below as an effective example of an intuitive design. The design stands out and with one quick read, you know that when you subscribe, you will receive information about how to improve your online marketing techniques. And, that’s all there is to it.

Remember, the second your sign up form looks even a tiny bit complicated is when you may lose people are interested.

In order to keep it simple, you can use one of our templates. Simply log in, choose the type of sign up option you want and fill in the blanks.

The Campaign Monitor sign up form builder is easy-to-use, the designs are simple and elegant, and you can have your subscriber sign up form up on your website, landing page, or Facebook within minutes.

Another important aspect of keeping it simple is to keep your form short. Below is another example of an effective sign up form that is visually pleasing, simple, and short.

In both of the above examples, the form fields are short (in fact, all they ask for is an email address), and this is key to success. Even though marketers want to know everything about customers from their age, to what they like on Facebook, the opt-in form is often not the best place to ask for it.

In fact, research shows that the more form fields you add to your sign up form, the lower the conversion rates. Once you get past three or four fields, the number of people that fill out your form will typically start to drop off. You can test the number of fields by using a tool like Optimizely.

4. Write a persuasive call to action

On average, people see up to 247 online marketing messages a day, and a large portion of those messages go completely unnoticed.

In order to increase the chances of people taking notice of your sign up form, it’s important to create a persuasive call to action.

Here are a few tips to help you create a persuasive call to action:

  • Use buttons for your call to action. It can increase conversion by 23%.
  • Add value to your call to action to increase conversions by up to 14.9%.
  • Write specific and relevant copy.
  • Use personal words like “my” rather than “you.” Unbounce.com tested this method for 3 weeks and saw a 90% increase in CTR.
  • Avoid friction words like “download” and “buy.” Instead, try words that imply getting something for nothing “get” or “learn.” In the example below, Michael Aagaard at ContentVerve saw a 14.9% increase in CTR when testing the difference between the words “order” and “get.”

Friction Words CTAResult: 14.79% more conversions.

Creating an effective call to action is an art and science in and of itself. Get more scoop on calls to action in this post.

5. Use a lead magnet

Did you know that more than 95% of your visitors won’t purchase anything the first time they visit your site? The decision to purchase something comes with a nurtured relationship of trust that takes place through offering value.

One of the best ways to offer value from the get-go, and one of the most popular ways of collecting email addresses is by offering a free downloadable piece of helpful content (or a lead magnet) in exchange for an email address.

Offering a bit of information up front helps with nurturing a positive relationship between you and your subscriber, and it shows them the value of your product.

For example, let’s say you are selling an online course on how to grow your digital marketing strategy. When you offer a part of that course for free, it shows subscribers how much value there is to your course, gets them hooked, and leaves them wanting more. No matter what your industry is, this is a great way to help people see the value without having to commit right away.

When creating a lead magnet for your sign up form, remember to follow all of the advice for creating an effective sign up form. Even though you are offering a larger piece of information in exchange for an email address, you still want your sign up form to be simple and short.

In order to keep it short, ask subscribers to enter their email address, and the call to action button allows them to download the free content.

Offering a lead magnet is a great way to increase conversions. In fact, one blogger noticed an increase from 1% for general subscribe buttons to 2%-7% conversions when offering a lead magnet.

Wrap up

Email marketing is one of the best ways to find customers who are interested in purchasing. In order to effectively reach out and grab the attention of potential subscribers, it’s important to have a strong email signup form.

Use the tips in this post to create an email sign up form that converts to subscribers and watch your email list grow.

Your turn: What methods do you use in your email sign up forms to attract new subscribers? Share with our readers in the comments.

  • April Edwards

    Lots of juicy nuggets in here. I especially like the lead magnet landing page sample. Check out the formula: 1. Headline that clearly tells me what I get 2. Bullet point benefits 3. Visual of offer 4. Back it up with testimonials 5. Simple sign up form with a call-to-action that sticks out. Thanks for the post!

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