This post was first published in September 2015, and was updated in January 2020.
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, grown the right way: with an email signup form.
Read on to discover five tips to improve your email signup forms to power your email marketing.
Why should you use an email signup form?
Before getting into how to improve your email signup form, it’s important to know why you should use an email signup form in the first place.
There are many reasons a signup 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 signup forms are permission-based. This means that, when a visitor sees your signup form and enters their information, they’re 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.
Tips to improve your email signup form
Knowing the strategy behind building an effective email list is half the battle. Take what you’ve learned and apply it alongside these five tips to build a healthy and growing subscriber list.
1. Focus on your end game first.
Before you start planning the copy and layout of your signup 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 signup?
When you define your goals from the get-go, you’ll be more successful in creating and writing copy for your signup form.
2. Confirm the signup.
Typically, when you create a signup form, you have two options. One option is the single opt-in method, which will add subscribers to your list as soon as they submit the form. 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 recommended option—is to choose the confirmed opt-in (also known as double opt-in) method. With this process, someone subscribes and is immediately sent an email asking them to confirm their subscription. This option will protect you from invalid and inactive email addresses, giving you a more accurate list to send to. However, it’s also important to note that nearly 20% of initial subscribers won’t complete this 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 your signup form simple.
After you’ve considered your goals and which opt-in method works best for your audience, it’s time to create your signup form.
The most important piece of advice is to keep it simple. Regardless of whether you’re 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 the value subscribers will receive for signing up, and any other relevant information, like how often they’ll hear from your brand.
Consider the signup form below as an effective example of intuitive design. The design stands out and, with one quick read, you can’t help but wonder what you’ll miss out on if you don’t sign up.
Remember, the second your signup form looks the least bit complicated is when you may lose people’s interests.
In order to keep it simple, you can use one of our templates. Simply log in, choose how your form will be hosted, and fill in the blanks.
The Campaign Monitor signup form builder is easy to use, the design is simple and elegant, and you can host your signup form on your website, or let us host it for you. Setup takes just minutes.
Another important aspect of keeping it simple is to keep your form short. Below is another example of an effective signup form that is visually pleasing, simple, and short.
In both of the above examples, the form fields are concise and straightforward. And this is key. Because 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, typically, the more form fields you add to your signup form, the lower the conversion rates. Once you get past three or four fields, the number of people that fill out your form will usually 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 signup form, it’s important to create a persuasive call to action.
Here are a few tips to help you create a persuasive CTA:
- 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 three 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.”
Result: 14.79% more conversions.
Creating an effective call to action is an art and science in and of itself. Get more details 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—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).
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’re 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 signup form, remember to follow all of the advice for creating an effective signup form. Even though you’re offering a larger piece of content, you still want your signup form to be simple and short.
In order to keep it short, ask subscribers to enter their email address with a CTA that 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.
Ways to promote your signup form
One of the most important things to remember about promoting your email form is that gaining more email subscribers is not the primary goal. In all practicality, gathering more email newsletter subscribers is a means to an end. However, growing your number of subscribers is the first step towards fully utilizing those customers for the advancement of your brand.
Don’t stop earning subscribers, but always be thinking of creative ways to engage them. Keep in mind, however, that you should be as transparent and genuine with your customers as possible in these endeavors. Let them in on what you’re aiming for so they can be a part of it. Customer-driven marketing is one of the single most effective techniques in the industry today.
To start fully utilizing your subscriber base, engage with them on social media and introduce them to even more of your brand’s content to keep them engaged. Some of the best social media outlets to engage customers on include Reddit, Instagram, and Facebook.
How do I get people to subscribe to my email?
There are a number of universal recommendations that can help attract more subscribers for your email newsletters. It all starts with content. Having great content that’ll be of genuine interest to your customers is where the magic happens. The right content is key to success to stand out from the competition and all of the other noise on the internet.
To maximize the impact of your newsletters, you should also make use of email testing to ensure your signup forms are displaying well across different email platforms.
It’s also important to make email signup forms engaging, as well as easy to follow and fill out. Key components of a good signup form design are to have strong incentives, simple buttons, and drop-down menus to complete the form easily and increase the likelihood of the customer finishing the form.
When thinking about how to get more customer engagement, think about what the customer wants and how they can be approached both via email and on social media platforms for maximum effectiveness.
Google and Facebook also have robust AI tools that can line up potential customers with similar interests based on your email lists. The relationship between email newsletter subscribers and engaging with customers on social media is symbiotic. One helps feed the other, and both can be used to drive growth and boost sales.
How do I grow my email list?
While it might sound similar, growing your email list is quite different from getting people to subscribe to your emails.
The idea behind gathering email subscribers is very general, but the concept of growing your email list can be somewhat more complicated. First and foremost, you need to think about the kind of customers you’re intending to serve. Take the time to figure out what your customer’s needs are.
Only after you’ve taken account of your customers can you move on to other details like making a sign-in form or newsletter signup form. You should know your customer base well enough to be able to send specific and engaging emails that’ll interest them.
Source Really Good Emails
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 signup form that converts to subscribers, and watch your email list grow.
Make your email signup form stand out and launch your brand ahead of the competition with Campaign Monitor.