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Grow Your Email List with Signup Forms


Signup forms are one of the most effective ways to grow your subscriber list. Watch this webinar to learn how easy it is to create a signup form with Campaign Monitor. We’ll share best practices, plus tips and tricks to get the most from a signup form to power your email marketing strategy.

Signup forms are one of the most effective ways to grow your subscriber list. Watch this webinar to learn how easy it is to create a signup form with Campaign Monitor. We’ll share best practices, plus tips and tricks to get the most from a signup form to power your email marketing strategy.

Kate: All righty, we might get kicked off. Welcome, everyone, and thank you for joining us today. Today we’re going to be taking you through a demo of our new signup form builder, which we released a few weeks ago in Campaign Monitor, which is super exciting. Just a quick introduction of ourselves:

Introducing Kate
Kate: My name is Kate Jordan. I am in the Product Marketing team here at Campaign Monitor.

Introducing Moe
Moe: And I’m Moe. I’m in the Product Management team and super excited to share our recently updated signup forms with you.

Awesome. Moe and I are both based in Sydney, Australia. So it is early Thursday morning for us here, but I know we’ve got people joining from the U.S. and all over the world. So, welcome, and a big thank you again for tuning in.

What we’ll cover
Quickly looking at the agenda for today, we’ll start with a bit of a high-level overview on how a good signup form can really power your email marketing strategy.

Followed by some tips and tricks on how to create a high-performing signup form.

Moe: Following that, I’ll take you through what we’ve got to offer in Campaign Monitor in terms of signup forms. And then take you through a demo of those, to see how you can actually make them.

Why do I need a signup form?
Kate: Awesome. So before I go into any more detail, it’s probably a good place to start just to look at the basics and talk about what a signup form is, and why do I need one? I’m sure everyone’s pretty familiar with them. Essentially, a signup form is a way to collect email addresses from your leads and potential customers.

Signup forms are usually embedded or hosted in a web form. And you can place a link to them on your website, blog, social media. And it’s a way that a visitor can sign up to receive email updates from your brand. A well-executed signup form is not just going to help you grow the size of your email list, but also the quality of the subscribers that you’re trying to reach. A good quality email list is obviously pretty fundamental to a successful email marketing strategy.

I like to think of it this way, you know, you can have the best chef in the world, but with really poor quality ingredients, it’s going to be hard to deliver a great meal. And I guess the same thing could go for email marketing. You know, you can spend all the time in the world designing really lovely-looking emails, and getting super smart about segmentation and automation, but if your subscriber list is full of unengaged and disinterested leads, you’re likely going to see pretty poor campaign performance.

Moe: That’s a pretty fantastic analogy.

Kate: It’s a bit clunky, but we’ll go with it.

Reach + Targeting = Increased return on investment for your email campaigns
So, there are two factors that are likely to influence the return on investment for your email marketing strategy, and that is reach and targeting. It’s obviously really important to target your emails to the behaviors on specific needs of your customers, so that you send them the right message at the right time. But to really get your email marketing campaign to work at scale, you need to be constantly expanding the reach of your subscriber list, and that’s where signup forms can help.

And the reason for this is when someone voluntarily joins your email list, you know they’re genuinely interested in hearing from you. A signup form is going to help balance out attrition rates, which is the natural churn or unsubscribes in your email list. We read that according to MarketingSherpa, you’re likely to see about 22% to 23% of your list becomes disengaged each year.

Now, this can obviously be super frustrating when you’ve worked so hard to grow your email subscriber list, but it is a natural effect of the subscriber cycle.

Moe: It’s a lot higher than I thought, actually. But given a signup form is actually opt-in, this means people have actively chosen to hear from you. So keep your attrition rate low, your open rates high, and your conversions more meaningful and robust.

Tips and tricks

Kate: Awesome. So next, we will go to tips and tricks.

Keep it simple.

I guess the first thing that we would recommend is to, when in doubt, always keep it simple. You know, let’s face it, we’re all busy, and we’re always asked to hand over our personal contact details online various times a day. So to get your leads to sign up, you need to make sure that your signup form is as simple as possible.

You want your leads to be able to look at your form, enter their info, click “Submit,” and then get back to what they were doing originally on your site in just a few seconds. I’d also recommend considering how many fields that you’ve included in your signup form, and which fields you’re making mandatory. Less fields tends to drive better results. HubSpot recently studied their contact forms of about 40,000 of their customers, and they found that the conversion rate actually improves by about 150% when the contact form goes from 4 fields to 3.

Moe: Yeah, so really think about what’s important to your email marketing strategy. For example, if you’ve got a birthday discount program, the date of birth field could be a critical field after name and email. And keep in mind, that you can collect additional customer data over time. So, don’t worry if you don’t get everything on the first interaction.

Kate: Yeah, that’s a really, really good point. In this example, you can see here (5:12), I’ve created a HTML embedded form into my hypothetical landing page for a startup bank. You can see here that I’ve kept the copy to a minimum, building some hype, but I’ve also just made the first name and email mandatory in the form. The next thing I’d recommend is to consider context.

Get the context Right.

There’s only, you know, really one purpose of an email signup form, and that’s for it to be filled out by those who are interested in connecting with your brand. So, of course, it’s going to be obviously pretty important to make sure that your signup forms are really easy to be found. You’d be really surprised with just how many instances a signup form or a subscribe button is buried in either their “Contact us” section of a website or buried at the very bottom of a long page.

You want to make sure that your call to action to sign up is super clear and on-brand. On the flip side, I’d recommend that you don’t make your signup form too intrusive or annoying. You can see in this photography blog example that we have here (6:17), the embedded form is really easy to discover. It’s you know, the second thing that you see as you scroll down the homepage.

Tell them why.

But it’s not too intrusive and if, you know, a visitor to the site isn’t interested in signing up, they simply scroll past. The next trick and tip that I would, sort of, highlight is telling them why. Whether it’s curated weekly content, updates to your products and services, we recommend being super clear on the value that a subscriber is going to receive when they sign up.

You know, it’s obvious that most people already have a pretty full inbox, and you want to make sure that you’re attracting quality leads that are genuinely interested in hearing from you.

Moe: Yeah, definitely. And it can also help some times to give your subscribers peace of mind by letting them know how often you’ll be emailing them. And reassuring them that you won’t be spamming them and overloading their inbox.

Kate: Yeah, that’s really important because they, sort of…they’re going to get comfort knowing that, you know, what they’re signing up for, you’re going to deliver on that promise.

Moe: Exactly.

Kate: You can see in my example here (7:19), I’ve created a signup form for a city guide, where I’ve been really clear in that, sort of, first paragraph of text that subscribers are going to be signing up to get the latest in New York City’s restaurant offers and event guides. Another obvious tip, which I’m sure you’ve all seen in various different forms is to give something valuable away for free in the way of an incentive.

Offer an incentive.

Often this is in the form of a discount on subscribers’ next purchase or a free voucher. But it could also be in the form of content, such as a demo of your product, an eBook, or premium blog content.

This sort of premium content is actually a really good idea in terms of incentive, because it not only incentivizes the subscriber, but it also moves leads further down the marketing and sales funnel so that you can actually offer them information that’s going to help them in their purchasing decision.

Moe: Yeah. And one thing to keep in mind, though, is if you are offering a one-off incentive, like 20% off your first purchase, there may be a natural churn and unsubscribe from customers once they’ve redeemed this incentive.

Kate: Yeah, it’s a really good point. And I guess what I’d add to that is, when offering an incentive, that’s just, sort of, step one of the process. So, you really want to make sure that you back it up with a really compelling email strategy, so that a subscriber realizes that there’s more value in receiving emails from you than just that first discount.

Follow up.

And that leads me to following up. So, it’s one thing, you know, to grow a really big list with a brilliant signup form, but it’s going to be of little value if you don’t have a clear strategy or journey in place to help convert these signups into loyal subscribers or customers. The best way we’d recommend you do this is to create a welcome email.

In this email, you have the opportunity to introduce your brand. Tell subscribers what to expect from your emails. This is an important step as it’s often where a customer will form that first impression of you. And they’ll decide at that point whether they want to continue to stay in touch with your brand or whether they are likely to unsubscribe.

Moe: Campaign Monitor has got some really nice welcome templates you can use to get started. And if you really want to make your email marketing work harder for you, you can set up an automated journey, which sends a welcome email after signing up. We’ll show you how to do this in the demo as well.

Kate: Awesome. So they were our main tips and tricks. So, in summary:

  • Keep it simple.
  • Make sure you get the context right.
  • Tell subscribers why they should hear from you.
  • Consider offering an incentive, and then follow up and make sure you actually deliver on the content of frequency that you promised to your subscribers in the signup form itself.

Now that we’ve sort of got a good idea on, you know, what makes a good signup form, I’ll pass it over to Moe, who’s going to give you a quick overview of the different types of signup forms you can create in Campaign Monitor, and then we’ll follow that up with a bit of a demo of the product itself.

Campaign Monitor signup form options

Moe: Great. So first up, we’ve got our signup page.

Signup page

This is our simplest option. And essentially, it’s a page that’s hosted by us that you can link to on your website, blog, or social network. It doesn’t require any coding on your side, and you can customize the form with your logo, colors, and even custom fields.

We’ll go through this more in the demo.

HTML form

The second option available is an HTML form. This is a little bit more advanced. And after building the form, you essentially get some HTML code that can be embedded in your website or blog. It’s a very versatile form that can be embedded virtually anywhere online. And you’ve got the option to you use formatting or styling options, or you can choose no styling, and you can code the design yourself.

Kate: Yeah, and I think just going back to one of the earlier slides, you can probably remember the photography blog that we had. So, that, you know, looked really nice and embedded within the style of the blog. So that was an example of a HTML form. It was actually created by one of the designers here at Campaign Monitor, so that’s actually his photography blog that we used.

And he used a Campaign Monitor signup form that he then coded into his blog.

Moe: Yeah, it’s a really good example of a clean form.

Integration options

Then next up, we’ve also got some integration options you can use. For example, we’ve got the Campaign Monitor for WordPress plugin, where you can generate a lightbox slideout or embedded signup forms right on your page.

And all of these subscribers will go directly into your Campaign Monitor list without you having to export anything. We have great resources on the CM blog if you’d like any more info, but we’ll include this in the follow-up email, which we’ll send.

If you want total control over your signup form design, build opt-in settings, you can actually code your signup form from scratch and pass subscriber information back to Campaign Monitor through our API.

API signup forms

This is a bit more advanced, and it’s recommended for users who are a bit more familiar with coding and have development skills. But if you’re interested in this, you can visit

Kate: Yeah, and as Moe said, we will be sure to include a bunch of resources in our follow-up email to everyone at the end of this. So, if you’re interested in that, we’ve got, you know, tons of resources and also a really great support team that are available to help if you’ve got any questions about that.

Moe: Awesome. Now let’s jump into the demo.


Okay, we’ve got a bit of a video we’ve prepared earlier which will take you through some of the options available in Campaign Monitor (13:00). So first up, let’s find where the signup form settings are. So if you click into lists and subscribers settings, and then you go into a list, the signup forms option is available on the right.

It’s important to understand that signup forms are linked to a list and any signups you capture through the signup form will be added to the list you’ve linked it to. So when you start off your signup form creation, you’ll be met with two options: the signup page option which we talked about earlier, and then the pasting code on your site, which is the HTML option.

We’ll start off today with the signup page option, which is our simpler option. So, lots of customizations available, you can customize the background; you can upload a logo. Here’s one prepared earlier. Let’s see, Moe’s music, fantastic. Then back to sort of what Kate was saying, we recommend adding a description to tell your subscribers why they should sign up to your subscriber list.

And in this example, we’ve actually added a 20% off premium memberships as well. Next up, you can customize the button text. So for this example, just say, “Subscribe,” exclamation mark. And then the next field is the thank you text.

So, this is essentially what your subscribers will see after they’ve submitted their subscribe form. So right now it’s empty because there’s nothing in the field, but we recommend keeping this short and sweet and saying thank you to your subscriber.

Great. All right, next up, we’ve got adding and removing fields. So there are… If you see in this list here we’ve got email, first name, last name (15:06). And then we have some custom fields like age and suburb, which were previously added to that list. We’ll show you how to add new ones later in the demo.

But you can add these on to your signup forms and customize the order.

Kate: And I guess just to reiterate, I think email… Am I correct in saying that’s the one field that Campaign Monitor will, sort of, preset for you as the mandatory field, and then you’ve got options in your list separately to then be a bit fancy with the different sorts of custom fields that you can create?

Moe: Spot on, yeah. So email is always required because that’s what you need to contact your customers. But in this example, we’ll actually make first name a required field as well, let’s just change the order. And now what this means is, your customers will have to provide an email and a first name if they want to submit the form.

If they don’t have a first name in the field, it’ll give them an error telling them to add one in.

Kate: And it looks like, as well, that those little dots on the left-hand side of the form fields is where you can actually reorder the different fields as well.

Moe: Exactly. You can just click and drag and change the order of all the fields. Great. Next up, there is an option here to opt-in to multiple lists. We won’t show this, but essentially, what this means is if you’ve got a master list, and then sublists, you can ask your subscriber to opt-in to these other lists at the same time.

For this example, I’ll just opt people into the Moe’s blogging list for now, but this is a good option if you want to capture multiple lists. And then finally, there’s the, sort of, options around privacy and customer data collection. For this example (17:00), we’ll just use this show email permission checkbox, and keep it simple and just say, you know, “I agree to be emailed.”

This will be a required field as well, so customers will have to tick this box. And then finally, actually we’ve got a number of language options you can use. For now, we’ll keep it to English, but this is a really good way to customize even further for non-English speaking or, you know, different geographies.

You can see all the way through, you can see exactly what the form will look like on the preview on the right. But now that we’re finished, let’s generate the page and see what this looks like out in the world. So copy the link. And there you go.

We’ve got a signup page ready to go (17:46). Let’s add a test subscriber and see what happens. Great, you get the thank you message. And then that subscriber is instantly added to your list. Let’s check back to our list, and there you go. So you can see added [email protected], subscribed less than a minute ago (18:02).

So that easy to, kind of, create a signup page to grow your subscriber list. Next up, we’re going to look at the HTML or code page. So back to signup forms.

Kate: And so is it correct, Moe, that Campaign Monitor is automatically going to save your previous work? So if you create a signup form for a particular list, and then a few days later, you come back and you want to, maybe, create a different signup form or edit it, next time you go back into that signup form options, it’s going to be there ready to go?

Moe: Yeah, exactly. What we do is we save the latest version that you’ve worked on, if you update this version, it’ll update other signup forms that are already out there. So you can always be sure that what’s in your Campaign Monitor list is what’s out there. But we’ll save all your works, so you don’t have to start from scratch. And you’ll see this here, basically, everything we’ve just had before is already in this signup form below.

So for this option, we’ll click on the pasting code on your site (19:16). And then…two more options come out when you click this. You can include styling, which will basically look exactly the same as a signup page. Or no styling, it’ll be, sort of, bare fields that you can then code the CSS and style yourself, if you like.

Again, this is a bit more advanced. If you just want a really simple form that you can embed anywhere online, I hope you can use this styling including the styling option. That’s what we’ll do in this example (19:43). You can see all the styles that we’ve, sort of, used previously here have actually been carried through, and the only difference is we can save and generate code.

So, this code now you can copy onto your website or blog, and it’ll look like the preview and like the signup page. So you can, kind of, have a consistent brand across your signup pages. Okay, now we talked earlier about custom fields. So, let’s go through an example of adding a new custom field. So custom fields are linked to your list as well.

So, let’s go back to the list page. And then in the same menu field with signup forms, there is the custom fields option there. So if we click in you can see here (20:34), we’ve got a few existing fields at the bottom, age, suburb, last name, first name.

But let’s add one. In this example, let’s say music genre. We want to capture what our customers like to listen to. So I’m going to add, call it “Music Genre” and change the data type to multiple options. So, there’s a number of options you can actually select here. You can do numbers or dates, but for this option, we’ll do many select because you can be into more than one music genre.

So, pop and then rock. There’s more genres than this, obviously, but, you know. So now this adds this, you can see, to this list. It’s important to understand this is linked to this list and not all of your lists.

And now you can use this in your signup forms and, sort of, capture those data ongoing.

Kate: And I imagine that would be really helpful for if you want to get really smart about your segmentation. So, if a customer in their signup form gives you a particular indication of their preference, you can then go ahead and, you know, create one journey for subscribers that are interested in one genre of music, and another journey of emails for other subscribers that are interested in a different genre.

Moe: Exactly. It, sort of, helps you power your future campaigns because you can segment based on the information they gave you. So it’s a really powerful tool where you can capture information upfront. But again, back to what Kate was saying earlier, you want to keep it to the minimum and what you really need on that first go.

Kate: Certainly.

Moe: All right, so now we’ve created the custom field, we’re back in the signup forms, back in signup page. Let’s go down to the field section. And there you go, you can see music genre is now available for us to select and reorder (22:25). So if you select this, you can instantly see on the right, this is now added to the preview.

But let’s change the order of it. We want it a little bit higher up. Great, and then you can see, you know, customers can select multiple of these and submit. Awesome. So, next up, let’s look at how to automate a welcome email when someone signs up. So, this is what we talked about earlier, where you can make your email marketing work pretty hard for you and automate a lot of your emails that get sent out.

So, click on our “Automation” tab. And there’s one I, sort of, created earlier, but don’t worry, it’s actually really simple to use. It’s about a minute to set up. So, if you click in you can see we’ve created this journey which is triggered off when someone joins the list we just created the signup forms for (23:21).

So, when someone subscribes to one of these forms, they’ll receive a welcome email below. We have a number of options in terms of what triggers the email, could be someone leaves, so someone exits a segment, someone enters a segment. This is what we talked about before with pop and rock music genres, you can trigger emails if someone, you know, selects one of those.

So it’s a really powerful tool to almost personalize your content. So, let’s just do when someone joins the list for this example. And you can add a delay. So let’s say you want to send a day later, but for this example, we’ll send it instantly.

So, as soon as someone joins the list they’ll get the welcome email. And if you click on that email, you’ve actually got options to personalize this to further, sort of, target to the right customers. And then you can build a whole email design in our email builder. We’ve already built one for this, we won’t go through that.

But it’s a really simple experience and highly recommended to automate this stuff, save you time. Awesome. So there’s our journey. It’s going to send out emails when someone joins the list. Super easy. And that’s the demo, essentially. So sort of a quick recap.

You can find the signup forms in your list settings and customize this to match your brand. You can also use an HTML form and style it yourself if you prefer. And we also looked at how you can capture custom fields that are important to you that you can use to target content to your subscribers in the future. And finally, we looked at how you can automate this to really power your email marketing strategy.

Kate: Awesome. All right, so I think we now might have some time for Q&A.

Questions and answers

Q: Can I create a signup form if I don’t already have a subscriber list on Campaign Monitor?

The first one, let’s go with a question from Ben. And he’s asked, can I create a signup form if I don’t already have a subscriber list on Campaign Monitor?

Moe: Great question. Yes and no. So you can create a shell of a list without having any subscribers, and then any new subscribers that you capture through your form will get added to this list. So it’s, sort of, an empty list, let’s say. But yes, absolutely, you can start with signup forms without having subscribers.

Q: Can I create signup forms and the welcome email that you just went through if I’m on the basic subscription plan on Campaign Monitor?

Kate: Awesome. Georgia has asked, can I create signup forms and the welcome email that you just went through? I’m on the basic subscription plan on Campaign Monitor.

Moe: Absolutely yes. Everything we went through today is, sort of, available on our basic plan. So, for the majority of our customers, you can use these tools to automate and capture subscribers. So, definitely start using those options if you are on that plan.

Q: If I already have a list, what’s the best way of adding existing contacts before starting on Campaign Monitor?

Kate: Awesome. We’ve got a question from Elizabeth. And she’s asked, what is the best way of adding contacts that you have before starting on Campaign Monitor? So, I imagine she’s asking, she’s already got an email list, how does she either import it or upload it into a list, to begin with?

Moe: Yeah, it’s a great question. We have really simple import tools. So, depending on where your list is at the moment, we recommend exporting that to a CSV, which is essentially just a spreadsheet. And then you can upload that spreadsheet into Campaign Monitor. And then it’ll pick up essentially all your custom fields and all the details.

That’s the easiest way to do it. However, there are integrations available. So if you’re using something like Shopify, or some other platform, we recommend you, sort of, go to our integrations page, which we will send details out after this session.

But yeah, I, sort of, recommend you use our existing import through CSV.

Kate: Yep, awesome. Yeah, and I think it’s pretty easy to use once you’re, sort of, in that journey. I know I did it a couple of days ago where your Excel columns get actually picked up. So Campaign Monitor can, sort of, pick up whether, you know, that’s an age column or a suburb column.

And if you don’t get it right, you can actually edit that as well, before you confirm the list. So…

Moe: Exactly.
Kate: …it’s pretty straightforward. All right, we’ll try to go through a couple more questions.
Q: We’re set up as an agency but want to be able to allow subscriptions to multiple lists from different clients in one form. Is that something offered?

Eric has asked, we are set up as an agency, however, we want to be able to allow subscription to multiple lists from different clients in one form. Is that something that we offer yet, or is it just on a client level that you can opt-in to multiple lists?

Moe: Yeah, so it is at a client level. So you can in one signup form, allow people to opt-in to multiple lists. However, that is limited, sort of, to that client, there’s, sort of, security and privacy reasons why that is. But yeah, unfortunately, at the moment, it’s only limited at a client level.

But a way around this might be to just have multiple clients, sort of, using the same client in Campaign Monitor and then split them out across the lists if privacy and sharing is not a big issue for you.

Kate: I think we’ve probably got time for one more question, which actually leads quite nicely into our final piece for the day.

Q: Can you create a pop-up form functionality?

This question comes from Rob. And he’s asking, can you create, like, a pop-up form functionality?

Moe: Awesome question. Yeah, at the moment you can use pop-up forms if you have a WordPress plugin, but it’s not available in our, you know, existing signup form builder. However, it’s actually really exciting because our team are currently working on a pop-up form solution, which we should talk about now.

Coming soon: Popup forms

Yeah, so coming soon. Essentially, this means you’ll be able to create a form that pops up on your web page to really capture the attention of leads. So we’re hoping to release this in the next few months and it will be a really simple option for everyone to add to your website or blog. So, yeah, stay tuned, Rob, that’s coming soon.

And yeah, we’re really excited to release that.

Kate: Awesome. Thank you. That’s pretty much it for today, guys, thank you so much for joining. I’ll just reiterate a couple of things we’ve covered in summary.

In summary

So, as we’ve mentioned, signup forms are a really wonderful audience growth tool that’s going to help you not just extend the reach, but actually improve the engagement of your email marketing strategy.

We’d recommend to keep your forms really simple and look at using an automated welcome email journey where you can to make sure that you’re really, sort of, automating your email marketing strategy. And finally, as Moe has demonstrated, Campaign Monitor makes it super easy to create embedded forms or signup pages, and they can be accessed in the lists and segment section of our product.

Awesome. Well done. Thank you again and have a great day.

Moe: Thanks, everyone, appreciate your time.

Kate: See ya.

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