As of March 2020, there were 4 billion email users worldwide. By 2024, there’ll be around 4.5 billion, highlighting the consistent demand for email communication. While solutions like social media platforms provide consumers with many exciting ways to stay connected, email is still one of the most valuable tools that we have.
As a business owner, marketing professional, or entrepreneur, email is also the best way to reach your customers wherever they are. Of course, before you can take full advantage of email as an advertising system, you need a way of gathering email addresses from customers.
That’s where the email signup form comes in.
What is an Email Signup Form?
An email signup form is an opt-in form on your website. It allows your customers to share their email address with you and join your newsletter list. In exchange for information, you offer your customer something valuable, like an exclusive piece of content or a download.
The great thing about email signup forms is that you can build a constant pipeline of new leads to nurture into sales. Over time, your email list will turn into a valuable source of revenue and loyal customer advocates. Having an email signup form you can rely on also helps you to fight back against the issue of email attrition.
Remember, even the best email subscriber list decreases in volume by around 2% each month. An effective signup form convinces new potential leads to join your ranks, so you’re constantly refilling your pipeline.
So, how do you make an email signup form successful?
1. Offer Something Your Customers Want
The first thing you need to understand about email signup forms, is that they’re permission based. You’re actively asking your customers for their permission to send them emails and newsletters. In a world where customers are demanding more privacy than ever, earning an email address isn’t easy.
Most internet users know that handing their email address to a website (even a site they like), will often result in the occasional marketing message, or something they might identify as spam. While it’s probably not your intention to annoy your audience, asking them to subscribe to your email list means asking them to take a risk.
To boost your chances of success, it’s important to offer something valuable in return. High value content that shows your customers that you have useful information to share is a good start. However, you might also consider using lead magnets on your email signup page, like Kate Spade does here:
The Kate Spade eCommerce store makes the idea of signing up for an email list more enticing by promising customers 15% off and free shipping when they hand over their email address.
The opt-out button on the Kate Spade pop-up also uses a negative opt-out in the form of a “I don’t want 15% off” button.
2. Confirm with a Double Opt-In
When you create a signup form, you have two options. The first option is to create a form with a single opt-in. This means that people give you their email address, and you start sending them messages from your email strategy straight away.
The single opt-in option is a great choice for businesses that need to grow their list as quickly as possible. However, it also means that you have a higher chance that your list email addresses won’t be the best quality. Single opt-in options allow for illegitimate email addresses and spambots to skew your numbers.
The better option for most companies will be to use confirmed or double opt-in instead. With this strategy, after someone agrees to join your email list, you send them a message confirming that they want to continue with the subscription. To go ahead, the user needs to click a button, which protects you from invalid and inactive email addresses.
While about 20% of your initial subscribers won’t bother with a double opt-in, the chances that your confirmed list will be much higher in value is significantly greater.
3. Keep it Simple
Customers want their experiences with digital brands to be as simple and straightforward as possible. If signing up for your email gives your customer something valuable – like useful information or discount codes, they’ll be inclined to do it. However, that’s only if signing up is easy.
Regardless of whether you’re collecting email addresses on social media, on your website, or through a dedicated landing page, keep the form simple. Don’t ask for more information than your customers will feel comfortable giving, or you’ll send them running in the opposite direction.
Research shows that the more form fields you add to your sign up sheet, the lower your conversion rate gets. Once you get past 3 or 4 requests for information it starts to feel like you’re quizzing your customers – and they don’t like that.
Take a leaf out of RemoteOk’s book instead.
This signup form works well because it’s simple and unobtrusive. There are just two small fields to fill out, which means the form takes seconds – not minutes. Plus, customers can even customize the frequency of their emails – making it more likely that they’ll remain engaged.
4. Use an Awesome Call to Action
People see an average of about 247 online marketing messages each day. That means you’re always competing for your customer’s attention with a ton of other promotions. It’s no wonder that so many advertisements go totally unnoticed.
If you want people to engage with your CTA, work on making it as useful as possible. For instance, using a button instead of a piece of hyperlinked text will increase your chances of conversions by up to 23%.
Changing the words on your CTA to avoid friction terms is helpful too. Instead of “Buy” or “Download” try terms like “Learn” or “Get.” These words pull more attention to the benefits for your audience, rather than what they need to do to get what they need (i.e. buy something).
The CTA on the Ripped Body website tells you exactly what you’re going to get with a simple button. “Send me the book and first lesson,” tells the audience what to expect.
When enhancing your CTA, remember that contrasting colors will help to pull your audience’s attention to exactly where you want it most. Placement is also an important issue to think about with CTA buttons. Often, a button that sits “above the fold” where your audience will see it immediately, encourages more conversions.
5. Minimize Friction
We pulled attention to the idea of “friction” above when talking about the number of fields in your form. Customers want their experiences online to be quick and seamless. Having to enter lots of personal information into a form complicates things and leaves your prospects feeling uncomfortable.
However, a lengthy form isn’t the only example of a conversion process rife with friction. Slow-loading pages that lave your customers waiting forever before they see a “thanks for signing up” page can be problematic too. Grammatical errors on the page or blurry images reduce the professional image of your website, causing even more conversion issues.
To ensure that there’s as little friction as possible on your signup form, go through the signup process yourself and make a note of anything that feels uncomfortable.
- Do your pages load quickly on any device?
- Do you have a minimal number of fields on your form?
- Are you asking for information your customers don’t mind giving?
- Is your offer valuable enough to engage your audience in the first place?
- Have you reassured your audience about what they’re going to do with their data?
- Do you have a thank-you page set up for after a subscription?
Look at how Copyhackers reduces friction on its signup form by immediately drawing focus to the benefits of signing up.
The CTA instantly informs the audience of how much value is on offer. At the same time, the text reassures prospects by reminding them that they can unsubscribe whenever.
6. Test Everything (Often)
Finally, whenever you’re trying to improve something in your marketing strategy, the most important thing you can do is test, learn, and optimize. Most of the leading email marketing tools and landing page builders allow you to A/B test elements of your signup forms to see which features work best.
With split testing, you can check which color is best for your CTA button when you want to encourage more conversions. You can also experiment with things like the images on your landing page or how many piece of information you ask for.
One of the best things you can test on a signup page is your offer. If you’re trying to convince people to subscribe to your newsletter, you need to highlight the benefits. This could mean letting them know they’re going to get “exclusive tips.” Other customers might be more enticed by the opportunity to have discounts on their purchases.
Try changing the wording on your signup forms to attract a wider selection of customers.
This signup form from Backlinko isn’t the first iteration created by the company. Over the years, the brand has updated and improved its CTA, headlines, buttons, and form fields to make the most attractive form possible.
Convince More People to Subscribe to Your Email
Since every audience is different, there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for convincing people to sign up to your newsletter. However, an excellent signup form makes your job a lot easier. Combined with amazing content and offers that your customers want to see in their inbox, a good signup form makes a huge difference to your chances of conversion.
Follow the tips above to create a signup form that delights your audience with amazing offers, engaging CTA buttons, and minimal unwanted friction. Once you have a signup form that seems to be making an impact, keep testing and tweaking to improve your results.
Your signup form is a powerful part of your email marketing strategy. Don’t underestimate it.