Blog / Marketing tips / 10 Tips for Creating Effective Email Signup Forms
If this isn’t your first day on the web, you’ve probably heard that email is the mightiest channel for keeping a strong connection with your audience.
There are many impressive numbers that prove it. First of all, email marketing boasts the highest ROI of 4400% with $44 return for every $1 spent. Second, 80% of retail businesses indicate that email is their biggest driver of customer retention.
You may be new to email marketing and just gathering the first subscribers for your online store. Maybe you have an old list that’s not performing well and you feel it needs refreshing. Or maybe you have a signup form that isn’t showing the results you were expecting.
Here’s what you SHOULD be expecting.
We live in times of the shortest human attention span ever. These days it’s a challenge to compete for even a few seconds of our prospect’s attention, not even talking about getting their email addresses or other personal information.
It’s no wonder that the average email opt-in rate is only 1.95%. And only the top 10% marketers boast a 4.77% average opt-in rate. In other words, you’re very lucky if 5 out of 100 visitors who land on your website give you their email.
To get those emails pouring in, your signup form has to stand out from the crowd.
Don’t worry – you’ve come to the right place. Each of these 10 signup form hacks is guaranteed to generate a steady flow of new opt-ins for your online store.
Roll out the red carpet for your new email subscribers!
These days email is an asset – a piece of valuable information you can trade for something you want or need. Sometimes we forget that this trade is the reason behind every signup.
Therefore, if you want to acquire the visitor’s email address, you need to give something valuable in return.
A lead magnet is a strategic approach – as the name suggests, your email subscriber becomes a lead that is much more likely to purchase one of your products than just a random visitor you cannot influence with email.
The offer itself (i.e., the lead magnet) usually makes the biggest difference, so make sure to test and tweak it if necessary. Lead magnets should be ultra-specific and offer immediate gratification instead of a vague promise for some unspecified future. However, you have to be sure the subscriber who is interested in an e-book or webinar will also appreciate the newsletter content you are going to send later on.
Kate Spade’s signup form is a fine example of a direct and attractive offer – 15% off PLUS shipping. The text underneath “No thanks, I don’t want 15% off” makes it even harder to refuse.
Humans are social animals – we rely on the experience of others. Studies show that 92% of online shoppers read testimonials and reviews before making a purchase.
Similarly, if they are on the fence about engaging with your brand or leaving your website forever, social proof might convince them to follow the crowd.
There are several types of social proofs that you can use to urge people to sign up for your email:
Sumo app have done a fantastic job with their blog footer signup form. In just a few text lines they accomplish two things:
The word “popup” gives the chills to many people, and not without reason. Some types of popups can be intrusive, especially on mobile, and Google has declared war against those. So, make sure the type of popup you choose won’t harm your SEO.
Nevertheless, popups are still on the rise, and some have even improved conversion rates by up to 1,375% compared to a static signup form.
The truth is – popup signup forms don’t have to be irritating if you design them right, and show them to the right people at a reasonable frequency.
US retailer Shinesty have matched their popup with the background image and the overall style of the brand, letting the signup form blend in nicely. This popup also doesn’t show up repeatedly, and therefore isn’t annoying the returning visitors.
Beautiful design matters – we know it in our hearts already, but there is no shortage of UI & UX studies that prove it’s good for business.
High-quality design not only attracts our attention but it also makes us trust the brand. To put it simply, rich imagery, bold typography, and attractive illustrations reinforce a positive first impression of a brand, and your signup form is a significant part of it.
However, looking pretty without a strong underlying message is not enough. Oru Kayak have done an amazing job in combining both great visual design and substance. Add an emotional calling that speaks to all the travelers and adventurers out there – and you have a signup form to copy.
Oru Kayak use a full-screen signup form also called the Welcome Mat. It’s often considered controversial as it interrupts the user’s action with a full-screen overlay. However, it’s definitely much less annoying if it looks this lovely.
Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is a thing, and there’s evidence that the majority of millennials have experienced it. If your target audience is between 18 and 34 years old, you can appeal to this emotion in your signup forms and promise to keep your subscribers in the loop with all the best offers.
Wanderlust + Co are a female jewelry e-store that directly appeals to this fear, knowing their target audience – young girls – are the primary victims of FOMO.
A more popular strategy is to add a sense of urgency or scarcity to your opt-in form, urging the users to sign up immediately. For example, you can mention that the exclusive deal is “valid for a limited amount of time,” or that “only the first 100 newsletter subscribers receive free shipping.”
Nowadays we are overwhelmed by promotional information – studies show that we’re exposed to 10,000 brand messages daily.
If you can cut through the noise and find an original angle for addressing your visitors, you are guaranteed to attract some attention.
A signup form designed as a story with blank fields is still uncommon therefore is more likely to capture attention and bring you new email addresses.
A story signup form uses a natural sentence to softly request the information from the user. This type of form will be most effective if you offer a few custom input elements in drop-down menus. For example, you can say:
“I want X store to send me…. [choose product segment from drop-down] updates to …. [email address field]”
Here’s a sample and an actual guide how to code it, in case you’re up to it!
Even a simple animation is likely to attract more attention than a static signup form. The explanation is simple – animation directs our eyes and controls where we focus.
Animated signup forms make joining your list simple, fun, and engaging – and your brand is more likely to be remembered with positive associations.
If you choose an interactive opt-in form or an animation (or any other type of signup form, for that matter), make sure it is mobile-responsive and easily clickable for mobile users. Mind that single column signup forms tend to look better on mobile devices. All the fields should fit on the screen without scrolling up or down, or, even worse – left or right.
If you make signing up fun, people will feel the urge to complete the process. Attractive design and innovative input options turn this signup form into an exciting user experience – even for mobile readers with even shorter attention spans than desktop users.
Although email signup forms should contain as little text as possible, those few words need to be brilliant.
It’s no easy job to avoid clichés and find original ways to persuade users into signing up – all while sticking to the tone of voice of your company.
The language and tone you use will also depend on your target audience, and you should use the opportunity to capture their attention through compelling copy. For example, consider using an alternative CTA than the standard “sign-up” or “subscribe” call to action.
A good trick for writing a call to action is to make your button copy finish this sentence:
I want to ________________
Shinesty provides another good example of an unconventional – and provocative – signup form. They are sticking to their bold and eccentric tone suggesting that their emails are much better than all the others. The button saying “let’s get weird” stimulates curiosity and suggests that subscribers will join some mysterious club. Even the Terms and Conditions under the CTA are original, complementing the user and explaining what content they’ll receive.
We already discussed popups, but the exit intent popup deserves special attention thanks to its effectiveness. Turns out it has the potential to recover 35% of your slipping-away visitors – a chance you shouldn’t miss, right?
Even if they didn’t buy anything from you this time, maybe they’d be interested in getting your news & updates? Or a special offer that might entice them to return to you once again?
Your job is to offer them something interesting and valuable right before they leave (and possibly never come back again).
A valuable proposition like this one by Avanchy can indeed help to turn some customers around. If they were considering to buy a certain product before they saw this popup, they might see the 15% off as a deal-breaker.
Or simply direct their attention to your newsletter as they leave your blog. There’s no harm in asking, right?
It’s true that burying your newsletter signup form at the bottom of your page is not a massive lead attraction strategy.
However, many users – the ones that are particularly interested in receiving news from you – are likely to look for the signup field exactly there. Simply because we are used to it, just like we are used to seeing a company’s logo on the top left corner of a website.
With just a little creativity, you can turn your footer signup prompt into an attractive and important zone of your website. For starters, write a juicy CTA and add an enticing short text on top of the email field.
Shorts maniacs Chubbies don’t say much about the content of their newsletter anywhere near the signup form. But the mysterious and somewhat arrogant text “Your inbox deserves better” is a nice way to address their audience of young people who hate everything ordinary. The nearby social buttons allow easy sharing and cross-promotion, urging users to continue interaction in their other channels.
The biggest hack of all might be the combination of several email signup form hacks. For example, your perfect signup form can be a beautifully designed exit intent popup with a lead magnet that offers a 10% discount upon signup.
However, evaluate what best fits your audience and experiment. Don’t just assume that something might work well for you. Instead – test, fail, learn, and repeat.
The most important advice from the signup form world – don’t be greedy. In other words, you should ask for as little as possible on the form, and give the subscriber as much as possible in return.
Once you’ve found an opt-in form that works well for you, keep monitoring its performance and tweak it time after time. Share your ideas and experience in the comments!
Read Next: How to Develop an Effective Marketing Strategy
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Ana es una inquieta trotamundos en busca de nuevas experiencias. Sus tres grandes pasiones son: la comida, los viajes y el marketing. Por ese orden.
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