5 Tips For Enhancing Your Email Sign-Up Forms

When building your email list, your first challenge is getting people to sign up in the first place. That's why opt-in forms play such a crucial role in your email marketing. There are many factors that determine whether someone fills in their information or clicks away from your website forever. By making some strategic changes, you can improve your conversions. Here are some tips to make your sign-up forms more compelling.

Make Your Form Highly Visible

A pop-up subscribe form

If you want visitors to fill out your email form, make sure they can easily see it. Your opt-in form should be visible on every page on your website and contain eye-catching images, colors, and fonts. Always use a form rather than a link, as a mere link is easy to overlook. One way to make sure people notice your email form is to put it inside a feature box. This is a form that's placed at the top of the page, usually within a square or rectangular box.

Conventional wisdom dictates that you should place the form on the upper half of the page (or above the fold) as not everyone will scroll down to the bottom of a page. However, an even better strategy is to use multiple opt-in forms in different places. You could, for example, have a feature box at the top of the page, sidebars, floating bars, and other form types. An exit pop-up is an effective tool to capture visitors who might otherwise leave your site and never return. Using several variations of your form increases the chances that a visitor will notice and respond.

Use an Appealing Design

Eye catching buttons

While it's important to make your opt-in form noticeable it also has to be appealing and fit with your site's overall design. You want your form to stand out, but in a positive and harmonious way. Images are extremely important for capturing visitors' attention. Your image should be interesting yet also relevant to your offer. Some marketers try to cheat on this point, using a random silly or cute image (such as a cat or bizarre animated image). This might work with certain niches but in general, it's best to stick to relevant images.

Stay away from generic stock photos or graphics. For example, if your website is related to business or marketing don't use one of those common place stock images of business people in suits smiling as they look at a chart or computer screen. It's worth it to use original photography or have custom images created. Including your logo is also helpful for branding purposes.

Another aspect of the design is to make your form easy to read and uncluttered. Avoid using too much text. Your objective is to convey the benefits of your offer in a concise way. A simple form with an appealing image and a simple explanation is all you need. Don't try to include too many details as you risk boring or confusing your audience. A cluttered form is also visually unappealing. 

Provide a Strong Reason to Subscribe

Strong call to action copy

Keep in mind that subscribing to your email list or newsletter is not an end in itself for visitors. Most people are already on multiple lists and aren't anxious to get more messages in their already crowded inboxes. You need to provide a good reason for them to subscribe. You can do this in a number of ways. It's typical to offer subscribers a gift. This may be some kind of information product such as an e-book or white paper. It could also be a coupon, free sample, or free trial to your service or membership site.

Another approach is to force people to enter their email address to access an article or to gain access to your website at all. This is also known as gated content. Aside from getting more opt-ins, it can add to the prestige of your content as people tend to value something more highly when they have to take extra action to obtain it.  Be aware, however, that this will tend to increase your bounce rate (visitors who land on your site and immediately leave). This is appropriate for high-level content such as original research but not for shorter or more generic blog posts. 

You don't need to offer a gift or put up a gate to your website. Simply offering helpful information in the form of a newsletter can be enough to get subscribers. However, it's important to word the offer in an enticing way. "Subscribe to our newsletter" is fairly generic. Get more specific based on the needs of your audience. For example, "Get the very latest research on the most effective diets and exercise programs."

Keep Forms Short and Simple

Simple Opt In Form

People don't want to spend a great deal of time reading and filling out your opt-in form. Research indicates that the more fields you use on your form, the lower your opt-in rate will be. Neil Patel reports that ImageScape increased its conversion rate by 120% by reducing the number of fields on its contact form. You have to balance this, of course, with your need for information. Only one field for the email address would maximize opt-ins. However, that wouldn't give you the chance to personalise emails.

The best balance is usually to request email and name (either first name only or first and last name, depending on how formal you want to be). Of course, you need to design your form based on your needs. For example, if you want to call prospects you obviously need to ask for their phone number. It's best to use an email marketing service that lets you add custom fields. As a rule, however, don't add any more fields than you absolutely need.

Test All Variables

AB test your email marketing campaigns

While you can make educated guesses on what your audience prefers the only way to really find out what works is to test it. You can test every aspect of an email form, such as size, fonts, colors, placement, and fields (i.e. how many fields to include). It's important to use an email service that provides good tracking and analytics. You can often increase your opt-in rate by making seemingly small changes to your forms. For example, you may find that your visitors respond better to a blue form than a red one. Or they may prefer a certain type of wording such as "discount" rather than "sale." The only way to be sure is to test as many variables as possible.

Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to connect with your customers and increase your influence. In order to get more subscribers, it's essential to create optimized forms that get your visitors' attention and convey the benefits you have to offer. 

Enginemailer is an all-in-one integrated email service. To find out how we can help you grow your business with email marketing, please contact us.