We’ve all seen them—sometimes they’re subtle, tucked away at the bottom of a web page. Other times, they’re big and bold messages that pop-up without notice.
Regardless of style, email sign-up forms are all attempting to do the same thing: get you to give a company your email address and become part of their contact list. But, just like any content or offer on the internet, some of these email sign-up forms perform better than others.
Why is that the case? This article will break down the essential features that the best email sign-up forms all have, and share some of the best examples around.
Qualities of the best email sign-up forms
It’s important to note that all industries and businesses are different. Their audiences are different, which means different buying habits, behaviors, and interests. Therefore, it makes sense that email sign-up forms will be different as well.
However, there are a few best practices that all of the best email sign-up forms tend to follow:
1. Prime placement
Your website is full of locations that make sense for an email sign-up form. You have header space, sidebar or footer space, and even pop-up space.
It’s no secret that the use of pop ups is one of the most debated marketing tactics. People either love them, or more likely, they hate them. But despite the negative feelings about pop ups, they actually work. Copyblogger reported an increase in email sign-ups after adding a pop-up form on its website. However, it also saw an increase in complaints.
If you are going to use pop ups as your prime sign-up form location, consider a delayed pop up that only appears after a reader reaches a certain point on your website. Or stick with another area on your page altogether.
2. Don’t ask for too much information.
When users fill out forms, they want something short and sweet that takes almost no time. But marketers want to collect as much information as possible in order to segment their contacts. So, where do you draw the line?
According to research, the highest converting forms included only three fields. That’s basically a name, email address, and one other piece of data. If your forms have more fields, consider cutting them down to see if your conversion rate increases.
3. Use clever language and use a clear call-to-action.
There’s a lot to say for clever language.
Consider the number of marketing messages or emails you see each day. It all becomes white noise after a certain point. Just like with your email strategy and subject lines, witty, clever, and funny language can draw in readers’ attention and give them a reason to sign up. Just make sure you stay within your brand, or you may end up hurting your conversion rates.
Also, CTA buttons outperform plain text every single time.
4. An opt-In box
You might want to send your contacts all different types of emails. But if they are just signing up for a newsletter, that’s likely all they want to receive. Plus, it’s also a violation of the GDPR to send messages to users that didn’t consent to receive them.
Adding an opt-in selection also helps reduce users’ fears regarding the types of messages they’ll receive. If you give them a checkbox option, they have greater control over the content they are receiving
There are two types of opt-ins you could use for your email sign-up forms:
Single opt-in: Users just have to click a box indicating they agree to receive specific types of emails. You grow your list faster, but your audience might not be as engaged.
Double opt-in: After signing up, users receive an email asking them to confirm or activate their accounts. Sign-up rates may drop off by about 20% with this extra step, but you know you’re getting an audience that’s more engaged, which will lead to a better email ROI in the end.
7 of the best email sign-up forms on the internet right now
Creating the best email sign-up forms involves a combination of all of the factors above. But what works for one business in one industry might not work for another.
From some of the most elaborate and clever to others that are simple and straightforward, here are seven of the best email sign-up forms we’ve found.
Yoga and fitness retailer Lululemon dedicates a full webpage for its sign-up form. While the form itself is not all that unique, they offer an option to opt-in to receive emails with a clear statement that you can unsubscribe at any time.
In addition, Lululemon takes advantage of the full-page space to add relevant content about the benefits for a user to sign up. Finally, the website uses clever and snappy language to speak to its target audience without losing value and meaning.
One of the cleverest examples on our list of best email sign-up forms, Shinesty puts its sign-up form towards the bottom of its homepage. In itself, the form is very simple – it just asks for an email address. But it uses funny, sarcastic, and clever language in the header and fine print. It also uses creative language in the call to action that goes along with the general tone and style.
Dog-walking service Wag! uses an email form that’s a little more complex than most, but it doesn’t seem too obtrusive for users. The website puts its form in the header with the promise of one free dog walk. What’s clever here is that they put a 5-minute countdown clock on the form, which adds a sense of urgency and a fear of missing out.
The form itself collects a lot of information, including name, email address, phone number, physical address, and plenty of information about the users’ dog. It might seem like a lot of information, but it only asks for one or two things on each screen before you need to hit “Next”, and it offers a progress bar - so you can see how far along you are.
Southwest offers another feature on its email sign-up form that’s beginning to be more popular across multiple industries.
When signing up for the airline’s Click ‘N Save feature, you’re able to view a sample email so users understand what they are signing up for. This could help lead to a more engaged email list, because the people who sign up are more likely to be interested in the content that is being sent.
Dating site Zoosk offers an option on its email sign-up form that’s both beneficial to users and the company. This form integrates with Facebook and Google, which allows you to sign up by using your account information. The added convenience makes it easier and faster for users to sign up, and it allows the company to collect the data that’s already associated with each account.
While some of the information collected may not be up to date, it allows the company to gain a wealth of data about its users without having too many form fields.
Coffee giant Starbucks uses one email sign-up form to essentially get users to sign up for multiple things at once.
The website uses a banner that’s above the fold on the homepage that promises access to rewards for signing up. Then the form itself includes a handful of fields–including your typical information like name and email address–but also prompts users to input their Starbucks card information and birthday.
This form works well because it provides a benefit to users if they give some of the extra information, like a free drink on their birthday and opting into emails to receive notices about incentives and announcements.
SEO leader Moz lands on our list of best email sign-up forms due to its simplicity. The form itself is nothing special. It appears on the top of the homepage with a header, subheader, brief text, and a field for an email address.
However, this sign-up form does exceptionally well at clearly explaining what you’ll get, when you’ll get it, and why you need it. Knowing what to expect frequently results in higher open rates.
Even though they were all different, what do these best email sign-up forms have in common?
They are all placed in easy-to-find locations, only ask for the data that’s relevant and needed at the time, use clever and actionable language that speaks to their audience, they explain exactly what users are getting, and give them an option to opt in or out of additional messages.
Follow these examples and the best practices for email sign-up forms, and you’ll see your contact list grow faster than ever before.
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