Optimise the potential of your email sign-up forms - Part1: in theory
We’re not exaggerating when we claim that sign-up forms play a key role in the success of your email marketing. If you want to reap the full benefits of email marketing, building a mailing list should be one of your top priorities. And you can’t do that without a smart sign-up form. That’s where fruitful relationships with your readers are forged. Your sign-up form is like a virtual business card. So why not grab that chance to leave a good first impression?
In this first part, we’ll give you the theoretical lowdown on sign-up forms: what they are, which types exist and why it’s wise to optimise them. Be sure to keep an eye out for our next blog post in which we’ll show you how to build a rock-solid sign-up form, and how we demonstrate this with an example.
What are sign-up forms and what are they used for?
Sign-up forms are mostly used for lead generation. This means that people who visit your website or landing page can sign up for your mailing list to receive updates about your company or brand via email. When someone leaves personal details and an email address in the form and sends it to you, that person becomes a lead. Basically, this means that you save contact information from that interested person in your CRM system. That contact information can be used to nurture the lead, refine the relationship and eventually convert the lead into a customer.
Want to know more about lead nurturing? Read this blog on that topic
It goes without saying that the more information you have about your leads, the better you can personalise the content of the emails you send them. And that’s your recipe for success right there.
Which types of sign-up forms can you use on your website?
When it comes to sign-up forms, there are quite a few variations. We’ll highlight the most commonly used ones below – up to you to decide which one fits the purpose of your site or landing page best.
A pop-up form is one of the most commonly used newsletter sign-up forms by online businesses. It usually appears in the middle of your screen, overlapping the underlying content. The focus will be completely on the pop-up form, which can appear after different events, i.e. when the visitor is on your website for a specific time (15 seconds is fine) or when the visitor scrolls down the page (after roughly 50%). One of the best practices is to adapt the copy and CTA to the page it appears on.
Let’s say you’re reading a page about marketing automation. The copy in the pop-up could be: ‘Want to get free marketing automation tips in your mailbox? Sign up to our monthly newsletter!’ See?
The name of this opt-in form says it all. This form shows itself when you intend to leave the website (for instance when your mouse pointer leaves a designated area). Even though most people find this quite annoying, it works quite well. With some strong copy and design, you can turn this form into a charming lead tool in no time. When you want your sign-up form to be more visible, use a pop-up that appears after a few seconds.
These forms can often be seen in the sidebar or in the footer of a website. You can implement this by means of some simple coding. This is a piece of Mailchimp code that you can use to embed a sign-up form into your website.
They quite work well, but they are less relevant per page, because you usually apply them website-wide. Some plugins allow you to place embedded forms on different pages (so you can adapt the subject thematically per page).
These nifty little forms literally fly into your screen when you’re looking at a web page. They often appear in the right bottom corner. Fly-ins tend to score a bit less than pop-ups, as they are less invasive. Still, fly-ins will stick with and follow your visitor when they scroll up or down on your website.
An inline form is more discreet than, for instance, a pop-up because it is placed in between content on a website, embedded in your page. Inline works very well with opt-ins that are completely focused on the topic of that page. Because they are often very relevant to the subject, the conversion is generally higher than with other opt-in forms. Some plugins offer the option to automatically place the inline after a certain number of paragraphs. Inline forms with special offers can help capture your visitors’ attention without being too distracting. Want to embed a form at the bottom of the content? Simply use a ‘below content’ form.
Opt-in wall/gated content
An opt-in wall or locked content form is an opt-in form that control access to the content on your website. When visitors want to read more, they first need to enter their information (often just their name and email address). This is a clever way to grant visitors access your exclusive content without making them leave your website.
Why optimise your forms?
The answer is quite easy. A good mailing list helps you to create successful email marketing that converts subscribers into loyal customers and nurtures them along the way. Creating an effective newsletter sign-up form will allow you to expand your mailing list in a cost-effective way.
But there’s way more than that. A good sign-up form with an interesting offer or giveaway can boost the number of visitors who subscribe and help you collect valuable data from your subscribers. A form enables you to segment your subscribers based on certain demographics. By doing so, you’ll be able to deliver more targeted and highly effective messages to your audience. If you include the right input fields, you’ll also get insights into the preferences and interest of your subscribers. This will help you to further improve your content marketing efforts. After all, when you address your audience with tailored content, they work their way further into your marketing funnel.
If you want to reap the profits from your email marketing, optimising your sign-up form is a must. The more attractive your form is, the more visitors will leave their personal details, the more your mailing list will grow and the more valuable the data will be. And that’s just what you need to nurture your contacts and motivate them to stay in a fruitful relationship with your company, organisation or brand. Now you know which types of sign-up forms can help you achieve that, be sure to tune in to part 2 of this blog post and we’ll show you how to build them without too much hassle…