Optimise the potential of your email sign-up forms - Part2: Let’s put it into practice
Nice to see you back for the practical guide to killer sign-up forms. With our handy roadmap you’ll learn what it takes to create sign-up forms that your readers or visitors simply can’t resist. We’ll show you where to put the form, share a few insights on engaging content and hand you some best practices that can help you along the way… At the bottom of this page, we examine a form from our client ALD Automotive to see if it ticks off all the checkboxes of our roadmap. Let’s get started!
How do I create my sign-up form?
Step 1 | Start with a thoughtful strategy
First things first: define what makes your newsletter relevant for potential readers. You know exactly why you want web visitors to sign up, but what’s the value they are looking for? You don’t want to be just another addition to their growing pile of unopened emails, do you? Make sure your newsletters actually offer something of real value. The reason for sign-up should be 100% clear and alluring enough to convince visitors to leave their information.
But how exactly do you do that? It all depends on your target group. Take Gucci, for instance. The luxury brand’s audience wants to keep its fingers at the pulse of everything their preferred brand is up to. That’s why the Gucci newsletters give subscribers access to the latest collections and exclusive events. Once you have defined your USP, you can optimise the wording in order to boost the number of subscriptions. Try to weave all the advantages for potential subscribers into your sign-up form. Then it’s time to play around with elements that turn your sign-up form into a lead capturing machine.
Step 2 | Create killer content
There are three main elements you can play around with in your sign-up form. First up is the wording. When you — for instance — change your headline from ‘join our newsletter’ to ‘sign up to receive our exclusive content’, readers will be more inclined to leave their details. Not sure about which headline works best with your audience? Run an A/B test to determine which headline triggers the most response.
For your sign-up form to be successful, be sure to include a clear and straightforward button. As an example, bettingexpert.com changed their button text from ‘sign up’ to ‘sign up and get the best daily tips’ and saw a stunning 31,54% increase in sign-ups*.
And as a third adaptive element, we have color. It’s always wise to make the color scheme and style of the sign-up form link with the website it’s used on. On the other hand, you want your form to pop out of the page. Experiment with different colors, add an image background or play with the font size of the headline.
Step 3 | Pick the right placement
One of the most influential factors for the success of your sign-up form is its placement. You want people to see and read it, so they can take action. There are a few top spots to integrate your sign-up form: footer, header, about page, sidebar, in a blog post, as a floating bar and on the resources page, to name just a few. Feel free to experiment and analyse what works best for you and adapt accordingly.
Step 4 | Implement responsiveness
Keep the responsiveness of your forms in mind at all times. How do they look on a mobile device? If they are too big for a mobile screen and a part of your form is cut off, visitors will have to scroll sideways to read your full message. Or even worse: they might not see your cleverly designed sign-up button. All this will negatively influence the visitors’ user experience and keep them from subscribing.
Step 5 | Do the necessary promotion
Having a sign-up form that ticks all the boxes when it comes to user-friendliness is one thing. Making sure potential subscribers find it is a different story. Promote your form organically by putting a link in the description box of your YouTube videos. Or try to implement the form in highly relevant blog articles on your website. Hosting a webinar or podcast? Be sure to link to the form in the webinar itself or add it to the show notes. When you’re active on social media, it’s always a good idea to hook people up through a url in the about section of your profile. And of course there’s always the option of paid social ads to get traffic to you sign-up form started.
Step 6 | Learn from best practices
We know it’s easy to get stuck when you start creating sign-up forms. Been there, done that. With these tips and best practices you’ll be able to build highly effective sign-up forms without too much hassle. As a result, you’ll see your conversions multiply. Don’t forget that continuous testing is the way to go. Just about every element in your form is worth a test: wording, colors, different CTA’s, placement on your website, …. You won’t just get a better insight in who your audience is. You’ll also find out what they prefer and what they respond to. Use that knowledge to constantly evolve and optimise your forms. It will be worth your while, we promise.
Use smart design
The internet is a universe of distractions. It goes without saying that it’s crucial to catch and hold web visitors’ attention as soon as they enter your website. Always focus on making the user experience as positive and clear as possible. Make sure all your fields are visible so that visitors can easily fill in their details. Optimise your forms for both desktop and mobile users, so it’s best to avoid two-column fields. Multiple columns could confuse visitors on a mobile device, with a higher chance of people skipping fields or just abandoning the form before they reach the sign-up button.
Want to increase the engagement on your sign-up form? Keep the number of fields to a minimum. The more fields, the higher the chance people won’t make the effort to fill out your form. Always give clear instructions about what you want people to do. Be straightforward but not boring. Make sure your CTA button stands out and gives a clear and positive message (benefits, remember?). This will draw attention and convince visitors to take a particular action. And why not help your visitors save time filling in the fields? Enable social media sign-up, which brings the extra advantage that subscribers don’t have to memorise a separate password.
Keep your copy simple
Simplified wording can help visitors notice and understand your message better. Also, keep in mind that people have a short attention span online. Make sure your copy is short enough to convince your visitors to sign up shortly after they land on your website. A study from Harvard Business Review tells us that 86% of customers are more likely to buy from a brand that focused on simplicity in all aspects of their marketing efforts*.
Offer an incentive
If you want to convince more people to sign up, offer them an incentive. A little gift, related to your brand or business, in return for personal data. Handing out incentives can increase your sign-up conversion rate by up to 15% *. You can offer basically anything as a lead magnet, from a special discount in your webshop to e-books, exclusive whitepapers or even a member-only webinar. It might be just what you need to convince more people to sign up for you email list.
CASE: A high-performance form for ALD Automotive
This recent ALD Automotive case will help you to better understand the different steps, tips and tricks in this roadmap. Our client, Belgium’s market leader in full-service leasing, offered companies a free e-masterclass to determine if they are ready to add electric vans to their company fleet. To capture qualified leads, we helped them integrate a sign-up form in their landing page. Let’s take a closer look how we did that…
Our target audience: employees of both companies who are already leasing vans and companies interested in leasing vans.
Our value: a free e-masterclass to help them determine if their company is ready to take the first steps to electric van lease. This exclusive ALD Automotive e-masterclass with a highly relevant theme, is a convincing incentive to fill out the form.
At first glance, it’s clear what this form is all about: the title speaks for itself, the intro clarifies the purpose and the main visual supports the message.
Overall, the wording is simple, straightforward and clear. The landing page focuses on what you can expect from the masterclass: answers to questions that are burning on the lips of agile fleet managers. So, instead of asking people to join the newsletter program, ALD Automotive offers them something of immediate value. And that’s included in the headline: ‘Don’t want to miss this free e-masterclass? Sign up today’. By putting that strong offer at the top of the page readers are more willing to leave their details.
Did ALD Automotive forget about their newsletter program? Of course not. By adding a simple checkbox, asking people if "they want to stay up to date with the latest news about corporate mobility", they collected extra opt-ins.
Then have a look at the CTA underneath the form: a simple, clear ‘Sign up’.
Visually, ALD Automotive makes the colors in the form match perfectly with their style guide. Consistency works!
Smart placement is a highly influential factor for the success of your form. On desktop devices the sign-up form for the e-masterclass appears in the sidebar.
On a mobile device, you can see the form smack in the middle of the website. Additionally, ALD Automotive opted for a toggle which makes sure the form always slides on top of the webpage on mobile.
Another proof of the mobile-first approach: the form is perfectly responsive to guarantee an excellent user experience on mobile devices. So no matter which screen you’re using, the form stands out and entices people to take action.
Does our ALD Automotive form comply with the 3 best practices we mentioned? Let’s check.
- Smart design. Check! Always keep the user experience as positive as possible. In this case, the form is optimised for both desktop and mobile users: simple one-column design, limited number of data fields (even prefilled where possible), clear instructions and a straightforward eye-catching CTA.
- Simple wording. Check! The only copy used in the form is meant to guide subscribers through the sign-up process. The space left of the form lists the USPs of the e-masterclass to convince the readers. This is as simple as it gets.
- Killer incentive. Check! Just a few simple details in return for an exclusive e-masterclass about one of the hottest topics in corporate mobility — by the Belgian authority on full-service leasing. Now tell us: who wouldn’t want to join?
Itching to create some killer sign-up forms now? Keep this two-part roadmap close at hand. Start with a clear strategy and define the content you want to use. And by all means carefully consider the placement for your sign-up form and make them responsive. Fill a strong and appealing design with relevant content and use an incentive to convince potential subscribers. By understanding how all these elements influence and determine you visitors’ decision making process, you’ll make every sign-up form you put online a success.