They’re not going away anytime soon.
According to a recent marketing report, email marketing is here to stay.
You know the benefits of email marketing:
Email lists enable you to send out your blog posts.
Email lists keep your list members informed about your products and services.
Email lists give interested readers a chance to receive your blog posts so they don’t have to keep checking back to your blog.
However, so many decisions need to be made when it comes to email lists, it can be mind-boggling:
What tool will you use to capture the emails?
Which of the many email list providers will you use to send your emails?
What will your email opt in form say?
The last question is answered in this post. Guest author Faye Napigkit offers tips for email sign up forms best practices.
By the end of this post, you’ll know how to effectively narrow down your many selections so you know what to put on your opt in form and you’ll see examples of successful email forms used by other websites.
Fundamentals of an Email Opt in Form
by Faye Napigkit
Growing your email marketing list is a pretty important task. Why? It’s the key to keeping your audience updated, ultimately growing brand recognition, customer engagement, and overall revenue.
But growing a list is only one part of the puzzle. After all, these lists can change a lot of time. Generally, you can expect about 25% of your list to churn, or drop off every year. This happens naturally as email addresses expire and people unsubscribe. It happens to every brand and is not something to take personally. But you do need to keep growing your list, and you still want to make sure you’re mailing to engaged readers
You want to send your subscribers emails that get opened and read– that’s engagement. To have this kind of great engagement you need to be sending emails that your readers want, full of information that they’re interested in. Whether you’re encouraging subscribers to read a blog post, visit your website, or purchase a product, you need subscribers to be interested in what you have to say.
You can take care of both of these issues– list attrition and email engagement– by making sure your email opt in form is in tip-top shape. The infographic 10 Elements of Successful Email Sign-up Forms (see below) has lots of ideas to help ensure your sign-up form is performing and that your list grows.
Here we share tips on how to create and design a form that works for you.
Objectives for your opt in form
Before you jump in and start making changes to your email opt in form, think about what you want to accomplish with your form and your email marketing in general. This can mean emails that are personalized with the reader’s name or email content targeted to their interests. And when you have more information about your subscribers, you can set up list segments to send even more specific emails.
Your lists could be based on where people are located, where or when they signed up, or even what links they’ve clicked in your emails. Ultimately you want people to see your form and to enter their email address and the other details you’re asking for. That means your email capture form needs to be easy to find on your site and simple to fill in.
Beyond the functionality of your form, you need to consider what information you need from your subscribers to make your emails more interesting for them. Typically, sign-up forms collect email addresses and usually at least a first name if not a full name. But since you’re creating your form for your needs, think about other details would be useful for creating list segments or the kind of personalization you’re thinking of adding to your email. Here are some ideas for data you can collect with your form:
The information you collect will, of course, be dependent on what your needs are. If you’re using it to grow a business, you’ll need information about kinds of products or services your subscribers are interested in. If you’re emailing about blog posts, you’ll want to know the location or maybe hobbies of your readers. And of course, there are many other things you can ask for on your form, tailor it to what you need for your business.
How to design a great opt in form
Once you’ve thought about where you want to take your email marketing and your opt in form, it’s time to start designing. Initially, you may want to include all kinds of things in your form just in case you need them in the future, but that’s not the way to go. People don’t want to give a lot of personal information, especially at first contact, so figure out what you really need to get started on your email goals. If you find that you aren’t getting the information that you need, try adding an incentive like a guide, checksheet, or free download, something to sweeten the deal.
- Keep it simple – Make it easy for your subscribers to sign up by having an uncluttered form that makes it clear what they need to fill in. This isn’t the place to add a lot of colors, text, or too many images, just the form fields and what the benefit is to sign up. Giving someone an incentive to give you their email address can be very effective, especially if they aren’t sure they want to sign up.
- Dropdowns – Using drop-downs on your opt in form can help keep the data you’re collecting in the right format for your system. And since these are usually pre-populated they can help remove obstacles to filling in information. Be sure it’s easy for your subscribers to find what they need if you do use a drop-down. A list of 100 choices is too much and they may give up before they finish.
- Call-to-action button – At the bottom of your opt in form, you’ll have some kind of button for your subscribers to submit their information. And often, it, in fact, says “Submit”. While it’s certainly true, they are submitting their information, people interact with a lot of sites every day, use this as a chance to catch their attention. This is a great place for you to get a little more creative and use a phrase that can help get more people to fill it. Try using phrases like “ I Want to Learn More”, “Add Me to The List!”, or “Sign Me Up!”.
Take a look at a couple of examples of how these tips work in the real world.
Cabelas’s has a pretty simple form but they’re offering the chance to get a free gift card just for subscribing to their email.
I Heart Reykjavik lets you know right off what you get for signing up and has a picture of one of Iceland’s stunning waterfalls to help convince you.
Where to put your opt in form
When you’ve created an opt in form that you like, it’s time to add it to your site. You’ll want your sign up form to be easy to find. If someone can’t easily sign up for your list when they want to, they just won’t do it. Most sites have a sign-up form at the bottom of the page, so people will look there. But why make your new readers or customers find your form when you can add it to the top of the page or to the side column?
If you want to ensure that no one misses your opt in form, try using a lightbox. This is a box that holds your form and pops up over your site or blog. Some people may find it a little intrusive but it can be really effective. And since about 70% of your site visitors won’t come back, putting your form right up front can help get them back.
WPBeginner has a lightbox that pops up asking for a signup. It’s a simple opt in form with just two fields, but they make sure it’s clear what you’ll be getting for signing up.
Wrap up: The Benefits of Email Marketing
Growing your email list can help drive traffic to your site and grow your business. And that all starts with a fantastic opt in form. If you’re using an email service provider, they’ll most likely have a form builder as part of your account. You’ll just need to add the fields that are important to you. If you’re just starting out, there are companies that provide the tools to create a form that can be used in WordPress or other blog platforms.
Always keep in mind there’s a person filling in the form so make it as easy as possible for them to give you the information that you need. For more tips and ideas, check out the infographic below.
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Readers, please share so bloggers and marketers reap the benefits of email marketing by using these email sign up form best practices.
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