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Email Sign Up Forms – The Types and How to Make Them Stand Out

Email continues to be the most effective channel for digital marketing.

In fact, the ROI can be as high as 4000% for every invested dollar! This also makes it more effective for customer acquisition and conversion than social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter combined. By leveraging email sign up forms on your website, you can not only grow your email list but also cut back on the attrition rate, which averages at nearly 2% a month.

Why? Primarily because sign up forms are permission-based. By submitting their information, your visitors are indicating their willingness to hear from you, making it a powerful tool for building upon quality leads!

If you have been planning to use the email sign up forms on your website, here’s everything you need to know about the art form.

What is a Sign-Up Form?

A sign-up form is a web page element that consists of input fields and is used to gather your visitors’ information. The inputs collected via these forms are directly added to your subscriber list, helping you communicate with your target audience. This can range from sharing mailers and newsletters to lead generation and conversions, promoting products and services, announcing special deals and discounts, and much more.

These forms are considered a strategic move from the digital marketing perspective for many reasons. But the key factor fuelling their popularity is the ability to earn engaged subscribers with their consent. This, in turn, results in high open rates and conversions for your emails!

The following are the most popular and effective types of sign up forms you can use:

1. Pop-up Forms

As the name suggests, pop-up forms are ones that literally ‘pop up’ on your screen when you visit a website. These are not embedded in the web page but are designed to appear at a designated place and time of your choice.

popup forms

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You can also add different effects such as pop-up from top or bottom or slide in from a side and blurred background to enhance their effectiveness. A lot of website owners and developers prefer using these pop-up forms as they successfully capture the visitors’ attention.

On the flip side, they are also notorious for negatively impacting user experience. A lot of people find this sign up forms to be too in the face. Fortunately, you can manage the shock-and-awe value of these forms by adjusting their display such that it causes minimal disruption to your users. Besides immense scope for customization, pop up forms can also be integrated with third-party email marketing services platforms.

2. Landing Page Forms

Landing pages are typically designed to drive subscriber engagement with a website. Given their clean design and absence of a multitude of elements such as menu and navigation bars, drop-down menus, content, links, buttons, there are fewer distractions.

landing page forms

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Using landing page forms for driving sign-ups can, thus, prove to be extremely effective. Since your visitors cannot navigate from the landing pages to other pages on the website, they have only two clear choices – sign up or exit. If your webpage or services resonate with a visitor, they’d be more inclined to complete the signing up process rather than just leave.

You can enhance the effectiveness of landing page forms using focussed text, images, videos, or other interactive elements to motivate your visitors to follow through on the sign-up action.

3. Inline Forms

Inline forms are the sign-up forms that you can embed within the web page body. The placement of these forms can be of your choice. You can add them at the top or bottom of a page or even in the sidebar. In some cases, inline forms are also embedded within the page content to make them appear more organically.

Inline form

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You also have the choice to decide whether you want them on all the webpages or selected ones only. Some plugins help you add inline forms to your webpages seamlessly and also track their performance.

How to make your Sign Up Form Stand Out

A good sign up form is one that will drive your average visitor to follow through and complete the action. However, since the target audience, customer behavior and interaction patterns vary from industry to industry, it is difficult to box the effectiveness of sign up forms in a one-size-fits-all approach.

That said, the following best practices have seen a universal acceptance across business and industry verticals:

1. Prime placement

Any website comprises a wide array of different elements, pages, links, menus, and content. It is very easy for a sign-up form to go unnoticed in this milieu. Your endeavor should be to pick a location and timing that grabs your visitors’ attention instantly, without putting them off.

Using a delayed pop up form on all pages, for instance, can work well. Or you could consider an inline form placed on the sidebar, so that it is visible to your visitors at all times, allowing them to sign up whenever they desire to.

2. Not too time consuming

Time is a luxury. Time is money. Time is the one thing most people are hard-pressed for. If you want your visitors to engage with your sign up form, make sure it’s not too time-consuming. The best way to ensure that is by not asking them for too much information.

Besides, after the 2016 data mining controversy, users are wary of sharing more information with businesses than they have to. The rule of thumb is to have no more than three fields in your sign up form. Unless your business operations depend on it, avoid adding the phone number field.

3. A clear call to action

You see sign up forms on nearly every website you visit. How many of those prompts do you act on? Make yours stand out by giving your users a reason to spend that extra couple of minutes sharing their contact information with you.

A clever, witty, and pointed call to action goes a long way in making that happen. It helps if your CTA is in plain text and prominently placed on your sign up form template.

4. Autofill

Even if you’re asking for minimal inputs from your users, manual entering those details can seem tedious to many, making the whole process seem unnecessary. You can navigate this stumbling block by leveraging autofill options using social media or Google sign-in options.

5. Opt-in box to indicate preferences

You may want to send out different types of emails to your subscribers – newsletters, promotional materials, information about product launches et al. But are your subscribers willing to receive a barrage of communication from you end?

By including an opt-in box where they can select whether they just want to receive your newsletter or all emails, you give them the power to choose.

5 Simple Steps to Create the Best Sign Up Forms

The best way to grow your email list is to get your visitors excited about the prospect of signing up. Here’s how you can create a sign-up form which does exactly that in 5 simple steps:

1. Address the ‘What’s in it for me?’ question

An email is a valuable commodity and your visitors know that. To get them to follow through on the sign-up process, you must address the ‘what’s in it for me?’ question right off the bat. A crisp description of what they stand to gain by signing up ought to do the trick.

For instance, you can use ‘sign up for our weekly newsletter and receive exciting offers’ instead of just saying ‘sign up here’ or ‘spare a few moments to sign up’.

2. Use double opt-in to gain quality leads

You may have 10 million subscribers but if you can’t get them to convert, the whole exercise becomes futile. The focus should be on assimilating quality sign-ups and the best way to ensure that is a double opt-in feature.

This simply means a lead will have to confirm their interest to sign up twice – once at the web form and then on a follow-up CTA that is typically emailed to them. Anyone who completes this process is genuinely interested in your business and qualifies as a high-quality lead.

3. Keep it simple

Your visitors should be able to access the sign-up form and complete the process in a matter of seconds. That’s why keeping it clean and simple is the key.

Don’t add too many fields, don’t make the process too complex or you risk losing a potential lead’s interest.

4. Choosing placement and timing carefully

With so many options in terms of sign up form types and placements, this choice can be baffling for even the most seasoned business professionals. For this, you need a clear understanding of your target audience.

Will they be annoyed by a pop-up form that pops up after just a few seconds or is an exit intent form a better choice? Are they likely to miss an inline form? Will they bounce from a landing page form? How much time will they be willing to spend on it? Knowing the answers to these questions can help you arrive at the best combination of the two for your sign up form.

5. Follow up the submission with an email

Once a visitor signs up, show them your gratitude with a welcome email, thanking them for their interest in your services. You can also include a special discount or share some relevant links to get them excited about taking this relationship forward.

Wrapping Up

An email sign up form is an efficient way to expand your outreach, and in turn, your conversions and sales. Invest the time and effort to create one that will bolster your email marketing efforts and close the gap between lead generation and conversions. 

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Kevin is the Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest-growing email design and coding companies. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz, and breathes ‘email marketing’. He is a brand magician who loves to engage, share insights with fellow marketers, and enjoys sharing his thoughts on the latest email marketing best practices.

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