You’ve probably got some sort of lead generation set up on your website. At the very least you might have a telephone number and a contact form. We hope you also have a newsletter sign-up form!
Having an opt-in form on your website is a fantastic way to encourage your visitors to join your email list. But just having an opt-in form in place isn’t going to automatically mean they will sign up.
You need to be able to answer this question: “What’s in it for me?”
That’s the question that a visitor will ask before they take an action on your website.
It’s not a selfish question and should never be seen that way. Instead, you should remember that everyone’s time is precious. To protect our time we also protect our inboxes. For you to be given the key to an individual's inbox, you need to make sure that what you truly have value to offer them.
Let's discuss some best practices that will increase the likelihood that your website visitors will click and complete your opt-in form.
An email opt-in form can be as simple or as complicated as a marketer wants to make it. Some opt-in forms are as simple as an area to enter your email and a button to submit. Other opt-in forms pop across your screen and force you to close the form or subscribe. Then there are opt-in forms that are effectively their own landing page.
Regardless of the extent of your opt-in form, an effective opt-in form is:
Whether your form is a static form or a pop-up form location is critical to its success. If your form isn't on a relevant and well-trafficked page it's not going to generate a lot of leads. Similarly, there are high-visibility locations on web pages where forms should be placed to increase chances of success. For example, a bar across the top of your homepage, a sidebar above the fold on your homepage, and the homepage for your blog are all popular locations.
It's also important for your form to be easy to see. It should be in a location that isn't cluttered and crowded with other elements. You should definitely give your form enough negative space to let it shine The easier the form is to see, the more likely a visitor is to sign up.
Just like with any other website element design affects the performance of your opt-in forms. We suggest using contrasting colors and fonts to catch your visitors' attention.
Hubspot once ran an experiment pitting a red button vs a green button on an opt-in form. The red button won the contest earning 21% more conversions, but that doesn't mean red is best for your form. What it does mean is that a small change can make a huge difference!
Here are a few seemingly small elements to test.
You don't have to be a designer to create a visually attractive form. There are many plugins and tools that help those who struggle with design create well-designed forms quickly.
Is the copy clear and attention-grabbing? Does it encourage the visitor to read on? There are tons of opt-in forms that use the same call to action to entice people to join their email list. Our team sees tons of opt-in forms that simply say sign up, subscribe now, join, or get updates. These options can be very effective, but everyone uses them.
The CTA gets a lot of attention, but the title and supporting copy can also draw in customers. The supporting copy is your chance to explain to the website visitor why following the brand on social media and/or visiting the website isn't enough. This is where you drum up FOMO by telling them what they will NOT be getting if they don't subscribe.
Website visitors are already unlikely to sign up for your form, so don't hurt your chances by creating a form with a bad user experience. If there are multiple fields to fill in, make sure they're easy to understand and avoid overwhelming with too many fields. According to a study by Marketing Sherpa, there's an 11% drop in conversion rate for each additional field on a form.
So how many fields should you include? This depends on how you plan to segment your email list. If you hope to send marketing emails based on birthday, location, etc. you will need to add those fields to your form. For example, a tourist attraction might want to send emails to a portion of their list who live close enough for a day trip, so they would need to collect information on their customer's location. According to a Hubspot study, opt-in form conversation rates begin to drop after 3 fields.
Use all your digital real estate to your advantage. Social media is a great place to promote your email sign-up form. Most email marketing tools allow you to integrate with Facebook. Once you connect your email tool with Facebook you can add an email opt-in form to the tabs on your Facebook business page.
Promoting your email sign-up form on Instagram is less intuitive than on Facebook, but it's still a simple process! All you need is a customizable landing page tool like LinkTree. After paying for a paid solution like LinkTree or choosing an alternative solution you can add your email form link to your landing page and add this link to your bio.
Last but not least, you can and should periodically post a link to sign up for your newsletter on your social media channels. When posting about your subscribing to your email list you should write about the advantages of signing up and what value they will receive via email that they don't receive on social media.
You need to think about your customers and the problems that they struggle with. Those are the problems that your products or services are designed to help overcome.
For example, let’s imagine that you offer products and accessories that help someone to clean their cars faster and more effectively.
A typical pain point for someone when cleaning their vehicle would be the amount of time it takes. Another could be that they never get a great result and the paintwork always has streaks when it dries.
This gives a perfect opportunity for you to produce a guide or a video tutorial that shows your potential customers how to give their car a perfect clean. When they finish it’ll look and smell as fresh as it first did in the showroom. All they need to do to have a pristine car is to give you their email.
Now compare the above to a boring email sign-up box. There’s nothing there that encourages someone to sign-up. Why would they? For many, they’ll avoid the box because they’ll worry about receiving even more emails in their inbox.
It’s really important to think about your customers and to be able to answer the “what’s in it for me?” question. When you do this, clearly delivering and demonstrating value, you’ll generate more leads and sales.
The value could be an ebook, course, video, audio or more. It’s usually delivered via email soon after subscribing. If it's a single piece of content you should send it as quickly as possible. If you are sending multiple pieces of content send an initial confirmation email and send over a number of days to the interested reader.
Adding opt-in forms are simple call to actions (CTAs) that can help garner interest where you may not have captured them otherwise. Making these forms easy to understand, that are not only visually appealing, but also intuitive are critical to their success.