We see lots of consternation over list growth, and we get it. Inbound marketing is a two-way street with a single point of access — permission to engage. That's why you've optimized your website six ways to Sunday and deployed a small army of pay per click (PCC) ads to bring traffic, right?
Visitors are primed for engagement when they hit your site, and your email signup form has mere seconds to snap up that attention; in short, your signup form is the nexus of your conversion funnel. So make sure you're optimizing it to attract the right leads.
Here are six tips to optimize your form for new subscribers:
- Generate curb appeal. Your signup form needs to draw the viewer's eye. Lead site visitors to your form by placing it in a high-traffic area where it doesn't have to compete with other centers of attention. Making sure your signup form is seen is job #1, and it never hurts to stack the deck. Gilt Taste has a very welcoming homepage, with not one but two places to subscribe above the fold.
- Build trust. Of course, you wouldn't sell someone's email address or share it with another company. We know you're better than that, but potential subscribers may not. Tell them in no uncertain terms that you'll respect and maintain their privacy.
- Lead with the benefits and explain what's in store for subscribers. An email address is a precious commodity so make this an appealing transaction. While you can and should employ your brand's signature wit and wisdom, your pitch is about what's in it for subscribers. Do your emails make people smarter than the boy next door? Will joining your list score a table at Sunday brunch? Giving people an idea of the email goods you'll deliver (and when) will head buyer's remorse off at the pass. Creative firm Rule29's newsletter signup form does this very well.
- Be quick on the uptake by limiting your form to three or four fields. We marketers and our precious databases are insatiable when it comes to numbers. Be aware that for every required field, there's a 20% decline in signups. Put the email field front and center, and unless you require additional information to survive on a desert island, don't ask for much more before subscribers click submit.
- Encourage self-segmenting. Enabling your audience to choose from a menu of available groups during the opt-in process is a great way to show you care about their preferences, and it'll sustain their interest over time. If your content strategy has more than one track and your sending schedule's hopping, let people decide for themselves what they'd like to read and when. To learn more about newsletter menus, see this Ask Emma article.
- Ask politely to learn more about subscribers. It's quite possible to collect email addresses and demographic data without turning people off. Consider sending a survey with your welcome trigger to give new signups an easy way to tell you their likes and dislikes. If you're hooked up to Emma's API through a custom web form, why not create a multi-tiered signup process to keep the opt-ins *and* the data flowing? You'll want to put the email field on the first page, next to the benefits and submit button. After people click submit, you're free to direct them anywhere to share their birthday, favorite ice cream flavor and what-not. Lastly, be sure to thank subscribers for what they've shared. Read more about thank you pages here.
No sizzle, no signup, no sale
Inbound leads are personal now. It all begins with an email address and, if you're lucky, a name. An optimized website deserves an equally optimized signup form. So take that signup form off the blocks, test until you find what works best for your audience and watch the people meter wave them in.
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