How to Create Sign-Up Forms that Convert for your Clients

iPhone with sign here post it on the screen.

One of the biggest reasons why email is still the undisputed king of marketing channels is the fact that it’s permission-based. Conversion rates of email marketing campaigns have nearly doubled since the start of the year. Clearly, consumers are much more likely to trust and pay attention to promotional messages that they’ve already shown an interest in—and consciously signed up to receive—rather than random, unsolicited advertising that simply hopes to grab their attention.

Because permission-based marketing can’t happen without permission, one of your most important tasks (and biggest challenges) is helping your clients to grow their opt-in email lists.

You’re probably familiar with lead generation tactics like referral marketing, social media promotions, lead magnets, and engaging, SEO-optimized content—all great ways to capture the awareness of a brand.

In this article, we’re going to focus on the all-important next step—turning brand awareness into new email subscribers. We’ll check out some of the most creative and effective sign-up forms for your clients, including pop-ups, dedicated landing pages, and interactive, gamified sign-up forms. And because signing up should be a win-win for everybody involved, we’ll discuss the right kind of incentives to offer to.

But first, let’s take a closer look at the importance of the sign-up, and some of the benefits that a healthy and engaged email list can offer.

These are some of the most creative and effective sign-up forms for your clients, including pop-ups, dedicated landing pages, and interactive, gamified sign-up forms. – Katrina at @omnisend Click To Tweet

Why is sign-up so important for your clients?

With email marketing delivering an incredible $40 for each $1 spent, it’s quite understandable that your clients are keen for a slice of this pie. Not only is it more cost-effective than social media for example, but studies show that customers prefer to receive promotional messages on email rather than social media, and email conversion rates are at least three times higher, too.

That’s not to say that social media shouldn’t be a part of your marketing strategy, far from it. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram have incredible reach and potential for attracting new audiences. But rather than paying a premium to advertise on these sites directly, consider running social media campaigns that focus specifically on signing people up to email lists, and take advantage of the higher performance and effectiveness that email marketing offers.

A healthy email list full of engaged, interested subscribers will quickly become your clients’ most reliable and lucrative source of revenue, which is why it needs to be looked after. As important as it is to get contact details and permission, it should also be easy for customers to unsubscribe as they lose interest, and any inactive or duplicate contacts need to be quickly removed for the sake of your clients’ sender reputation. Building an email list is like keeping a garden—it requires constant care and attention!

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. How can we get people to take that all-important step, and opt-in to receive your clients’ promotions? Let’s take a look at some effective sign-up forms and incentives.

Static vs. dynamic sign-up forms

Static sign-up forms are the classic and most obvious way to ask people to subscribe to a marketing list. Most e-commerce platforms and email service providers offer these as standard, and most retailers stick with these basic templates.

Usually, they come with one standard field for an email address, and a text like “Subscribe to our Newsletter,” or “Sign up today.”

An example of the static sign-up form at the bottom of the website. Source:
An example of the static sign-up form at the bottom of the website. Source:

However, as well-made as some of these forms might be, retailers are essentially relying on people to voluntarily hand over their contact details. While some contacts might be captured that way, a more active approach yields better results.

In this study by Omnisend, standard static sign-up boxes only converted at 1.28%. In order to boost that percentage, we need to use dynamic sign-up forms:

  • Pop-ups: Despite an ambiguous reputation, pop-up forms are more effective than static forms, converting 4.22% of the time. Pop-ups are becoming increasingly sophisticated and can be personalized to appear at specific times and website categories, or just as the user is getting ready to leave—also known as an exit-intent pop-up. Play around and experiment with different types of pop-ups, different timings, places, etc. Because while everyone wants to write about how people find pop-ups irritating, customers do respond to them—and the numbers are there to back it up.
Image of diverse people alongside a small contact form.
  • Interactive forms: Interactive content can differentiate brands from their competitors, leaving customers with a memorable and engaging experience. The statistics back this up, with conversion rates jumping to 12.74% with the introduction of the ‘Wheel of Fortune’ interactive sign-up form. This form invites website visitors to enter their contact data for an opportunity to spin a wheel and win a prize, introducing a gamified element as well as a potential incentive.
Contact form with a colorful roulette.
  • Landing pages: A dedicated landing page is useful for keeping things focused. For example, if your client is using social media to boost their subscriptions, their post or ad should lead users directly to a targeted landing page for an easy sign-up, rather than a website where there is too much distracting information. Landing pages based on a particular campaign or incentive—free shipping, for example—have the highest conversions of all, with 24.82%. It’s important that landing page designs are consistent with other brand marketing, from text font to colors and image, and present only the desired incentive, a sign-up field, and an eye-catching CTA.
Contact form from the website

Each of these sign-up forms is effective in its own way, and there’s no need to choose one over the other. As long as their use is targeted and users aren’t overwhelmed with sign-up forms from different sources all at once, there’s no reason why they can’t be used together to attract as many subscribers as possible.

Find the right number of fields in the sign-up form

For better personalization of messages, retailers should collect data about their customers, and sign-up forms are a great opportunity to do that. However, the number of fields in the sign-up form shouldn’t be endless, as it can have an impact on the form’s conversion rate.

What information to ask for depends on your clients’ business specifics. They might want to collect email addresses, mobile phone numbers, the product category the new subscriber is interested in, the gender, the date of birth, etc.

Exit popup from Omnisend.

From what we see at Omnisend with the rise of SMS marketing, a field for the phone number has become extremely popular among retailers. Asking for an email address and at the same time for a phone number is now the norm and something that subscribers accept positively.

Incentives in the sign-up forms

As previously mentioned, most users will expect a little something in return for their contact details, and there are many valuable resources that you can offer to sweeten the deal.

There are many possibilities of what to offer alongside your sign-up forms but bear in mind that a new subscriber has a very high intent to buy. This means that offering an incentive for their first purchase can be their highway to the checkout page. This is why welcome emails, automated messages sent to brand new subscribers, generate conversion rates greater than 50%.

The most popular discount offers by DTC brands are 10–15% off for the first purchase. Other popular alternatives can be:

  • Free shipping
  • A small gift with the first purchase
  • Free access to an online course, webinar, etc.

Whichever kind of incentive is chosen, it should be offered alongside the sign-up form with a clear, actionable title. As always, test various incentives and titles to see which resonate most with your clients’ customers.

Wrap up

A well-stocked, highly-relevant email list is every retailer’s dream, and growing it is one of the best things that you can do for your clients.

The old days of presenting standard, static sign-up forms, and hoping for the best are over. With the option of more dynamic and interactive sign-up forms, it’s now possible to be more proactive in generating leads, capturing peoples’ attention with enticing incentives, and engaging them with targeted, fun, and less predictable content.

Try out a few of these forms and incentives for yourself—your clients will be sure to thank you for a noticeable boost in their email list numbers!

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