Email sign-up forms: the more, the merrier

Don’t you want to know who’s visiting your website? And wouldn’t you then want to follow-up with these people? If so, having an easy mechanism in place to capture email address is critical.

Most people think popups are evil, but ever since adding one to my own site, I’ve seen a sharp increase in signups for this newsletter.

There are many tools you can use to implement a popup box, such as SumoMe, Padiact, MailMunch and OptinMonster. I can only vouch for the first two, which I’ve used at various times on my own site. In both cases I was able to set up rules to target new visitors vs. repeat visitor and/or which pages various forms would appear. Setting up rules to delay the popup’s display can make them less annoying. And, as with other forms of ads, making it easy to remove from the screen is critical.

Now, it is possible to overdo it, but the truth is that even if you think you have too many ways to sign up for your email program, they may still be invisible to your visitors. As such, don’t limit yourself to just a single placement. Where else could you put signup forms? Here are a few suggestions:

The top of a sidebar. Don’t bury it under ads or below a lot of links to other pages on your site. This is an obvious spot that most website owners miss.

At the bottom of each blog post. Someone may come across a single post, read the whole thing and be really interested in what you have to say. Having a signup form right there makes it easy for them to convert to a long-time reader while they’re most interested in your work.

The footer of your website. Similar to the above – they’ve made it to the bottom of your page because they’re interested in reading what you have to say. Capture their address so they don’t have to scroll or search further for a way to signup.

The top navbar. Most sites have a means for making this bar a permanent fixture on every page when the visitor scrolls down. To keep things from getting too cluttered this location may be best for capturing an email address only.

On your “About Us” page. When visitors check out this page they’re obviously interested in you or your brand’s story. Make sure you give them a way to connect by adding an email sign up form.

Essential information for your sign up form

Email sign up forms should be short and sweet. In many cases, just asking for a name and email address is all you need. The shorter the form, the more likely subscribers are to fill it out.

However, sign up forms offer an opportunity to collect information about subscribers that you can use to personalize messages and tailor your content. Collecting additional information can be helpful, but as was just mentioned, long sign up forms can cause friction for a potential subscriber to leave. You have to find a delicate balance. One way may be to have simple forms in the places mentioned above and a dedicated email signup page that includes longer form.

Permission-based program

This isn’t a quantity over quality issue either as these are permission-based tactics. When a visitor fills out a sign up form and asks to be added to an email list, they’re actively agreeing to be a part of your list and giving you permission to send them email. These contacts are priceless because they’ve specifically asked to hear from your business and are highly likely to open, read and click your messages.

As for where and how you use signup forms, it’s likely based upon your industry and how tech-savvy your visitors are. The less your visitors use technology in their day-to-day dealings, the easier you’ll need to make it for them to join your email list, which will mean more forms on your site!

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