Your sign up form is the first step in attracting new customers into your business through inbound marketing, and the wording you use on your newsletter sign-up can make or break your results.
Whether you're a seasoned pro, or new to email marketing, there are a few copywriting best practices that you want to keep in mind when trying to grow your newsletter subscribers.
We're here today to discuss better ways to write compelling and high-converting newsletter sign-up forms. But first, let's make sure we're talking about the same thing. Most email opt-in forms contain a few shared elements that make them unique.
The call to action is a clear and concise message to your reader to do something (take action!). In this case, we'll be asking our reader to sign up for our newsletter. It is the responsibility of your call to action to grab the readers attention and bring their focus to the email input form.
Sometimes, we have more to say to our reader than what would properly fit into a single call to action. For example, I prefer to use short and large font-sized call-to-actions. Because of this, it would look terrible if I added a ton of extra text into the title. In cases like this, we can opt to use a subheading underneath the title, usually about 14-16px text size.
This is one of the most commonly skipped steps when many businesses first add their newsletter to their website. Often you'll see the default "Submit" text used.
The use of rich imagery has been shown not only to increase the conversion of a newsletter sign up form but also to get more views (eyes) to read your message. Using a stunning and relevant image is an easy way to bring your message to life, and make your pop-up feel more like a webpage overall. This makes a reader less aware that they are being solicited for their email address.
Learn more about boosting the conversion of your sign-up forms with the use of images by checking out this guide by TOPO.
While there is no limit to how exactly you want to collect emails, there are a few common options that are available to you. If you're wondering where to put your newsletter signup form, choose one of the options below to get it added on your website.
Pop up forms are my preferred method of collecting newsletter sign-ups. While there are many tools out there that you can use to help manage email, my tool of choice is Sumo. I've been a Sumo user for more than 6 years now, and have watched their toolset grow to fill almost every need in the market. The good news is you can get started with Sumo for free, and use it to add any of the variations below to your site.
There are four main ways that you can use Pop-Ups to collect emails:
Exit-intent pop-ups allow you to show a pop up at the exact moment a visitor is about to leave your website. This is especially useful for converting cold traffic, for example visitors from Google search results or Pinterest, who are only visiting your website for the first (and maybe last time). Ideally, your pop-up would offer something valuable in exchange for their email address - allowing you to continue your relationship via email marketing, retargeting, and other routes.
Timed pop-up forms are useful for situations where you know a user is probably debating whether or not to do something like make a purchase. For example, you know that your pricing structure is pretty simple, and should not take more than 2-3 minutes to read through. Knowing that information, we could set up a timed pop-up form to trigger after two minutes and ask the reader if they would like a personal demo. Can you see how this makes more sense than waiting until they're ready to leave, like in the exit intent pop-up above?
Button embed pop up forms are great for offering resources before, during, and at the end of a long-form piece of content like a blog post. The idea is, while writing your post, you occasionally sprinkle in call to actions in the form of buttons or links or both, that will then trigger a pop-up with relevant sign up messaging.
This is very powerful because unlike most pop-ups, which can sometimes have a negative user experience (things shooting out everywhere on the page), with a button or link embed the user is in control of when they want to see the sign up form. This has conversion benefits as well as user experience benefits.
An inline sign up form is the preferred method when you want to embed your form on a page, or for example your website footer. These forms, unlike pop-ups are always visible to your readers. They become an element on your website that is constantly available for sign ups.
Adding at least one of these somewhere on your site is a good idea to help direct people to subscribe directly when they are ready, instead of waiting for a pop-up modal to trigger.
A fullscreen Welcome Mat (as Sumo calls it) is basically a landing page that only shows the first time a visitor lands on your website. This is preferable to a landing page because you can exclusively target new traffic, while not bothering readers that have already seen the message or are subscribed.
This is another feature that is best used for converting cold/warm traffic from search results and social media. By immediately trying to get a sign up, you increase the number of people who see your form drastically (which leads to more subscribers), while also marketing to someone who is not yet ready to exit your website.
The number one factor that will make someone decide that they want to sign up for your newsletter? It comes down to value. When we put on our marketing hat, it's important to remember that website visitors are selfish. Not in a bad way, like running a red light or something. Maybe self-absorbed is the better word? Either way, the reader only cares about themselves - not about helping you reach 10,000 subscribers.
We need to make sure we're highlighting exactly what the benefit the user will receive by signing up for our newsletter. This should be something that you know your audience craves - things like:
By starting our sign up form with value in mind, it takes much of the guess-work about what the perfect thing to say is. Instead, focus on explaining to the reader how much they'll benefit from signing up for your newsletter.
Focusing on providing value tends to lead to better call-to-actions that make the decision to sign up much easier for your reader. This is especially true when you are starting out, or have very little traffic to your website. Offering something valuable takes the reader's focus off of whether or not they know/like/trust you, and instead lets them figure out if they are interested in receiving the value you're offering.
By now, I hope we can both agree that regardless of the size of our business when trying to grow our list of email subscribers, we need to focus on sending the right message at the right time. So, how do we write better wording for our newsletter sign-ups? While you can never practice copywriting enough, I find that it's a lot easier to start out by using a newsletter sign up form template like the ones below.
With privacy compliance and security being a serious concern online these days, it may be tempting to include statements like "We never SPAM" or "Your email is safe with us.". While these seem like small, well-intentioned additions to your sign up form, they can be disastrous for conversion.
Learn more about why this is a bad idea from, Emailified.
While taking visitor privacy seriously, which you absolutely must with things like GDPR compliance being mandatory in some industries - it's important to note that mentioning that you will never spam provides almost no legal benefit or compliance metric, but instead has been shown to have a negative impact on conversion.
If you're looking to cover the liability involved in a visitor handing over their email address, a better option is to have the user confirm that they are open to receiving emails and marketing materials by adding a small checkbox to check before submitting. Most email template form providers like MailChimp, Aweber, and Active Campaign all have this feature ready to be enabled. Also worth noting, these responses are usually stored for reference on the customer's email account profile for reference in the future should any privacy issues come up.
Capturing emails for your business is a necessary growth driving activity for any business looking to scale. The greater your email subscriber base grows, the greater your opportunities for sales. This is why it's so important to make sure we're saying the right things at the right times when trying to get more subscribers.
At all times during the process, as a rule of thumb, we want to ensure that we're offering real value, in a clear and helpful way, without making the reader think too much. If you follow these tips for your business, you will see an increase not only in sign-ups but also in the quality of subscriber.
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