A study conducted by Sumo in 2017 revealed that the average email opt-in rate is 1.95%. So, if more than 2% of your website visitors subscribe to your email newsletter, you’re doing alright.
But did you know that HP managed to increase their sign-up rate by 186% by creating a high-converting email opt-in page?
Or that you need only five minutes to boost your subscription rate by 37%?
Of course, these are success stories, but when you know that the top 10% of marketers have an average opt-in rate of 4.77% (Sumo study), you get the motivation necessary to increase your subscription rates by that 3%.
Or you don’t, which is perfectly fine. If you want to stay where you are, you don’t need this article.
On the other hand, in case you want to create an opt-in form that will convert your website visitors like crazy, you have come to the right place.
Before we cover the essential elements of a high-converting opt-in form, let’s take a look at the most common mistakes marketers make when creating opt-in forms.
Common opt-in form mistakes
These are the mistakes that can prevent you from increasing your opt-in rate:
– Too many mandatory fields
Asking for too much information will make your visitors skeptical and hinder their user experience.
Instead of having too many mandatory fields, reduce them to a few and then use surveys to learn additional information after users have already signed up.
– Too much animation
Just like with the number of fields, excessive use of animation will have a negative impact on users, distracting them and leading to exiting the form.
– Unoptimized for mobile
Since most of digital media time is spent on mobile devices, you should design your opt-in forms with mobile visitors in mind.
– Only single opt-in forms
Double opt-in forms are much better in the long run, helping you build a higher-quality list and immediate communication with subscribers, as well as send confirmation emails.
Now that you know what steps to avoid, we can jump straight to the best practices for building opt-in forms.
Create lead magnets
If you just ask people to subscribe to your newsletter, you won’t see much success.
Email is by far the most intimate type of online communication, so you can’t just ask people to give you their email addresses.
Instead, you need to give them something in return ‒ a free but valuable resource called lead magnet.
Lead magnets are also known as ‘freebies’ or ‘opt-in bribes’. When you think of it, the second term is very true to its purpose.
Your lead magnet should be:
– Highly relevant to your ideal customers
Even though it is great to have a high number of email subscribers, this is true only if they are your ideal customers.
Having a list of people who will never buy your service or product is counter-productive.
That is why you need to attract the right kind of email subscribers by offering them a highly relevant lead magnet.
– Easily consumed
Human attention span is getting shorter and shorter, which is why you need to create a resource that is easily consumed.
– Helpful and specific
Your lead magnet is supposed to help your visitors take a very specific step.
In other words, try to provide a set of tools, information, or a skill set that your audience can apply toward achieving their goal.
If your lead magnet can create a noticeable improvement in someone’s life, you will build a lot of trust, manage your leads with more success, and eventually convince your customers to buy your products or services.
Even this is not always a good thing, people love instant gratification.
Therefore, your lead magnet should be something that you can deliver instantly, such as an audio MP3, a video, or a PDF.
Here are some of the most effective lead magnet ideas:
– cheat sheet
– web app
– email course
Use CTA wisely
The first thing you should do with your call to action is to make the CTA button stand out.
It is essential that your visitors can easily differentiate your CTA button from other elements in your opt-in form.
This trick will help you grab the attention more easily and encourage your potential leads to click.
In this case, it is usually simple things that make a great difference. The color, contrast, and size of your CTA button can make or break your lead generation.
And while we can debate on the most effective color, one thing is for sure – your CTA button needs to pop in order to increase your conversions.
Also, you need to increase the contrast between the button color and the background color, as well as to make the button large enough for mobile users to tap with their fingers.
Besides the CTA button design, the copy on it is also important. Does ‘Sign up for our newsletter’ sound enticing?
Instead of using worn out call-to-action words like ‘sign up’ or ‘subscribe’, try to come up with an original, benefit-driven phrase that tells your visitors what they are getting out of the deal.
Always ask yourself what your visitors will get from the action you want them to take.
Here are some examples of compelling and benefit-driven CTA phrases:
– Get 15% off today.
– Increase your opt-in rate by 5%.
– Make $10,000 in the next week using this marketing trick.
Benefits all over the place, right?
CTAs are extremely important for converting website visitors into leads, so make sure yours are irresistible.
Choose the best location for your form
If you want your sign-up forms to capture qualified leads, you need to put them in the right locations.
If you fail to put your forms in the right places, you could lose hundreds or maybe even thousands of subscribers.
To get the most out of your opt-in forms, try the following places:
– Splash page
More and more marketers are now using splash pages to make their opt-in forms noticeable to their website visitors.
You can easily structure your splash page by placing the main navigation at the bottom of the page instead of at the top.
After that, make sure that the rest of the page displays your incentive to opt-in and your email sign-up form so that they are the main focus of the page.
– Welcome gate
A welcome gate is very similar to a pop-up contact form. It allows your visitors to take a quick look of your content before they are shown a full-screen call to action.
Creating a welcome gate is easy. However, it requires a simple headline and a call-to-action button (or subscribe form) on the background which can be either plain or colored.
– Blog post
Including your opt-in forms at the bottom of your blog posts is a common practice.
If your content is helpful and your visitors are enjoying it, they will most likely opt in to your email list.
However, you can also include opportunities to sign up within your posts ‒ just make sure they are relevant to the blog topic.
If you choose this location, it is important to include an email sign-up form at the top of your sidebar, which is the most common and most expected solution.
Moreover, you can also create various ads and additional forms further down the sidebar.
Placing your opt-in forms in these locations will increase your opt-in visibility and, eventually, your sign-up rate.
Using social proof in your opt-in forms can be a very powerful marketing strategy.
Below are some great tricks you can use to effectively show social proof:
– Show the number of subscribers
In case you already have a high number of subscribers, why not boast about them in your opt-in forms?
Let your visitors know how popular you are by indicating the number of your subscribers.
This way, you will show that subscribing to your email list is a common behavior and, in a way, ‘expected’ from them.
You can also use phrases like ‘Join 20,000 other email marketers receiving our weekly emails’, letting them know that a large number of people like them have already subscribed to your email list.
– Show the number of downloads
When you show how many consumers use or have downloaded your offer, you add value to your business and practically say that you have helped a number of people.
– Add customer testimonials
This is a tried and tested method for adding social proof to opt-in forms.
Short quotes from happy customers are a great way to increase your conversion rate, so it is only natural that this is one of the most common uses of social proof.
You can place the quotes below the form or under the image on your form and boost credibility by including the person’s name, photo, company and job title along with the quote.
– Add testimonials from influencers
Testimonials from regular customers are great, but testimonials from influencers are irresistible.
If you have a relationship with an industry influencer (or more of them), don’t hesitate to get a testimonial from them about your product or service.
This can make your number of subscribers explode in a matter of days.
Use different types of opt-in forms
Not all opt-in forms are created equal. One opt-in form can work at one specific moment or target a certain group of people, but it will be useless in other situations.
Before you choose your opt-in form type, make sure you know your goals and your audience, but also choose your lead magnet and the annoyance level you are willing to evoke.
– Exit intent
This is a pop-up box that appears when the user moves their mouse pointer to close the page or tab.
It grabs attention, gives you the last chance to convince people to stay in touch, and reduces churn rate.
However, make sure you don’t overuse it, as it can be very annoying.
Similar to exit intent, this form also pops up. However, this one appears when a certain amount of time has passed since the user entered a website.
It instantly grabs attention and drives user action, but like the exit intent form, it can easily cause annoyance if overused.
This sign-up box appears from the side or bottom of the page after a visitor scrolls down to a particular part of the page.
It is shown only to users which are highly engaged, which is both an advantage and a drawback.
– Shake box
Shake box is a neat web form that pops up on the screen and shakes.
It is engaging and attention-grabbing, and it hasn’t been used too often. But it may not appeal to each of your customers.
– Embedded sign-up form
This is a good old form embedded onto your website, which can motivate people to sign up if it is designed well, fits the overall design, and has a good copy, clear benefits, and a CTA.
However, it may not be enough to catch attention if your visitors are not actively looking for a newsletter sign-up.
Final thoughts: Make it visually appealing
Humans are visual creatures and there is not much you can do about it. However, you can use this to your advantage by making attractive opt-in forms.
And while prettiness of your forms is important, your primary goal should be to make your forms stand out from the rest of the content on your page.
You can achieve this by using:
– subtle shadow to add a little popping effect
– directional cues to show your visitors where to focus in your form
Finally, never neglect privacy regulations. Make sure that you respect customers’ privacy by using some of these GDPR-compliant plugins to create opt-in forms.
When you use all the tips we listed, you will see the number of your subscribers grow and your opt-in rate go way above that 1.95%.