Email Newsletter sign up form: Best Practice, Analysis and Examples
Reading Time: 5 minutes
The Email Newsletter Sign Up Form
In today’s post we’re looking at what websites have included a newsletter sign up form, the best practices and some brand examples.
If your business uses email marketing for promotion you should have a newsletter sign up form on the site to capture new data and to engage your site visitors.
Without an accurate customer contact list, you physically cannot use email marketing, and by capturing new data through your website, you are building up a list of contacts that are engaged with your business already.
The law in the UK (soon to be changing in line with GDPR), requires business to capture opt in from their email contacts, and businesses must make sure that users can unsubscribe form marketing messages at any time.
A poor newsletter sign up form and process can push users away and prevent them from providing their email address, and may leave a bad taste in their mouth if they have a bad brand experience.
Email Newsletter Sign Up Form Best Practices
Here are 10 best practices to follow when creating and placing a newsletter sign up form on your website:
1. Make your form easy to find
Many businesses place their email sign up in the footer of the homepage, and don’t position this in a prominent place on the welcome or landing page.
Keep the position of your form consistent throughout the site and make sure it’s easy for contacts to find.
2. Build trust with your site visitors
More users are now more security savvy and are aware of their rights as consumers regarding privacy and spam. Include text on your sign up form to build trust with the user that you won’t share their email address with other business or parties, and remind users that you will keep their details safe.
3. Tell visitors what they will get
Let your users know what they will get in return for signing up. This also helps point 4, building trust. Let them know what the messages are likely to include, for example, news, offers or business updates.
4. Set a frequency
Tell the visitor how often you will be emailing them and then stick to your plan. Don’t bombard contacts if you’ve told them you’re sending a monthly newsletter, and don’t forget about your engaged list completely.
5. Offer a sample
Allow your users to see at least part of the content you intend to send them. If your sign up page is too cluttered, consider linking out to a specific sample page, before the user spends their valuable time filling out your form.
6. Ask for their main email
By having access to their main email address, you’re ensuring your email gets opened and seen. Use a word like ‘main’ or ‘primary’ next to the email field.
7. Avoid marketing jargon
Ask people to ‘sign up’ to your emails, instead of ‘subscribe’. Some users may assume this a paid subscription so avoid confusion by using plain words during this process.
8. Capture the email address first
If your form aims to capture multiple fields, such a first name, date of birth or country, place email at the top of your list. A form with lots of fields can be off putting for users so you may also consider implementing a two stage sign up process where the email is submitted first and follow up fields are displayed on the next page.
9. Watch the syntax
If your user types in their email address incorrectly, it can result in an email address hard bouncing and then it’s useless as it can’t be used for marketing. Some sites will offer additional functionality such as prompting a user if something is spelt incorrectly, such as ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’. Remember to clean your list for small errors such as this.
10. Test, test, test
Remember to test your form as though you are a user to pick up on any processes that can be streamlined. Further tests on the form may include the position or content surrounding the form to understand how and where users are more likely to engage with the form.
Effective Email Newsletter Sign Up Form Examples
Here a few examples, from various sectors and industries. See how they use the sign up form, how you could use their technique, or if you’d do something different.
Retailer Asos include their sign up on their homepage, just under the fold on my screen. The clever part of this form, is that instead of including a subscribe button, they are immediately segmenting their groups based on preference ready to send out relevant messages to the user.
2. The University of Manchester
3. The Natural History Museum
The sign-up form used on this page is positioned on the home page and include the all-important privacy notice and also links to the other social channels available. The thank you page that is displayed after the users submits the form also reconfirms the option for users to unsubscribe at any time and includes a direct email address if users have any questions.
McDonalds are using a pop-up form to gather addresses as soon as users visit the site.
More businesses are introducing pop ups or light boxes to immediately capture data. Pop ups can have high bounce rates if not done right, but McDonalds are using this popup to tell the user about the types of messages they are likely to receive.
When the user clicks the ‘subscribe’ button they are taken to a preference centre page where they can enter their name and age and choose their frequency of email campaigns.
The Future of the Email Newsletter Sign Up Form?
For the last couple of years, Google has been testing using email capture forms in Google Ads. This allows an email sign up without even entering the site. Google calls this feature ‘Contact and email form extensions’.
This is both good and bad. It’s good because I’m sure the number of email signs ups will increase, and advertisers should see a high response rate, and hopefully sales, due to the fantastic positioning that brands are paying for.
This is bad for two reasons. The risk of spam is heightened when a sign up form is placed in such an open space.
Spammers will purposely attack sign up forms and open comments if they are available. If you are using this Google function, prepare for some spam emails.
This function is currently a beta version and is not available for everyone. Google doesn’t seem to be following a pattern with this function, and according to tinylever.com Google are only offering this service to their biggest advertisers, meaning if you give them more money, they’ll help you out.
If this function is successful, Google may implement it, and make it available for all PPC customers. Keep an eye out for any updates.