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How to Create Great Email Sign-Up Forms

It’s long since been revealed that the secret to success in online marketing resides in the construction of a targeted mailing list, adding value to the subscribers and then periodically sending them offers. Doing this in itself doesn’t guarantee success however, but not doing it guarantees failure!

Prepare to do lots of split-testing, tweaking and optimising, but otherwise it doesn’t take all that much to succeed at monetising a list of email subscribers you have managed to gain the trust of by providing them with some initial value in exchange for their contact details. There is a right way and a not-so-good way of building lists…

Qualities of the best email sign-up forms

It’s important to note that all industries and businesses are different. Their audiences are different, which means different buying habits, behaviours, and interests. Therefore, it makes sense that email sign-up forms will be different as well.

However, there are a few best practices that all of the best email sign-up forms tend to follow:

  1. Prime placement

Your website is full of locations that make sense for an email sign-up form. You have header space, sidebar or footer space, and even pop-up space.

It’s no secret that the use of pop ups is one of the most debated marketing tactics. People either love them, or more likely, they hate them. But despite the negative feelings about pop ups, they actually work. Copyblogger reported an increase in email sign-ups after adding a pop-up form on its website. However, it also saw an increase in complaints.

If you are going to use pop ups as your prime sign-up form location, consider a delayed pop up that only appears after a reader reaches a certain point on your website. Or stick with another area on your page altogether.

  1. Don’t ask for too much information.

When users fill out forms, they want something short and sweet that takes almost no time. But marketers want to collect as much information as possible in order to segment their contacts. So, where do you draw the line?

According to research, the highest converting forms included only three fields. That’s basically a name, email address, and one other piece of data. If your forms have more fields, consider cutting them down to see if your conversion rate increases.

  1. Use clever language and use a clear call-to-action.

There’s a lot to say for clever language.

Consider the number of marketing messages or emails you see each day. It all becomes white noise after a certain point. Just like with your email strategy and subject lines, witty, clever, and funny language can draw in readers’ attention and give them a reason to sign up. Just make sure you stay within your brand, or you may end up hurting your conversion rates.

Also, CTA buttons outperform plain text every single time.

  1. An opt-In box

You might want to send your contacts all different types of emails. But if they are just signing up for a newsletter, that’s likely all they want to receive. Plus, it’s also a violation of the GDPR to send messages to users that didn’t consent to receive them.

Adding an opt-in selection also helps reduce users’ fears regarding the types of messages they’ll receive. If you give them a checkbox option, they have greater control over the content they are receiving

There are two types of opt-ins you could use for your email sign-up forms:

  • Single opt-in: Users just have to click a box indicating they agree to receive specific types of emails. You grow your list faster, but your audience might not be as engaged.
  • Double opt-in: After signing up, users receive an email asking them to confirm or activate their accounts. Sign-up rates may drop off by about 20% with this extra step, but you know you’re getting an audience that’s more engaged, which will lead to a better email ROI in the end.

These qualities of the best email sign-up forms were pulled from Emma’s email marketing platform, which also discusses the subject through the exploration of some of the best email sign-up forms. You can read all about it at