Despite the growing number of ways to communicate with customers, email remains the best channel for businesses today. It’s scalable, measurable, and unlike social media, you own your email subscriber list.
Think about it: These subscribers have actively raised their hands and declared that they want to hear from your brand. It may not be visible on the accountant’s books, but a healthy email subscriber list is undoubtedly one of the most valuable business assets today. While there are dozens of ways to drive email subscriptions, the ones you acquire organically are the loyalists who will exhibit the strongest engagement and stick with you the longest.
After analyzing over 2000 email signups alongside colleagues at MailCharts and Litmus over the last year, we worked to identify what makes for good signups and common missteps to avoid. Securing and retaining email subscribers is one of the best ways to improve your customer lifetime value, so it’s important to be aware of what helps signups and what barriers you’re unknowingly creating.
A good email marketing program starts before you ever hit send. Our analysis highlighted a few key ways that brands today are creating signup-worthy email subscriber list capture forms.
- Less is more
Your potential subscribers are busy and distracted, so when it comes to encouraging signups it’s best to keep it simple.
While asking users to provide detailed information may seem appealing from a marketer’s perspective, lengthy or complicated signup forms can cause users to abandon the process. A/B testing should play a key role in helping to determine the best amount and type of information to require, with the impact examined throughout the entire funnel, from capture rate to open rate, click-through rate, and conversion.
- Segmentation leads to success
Today’s subscribers expect relevant content, so while forms should be simple, a few additional questions can help you ensure you’re sending more relevant email. Asking for sensitive information like an address can create anxiety among users, but collecting a mix of implicit and explicit data—like gender or which product categories they prefer—will help you target your audience and create more tailored emails. The more relevant the communication, the more likely your subscribers are to open, and keep opening, your emails.
- Grab subscribers’ attention
Only on rare occasions can you offer nothing and still collect an email address. Marketers need to offer something in return for a spot in a consumer’s inbox. It’s important to first understand why someone would want to subscribe. What are they looking for? Is there special content that only you can provide? Take the opportunity to start building a relationship with your audience by telling them upfront exactly what benefits they can expect from you, whether it’s exclusive content, promotions, or free swag. User testimonials are a successful strategy across all forms of marketing, and email is no exception. When users recognize notable clients that have had success with your brand, their user anxiety may ease when pressing “subscribe”.
While there are many ways to successfully capture the email of a potential subscriber, marketers should steer clear of a few common missteps.
- Hiding the signup form
A common mistake many brands make today is hiding the signup form behind a “sign in” button. While doing this may seem less intrusive and cleaner in design, requiring users to complete several steps adds friction and decreases conversion rates. Instead, make the process easy and enticing by prominently featuring the “subscribe” CTA on your homepage.
- Infinite scrolling with a footer
Another big trend for websites today that marketers should beware of is infinite scrolling. As users scroll, the footer content is continually pushed further down the page, creating a potential usability problem. The solution here is straightforward: move any actionable footer content to the header or into a side panel.
- Function, function, function
Whether you want to admit it or not, websites break. A broken email signup link can not only cost you valuable subscribers, but can ruin your brand’s legitimacy. To ensure your site is always functioning properly, double check all your capture forms, and check that they work well with autocomplete. This will make subscribing simpler, ease signup friction, and increase conversion rates.
With these things in mind, it’s important to remember to invite everyone to the party. To capture as many emails as possible, you should allow all email domains and look for every opportunity to capture a new address, including your blog, where subscribing encourages repeat visits to read your latest content.
Successfully navigating the email signup form is a great way to set your email marketing program up for success, but your efforts don’t stop after users hit “subscribe”. From delivering a great first impression with the perfect confirmation message to providing relevant ongoing content, the best way to ensure success is to follow your instincts and put yourself in your subscriber’s shoes.