Marketers and entrepreneurs focus much of their time and energy on growing their email list and generating leads. For any email marketer, the success of this strategy is determined by the number of subscribers and how well these subscribers are converted into actual sales.
There’s a lot of emphasis placed on crafting seamless email sequences, valuable content, and a great landing page. However, online signup forms are often neglected even though they can significantly affect contact submission rates.
Signup forms play a significant role in conversion optimization. They enable you to gather information about your prospects that you can use to craft personalized content and offers for that prospect.
When creating signup forms, be it for your landing page, homepage, or blog posts, keep in mind that the primary purpose of this offer is to provide value to your sales prospects. The more smooth the experience is for them, the easier it is to see the value in your offering.
Read on to get tips and techniques for designing and crafting your signup forms.
Signup Form Design and UX Tips
1. Use a Single Column Design
Two column forms can be confusing for some users, especially when they use the “tab” key when moving from one field to the next. Using two columns can also make the number of fields overwhelming, so keep things simple and minimize the chances of a prospect getting frustrated or giving up.
2. Design Large CTA Buttons
Create a Call to Action (CTA) button that’s big and easy to see, click or tap. Note that more than 90% of the world’s users now access the internet using a mobile device. Hence, a large CTA button prevents the need for your user to zoom in on their screen just so they can click your CTA button.
Canva uses large CTA buttons with varied colors to help users distinguish which method they would like to use when signing up.
3. Make Big Form Field Dimensions
Large form fields are especially helpful to users who use their mouse or touchpads when moving from one field to the next. This is also helpful for users who are using their fingers to interact with mobile devices such as tablets or smartphones.
It’s also a good idea to make sure there’s enough white space in between the form fields. White space makes your form easier to read and reduces the chance of a user accidentally clicking/tapping on the wrong field.
4. Include a Trust Seal
Safety is a top concern of users when filling out signup forms. By including a trust seal somewhere on your form or landing page, you’re assuring them that the information they are providing will be kept private and confidential.
This especially holds true when the signup form asks for additional information such as their phone number, address, or credit card, like in Salesforce’s case.
5. Utilize Your Brand Colors
Your signup form’s look and feel should match your brand’s personality and colors. But, don’t get too carried away. Ensure that the form is still clean and neat enough to maintain the focus of your visitor on the form fields and your CTA button.
6. Mirror the Value of Your Offer
Don’t ask your prospects for more than you’re willing to give them. The length of your signup form should mirror the value of your offer. In other words, the number of fields your form has should match how valuable the offer is.
If your offering is a subscription for blog updates, you might require two form fields (name and email address). Whereas for something like a virtual event or a webinar, there’s inherently more value in your offering so you might ask for additional information like company name, job title, and number of employees.
7. Eliminate Distractions
When you place a signup form on your landing page or website, you want visitors to do one thing—sign up. Eliminate distracting images, navigation buttons, or links that redirect a user’s attention away from your signup button. Remove distractions from your signup forms and keep them clean to maximize the focus on what matters—your landing page offering.
8. Use an Image that Directs the Eye Toward the Form
Use an image along with your signup form to reinforce your branding and message, but make sure that it redirects their attention towards the signup form and your CTA button.
MailChimp uses an image of their mascot to direct the eyes towards the signup form.
9. Ask Permission
Some users are hesitant to sign up to websites and services for fear that they’ll start receiving countless emails that are not relevant to them. Include an opt-in box that they can uncheck if they don’t want to receive your marketing emails.
By providing your prospects with this option, you’re establishing that they can trust you not to send emails they don’t want or need. You can eventually ask them to subscribe to your newsletter after establishing your credibility.
Check out how travel site, Hipmunk, uses an opt-in box for their email newsletter:
10. Pick the Right Fields
With signup forms, it’s not just about asking for personal information. It’s about asking for the right stuff. Determine which details are absolutely necessary for your sales team, lead generation campaign, email list, or your trial. Keep it as simple as possible to prevent friction.
If a form field is optional, then that means you don’t need it. If you don’t really need to know their phone number, location, or company, then don’t ask for it. Should you need more information from your subscribers, you can always ask for it in the future.
11. Enable Social Autofill
A Formstack survey found that websites that used the social autofill feature were able to increase their form conversions by 189%. Ease of use is key, keep in mind that 85% of users claim that the social autofill makes signing up to websites easier.
Imagine how easy it would be for your users if they could sign up to your newsletter or service with just one quick click of a button. You can also allow users to connect their social media accounts to enable one-click signups.
12. Eliminate the Captcha
Captchas (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) are used to ensure that real people, not “bots,” are signing up. However, the problem with captchas is that it makes it difficult for users with visual impairments and learning disabilities to register.
Another issue you need to consider is that while captchas may distinguish bots from real people, this doesn’t prevent spammers (who are real people) from signing up.
13. Remove the Placeholder Text
The light gray placeholder text on your form fields can strain a user’s short-term memory and confuse them. Empty form fields are more noticeable. With just one look, users can determine that those are the fields they need to fill out.
Also, since this text disappears once you click on a form field, visitors who use the tab key may miss reading what it indicates before it disappears. All of which may add confusion and possibly frustration to the experience. Placeholder text is a potential time waster and may inhibit visitors from converting.
14. Place Instructions at the Top of Each Form Field
Indicate what the user is supposed to type over each form field to provide direction and instructions. This enables users to clearly see what information you need from them and where to place it.
LinkedIn utilizes a very simple and straightforward signup form to prevent friction and make it easy for users to provide the information needed:
15. Strategically Place Forms in the Line of Vision
Signup forms should be strategically positioned directly in the line of vision of your visitor. Some businesses choose a floating or popup signup form to ensure that website visitors don’t miss it.
If you’re using a popup form, ensure that users can easily exit the popup to prevent them from being turned off by the disruptive signup form. Again, give them the option to say “no” to build trust and credibility.
16. Design a Separate Signup Form for Mobile
There are now 3.448 billion active mobile internet users around the world, and they account for more than 55% of the global web traffic. This means that if your signup forms are not responsive or optimized for mobile devices, you could be alienating a large portion of your audience.
Signing up using a mobile device is a totally different user experience. Since the screen is smaller, they’re tapping with a finger instead of clicking and typing on a tiny keypad instead of a keyboard.
Create signup forms with buttons large enough for users to tap on the correct button and the right field. Make it convenient for them to register using their smartphone or mobile device. If you need more information, give them the option to improve their profile and contact information once they have access to a laptop or desktop.
The LinkedIn signup form on mobile is designed differently from their desktop version but includes all the relevant information. The best part about it? The headline communicates the benefits of signing up individually. That way, the text doesn’t crowd a small screen any further.
Copywriting Tips for Signup Forms
17. Communicate Your Offer in Your Headline
By the time that a user arrives at your signup form, they’ve already seen what you have to offer, and they’ve most likely done ample research about your product or service. But, this doesn’t mean that you don’t need to reiterate the value and benefit of your offer.
Follow in Facebook’s footsteps, write a headline that’s benefit-oriented to communicate the value of your product or service right away. Reinforcing your unique selling point (USP) helps establish the perceived value of your offering, so always include a description of your USP at the top of your signup page.
18. Try the Social Proof Technique
The social proof technique uses either short testimonials from existing clients or statistics that support the relevance and value of your offer. Social proof continues the process of selling your brand and business to potential customers.
Basecamp uses this technique in their signup forms. They use social proof to convince prospects that other people are using their service and loving it:
19. CTA Copy
You’ve probably heard it before, and we’ll say it again – use action words in your call-to-action to compel your users to take action. “Signup Now,” “Subscribe Now,” or “Download Now” are the most common CTA buttons you’ll encounter. Why? Because they work.
However, the danger of using the usual CTA copy is that you won’t differentiate yourself from your competitors. Contextualize your buttons and be creative. Ensure that you minimize the text to just 2 to 3 words that are highly compelling and relevant to your offer.
Digital strategist, Sarah Morgan, for example, uses creative and compelling CTA buttons across her signup forms that are always highly-relevant to the headline copy:
20. Insert Fun and Clever Copy
Some companies effectively use wit and humor in their signup forms, and users can’t help but succumb to it. As we all know, human beings are social creatures, and what’s a better way than humor to initiate interaction and engagement?
Humor and cleverness laced into copy entice users and encourages them to interact with your brand further. If your signup form copy is creative, your emails can be all the more interesting.
You can add some humor on the fine print at the bottom of your signup form or newsletter subscribe form. Nerd Fitness effectively communicates their quirky personality in their newsletter form copy.
Single Opt-In vs. Double Opt-In
Another question you’ll need to address is whether you’re going to use a single opt-in or a double opt-in.
With a single opt-in, a user’s email is automatically added to your subscriber or email list once they hit that submit button. With a double opt-in, users are required to actively confirm that they’ve signed up to your website by clicking on a link that’s sent to their email address.
While a single opt-in makes it very easy for a user to start receiving your emails or to use your service, a double opt-in ensures that the email addresses in your lists are actively engaged. A double opt-in reduces the chance of high bounces and low deliverability rates.
At the end of the day, you decide which opt-in to use, but it all boils down to maintaining the health of your email list and protecting your reputation as a marketer. Figure out how your audience responds to double opt-ins via A/B testing. You’ll then be able to determine whether or not the double opt-in strategy will work for you.
There are different types and styles of signup forms that can be used for various purposes. You can create a popup signup form that appears after a specific timeframe, a floating signup form that opens once a website is loaded, or a subscription form that’s embedded in your blog posts or webpages.
For whatever style you choose, ensure that you follow the key principles in signup forms.
- Keep it clean and simple
- Be consistent with your brand personality
- Use striking call-to-action buttons
- Require only the necessary information
- Prevent friction and make the process easy
Designing a signup form can be fun, so be as creative as you want and create a signup form that compels your prospects to hit “submit.”
After capturing your lead data, it’s time to start nurturing them towards the end of your sales funnel.
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