Get the Sign-Up: Improve the Form

Kellie Boggs, Senior Marketing Strategist

Author Bio

With over nine years of experience in developing and growing email and cross-channel marketing programs to drive revenue, Kellie Boggs brings a track record of success in building multi-channel campaigns across a variety of industries. By working one-on-one with clients to understand their business model and goals, she provides strategic marketing guidance to increase revenue. Boggs offers experience in providing clients with industry best practices, message design, campaign optimization, list growth tactics, segmentation strategies and detailed analyses of marketing campaigns. She truly enjoys helping clients build their customer base, grow their email channel and increase revenue! In her spare time, Boggs enjoys chasing her toddler around and the motherhood adventure. She also enjoys attending NC State sporting events with her family.

In my last post I discussed how to entice visitors to become subscribers by making your sign-up form stand out.  In this post I will discuss how to organize the form and gather valuable information that can be used later down the road.

Sign-Up Design & Layout

  1. One-Part – email only.  This allows a subscriber to easily sign up without having to give any additional information, just their email address and…bam they are all set! This is quick and easy and also allows you to ask for more information later. Check out Crate & Barrel’s simple one-line sign-up forCrate&Barrel Email Sign-Upm:
  2. Multiple-Field – separate page form.  To get to this page there is a normally a text link or graphic.  This allows the subscriber to enter any additional information about themselves, allowing you to send them relevant content.  Check out this example from Madewell:Madewell Sign-Up
  3. Two-Part – A subscriber enters their email address and then are directed to an longer form asking for more valuable information, such as First Name, Zip Code, Birthday, or Products of Interest.  This is personally the layout I recommend because it is only two clicks for the subscriber and also is an opportunity for the brand to gather more detailed information that can be used for segmentation.  Check out this example of a two part form from Educational Innovations:

Educational Innovators Sign-Up Part 1


Educational Innovators Sign-Up Part 2

Valuable Data

If you have decided to ask for additional information, the next question is, what information should you be asking for.  Remember the more information you have on your subscribers, the more you can use for segmentation, which in return will get you better results.  The important thing to remember here is to only ask for information that you can actually use and will be valuable to your business.  Below are some ideas of information that you could potentially ask for:

  • First Name – great to collect and use for personalization
  • Last Name
  • Zip Code – great info to collect if you have a brick and mortar store to drive traffic to
  • State – this can be useful if you have seasonal products that vary depending on the state
  • Birthday – this is a great way to honor your subscriber on their birthday by sending them a special deal or offer
  • Desired frequency
  • Profession – If you are selling certain products based on someone’s profession, it would make sense to ask for this information, so you could send them specific information that is relevant to their professional field.

Other Key Information

  • Reiterate expectations on the sign-up form.  Subscribers need to be clear on what they are signing up for, and when they can expect to hear from you.  Also, consider linking to any sample emails, so they can get a get a little taste of your content.
  • Email address should be the only information that is required.  The more information you require that the subscriber fills out the more friction they will experience, which can then result in them abandoning the whole process all together.  I recommend you keep all non-critical information optional, which is normally everything except the email address.
  • Be clear on why you are asking for something.  At the end of the day people want to know what’s in it for them and if they think you’re asking for something that seems unusual or doesn’t benefit them, then they are more likely to not sign up.  For example when asking for birthday include a statement explaining that you are going to be sending them a special offer on their birthday and then I bet you will see a higher response rate.
  • Consider asking subscribers to enter their email address twice.  This will help to avoid bad addresses due to fat fingers.

Stand tuned for my next post where I will cover what happens after you have gotten the sign up.  We will also cover best practices around the subscription landing page and the welcome email.  In the meantime I would to love to hear which sign-up form layout is the most effective for your business?

Kellie Boggs
Marketing Strategist at Bronto

  • Jeff

    What kind of form is the second part of the 2 part newsletter sign up form?