Easy Opt-In Form Tips

Providing consistently great content in your messages is key to turning your subscribers into raving fans.

Before you can foster that relationship, however, you have to get them to subscribe. You know that once they do, they’re going to kick themselves for not having done so before…

…but they don’t know that yet, and unless they opt in to your list, they never will.

By convincing people to subscribe, and removing barriers to them doing so, you can bridge the gap between a website visitor and another soon-to-be-devoted reader of your email marketing campaigns.

Here are a few ways you can make your web forms more effective.

Put the Form in a Prominent Location.

If visitors don’t see the form, they won’t sign up, right? So put it in an easy-to-find spot. For most sites, this means near the top of the page.

I talk to a lot of people who want a “newsletter button” that visitors click on to display the form in a popup window. This is an alternative, but with this approach you risk popup blockers keeping the form from appearing. A simple inline form located near the beginning of the page avoids that completely.

Also, if you have a multi-page site and your visitors tend to browse the entire site, put the form on every page.

Keep it Short and Sweet.

Long forms may be tolerated for mortgage applications, but not opt-in subscriptions. When I go to a website, if the opt-in form looks like it’ll take me more than 10 seconds to complete, I’m put off. Remember, your competitors are only a click away.

Ask yourself: What do I need to get started with my subscribers? If you absolutely need your subscriber’s phone number or some other detail right now, OK, but if not, get it later as you further qualify him/her.

Give Visitors a Reason to Subscribe.

No matter how much value you’re delivering to your subscribers, your emails still take up real estate in their inboxes. Your visitors, who haven’t yet experienced the value you’re delivering in your messages, already get dozens to hundreds of emails a day.

Why Should They Make Room For You?

Clearly and concisely detail the benefits of subscribing. Use bullet points, bold text and other techniques to tell them why they’re going to be better off getting your emails.

This not only helps to get visitors to become subscribers, it also helps to build expectations which you can then meet to build trust and relationships with them.

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By:
Justin Premick is the former Director of Educational Products at AWeber.

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40 Comments

  1. Great tips! I’ll put a small opt-in form on every page as part of the side bar, for non-subscribers to see.

    9/20/2006 12:11 pm
  2. Better yet, put in a ful squeeze page and capture every e-mail or they don’t visit. Your results will be better.

    9/20/2006 10:20 pm
  3. I found that the popover option works best. These are not blocked by browsers. I have it set so it will only pop up once a day for each viewer. It tripled my subscribers.

    9/22/2006 9:17 am
  4. Yep, from my experience the pop hover form is the best choice. They will never miss your opt-in form

    10/2/2006 2:08 pm
  5. Great Stuff!
    Since I have adjusted to "short and sweet" like you
    mentioned, I am getting a ton more subscribers
    every month.

    10/4/2006 2:58 pm
  6. I’m a life coach living in Paris France.
    and I need more clients, more subscribers.
    I write newsletters every month; I’m in the process of changing a few things on my website to have visitors read these newsletters more easily(- make them accessible) but I would need your advice, your suggestions.What are my options? And of course, financial considerations will matter!
    Also, you in the states and I over here, if I were to choose you for setting this up for me, would it make it difficult? Thank you, J

    10/13/2006 8:15 am
  7. Garrett

    We have noted that in most cases, adding the words
    "We Respect Your Email Privacy" below the final opt
    in field will increase opt-ins. Please test this,
    but it always outperforms versus no privacy statement.

    10/19/2006 10:31 pm
  8. make it easy to use.

    10/29/2006 5:53 pm
  9. Use free videos or ebooks to subscribe in order to get the free gifts worth $xxxx…

    11/24/2006 9:11 am
  10. I know how to creat optin forms and a little about installing them. My question is to install them do you have to 1. have a autoresponder? and/or 2.do you have to have a seperate server, 3. do you have to have hosting?

    1/1/2007 2:38 pm
  11. Ken,

    1. An opt-in form is something that you can create outside of an autoresponder; however, an opt-in form in and of itself isn’t going to follow up with the people who fill it out.

    At AWeber, we help you to create the opt-in form with our Web Form Generator, and to automatically follow up with subscribers.

    2. You can put an opt-in form on any of your web pages…as long as you can make changes to the web page content/HTML, you can put an opt-in form on it. This is true for a free web page you would set up on a site like Geocities as well as your own domains. I’m not quite sure what you mean by "separate server" but hopefully this addresses your question.

    3. In order for your web page to be accessible online, it does need to be hosted. The opt-in form is simply part of the content of that web page (just like any text you would have on the page).

    1/2/2007 2:09 pm | Follow me on Twitter
  12. It is absolutely imperative to note that the first element of any relationship is contact.
    However contacts have many and diferent levels, approaches and fluidity.
    I do agree that e-mail opt ins can be taken as part of the process of relating to the outer world.
    Have we then considerd the above?
    Answering this will lead us to some findings.
    TO OUR SUCCESS.

    1/10/2007 10:21 am
  13. Luke

    Flippin’ brilliant post/blog.

    Very helpful comments too.

    1/15/2007 9:33 am
  14. Popups work well. We have tested them on a large list.

    But how can I customise the popup forms? I want to wrap the form in a wrapper with some CSS but have to do it through your interface because of the javascript link. There’s no ability to do this.

    So its a great tool… but a little ugly. Especially when you look at post-it notes like Adimpact.

    While I’m on the subject.. the standard Aweber unsubscribe screen could do with a makeover too.

    1/18/2007 6:59 am
  15. I just signed up to Aweber I been very impressed with some newsletter I signed up for Richdreams, I like my name on the emails.

    I like this pop up http://www.adhspain.com

    and would like to make something catchy like it I know it works very well for the company

    4/28/2007 12:21 am
  16. Very good info. I am checking out the other blog posts for more info and ways to use the opt-in forms. I have placed your form on my website and the names are coming in…

    4/9/2008 1:01 pm
  17. Does anyone have a few examples of site using very strong popover/pop hover forms?

    We’re relatively new to Web form strategy and could use some direction.

    7/18/2008 3:09 pm
  18. When writing headlines, action statements (i.e. "Subscribe") works well when complimented with benefits (which explain the outcome of their action).

    Some great examples:

    1. Clickz sets expectations — "The ClickZ Weekly newsletter is the ideal way to make sure you miss nothing in the world of online marketing and advertising. It’s delivered once a week and consists of headlines, brief descriptions, and links to all ClickZ columns that have been published on the site over the previous week."

    2. Photojojo.com — The homepage is a subscribe page with the first sentence saying, "Congratulations. It’s your lucky day! You just found one damn fine photo newsletter." while keeping the subscribe form simple elements : (a) Subscribe to Photojojo, a twice-a-week newsletter (b) your email here (c) We solemnly swear: "No spam, not ever"

    Nice!

    9/26/2008 2:15 pm
  19. Maya, we’ve found using an introductory sentence before the sign up fields as well as a closing message after (e.g privacy statement, or link to the current newsletter if it is a newsetter opt in) is very helpful. We’ve published a plugin for Aweber WordPress integration that lets you add these optional messages to each Aweber widget in your sidebar.

    2/5/2009 7:56 pm
  20. Hai! How can I change the look and feel of webforms created in aWeber?

    3/10/2009 1:26 pm
  21. Great tips here. I’ve designed a capture page, nearly done.

    1. Create a grabbing headline, that reminds them of the pain and also solution coming.

    2. Add text below to affirm what they will recieve.

    3. Bullet points of benefits after that.

    4. I even changed the button of the aweber form I got to grab their attention on what they’re subscribing too.

    3/10/2009 2:35 pm
  22. Linda,

    You can make changes to the form fields, submit button text and headline in the Web Form wizard. To make other changes, add the form to your web page and then use your website editing software to further change the appearance of it, as you would for other content you add to your site.

    Adam,

    Sounds like you’re putting together a quality form! Once you’ve had it running for a while, be sure to split test your headline or submit button to see if you can increase your opt-in rate!

    3/11/2009 8:41 am | Follow me on Twitter
  23. Hey Justin

    Am I right in thinking that if I’m split testing webforms, then its not possible to edit the form in my HTML editor as I’m only given a javascript?

    4/13/2009 4:57 pm
  24. Hi Mark,

    You can make some changes by placing the appropriate HTML tags around the split testing JavaScript. However, depending on what you’re split testing in your forms, you may not be able to customize them to the same extent as you can a single form using the raw HTML.

    4/14/2009 10:26 am | Follow me on Twitter
  25. This is great, really appreciate all the tips from aweber and all the commenters.

    8/27/2009 6:52 am
  26. Thank you for these great tips. I will be exploring the rest of your Aweber tips section to get the most out of my Aweber account. Again, thank you.

    9/13/2009 7:36 pm
  27. Thank you for this exhaustive post and comments.
    Idid a little search on the internet, and found this one, that can be seen on my affiliate reviews blogspot.
    I’m changing it, because it got too small captions – not a programmer and html is not my second language, not even third and fourth :D

    Thank you justin, adam glenn and all others, that contributed with ideas in your posts!

    8/10/2010 10:13 pm
  28. What a good post, can you provide pop up system? I will login to check if I could see a pop up system

    3/18/2011 1:37 am
  29. This really helps, undoubtedly the best newsletter management system to me.

    6/25/2012 6:00 pm
  30. Alicia

    Hi

    Can u please tell me how to make a pop up appear once the visitor has seen three pages?? i canĀ“t have a pop up on every page. Can this be done??

    Thanks.

    2/19/2013 11:23 am
  31. Hi Alicia,

    PadiAct is a handy tool that makes this possible. It also happens to integrate with AWeber so that subscribers can be added directly to the appropriate list in your account.

    2/19/2013 11:34 am | Follow me on Twitter
  32. Very nice tips. Thank you

    4/1/2014 1:13 am
  33. So…how do you add the phone number box to the form?

    4/23/2014 8:31 am
  34. @Kevin – See the “Adding Through The Sign Up Form Generator” section on this page: https://help.aweber.com/entries/21704226-how-do-i-collect-more-than-just-name-and-email-address

    4/24/2014 8:02 am | Follow me on Twitter

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