Email List-Building Best Practices—How to Create E-Commerce Opt-in Forms That Convert

How to Create E-Commerce Opt-in Forms That Convert

A quality email list is a vital tool for getting the biggest return on investment from your email-marketing campaigns. But how do you build a list of engaged and loyal subscribers? These best practices will get you off to a great start!

Pop-up Forms Work, But Use Them Judiciously

Pop-up forms are popping up all over website landing pages these days. So, let’s start with some opt-in form best practices for those of you currently using—or are about to implement—pop-ups to help grow your email list.

Although many users consider them annoying and intrusive, e-commerce companies have found that pop-up opt-in forms work. Here are a few pop-up success stories:

  • SkinnyMe Tea offered a 5% discount in a pop-up promotion in return for a user’s email address, which increased email list opt-ins by 758% and achieved a lift of 1% in its sales conversion rate.
  • XeroShoes offered a free report that explained the benefits of barefoot running using a pop-up that appeared just as users indicated that they were leaving the website. This prompted 2.5% of users to opt in for the report—and 28.4% of that group went on to make a purchase.
  • The Nikki, In Stitches Etsy shop had a static sidebar sign-up form on the site, as well as a lightbox that popped up every 60 days per site visitor. Eight months after the email sign-up forms were put on the site, the lightbox drove 1375% more subscriptions compared to the static sign-up form.

Google Cracks Down on Pop-up Forms—What You Need to Know

Although pop-up forms are effective tools for building email lists, there’s a new development that may have an impact on your sign-ups: Google now penalizes the mobile search rankings of websites using email capture lightboxes or pop-up ads. According to the company’s Official Webmasters Blog, Google will be cracking down on “intrusive interstitials” that interfere with the accessibility of a web page’s content to help improve the mobile search experience of its users. Google announced this change in August 2016 and put it into effect as of January 10, 2017.

To help make sure prospects find your site by using Google Search on their mobile devices—and ultimately opt in to your email list—here are some pop-up techniques to avoid:

  • Letting a pop-up cover the main content right when users open a web page or while they’re navigating through the page
  • Making users dismiss a pop-up before they can access your web page’s content
  • Having the pop-up appear as a standalone in the above-the-fold portion of the web page, while the page content is inlined beneath the fold.

If you make sure that your pop-ups use a “reasonable amount of screen space and are easily dismissible,” they likely won’t be penalized. To reduce the intrusive nature of pop-ups, also consider implementing exit-intent technology (e.g., the pop-up is triggered when a user’s mouse leaves the page area to go to a close button). Check out Google’s Official Webmasters Blog for examples of interstitials considered to make content less accessible to users, as well as some that will not be affected.

6 Quick Tips for Creating Effective Opt-in Forms

Here are some additional best practices for designing opt-in forms that convert:

  1. Make prospects feel like they’re getting more than they’re giving. Let prospects know the specific subscriber benefits they’ll soon have access to thanks to sharing their email address, such as exclusive sales and valuable content.
  2. Provide an added incentive for signing up. Whether it’s a discount to be used on a future purchase or a free report filled with valuable information related to your products, give prospects an “offer they can’t refuse” to join your email list.
  3. Don’t ask for too much information. Stop and ask yourself if you really need any information beyond a prospect’s name and email address. One study showed that adding one field in an opt-in form decreased conversions by 11%.
  4. Include a privacy statement. It may just be the boost of confidence in your company that a prospect needs to share his or her email address with you.
  5. Make your call-to-action button stand out not only in size and color, but also in copy. Avoid being boring by simply saying “subscribe.” Sign me up. Send me the coupon. Get my free e-book. These are a few examples of more enticing and action-oriented calls to action for opt-in forms.
  6. Test and optimize your opt-in forms. Whether it’s the call to action, the number of form fields, the placement of the form on your website, or the pop-up’s timing, testing is the only way to see what works best for your target audience and drive more sign-ups.

FulcrumTech can help you stay on the cutting edge of email marketing, including implementing the best methods for building high-quality email lists that drive revenue. Contact us today!

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