Email Signup Form Best Practices and Stats For 2016

We are nearly half way through 2016, and we can announce with great confidence that email marketing continues to top the charts when it comes to digital marketing tactics.

How can we say this with such certainty? It’s simply because multiple studies continue to report that email marketing is the most effective way to get and convert new leads, build awareness and retain customers.

But, you have to have an email list to send emails to, right? The email signup form on your website is one of the best ways to acquire new leads.

While many people can put a signup form on their website and send out an email, they aren’t necessarily doing it in the most advantageous way. Today we tell you how to create a really good signup form so you can send out top-notch emails.

Let’s look at email signup form best practices and stats for 2016. We’ll discuss the best way to create your forms so you can begin and nurture a relationship with your current and future customers using email marketing.

Here are the best practices for your email signup forms:

Use a Limited Amount of Fields

In the case of your email signup forms, shorter is better. Eliminate distractions and save your website visitors time by using only the amount of fields that are absolutely necessary.

Your goal is to reduce “friction” for your customers. What do we mean by friction?

Friction is your customer’s psychological resistance to your form. Consider the form that asks for 10 fields. One might say this form is full of friction. It forces your potential subscribers to think. It makes them rethink their decision to sign up.

Forms with friction take too long to complete and result in interrupted momentum that may keep customers from taking your desired action – completing the form.

Every single time you ask for a new field, you risk increasing your form’s “friction.” This is why we recommend using very few form fields. If you can get away with it, just ask for the email address or if you absolutely must, the email and first and last name.

Consider one study that shows a form with five fields outperforming a form with nine fields by 34%.

Remember – the goal is ultimately the lead. Your sales staff can get the rest of the details later.

When creating your forms, always ask yourself, “Is the additional information I think I need worth losing a potential lead?” If the answer is no, and it usually is, stay away from multiple form fields.

You can also ask yourself if you’ll lose anything if you have to wait for additional information? Remember – the lead is more important than the extra info. Only ask what’s absolutely relevant.

Consider Internet giant, Expedia. They saw an increase in profits of $12 million a year after removing “company” from their booking forms.

Keep It Simple

Consider using simple, straightforward graphics to direct users to your contact forms. Help your user focus on the call to action you want them to take.

Keep your page simple, without any distractions, so your customers have a clear path to your signup form. This helps your overall conversion rate.

Tell Them What They’ll Get

At the top or bottom of your signup form, tell your website visitors exactly what they can expect. Here are a few examples of things to include to make it personal:

  • If it’s a sales lead, let them know when they can expect an email or phone call.
  • Tell them how many emails you’ll send them each month.
  • Let them know what kind of information they can expect in your emails.
  • Promise to keep their information private.

Use Only Mobile-Friendly Forms

According to Litmus, who tracks open rates of more than 12 billion emails, April 2016 saw an increase of email open rates on mobile rise to 56%. Desktop opens remained steady at 19%, while web mail decreased to 25%.

What’s this mean for your email signup forms on your website?

It means that your signup forms must be mobile-friendly and responsive to screen size because your website customers expect it. Having mobile-friendly forms also means it’s easier for customers to signup which in turn leads to a higher conversion rate.

It’s worth noting here that you need to pay special attention to your website, your website forms and your email marketing. The entire digital package should be responsive to screen size for increased ease of use.

Use Social Proof

These days, more than ever, web-surfers feel better doing something if they know others have gone before them.

You can use any of the following ideas to “prove” that it’s a good idea to join your email list:

  • Use customer reviews or testimonials.
  • Use quotes, like “thousands sign up each week” or “join a community of 10,000 subscribers.”
  • Mention who they’ll be joining, especially if they are well-known names.

Use Large Buttons

Large buttons serve two purposes. First, they make it easier for mobile users to click.

Second, small buttons can get lost. Use large, bright submit buttons that can’t get lost on the page. Make the button as wide as your input fields.

While talking about the button, we encourage you to test your call to action. While “submit” may work for some, “get pricing” may work for others. Test and test again to learn what works for you.

Use Double Opt-Ins

For years people have used captchas on their signup forms. Unfortunately, that’s just another form field.

You can try the double opt-in – it not only helps you avoid unwanted spam, but it eliminates a form field. Again, we encourage you to test which method works best for you.

Stay Clear of Long Drop-Down Lists

This falls into the category of asking for too much information. Plus, drop-down lists are often difficult to complete, especially on mobile phones.

If you must offer options, consider the check box or radio buttons. Only use these when your choices include less than six.

Use a PopUp

One last best practice is to use the email signup form pop-up. This allows you to grab visitors as they arrive or get ready to leave your website. It’s a great way to reach out to customers one last time before they click away.

Final Thoughts

To improve your conversion rate optimization, you’ve got to acquire a lead. How? You get your leads and increase your conversions through your email signup forms.

Online lead generation depends on your signup form. Continuing the relationship with your customer continues through your email marketing. The two are forever tied together.

One of the biggest challenges for email marketers is getting into their customers’ inboxes. Today, we’ve looked at some email signup form best practices and stats for 2016 so you can grow and nurture a healthy email list.

Email signup forms are a great strategy for increasing your conversion rate optimization. It’s time to optimize your landing pages with great signup forms.

If you are ready to squeeze more profit out of your website by using email marketing to skyrocket growth among your current customers, that’s great! We’re here to help you optimize your landing pages to increase email conversions. In fact, we promise you we’ll do just that.

With our guarantee, you can rest assured we will increase your profits through landing page optimization.

If you’re ready to work with the leader in landing pages and conversion rate optimization, contact us today.

We’ll provide you with our FREE site performance analysis so we can work on your landing page conversion rates.

Image: Fabian Irsara

Why You Should Be Conducting AB Testing On Your Email Marketing

You’ve heard from us on many occasions that A/B testing is a great tool to optimize your landing pages. We’ve told you that for each test you run, you learn something new about your audience – something that helps you reach them more effectively.

You’ve learned what it takes to meet their needs while improving your conversion rate optimization.

The same holds true for email marketing – A/B testing is a good thing. It’s the key to your email conversion rate.

So, today, we tell you why you should be conducting A/B testing on your email marketing and some best tips for doing it.

What is AB Testing?

Just the mention of A/B testing might sound complicated and quite daunting. But, we’re here to tell you that it’s not as hard as it sounds.

A/B testing is the method you use to test your best guess about human behavior. In other words, you are testing what you think they’ll respond to.

Using your email platform, you can perform these “split” tests quite easily testing things such as headlines, send times, content and images.

Let’s simplify A/B testing. For example, you’ve written a blog post, you’re ready to send it out through email, and you’ve chosen two images. You want to know which image is more compelling for people, so you set your split test with the same content but two different images.

In your email app, you set your A/B test to learn which one garners more opens. The app chooses a winner, and your winning email is off to the rest of your list. It’s just that easy.

You’ve just used an A variant and a B variant as a split test to gauge the response of various headlines, calls to action or images.

If you’ve ever wondered what the best open times are for your emails, you can also test send times.

The best part of email A/B testing is it requires very little effort on your part. You pick the one item you want to test, set it up, choose how much of your list you want for test subjects, and then you let the program do the heavy lifting for you in determining which test is the winner.

A/B Testing Best Practices

As easy as A/B testing is using various email platforms, there are few general best practices to guide you through the process.

First, you want to have a reason behind what you’re testing. Don’t just test for the sake of testing. Ask yourself what you’d like to improve. Is it open rate or click through rate?

Why are you testing? Do you want to learn what subject lines engage your audience? How about personalization? Do you want to know if the personal touch gets more opens? Does your audience respond to images with people, landscapes or humorous images? Does your audience respond better in the morning or evening? Should you use numbers in your subjects?

These are just some ideas when it comes to the purpose of your A/B test. You can pick any, just be sure to pick one reason why.

Next, you want to be purposeful in your test. Make sure that the item you’re testing is bold. For example:

  • Test an image of a woman and an image of a man.
  • Test a red call to action button against a blue one.
  • Test a subject line that is personal against one that includes stats.

When you are very deliberate with the items you are testing, you can use a smaller sample size. In addition, we recommend only testing two variants. Some programs will allow you to choose more, but two gives you better results.

Here are some ideas of things you can test:

  • Call to action
  • Subject line
  • Testimonials – included or not included
  • Layout of email
  • Personalization
  • Body Text
  • Headline
  • Images
  • Your Offer – for example, you might offer free shipping in one email and 20% off in another.
  • Send time (change hour or even day)

Before acting on future emails from the result of your last A/B test, make sure your results are statistically significant.

What do we mean? Well, if test A nets 2535 opens while test B nets 2756 opens, that’s not much of a difference. Be careful here when making a decision on test results.

While your program chose a “winner,” a small statistical difference doesn’t necessarily mean one is that much better than the other. Keep testing until you get results that statistically meaningful.

Once you’ve done the test, it can be easy to forget about it. Some marketers test the email and leave it at that. But, what if you learned that your email subscribers preferred images of women in your A/B test, yet in subsequent emails you used images of men?

That isn’t a good use of your testing data. If they preferred images of women in one email, continue to test this theory for a few more emails. If women win out, use images of women in future emails.

Final Thoughts

A/B testing is the key to emails that convert. Improving your conversion rates is after all one of the main goals of your email marketing.

A/B testing gives you the ability to improve not only the email you are testing, but the performance of all future emails.

It’s the best way to make measurable improvements with your email marketing. A/B testing gives you statistical data on the tactics that work with your chosen audience.

Keep track of your testing results and make a list so you can continue to test to see if you get the same results.

Your email A/B testing lets you reach your marketing goals while improving your email open rate, click through rate and conversion rate.

Each time you get statistically significant data, and act on it, you are one step closer to your goals.

It is important to continue testing on an ongoing basis. People and their needs change daily, so it’s important to test and keep track of your results.

One great strategy to use with your email marketing is linking email articles to your website. Are you ready to handle the traffic with optimized landing pages?

If you are ready to squeeze more profit out of your website by using email marketing to skyrocket growth among your current customers, that’s great! We’re here to help you optimize your landing pages to increase email conversions. In fact, we promise you we’ll do just that.

With our guarantee, you can rest assured we will increase your profits through landing page optimization.

If you’re ready to work with the leader in landing pages and conversion rate optimization, contact us today.

We’ll provide you with our FREE site performance analysis so we can work on your landing page conversion rates.

Image: Lachlan Donald

7 Tools To Make Automated Email Marketing Incredibly Easy

Emails result in sales. In fact, 72% of shoppers say they prefer email as their means of communication with companies they like to do business with.

This means they want to see your emails.

With more than 4.35 billion email accounts worldwide, it’s safe to say email is alive and well. Which is exactly why you should be using email marketing to drive customers and sales to your website.

If you’re currently sending promotions and newsletters to your customers through email, it’s time to uncover the benefits of automated email marketing.

In this article, we’re going to look at 7 tools to make automated email marketing incredibly easy. First, let’s discuss the process of automated email marketing.

Defining Email Automation

Automated emails are super effective because they are timely (usually sent in response to an action taken on your website), and they are incredibly relevant to your customer.

Automated emails usually have higher open and click-thru rates because you’ve given your customer something they value.

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How To Use Automated Email Series To Increase Customer RetentionDid you know it costs you more to obtain a new customer than it does to retain a current customer?

In fact, 70% of businesses in one study say it’s cheaper to retain a customer than acquire a new one. They also say they get a better return on investment when they do the leg work to build a relationship with their customers.

You’ve probably heard the term “low hanging fruit.” This is a thing or person that can be won, obtained, or persuaded with little effort.

The low hanging fruit, or customer, is the place to start when it comes to increasing customer retention. It is much easier to create and nurture loyal customers than it is to get a brand new one.

In this article, we look at how to use automated email series to increase customer retention. First, let’s talk a bit about retention.

What is Customer Retention?

For your business, customer retention means the number of customers that come back and purchase from you again and again. Its direct opposite is customer churn – this is the number of customers who don’t buy from you consistently.

Customer retention hinges on several key factors:

  • It’s important to attract the “right” customers. This is your target customer – your ideal. The right customer has more potential to stick around.
  • The first activation is integral. By this, we mean encouraging your customer to take the desired action on your landing pages. Initially this may not mean they actually purchase something from you. It is simply the first action they take with your business. This activates them on their buying journey.
  • Follow up is also key to retaining customers. This is where lead nurturing and automated email is at its best. You want to do your best to spend time building a relationship with your customers to maximize retention.

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How To Tell If You’re Driving Your Customers Crazy With Too Many Emails

How many more times can you send your customers an email before they deem your presence in their inbox unnecessary? This is a question we hear many times a day – how many emails are too many?

In this article, we’ll take a look at how to tell if you’re driving your customers crazy with too many emails.

One of the toughest questions any email marketer has to ask is, “How often should I send an email?” Many businesses want to know if there is an ideal frequency for sending emails.

The answer is “it depends.” It depends on the industry and the time of year. It depends on what you promised your subscribers.  Later in this article, though, we will discuss some “general” recommendations for email frequency.

It pays to remember that the subscription to your email list is always your customer’s choice. You hopefully told them how many times per month you’d email them and what to expect. Now, it’s your job to keep them on your list by providing relevant content at the right frequency.

Clues That You’re Sending Too Many

If you look at your email statistics over a period of time, you can glean some important information as to whether you’re driving your customers crazy. Here are some things to look for: (more…)

Your email marketing materials must stand out – not just in a user’s inbox, but once the email is opened too. In the past, email marketing campaigns that encouraged click-throughs typically did so by inspiring users. Read on to find out four ways that you can ensure your email marketing stands out from a crowded inbox and gets the message across.

Give It Personal Appeal

Nothing is more compelling than an email in which the President of the United States calls you by name. President Obama’s Change email campaign understood this exact approach. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be our nation’s leader to take advantage of it.

Email macros make it easy to include a personalized touch, but how you use a person’s name is just as important. The best emails feel personal.  And they are. So, address the customer, but also reach out like an old friend. (more…)

An email marketing campaign is one of your greatest marketing assets. However, it can also easily become your biggest folly. These campaigns walk a fine line, and it’s important to understand the things you can do to completely ruin your marketing campaign so you don’t make these fatal mistakes.

1. Generic Forms

One of the worst things you can do with your marketing campaign happens before you even have anyone to send emails to. If you have a generic email capture form, your website users won’t get excited. People see dozens of web forms every day asking them to sign up now or submit information. When these look the same, say the same things, and don’t have anything interesting, people tend to glance over them as if they weren’t even there.

You need to do something great with your email capture form. It needs to catch your visitors’ attention. Otherwise, they’ll likely look at the form, and not even process that it’s there. Along with this, you need to make sure that your form is in an easy-to-see spot. If your visitors don’t see it, they won’t be filling it out. (more…)

Have you noticed a drop in the number of email captures you get? Sometimes you need to change things up with your email opt-in process to increase this number. When you’re considering your email captures, there are a few things you can change on your landing page to help ensure you get a better email capture conversion.

1. Registration During Purchase


Image via Flickr by Rob Enslin

One of the most effective ways to ensure email capture is to ask visitors to register when they purchase something from your website. The customer is already engaged in your site and product, and will usually fill out the registration form. In fact, one study shows that registration during purchase has a 58 percent effectiveness for those who use it. Whether you require registration to buy, or it’s just an option, you’re going to get more email addresses with a registration form at this point. Make sure to test a checkout process with vs without registration so you know this doesn’t have a negative overall effect! (more…)

A new CNN article suggests that “Merry Christmas” still rings brighter over “Happy Holidays”

The demographics breakdown

Overall poll results for Americans:

  • 64% prefer “Merry Christmas”
  • 31% prefer “Happy Holidays”
  • 5% are unsure

 

Ok. So now you’ve got some data from a obscure poll that says solid majority of Americans prefer you to say “Merry Christmas”. The question is what do you do with that? Do you put “Merry Christmas” on every page? Maybe on banner ads? What about emails? Or should you say it at all?

Well, since we are into testing, we cajoled one of our clients to let us test Merry Christmas v. Happy Holiday a couple Christmases ago. The client allowed us to test this with specific email campaigns, and below are results: (from a prior post.)

We wanted to know if using “Merry Christmas” versus “Happy Holidays” in an email campaign to a small segment of customers  would impact conversion rates?

We were able to randomly select a group of 100,000 customers for a client and tested these subject lines:


A few notes on the test:

  • The client is a large retailer, their customers mirror a general sample of the USA.
  • The email mirrored the subject line’s message; all other elements were the same.
  • We sent the email on the 21st of December.

The results showed a HUGE difference . . .

As you can clearly see, “Merry Christmas” killed it, nearly doubling the click through rate of the other subject lines.

Although we’re not allowed to share the “buy” data, it was just as impressive. Nearly doubling the number of transactions by changing an email subject line shows just how important it is to test and try new things. If you’re not constantly testing, you’re throwing money away!

 

Have any of you tested MC vs. HH and seen a difference? Do tell us. We wish you a Happy Holiday season! ;-P

If you’re like the other gazillion websites trying to get people to sign up for an email newsletter, then you probably have an opt-in email popup form. You know, it’s that annoying lay-over popup box that asks new visitors to opt-in with their name and emails.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were landing page optimization best practices for designing these? Then your opt-in popups could grab many more subscribers right out of the gate. At the very least, it would be good to know which elements are worth focusing on in testing.

Since we thought it would help a LOT of people to get some straight answers on popup opt-in forms, we got Jeremy “Shoemoney” Schoemaker on the phone (Conversion Voodoo is very lucky to work with the best of the best in online marketing). We had an idea for him:

“Whaddya think about us running some tests on the opt-in popup for your newsletter?” Jeremy’s reply was about as easy as they come, “Have at it!” So we did.

Not only that, but Jeremy requested that we post the results for his audience. All we could say was “absolutely!” We rarely get to publish results because 99% of our clients want to remain anonymous — so this was sweet!

Our goal was to test the “default” settings on the popup to see if there were the better ways to convert visitors into subscribers. We hoped to find some best practices to share with you for your website that may not have a horde of visitors every month like the Shoemoney blog. Although we counted more than 30 different elements in opt-in popups, we whittled that number down to the most relevant (i.e. the ones you should care about), which you’ll see in the tests below.
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