You hear about the importance of an email list constantly. “Email marketing isn’t dead! It’s the key to growing your business and nurturing an engaged, active audience!”
That’s all well and good, but how does one go about building their list? How do you get people to sign up for your newsletter?
Today we’ll talk about a few tactics for how to keep, grow, and maintain a growing database of newsletter subscribers.
We'll go through how to:
- Set up your newsletter signup form
- Get people to actually sign up
- Do A/B tests to find what works
Let’s talk logistics first. You need to establish the basics before you can get creative with design, placement and promotion.
Part 1: Set up your newsletter signup form
Here are some initial steps to set up your newsletter signup form.
To get started, you need to decide on the platform, fields, and look and feel of your newsletter sign-up form.
Choose your email platform.
First, you need an email marketing platform or tool to capture email signups.
We love Mailchimp at Copper. It’s easy to use and free to get started (you pay only after hitting a certain threshold of subscribers). You can also use tools like ConstantContact or Emma.
Pro-tip: You can also take it a step further and integrate your newsletter lists with your CRM. For example, you can manage and update Mailchimp lists directly in Copper through an integration. It makes it easy to add and remove leads from Mailchimp lists and ensure all CRM contact information is updated in real-time.
Now, let’s talk about what should—and shouldn’t—be in your email sign-up forms.
Keep the form fields short and sweet.
When it comes to getting people to sign up for your email newsletter, the fewer fields, the better.
Your form should have two fields: one for name, and one for email. (You could even keep it to one field just for their email!) Don’t ask for company size, phone number or any additional information yet.
This can seem counterintuitive at first. When someone signs up for a newsletter, you want to get as much information as you can, right?
But, newsletters are a introductory marketing tactic — prospects haven’t gotten to know you or your brand yet. If a visitor is subscribing to your email, it’s unlikely that they’ve purchased from you yet. Trying to wring a lot of information out of a prospect in a long newsletter sign-up form takes up more time, and can turn people off from signing up in the first place.
Think of it like dating. There’s plenty of time to build the relationship. Just get their basic information first—i.e. their contact info—before trying to nurture them into a customer.
Keep the design simple.
When it comes to newsletter signups, keep the form and design simple.
A Google study found that:
- Visitors judge whether or not a website is beautiful within 1/50 - 1/20th of a second.
- Visually-complex websites are rated as less beautiful than simple counterparts.
Why? The simpler the website, the easier it is to process the information, increasing conversions.
Use bright colors, a strong CTA, and don’t overcrowd it with images or intricate designs.
Here are some signup form best practices to follow:
- Color: The sign-up button should stand out in a contrasting color.
- White space: Don’t overcrowd the form with a lot of imagery or text. Space around buttons entices users to click it.
- Size: Make sure the button is large enough that it stands out, and the text is readable.
Take this example from SEO website Backlinko. It’s simple, bright, with a clear button that stands out. You immediately know the next step to take.
Part 2: Get people to sign up
It’s not enough to just have a newsletter signup form. You need to promote it!
Promote your email newsletter.
Your form should always be above the fold (the top area of your website) and clearly visible. It should also be included in nearly every aspect of your digital marketing.
Here are some common places to add newsletter signup forms.
- Website banner or hero image: If increasing your email list is one of your top goals, you might want to make your newsletter the main banner, like theSkimm does.
- Pop-up form: Test using a welcome pop-up for people to subscribe to your newsletter when people land on your site.
- Sidebar: Add a blog sign-up form to your website pages. We use this tactic on our blog to promote our newsletter.
Offer an incentive to subscribe to your newsletter.
Providing value is an effective tactic to get people to sign up for your newsletter.
You can also offer incentives, like a one-time discount, to entice people to sign up. If you’re a service company, you can create an educational resource or ebook to offer them in exchange for signing up:
Here’s an example of an offer on Levi’s website for new email subscribers.
Another idea is to collaborate with other teams in your business to increase email newsletter signups—send out a newsletter link so everyone can add it to their email signature!
Write for your audience.
Know your audience. Whether a newsletter signup is on a blog, checkout page, or social media profile, each visitor has slightly different needs.
For example, an email signup form on a new visitor pop-up requires slightly different copy than someone who’s on your checkout page.
Check out this example by Neil Patel.
If you’re reading Neil Patel’s blog, you’re most likely interested in SEO and digital marketing.
The New York Times takes a more targeted approach. They let the reader choose by breaking their newsletters down into topics.
It allows the New York Times to get insight on the type of content people want to read and subscribers don’t get flooded with unnecessary emails they don’t want to read. It’s a win-win for both.
Tell customers what they’re getting.
People are protective of their inboxes. It makes sense—they don’t want them more cluttered than they already are. Be transparent and upfront about how often you’ll be emailing them and with what.
It doesn’t have to be boring. Here’s a great example from Career Contessa, a women’s career development site. In a few seconds, you know that:
- It’s a weekly email
- It’s career advice
- They won’t sell or distribute your email
Part 3: A/B test everything to find what works.
A/B testing compares two different versions of a page, call-to-action, or email to see which one performs better. You should constantly be testing your email newsletter forms to see which one gets you more subscribers.
Here are a few A/B tests you can perform to get started.
- CTA size: Bigger is better right? Not necessarily. Quick Sprout found that a larger size actually had 10% fewer conversions. Test the size of your newsletter CTA buttons to see if the button size impacts the number of email signups.
- CTA placement: After testing the size of your CTA, you should also test the location. Try it in the center, left, right, or off-center, and see if people notice the button more in different locations.
- Copy: Remember when we talked about customizing your copy to your audience and channel? You want to make sure it works! Run A/B tests to find out which phrases yield the highest conversion rates (in our case, the most email subscribers.)
- CTA color: Not all colors are created equal! For example, Sitepoint tested a red vs. green CTA — the red button outperformed the green CTA button by 34%.
Engage your audience.
Getting all the email contacts in the world won’t help you if you don’t engage with them.
Follow up on your promise by sending them consistent, regular communication, whether it’s weekly, biweekly, monthly, or quarterly content. High-quality content that engages your readers will help you garner more sign-ups and build your subscriber base. Not only will it help you build a strong, devoted readership in the long run, it can help build your brand through word-of-mouth.
The secret to getting people to sign up for your newsletter...
These all may seem like tiny changes, but their impact adds up over time. There’s no magic formula or copy that will bring in caches of new subscribers. It’s a series of small, continuous tweaks that'll help you successfully build your newsletter database.
Do you have more tried and true email tactics to get people to sign up for your newsletter? Or are you curious about how you can get your CRM and email platform to work together seamlessly? Get in touch!