How to get more subscribers through your website forms
“Well, the form on their website didn’t work… and now this!… Shall we just call the whole thing off?”
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I recently spoke to a potential new client and was joking about unsubscribes. He commented he cursed under his breath for every new unsubscribe his list received (I remember feeling like that when I first started!).
After the call I considered his reaction to unsubscribes and realised he was missing a big point with email marketing.
If you’re doing email marketing the right way, unsubscribes are actually a good thing – as it allows those people who don’t resonate with your message to opt out – and I’d rather they opted out then sat like a Zombie and stayed dormant on my list not opening anything.
Of course, if you accept that unsubscribes are a good thing, then you need to make sure you’re growing your database – if you do this, unsubscribes don’t hurt anywhere as much.
Successful email marketers understand that with bigger databases come bigger successes, and they have a single minded focus on ensuring this growth.
…and a big part of this is effectively using forms on your website.
Unfortunately, this is not as easy as it once was.
We’re no longer sitting in the early 2000’s when anyone would complete a form.
Nowadays we all need to help our forms work much harder to get more subscribers.
So how can you get more people filling out the forms on your website?
Having helped hundreds of organisations improve their data capture techniques, we focus on 3 specific elements, that when working together can have exponential impact on your signup effectiveness.
If you don’t get the 3 core elements of any successful form right, it won’t work and you’ll be left with an empty database and no one to send your emails to.
…but before we get to the 3 core elements, we’d always suggest you put some measures in place so you know what’s working/not working at the moment, and then see how things (hopefully) improve when you make changes.
A simple way to do this is to make sure when someone completes a form, they get sent to a thank you page – and then using website analytics, just see how many people visit the first page, and then the second page. This will give you a baseline conversion rate which you can use as a marker.
Alternatively if you use a specific form tool, chances are it will have analytics built in (we use optinmonster for our pop-ups, and it tracks their performance).
So once you’ve got your tracking in place, you can start improving the 3 core elements of form success.
So what are these 3 core elements and how can you leverage them to grow your list?
Simply for a form to succeed, it needs to work, be seen and be persuasive.
A form that works(!)
You’d be surprised at how many forms we see which just don’t work.
Mailchimp makes it pretty easy to embed forms in your website, and there are hundreds of form tools out there that can capture people’s information and push it to Mailchimp.
Despite this, there are still too many forms that don’t work. So when you get your form sorted:
- Make sure the form connects with Mailchimp and pushes the information into the right place
- Test it with some test emails and make sure the information you submit gets into Mailchimp where you want it to go
It may sound obvious, but when was the last time you tested your forms?
Fundamentally, for people to sign up to a form, they need to see it, which means that they need to be on your website in the first place.
Many people spend hours perfecting their forms and making sure they work, but forget that the form is like a machine – it needs lots of fuel to work effectively – and a form’s fuel is traffic.
So when you’re thinking about your form, make sure you know that people are going to see it, because you’re making sure it’s where people go on your site.
Here’s a few tips on traffic for forms…
- Use your website analytics tool to find the most popular pages on your website and make sure there is a form on those pages. Your home page is likely to be one of them, but knowing where and how people are coming to your site allows you to get the most eyeballs on your form.
- Make sure that your traffic strategies are pointing to the right pages. So whether you’re doing social or paid outreach, make sure that the link is going to the right place to get the sign up.
Without new eyeballs on your form, it doesn’t matter how good it is.
Make it more likely to be completed
Just because someone gets to your page (traffic) and see’s there’s a form, doesn’t mean they’re going to complete it.
One of my go to phrases when it comes to anything relating to marketing is “the easier you make it for something to happen, the more likely it will”.
So, how can you make it easy for someone to complete your form? … and not just easy, but make the decision of putting their email address into a form so obvious and automatic they can’t help but do it?
Here’s a few ideas which’ll get your form converting like crazy…
- Align it with your traffic’s intent.
As you’re likely to be in control of the ‘click’ when someone arrives at your site (your social media or your ad), you want to make sure the message on the page/form sits nicely with their previous page – this is called ‘message match’ – does the tone and direction of the page fit with what they saw previously?… (i.e. click here to get our guide >> put your email in to get your guide…)
Matching forms with previous pages intent will improve conversion.
- Don’t ask too much.
Bad forms are those which ask too much information and cause “form fatigue”. Research indicates that asking for two or three pieces of info is fine (e.g. first name, email and a segmentation question), but more and you’ll start to see a reduction in form completions.
- Sell it!
People need a reason to fill in your form, now more than ever. So make sure you sell the benefits of completing the form. What are they going to get when they complete the form? What’s in it for them? Selling the form completion and why they’d want to be on your list is going to help.
Too many people want to grow their database, but put little/no effort into giving the forms themselves the chance to succeed – either by hiding them away, not ensuring they work, or not making it easy for people to complete them.
Don’t undermine your email marketing by not focusing on effective data capture. You may have the best emails in the world for your audience – but if no-one signs up, what’s the point.
Our goal at Chimp Answers is to make Mailchimp easy… which means helping you get more from your forms.
If you do nothing else after reading this but testing your own form and seeing if it works and if it’s “easy”, you’ll be on the right track.
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