Newsletter programs like Mailchimp make split-testing your opt in forms extremely easy, but what exactly should you be testing?
And how can you create a really compelling opt-in form to start with?
To help you to answer all of these questions, let us take a look at many real-life examples of several opt-in forms together with suggestions on how they can be improved instantly.
Opt-in Example 1:
The suggested adjustments follow one simple principle that you can rely on every single time, when you are creating your opt-in form copy: talk about what your website visitors will get from signing up.
The original opt-in form just doesn’t do such a great job of explaining what they will receive when they sign up. The suggested adjustments focuses both the headline of the opt-in form and the button text on the visitor’s benefit.
The headline question Ready to get serious actually already is a excellent question to ask in the headline. The job of the headline is to filter out the wrong kind of people from subscribing in the first place. Our suggestion is to claim the attention with the headline and then qualify with the next subject line, not the other way around.
A positive point about this opt-in form is that there is a testimonial placed inside the box, for some social proof. This is probably the strongest reason why most people will sign up and the only thing that we would suggest here is that you will test several different testimonials, simply to see which one will convert best.
Opt-in Example 2:
Our second example shows that also on (internet) marketing related websites, “get free updates” is most of the time the only opt-in incentive that is presented.
Only offering free email notifications of new blog posts will get new subscribers on to your list. We have always stated that it is mucht better to have a “get free updates” newsletter opt-in form than no opt-in form at all.
However, this opt-in forum does nothing at all to convince the visitors to sign up for it, which means all the selling has to be done by the sites content. Only those visitors who have already read at least one piece of your content, and really loved it, will be moved to sign up for your newsletter – and that will be a missed opportunity.
The suggested adjustment consists in this case of two changes:
- Offering a desirable opt-in incentive. When you have a internet related blog for subjects like marketing, offer something like an SEO case study will make sense and fits the context.
- Change the text of the submit button to communicate better what your visitors will receive, in return for subscribing to your newsletter .
The headline “Get Email Updates (It’s Free)” technically is already advertising the main incentive, and talking about what the visitor will get. But there is also a problem with that: free email updates are offered already by several millions of websites. If everyone is offering this, it is not much of a benefit for the subscriber anymore. And most people need more emails in their mailbox like they need a hole in the head.
Creating a completely unique and truly desirable opt-in incentive will lead to a huge increase in opt-in conversions, so it is well worth doing it the right way.
Opt-in Example 3:
The original opt-in form already does many things right: there is an opt-in incentive for the subscriber, there is an image that illustrates the incentive and the text very clearly states what the visitor can expect what they will get when they subscribe.
There are, however, two issues that we would suggest improving.
The first is the visibility of the entire form itself. The original will blend in with the background and is not clearly noticeable. Also, since the input form is completely blank and the submit button is small and grey, it is very easy to glance over a page and not even realize that this is an opt-in form.
The suggested adjustments adds a new color highlight to the opt-in box (Which still complies with the website’s overall style), adds some extra helpful text to the email form field and makes sure that the button is instantly recognisable being a button.
The second issue that we found is that the opt-in incentive is a bundle of 92 life lessons and the text advertises the features instead of the benefits.
92 is a very large number and unless you can communicate the benefits why someone should be reading those 92 lessons very clearly, it will just seem like it’s a chore to potential subscribers. Nobody is keep about reading a big book or long lists unless they know what will be in it for them.
In the suggested adjustment, the text is changed to highlight the benefits (in line with of course the blog’s branding messages), instead of the features.
Opt-in Example 4:
As you can see, the suggested adjustment is pretty simple: take away the top part of the opt-in box.
Yes, there are a couple of other small improvements that can be made, such as improving the text and changing the submit button color to stand out from the background and more.
But the main suggestion that we have here is to put the full focus on the opt-in form and not to dilute it with social media buttons. Email subscriber are worth far more than twitter followers or RSS subscribers.
There are two options that we can recommend:
Visually separate all of your “social media stuff” from the opt-in form and put a much stronger emphasis on the opt-in form.
Remove all the social media icons entirely and place these on your thank-you page instead. Put focus on the opt-in first, then invite them to also follow you on Facebook etc.
4 Opt-in Examples, 5 Lessons To Be Learned
To summarise what we just wrote, here are the 5 main lessons that we can learn from all of the examples above:
It’s important to always address the visitor’s their benefit and what they will get in return for leaving their email address. The headline should instantly communicate this benefit.
- Choose a submit button color that does not blend in with the background and again re-iterate the visitor’s benefit in the button text.
- Offer a desirable opt-in incentive for the visitor. “Get our free newsletter” just is not very interesting any more.
- Choose a color for the entire opt-in box that will make it stand out from the rest of the design. Put an extra visual emphasis on your opt-in box.
- Do not dilute the focus with offering too many options, especially in a close proximity to your opt-in box.
The most important lesson of all: no matter who it will come from, an expert’s opinion is nothing more than a useful guideline for improvements. The only way to find out what will really works best and which improvements will lead to the highest conversion rates for your own website, your niche and your readers is to test..