The signup form is a CTA (Call-to-Action).
Its only purpose is to convert a visitor into a subscriber. But let’s not oversimplify, making people take a specific action is a little more complex.
In this lesson, I’ll show you each one of the elements you should include in your signup form to make it irresistible.
First, let me just insert Obama’s signup form in here so you can appreciate it, and my version of course, so you can compare.
Obama’s “Are You In?” form
And my replica…
We’ll come back to them to discuss at the end of this lesson.
10 Elements you need to include in your email sign up form
The headline has to grab attention, and in order to do that, you should focus on communicating the main benefit. The desired outcome.
Let’s create an example…
A blog about Freelancing that gives away an ebook about getting more clients. The headline could be something like:
“Double your freelance clients in the next 30 days”
- It makes a pretty bold promise
- It sets expectations (30 days)
- It grabs attention, who doesn’t want to increase their client base
- It focuses on the user
Unfortunately, Even today I still see signup forms with a headline that goes a little like this: “Sign up for our newsletter” or “Subscribe Now!”
Some will even throw in an “it’s free!” in there.
Do you know how many people want to sign up for a newsletter? No-bo-dy.
One of the most common mistakes we make is to confuse benefits with features, and we end up describing what’s inside rather than communicating what’s in it for them.
The prospect doesn’t care about how many lessons or pages or how it is delivered. They care about outcomes. How you are going to improve their current situation.
Identify what their pain points are and turn those into clear benefits.
Let’s go back to our freelance example. One of the things freelancers hate is working with difficult clients, on the other hand, they might have a few ones they love working with. Another issue is not having enough clients to sustain their practice, in many cases because they don’t know how to market themselves. So we could go with something like…
- How to work only with your “ideal” clients and dump the rest
- The marketing strategies to make clients wait in line to hire you
As you can see, these are not characteristics of your free ebook, they are outcomes. They can relate to them and they see a possible solution to their struggle.
Giving away a tangible product like a t-shirt is one thing…
But when it comes to delivering digital products such as ebooks, online courses or software downloads, that’s a different story.
Your visual has to communicate something that doesn’t really exists in the three-dimensional world, but it still needs to deliver the impression of something valuable that the subscriber will receive.
Either way, an image is worth a thousand words when it comes to fighting for attention online.
I like this idea from Jeff Walker because he offers an ebook in PDF format and, instead of showing the graphic of a book, he’s showcasing it on an iPad. I don’t know about you, but it makes me feel a lot better than a simple PDF download.
Tools & Resources
Now, I know what you’re thinking…
“I’m gonna need a designer for this”
Nope. In today’s internet, we have tons of resources and tools to help us build our own graphics without the need of one.
Let me show you how quick I create a graphic for an ebook using only a free mockup I found online and Photoshop. Believe me, I’m not a designer but I get away with a lot of stuff this way.
How to create a graphic for your ebook
Here is the image I created…
I also put together a list of resources where you can find graphics and tools you can use. You can grab it here (It’s a Google Doc).
4) Keep it simple
You most keep your form simple when it comes to asking for information.
People don’t like filling out forms, and they like giving their personal information even less.
Some folks like to ask only for the email address, if you do this, take in consideration that you will not be able to do any personalization with their names in your campaigns.
I think it’s perfectly okay to ask for the first name.
Here is an example from Marie Forleo.
The button might seem like one of the most insignificant elements on the form, I mean, it’s just a button, right?
But many people make a big mistake here for not paying attention to it.
There are 2 things to consider:
The button should stand out from the rest of the elements. Use a contrasting color, never a different tone of the same color you’re using in the background or the rest of the elements on the form.
Notice in this example how the button stands out, even though there are several elements.
The copy is also very important, no-bo-dy wants to “submit” anything. Ever.
Yes, the click on the button is submitting the information on the form to your email provider, but you need to focus on the outcome here. What this individual is doing is trying to download your ebook or get access to your free course.
In this case from John Haydon, the button reads “Send the Course Now.”
6) Social Proof
When people feel insecure about something, they look around for validation. Show them that other people trust you.
Social proof gives people the impression that you are the bees knees. It communicates trust.
Social proof is not simply displaying the number of Twitter followers you have, you can use…
Media where you have been featured or mentioned. Just remember to use the actual icons since visuals are much more effective.
A testimonial from an influencer. SocialTriggers uses one from Chris Brogan in this form.
And Social Media Examiner uses the number of subscribers that have already joined. They have 350k of them, of corse you don’t have to have that many to impress people, just make sure it’s not 200 or you might give people the wrong impression.
The most common signup form is the one positioned at the top of the sidebar, after all, this is considered the hottest piece of real estate on the screen. Take a look at some of the most popular blogs out there and you’ll see they all have it:
But if that’s the only form on your site, you’re wasting multiple opportunities to grow your list faster.
Let’s list some of the other options (we’ll cover each one of them in the following lessons):
- Featured box
- Bottom of the post
8) Stand out
A good practice is to have your form stand out from the rest of the element on the screen. A form that blends in will fail to grab attention.
Make sure your form has enough contrast, the easiest way to do this is to use a color background.
Look at this example from Chris Ducker, do you think you’ll miss the signup form at the bottom of his posts?
Let’s recap with a nice visual. Click it to see the larger version (it will open on a separate tab), save it to your computer if you want to use it as a guide.
Now, I promised you come back and tell you why the Obama signup form would be such an epic fail if you use it. Here is the video…
Your homework is to plan an effective signup form, and for that we need to construct each element.
I have a worksheet to help you do that. You can grab it here: Signup From Planning Worksheet
You already know what to do to get it (I promise this is the last time I tell you this):
- If you use Google Drive, simply open the spreadsheet, go to “File” and “Make a Copy” so you can save it to your Drive, from there you will be able to edit and enter your own data
- If you use Microsoft Excel, you can also download it to your computer by going to “File” and “Download”