Subscription Form Best Practices Part 2

Subscription Form Best Practices Part 2


Part Two: Prime Placement

Now that we have the content figured out, where do we put this form? Should it fly out from the corner of the screen or sit quietly in the footer? We’ll go over a few different options for placement and ways to use lightboxes effectively so you can make decisions that will draw the largest email audience.

Placement of Forms

It’s important to ask users to sign up for your email newsletter in multiple places, such as:

  • Somewhere prevalent on your website’s homepage
  • At the end of every article/blog post on your website
  • On all social media sites

Users will come across your company in a variety of ways. Because of this, there should be multiple opportunities for them to sign up for emails. Sticking the form at the end of an article or blog post can catch users that may have only ended up on your site from clicking a link to the post. Including a form on your Facebook page can attract recipients who came across your company from an ad or a friend’s post.

You’ll also want to consider the varying levels of familiarity users will have with your company. If you decide to use a lightbox, some users who are new to your site may X right out of it, but after learning about your company, they may be interested in receiving email updates. There needs to be other places on your site where the form can catch their eye.

Appearance on Your Website

There are a few different ways you can present a sign-up form on your website. Lightboxes very clearly draw the attention of the user by popping up and sometimes even darkening the rest of the page. These usually take the form of a box of text with a single line for the user to enter their email, plus a good CTA to seal the deal. (You may have heard the bad rap against lightboxes, but we’ve actually grown to love them. We’ll break down their stigma in the next section.)

Other places you stick a sign-up form can vary. You can have a banner drop down from the header, include a short form in the header or footer, or try a slightly longer form in a sidebar. See how the email sign-up form on Marie Forleo’s home page stands out in a banner? (Thanks for sharing, Canva!)

Banners and sidebars can stand out in bright colors while not directly interrupting the user’s browsing the way lightboxes do. It’s important to give the form a more permanent location on your website so users always have access to it.

Low-Annoyance Lightboxes

Lightboxes don’t exactly have a good reputation. I can recall a few times I’ve entered a new website, only to be bombarded with a lightbox that didn’t seem to have an “exit” option. Frustrated and annoyed, I had no choice but to leave the entire website. However, there are ways to do lightboxes right—and they do pay off!

Our friends at Emma wrote about the crazy increase in conversions they’ve experienced with lightboxes. One of their beta testers, an e-commerce site called Billy the Tree, saw their conversions increase from 10 a week to over 200 a week after deploying lightboxes on their login and checkout pages! The effectiveness of lightboxes just can’t be disputed, so let’s talk about ways to design them to keep your visitors’ eyes from rolling in annoyance.

Experiment with the pages you put lightboxes on and the amount of time a user is on the page before it appears. Billy the Tree chose to include a lightbox on their checkout page, as they assumed customers making purchases are engaged enough in their company to be open to receiving email updates. If your home page lightbox isn’t make a lot of conversions, try adding one on a page deeper into your site, or consider delaying its appearance. Giving your audience 20 seconds to look around your home page first may give them just enough time to acquaint themselves with your company before becoming open to giving you their email.

Now that you know the scoop on what should be said in an email sign-up form and where to put it, get out there and get some email recipients! Think of any other good places to put a form? Comment and let us know what’s working for you!

Refer to “Part One: Convincing Content” for guidance in generating good sign-up form copy.

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