Time to Optimize Your Opt-in Form

Posted by Julia Peavy on

With the holidays right around the corner, you (hopefully) will have tons of new website visitors looking to fill the holidays with cheer. Many of these website visitors are not only potentially new customers, they are also potentially new email subscribers. Here are some tips to optimize your website opt-in forms so you can make your email holidays merry.

1. Include an email capture form on the home page (ideally above the fold so potential subscribers don’t have to scroll). Cabela’s includes an email opt-in form directly to the right of their main hero image in their “Get Connected” section.

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2. Provide multiple opportunities on the home page for potential subscribers to provide their email address. L.L.Bean includes an “Email Updates” link in the upper navigation bar as well as two different email collection points at the bottom of the home page.

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3. Protect your list quality by requiring potential subscribers to enter their email address twice. The Gap clearly communicates what is required in the requested fields and then provides details on the special offer.
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4. Utilize a popover (also commonly referred to as a light box) immediately on the home page so it is less likely to interrupt a purchase. Limit the number of fields required and disable the popover for any links coming from your emails as well as for existing subscribers. Williams-Sonoma serves up a simple popover immediately upon the website visit. The popover explains the benefits of providing an email address, includes one required field, and uses a clear call to action. The delivery of the promotional code to the email address also encourages new subscribers to provide a valid email address.
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5. Use a less-aggressive popover. Net-a-Porter’s popover gives potential subscribers the ability to sign up, choose “not now” or prohibit the popover from showing again.
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6. If a popover isn’t an option, consider a banner at the top of the page that website visitors can dismiss. Rakuten (formerly Buy.com), utilizes a black banner on the home page that outlines the benefits of joining and requires only email address to join. A large “X” in the upper right hand corner is provided for visitors to close out the banner.
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7. Promote  additional channels for engagement. After a subscriber completes the opt-in banner at the top of the Victoria’s Secret home page, the confirmation banner thanks the subscriber and promotes their mobile app. Edible Arrangements, on the other hand, uses the confirmation page to promote their social networks.
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8. Utilize a contest to grow your list. This Bath and Body Works contest requires only email address and only adds entrants to their email database if the opt-in box is checked.
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9. Allow new subscribers to update their email preferences. HSN provides new email subscribers the ability to update their preferences right from the email confirmation box. Subscribers that are receiving emails they want, are more likely to engage with your brand and not unsubscribe (or worse, register a complaint with their Mailbox Provider).
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10. Have any sister brands? Promote these additional brands on the email confirmation page. Never automatically opt-in subscribers to multiple brands without their permission as this can lead to complaints and potentially having your emails delivered to the spam folder. Blair, an Orchard Brands company, uses the following confirmation page to promote all of their additional brands. No need for subscriber to reenter their email address, just select the additional brands that interest them.

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Bonus tips! For any email collection form, collect only fields you will use (If you want to collect additional data, request that information on the confirmation page and make it optional), use a compelling call to action, and include a link to your privacy policy.  Also, be sure to include an email collection form in the footer of all content pages and during the purchase process.

Here’s to the wonderful gift of new email subscribers this holiday season! 


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About Julia Peavy

Julia Peavy is currently the Director of Partner Services at Return Path. In this role, Julia is responsible for supporting Return Path’s partners and helping improve the client experience through consistent, quality, and scalable services. When Julia's not helping partners and their clients, you can find her on the slopes, trying to lower her handicap, looking for bargains, or watching one of her boys' many sporting events.

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