(This is a guest post written by our friends from Campaign Monitor. Enjoy!)
When it comes to email marketing, your email list is the most important tool you have. It allows you to keep in touch with your customers, convince potential customers to make a purchase, and to grow your business. And having a list of people who are engaged and interested in your emails and business is the ultimate goal.
Growing an email list then should be a top priority for most marketers. Since up to 25% of your emails go bad or stale over the course of a year, it’s really important to keep adding new ones to your list. A huge mailing list isn’t what’s important though, because what you really want is a list of people who open and interact with the emails you send.
Let’s take a deeper look at some of the elements that make a sign-up form successful. There are different purposes for email lists, such as to drive leads with a free download, but we’re going to concentrate on list growth and data collection.
Deciding on the information you need
Before you start creating the best email sign-up form ever, take a moment to think about how you want to use the information you collect to send better targeted messages.
Of course, you’ll need an email address. You may also want to collect first and last name. Beyond that, any additional data you collect can be used to create more personalized emails and can also be used to create list segments of people with specific criteria.
All marketers have different goals for their emails, and different businesses have different needs, but here are some suggestions for what can be collected:
Think about what you wish you could do with your emails and then figure out what data you need to make that happen and add it to your form.
Here’s an example of what you can do with the data you collect for your emails. Adidas gathers information about their subscribers to create emails specific to their needs, and uses email automation to make it easy on themselves to get the right email to the right person. In this example, they use gender to send specific clothing ideas to their subscribers.
Design a compelling sign-up form
Once you know what data you need on your email sign-up form, you’ll need to create the form and collect it. Having a form with too many required fields or too much typing can be a barrier to getting people to sign up in the first place. Remember that these are people with busy lives, and ones you hope to be customers, so don’t annoy them from the get-go. Make the form easy to fill out so that they’re more likely to finish it.
A couple of things to keep in mind when doing this:
- Required fields – There are going to be some fields that have to be filled in, so these will be mandatory on your form. Email address of course, plus anything that’s really vital to sending the right information to your subscribers. All fields cannot be required, you’ll scare off most of your new subscribers before they’ve finished the sign-up process.
– Using drop-downs can ensure that the data you collect is formatted correctly and can ease the pain of filling in a form. Just make sure it’s easy for your subscribers to find what they need. A list of 100 choices is too much and they may give up before they finish.
By creating an easy-to-use form you’ll know that the data you’re getting is good and will be in the format best for your needs. And remember, you can always go back and make changes to your form if you find it’s not performing the way you want it to, or you need different data. Things always change in email marketing.
Collect follow up data using emails
If for some reason people don’t fill in all the details you’d like them to, you can always send an email later to collect it. Brooks recently did just that with a fun email asking for a birthdate. They also give an incentive for the recipient to take the time to share this information by promising a surprise on their birthday.
Having an email list that performs well starts with a fantastic sign-up form. Keep the design simple and the fields to just the information that you need. Remember there’s a human filling in the form so make it easy for them to give you the information that you need. For more tips and ideas, check out the infographic below.
Andrea Robbins lives in San Francisco and is a demand generation marketer at Campaign Monitor. Her favorite things include getting outdoors, a good cup of coffee, and overusing cat emojis. Say hi on Twitter @andirobz