How to Build an Email List Fast, Pt. 1: Web forms by Michal Leszczynski

If you’ve ever tried to sell through newsletters, you’ve probably asked yourself: How can I get new leads? I’ve spent the last couple of years of my professional life helping clients build email lists, using methods that do not require much financial investment and offer good quality data. Today, (and in the next 5 parts of this series) I’ll share my knowledge with you, teaching you the fastest ways to build a responsive subscriber list.

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In part 1, we’ll talk about how to use web forms (aka sign-up forms) to build your email list. You’ll find these “rules” helpful, whether you’re new to email marketing or already roll out complex email marketing campaigns.

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Rule #1 – Create a web form and place it “everywhere”

What makes a good web form great? It’s that you can see it at once, can access it with no problem, and have no doubt as to what action to take. That’s exactly what your audience should think and feel when they see your sign-up form.

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Even if a visitor is interested in your offer, they may not stay on your website very long. But if you build interest in your services, soon your visitors will be surfing through your web pages to access more information and become more familiar with what you offer.

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To make sure you don’t lose your chance to stay in touch with your potential clients, make your web form visible at every step:

  • Product page
  • Shopping cart checkout
  • Pricing grid
  • Contact page
  • Etc.

This is important. Don’t expect your audience to go back to your home page after they’ve already left it, where perhaps they noticed your sign-up form.

When designing a web form, make it visible yet subtle, so it fits your website perfectly. This means that fonts, colors, CTA, and other elements have to create synergy, reinforcing each other to build a positive brand image.

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What makes a newsletter sign-up form effective?

  • A call-to-action (CTA) that leaves no doubt about the action you expect from site visitors,
  • Benefit language showing what your audience receives when they take action,
  • Required input fields for email address, name, and perhaps something more,
  • Motivator (what’s in it for me?) – a discount coupon or maybe a freebie,
  • Data protection and disclosure confirmation.

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Learn how to create a web form » 

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TED webform

Img. 1 – TED web form visible on every page

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Blogging with Amy "Useletter"

Img. 2 – The “Blogging with Amy” web form plays a smart word-game with the name “Useletter” to show how subscribers benefit.

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Rule #2 – Integrate web forms with social media

Another great technique is to integrate sign-up forms with your social media profiles. If you already have brand followers and fans, why not turn them into engaged subscribers?

First, place a web form on your Facebook fan page and start building your email list from existing fans and followers. (Note: other social media channels don’t allow this yet.) If you don’t collect the email addresses, you limit the likelihood that your fans will see your messages, due to Edgerank and similar algorithms.

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Second, make newsletter sign-up easy for those who are logged in to their social media profiles. By enabling them to sign up using their social media credentials, you improve user experience and remove obstacles to joining your list.

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How can I capture new subscribers on my Facebook fan page? 

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Ferrari web form on Facebook

Img. 3 – Ferrari newsletter sign-up form on Facebook

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Rule #3 – Create a lightbox or a pop-over

In addition to placing a sign-up form on your blog or website, consider adding a lightbox or a pop-over.

The biggest advantage, and main characteristic, is that they stand out from other methods. These sign-up forms aren’t embedded on your website; rather they appear a few moments after the visitor enters.

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If your audience wasn’t looking for a way to subscribe, they prompt visitors to consider joining. Include a good benefit to convince them it’s worth the effort and answer the question: “What’s in it for me?”

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How to create a lightbox and a pop-over 

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Bryan Eisenberg web form

Img. 4 – Bryan Eisenberg’s lightbox

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KISSmetrics web form

Img. 5 – Kissmetrics lightbox showing clear benefits of signing up

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Rule #4 – Create landing pages with sign-up forms

Landing pages are created for the sole purpose of conversion — to get your audience to perform a specified action. This action could be to register for a webinar, order a product, or as in this example, subscribe to your newsletter.

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Remember to fully and clearly list all the benefits of joining your email list. The way you present it has to be convincing. The required action should be easy to understand and leave no place for hesitation. Remember to focus on the main goal of the landing page — sign-up — and plan the graphics, copy, and other cues to lead to this action.

 

How to create landing pages 

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GetResponse landing page

Img 6. – GetResponse landing page with sign-up form

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Rule #5 – Ask for additional data

It may be worthwhile to ask your audience for additional data on the sign-up form, data such as name or city of residence.

The information you collect can be used to personalize emails and segment your list, so you can build a personal bond with subscribers and target them with content that relates specifically to them.

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But be cautious. Each additional field is another obstacle and can cause hesitation. Even one additional field could reduce the conversion rate by 10% or more.

There are other ways to obtain additional information for segmentation and targeting. After your initial message, you can send a survey requesting the data.

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On top of that, behavioral data in your Email Analytics provides information about the preferences and habits of your audience. Just send a few different messages and analyze their actions.

For best conversion, don’t ask your audience to fill in more than 2-3 fields. Collect the rest of the information later.

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How to collect additional data with web forms 

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John Maxwell web form

Img. 7 – John Maxwell’s lightbox asking for email address and name

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I hope you found this article useful in helping you run promotional campaigns more effectively and reach a larger audience.

Now get going — start designing those effective, stunning looking sign-up forms!

 

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