Bad Form — 4 Email Marketing Subscription Form Fails

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Email marketing list growth can be challenging, but many marketers insist on making it more difficult than it should be. A good list starts with a great subscription form. Your form represents an open door to your business. It should be welcoming and easy to enter, and should not throw any surprises at your potential subscribers as they attempt to form a relationship with your organization.

Your subscription form is perhaps one of the most important aspects of your entire email marketing strategy, and yet many marketers fail to optimize it in the same way they would a subject line, a creative or a call to action. This is a real shame because by not doing so you are essentially restricting the potential success of your campaigns from the very start.

How Welcoming Are Your Email Marketing Subscription Forms?

I see these email marketing worst practices every single day. If you recognize them in your business, it may be time to get more strategic in the way you employ your email marketing subscription forms.

  1. The Link: This is when you hide your subscription form behind an “Email Newsletter” link on your home page. Who clicks on these links? Absolutely nobody. Hiding your subscription form behind a link is akin to opening an office on a busy street and then hiding your public entrance down a dark alley. Your email marketing subscription forms should be clearly visible on every single page of your website — giving everyone who visits your site, no matter how they enter, the opportunity to join without first finding and clicking on a link.
  2. 20 Questions: You wouldn’t start a conversation with people you have never met before by asking them how much money they earn or what their inside leg measurement is. That would be just plain rude. So why ask all sorts of ridiculous questions like company size, turnover, budget availability, etc. on your email form? Your sales team might tell you that this information is useful, but it will do more damage to their lead flow (by restricting the number of registrations) than anything else. Small businesses can qualify leads very easily by simply entering email addresses into LinkedIn as and when they register — this takes seconds. More sophisticated businesses might want to employ lead scoring technology (available via iContact’s Marketing Automation service — click here for your free trial).
  3. No Incentive: Why should anyone subscribe to your email list when the only thing you are offering is the opportunity to be sold to? A good incentive could be the offer of a solid piece of thought leadership such as a white paper, access to a webinar, regular news updates, a voucher code, or some other added-value product or service. The more valuable your incentive, the more subscribers you will generate — so always try to invest some real time and effort into your promotions.
  4. No Alternative: One size does not fit all. Test your email marketing subscription forms in the same way you would test your subject lines, creatives, calls to action, send times, etc. Try different form sizes, designs, positions or incentives. You might consider some strategies such as pop-up forms obtrusive — but they can yield fantastic results. Testing is the only way to truly understand what approach works best for your business, attracts the optimum number of subscriptions and generates the kind of leads your business needs to succeed.

Are your email marketing subscriptions forms welcoming new business opportunities, or do they slam the door shut in the face of potential new prospects? Share your comments or questions below:

This post first appeared on the iContact Email Marketing Blog.

Marketing Strategist, Author of #BecomingTHEExpert, Content Marketing Trainer, and Cyclist. Check out my author profile:

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