Owned marketing

Signup form best practices: Build a form that converts

Aubrey Harper, January 20th 2022

A signup form is a tool to collect information from your website visitors. This can include contact information, like an email address. It can also include other personal information, like names, birthdays, or what kind of products a customer is interested in.

Signup forms can be pop up forms, exit intent pop ups, newsletter signups or other such forms displayed or embedded on the website.

The average popup converts 3.2% of website visitors, which helps brands keep in touch with people who didn’t immediately make a purchase from the website.

That’s great, but this is even better: The top 10% of popups see double that in conversion (7.8%).

Use these best practices to improve your customer experience and turn more website visitors into marketing contacts and customers.

Seven signup form best practices

1. Emphasize the value you’re offering in the form header

Think of the information you’re asking for as a form of currency. Your user wants to get something of equal or greater value in return for giving you their name, email address, phone number, etc.

Like Liaison’s bold, clear offer, your signup forms and pages should always stress the value that your website visitor will get—whether it’s a discount, credit to spend on products, a newsletter with helpful tips and tricks, or something else.

A simple form might just be your best converting form yet. You could design the best looking popup form in the world, but at the end of the day, all your users will see is a form that’s asking for their information. If they’re not sure of what they’ll receive when they fill out the form, it’s likely they won’t fill it out.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask for more information in the form fields

Data shows you can have up to five fields on your signup forms before affecting your conversion. But if you want a more streamlined experience for your customers, use multi-step forms to get more details after someone subscribes.

For example, Caden Lane gets a new subscriber’s email and product preference in the first step of their form. Once someone submits that information, they’re taken to the next step: adding in their phone number.

This information can help personalize the messages your customers receive after signup—and even the channels where they receive them, like SMS.

3. Highlight social proof within the form

Social proof helps to put people at ease about giving out their contact information. It can also help pique interest in your company. If your product or brand gets rave reviews, be sure to let people know.

Our Place’s form highlights how much their customers love the product. And with their giveaway of a $145 pan to a lucky subscriber, they give visitors a compelling reason to sign up.

If you have a large email list of happy subscribers who love engaging with your emails, you can also reference that on your signup form by saying something like, “Join (number of subscribers) others like you!”.

4. Explain that they can opt-out at any time 

Put people at ease who are considering submitting their information by emphasizing the option to opt-out. Edinburgh Skincare does this by saying “You can unsubscribe at any time.”

While companies are legally required to provide an opt-out mechanism for their emails, most people have been burned by that one company that sends dozens of emails a day, and doesn’t honor opt-out requests.

5. Use the form to set your customers’ expectations

Convince people to sign up with you by telling them exactly what they’ll get—and go beyond the signup offer. Wild Fork Foods shares with their customers recipes, tips from experts, new product information, store openings, and more.

Also consider telling visitors when they sign up how often you send emails, so they’ll know exactly what to expect.

6. Don’t let the experience end at the submit button

What happens after someone signs up to your marketing list is almost as important as what happens before.

When someone submits a signup form on Josh Wood Colour’s website, they see a thank you message with the promised discount code, plus a call-to-action (CTA) to start shopping.

Don’t leave your new subscribers hanging—send them to a thank you page that explains the next steps, or send an email confirming that their sign up was successfully submitted. 

7. Always be testing the form experience

A/B testing is one of the best ways to improve conversion rates on your site, and testing signup forms can lead to some quick conversion rate wins. 

A/B testing works by showing your standard version (the control) to a certain percentage of your users (usually 50%) and a different version (the variation) to a different percentage of your audience (typically the other 50%).

It’s possible to do different splits or show multiple variants as well, but typically, an A/B test will be an even 50/50 split between the control and variation.

When you run a test, only change one variable at a time. That way if you see an increase in conversions, you don’t have to guess which change led to the increase.

Consider all the elements of your signup form you can test:

  • Signup form length
  • Phone numbers
  • Intro copy
  • CTA verbiage
  • CTA color
  • Where the form shows up

Use signup forms to drive conversions

If you have a website, chances are you have at least one form to collect information from your users.

These tips should help you to increase the conversion rates of your forms, and will hopefully give you some new ideas on additional forms to try.

Always keep your user in mind when you design forms, and ensure that each form speaks to their needs while providing value in return for the information they give to you.

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Aubrey Harper
Aubrey Harper
Content strategist
Aubrey is a Content Strategist at Klaviyo, where she leads content efforts across EMEA. Her background is in marketing technology, but she most recently worked in ecommerce, giving her a passion for entrepreneurs selling amazing stuff online. When she’s not making content to educate fellow ecom enthusiasts, you can find her in one of the many London parks chasing after her squirrel-happy dog and listening to the Everybody Hates Marketers podcast.