If you’re tasked with building an email list and monetizing subscribers into paying customers, one of the most powerful tools is the opt-in form. Although there are several ways to optimize an opt-in form for excellent results, making it simple is key.
When you hear the word “simple,” you may associate the term with “rudimentary” or “boring,” but that’s not necessarily the case. Simple can be far more complex and valuable than we sometimes assume.
According to Harvard professor George Whitesides, simple processes can be broken down into three characteristics: (1) they are predictable, (2) they are accessible, and (3) they serve as building blocks.
The easiest place to start is with predictability. We love simple things because they’re easy on our brain -- it doesn’t have to work as hard to understand them. Which is good because our minds work at an insanely fast pace.
Designer Jory MacKay believes.
In terms of web design and development, simple has the potential to be particularly effective. This is due in large part to the predictable nature of simple design elements, as well as the absence of distracting aspects.
If nothing else competes for the visitor’s attention, then he or she is all but compelled to focus on the element you intend to highlight for potential customers. Whether you provide an entire website that’s presented in a minimalist fashion, or an isolated opt-in form that fills a single landing page template, simplicity can ensure that you attract leads and will surely drive revenue.
Surprisingly, it can be more difficult to develop a simple opt-in form than a complicated one. This goes back to what Steve Jobs once said:
Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.
Not sure where to start? Here are five practical tips.
The first suggestion centers on placement rather than design, per se. If you seek to give your opt-in forms the most exposure, they should go above the fold. It’s even better if you can place it in the header so visitors’ eyes will be drawn to it immediately.
Have you ever seen one of those opt-in forms that asks for eight or nine different pieces of information -- such as name, email address, birthday, gender, mailing address, job title, employer, and past purchase decisions? Not only is this overwhelming, but it can easily feel to the customer like an invasion of privacy.
One of the best things you can do to boost your conversion rate for opt-in forms is to cut the number of fields. The ideal is one to two … and you should never go above three.
This opt-in form from Humanity is a great example. It has two fields and a conversion button: sleek, simple, and effective.
Although various studies say different things, a fair amount of research suggests that, unlikely as it sounds, a green call-to-action button can increase opt-ins by as much as 132 percent. Clearly, colors can have a measurable effect on user behavior.
Green may or may not work for your opt-in form, but you have to be methodical in choosing your color scheme. The goal is to make the essential items stand out against the background (which should be neutral).
The call-to-action text you place on your conversion button will also have a direct impact on your overall conversion rate. The copy needs to be concise, but also compelling.
Instead of using a typical button that reads “Sign Up” or “Opt-In,” go for something clever. This opt-in form from Blog Tyrant is a good example. It reads “Let’s Do It,” which is clear but unusual and charming.
Perhaps more crucial than the ingenuity of the CTA text is its clarity. The opt-in button has to be self-explanatory. If the user can’t be sure what’s apt to happen when he or she clicks on it, you’ve lost the sale.
Next, to the opt-in form, you should insert a reason (or several) to believe. Visitors should be drawn to opt in, not guilted into it.
Blog Tyrant takes a little longer but does the job with a bullet list.
If you’ve been operating under the assumption that there’s a relationship between time/effort and quality of output, you need to get over that. You could spend weeks designing an opt-in form for your next landing page and it’ll probably be less effective than a simple one that could be developed in minutes.
Prioritize simplicity over complexity and your opt-in forms will probably see a substantial rise in conversions.
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