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How to Strategically Use Opt-In Forms to Boost Conversions

How to Strategically Use Opt-In Forms to Boost Conversions

Opt-in forms are a powerful inbound lead generation tool. They provide you with an easy and accessible way to request and obtain the information of your website visitors, and add them to your business email list.

However, for the opt-in forms to be efficient, you not only need to invest the time and effort to build them properly, but have to know how to use them.

Asking for a user’s email address is like inviting them to make your acquaintance and start a friendship. If you are intrusive, impatient, improper, or plain annoying, it’s highly unlikely that they will be keen on it, because you have made the wrong first impression.

But if you approach them properly and at the right time, you may hit it off.

In this article, we provide insight on how to strategically use opt-in forms to boost conversions, and generate high-quality leads.

Read on to find out!

Be Clear on the Purpose of the Opt-In

The goal of the opt-in form is for the website owner to request the user’s consent about receiving promotional, informational, and/or transactional emails. By filling in their information, and/or clicking a checkbox, the website visitor confirms that they agree.

However, in order to do this, they need to know what they are agreeing to.

You need to provide clear, easy-to-read, and understandable information about what you intend to do with the user’s personal details. Also, you need to tell them how you will manage their data, and what types of messages you are going to send.

Of course, all this can’t fit into your regular opt-it form because of the limited space. Furthermore, if you crowd it in with too much information, people are highly unlikely to read it all and sign on.

Therefore, you should prioritize the most pertinent facts, and provide a link to a page that explains in detail the rules and regulations surrounding your data management and privacy policies.

This way, you will not only comply with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 which regulates commercial emails and protects users from unsolicited junk mail, but may make it more likely that only interested potential customers sign up

If you exaggerate what you are offering or try to mislead the user, you may, potentially, attract more leads, but they will be of lower quality. This means that it will cost you more to nurture them, and, even if they convert, there’s a fair chance that you will not be able to retain them.

Position Your Opt-In Forms Wisely

The placement of your opt-in forms across the page is vital.

While it may be tempting to make them pop up and fill the whole screen, we advise against it.

Similar to other popups and interstitial ads, the opt-in forms shouldn’t block out the reader’s view and access to the main content on the page. Otherwise, you risk not only annoying your website visitors, but you could inflict a Google penalty on yourself.

Furthermore, while you want to be sure that your visitors will see the form and, hopefully, fill it out, you don’t want to impose on them and be too pushy.

To that end, the bottom right corner of the screen is considered to be the best place for your opt-in forms. There, people can see your offer, but choose whether to take notice of it or ignore it.

And while it may feel that there’s a greater risk that they do ignore it, at least they won’t be annoyed by it. And the less annoyed they are, the more probable it is that they will pay attention to your form.

Because they will feel that it’s their choice, and not that you are trying to make them do it.

For example, Teva’s opt-in offer is great, but comes too soon after landing on the page and obstructs the main content. The user is highly unlikely to have made a purchasing decision in such a short amount of time and will become frustrated because the popup interrupts them, so, chances are, they will dismiss it.

Still, they provide a safer backup option – a less intrusive banner opt-it that remains at the top of the page after you close the first one.


Choose the Right Timing

Choosing when to suggest your opt-in form can be the difference between making and breaking it.

A lot of publications place the first form inside the content, right below the fold. However, at this point, more often than not, it is way too early for the user to decide whether or not your content is appealing enough to become part of your community and/or give up their information.

In order to be willing to commit, first, they need to have a taste of the value you provide. Attacking them with an opt-in that soon may put them off.

That’s why, we suggest positioning your first opt-in form halfway down the page, and the next one at the bottom of the content.

This way, while the user engages with the information, they will see an option to sign up – a suggestion that they will, most probably, ignore again. However, when they are finished, they will be nudged with a reminder. As their interest will still be fresh, and they will be seeing the offer for the second time, they may be more likely to think about it.

Also, you should consider one last attempt that is triggered by movement of the cursor towards the site’s close button.

For best results, consider aligning the design and content of the different forms with the timing. This will allow you to approach the customer from a different angle each time, and increase the chances of making an impression.

Also, showing them the same message over and over again may frustrate them.

Be Subtle With the Design and Colors

While the purpose of these forms is to attract attention, their design should be simple and clean.

You have limited space to convey important information – if you overdo it with the colors and graphic elements, you risk overwhelming the user.

Also, stuffing too many visual details may distract the person from the goal – giving you their email and converting.

The centerpiece of the design should be the marketing message and the CTA.

Furthermore, the general look and feel of the opt-in form should match the rest of your website. This way it will seem more native and blend in, instead of standing out like an ad (and you don’t want it to have an ad vibe because people tend to instinctively react negatively to them).

Here’s a good example of an interesting opt-in form design by Drip.

It shows up at the bottom right corner of the screen, a few seconds after the user lands on the page. However, it is minified and invites the user to click on it to see what the brand has for them:

Be Subtle With the Design and Colors

Once the user clicks on the small popup, it expands into a full-blown opt-in form.

Be Subtle With the Design and Colors 2


This way, the interaction with the content is the user’s choice, not the brands, which makes a person more open to the offer, and more likely to convert.

Furthermore, the color scheme of the popup is similar to that of the rest of the page and although it stands out, it does so in a subtle and not too flashy way.

Compose a Clear and Compelling Message

When it comes to opt-in forms, it’s not only your space that is limited – so is the attention span of the user. You need to be able to engage them and convey your message quickly.

To that end, you should craft a clear, concise, and to-the-point copy. It has to be relevant to the customer’s needs, and should focus on a problem that they are facing and you may have a solution to.

However, your goal shouldn’t be to convince every visitor to sign up, because not everyone who ends up on your page is a viable potential customer.

To ensure conversions, your message needs to be properly targeted according to your buyer personas. Otherwise, you risk attracting the wrong type of leads, and wasting valuable time and effort trying to qualify and nurture them.

The more on-point your opt-in form copy is, the higher-quality leads it may attract.

These types of potential clients are more likely to convert and become paying customers.

For example, the Discworld Emporium, an eCommerce store dedicated to Terry Pratchett’s fandom community, does a great job with their opt-in form message. It has a reference to one of the author’s books and instantly grabs the attention of the fans and elicits a smile. This increases the chances of the visitor signing up because it’s an inside joke that the community can relate to.

Compose a Clear and Compelling Message

Cut Down the Required Fields

Nobody likes to share too much information about themselves, especially before the other side has earned their trust.

When a user is considering whether or not to provide you with their personal details, there are many questions that potentially cross their mind – the top one being “Do I need yet another email in my inbox on a regular basis?”

Cut Down the Required Fields

More often than not, they neither need, nor want your messages. However, they still weigh the pros and cons of signing on. Maybe you can offer some valuable insights after all.

However, the more information you require, the less likely they are to sign up.

In fact, research shows that with every additional field in an opt-in form, the likelihood of a person filling it drops by 11%. That’s quite a lot, isn’t it?

So, before you decide to try and squeeze out a little bit more information, first, consider whether it is worth the risk of losing the lead altogether.

Once the potential client is in the pipeline, you can use various techniques to obtain the additional details you require.

For example, in your welcome email, you can invite them to fill in a survey. Explain that you need more information in order to send them only the emails that they may find valuable, and provide a better user experience.

You can increase the chances of them agreeing by:

  • Offering a discount or another offer.
  • Telling them exactly how long the survey will take.
  • Providing a heads up on what type of questions they will need to answer.
  • Reassuring them that they can opt out anytime they like.

This way, you may obtain all the information that you need to nurture the lead and convert them into a client.

Consider Using a Double Opt-In

A double opt-in is when you ask the customer to confirm their email address after filling in the form.

The drawback of this approach is that it provides the person with another chance to reconsider their decision, and immediately opt out.

However, the advantage is that it may serve as sort of a self-qualification mechanism that sifts out the low-quality leads that are less likely to convert, and leaves only those that have more serious intentions.

This way, in the end, you may have fewer leads in the pipeline but they will be of higher quality and be far more likely to convert.

Bottom Line

Opt-in forms are among the most reliable ways to expand your email list, bring new leads into the pipeline, and attract new clients.

By strategically using these forms, you can make sure that you obtain high-quality leads that are more likely to convert and remain with your business.

Just remember, the opt-in form is like an introduction between you and the customer at the beginning of your relationship. If you want it to work out, you need to impress them by showing your worth and therefore making them want to commit on their own, rather than trying to force a relationship with them and hoping for the best.