Creating sign-up forms, regardless of which platform you use is fairly straight forward. The difficulty comes in convincing people to actually fill them out and hit “subscribe” rather than simply scroll on by!
Most of this comes down to how your forms look, what info they contain (and ask for) and where they are placed on your site.
In this post, I’ll be telling you how to create beautiful looking forms and listing 9 places to embed those forms that will increase the number of subscribers you get.
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Creating Your Form
As I mentioned, I’ve recently switched from MailChimp to Convertkit. For that reason, this post will focus on using Convertkit. If you use MailChimp, you can read this post about creating sign-up forms and then come back here to find out where to place them for the best results.
Once you’ve signed up for a Convertkit account, you’re ready to get started with creating your first sign-up form. From your home screen, below the bar chart, select the “+ Create Form” button.
From here, you will be presented with two options – to create a Landing Page or to create a form. For the purposes of this post, we’ll be creating a form. If you want to learn more about creating awesome landing pages, check out this post.
This is where things start to get a little more exciting!
Not excited? No? Just me then!
After selecting “a form”, Convertkit will present you with three options: Full, Minimal and Naked. Personally, I always choose between the Full and the Minimal options as they allow me to show my branding through them. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with using the Naked one though if that fits in well with your blog.
Here’s an example of one Full and one Minimal form that you can find on my site:
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Customising Your Form
After you’ve selected the type of form you want to use, the next screen you are taken to is the place where you can add images and the wording that you want to use.
You can change the colours of your form by clicking on the little wand icon in the top right-hand corner.
All of the forms on Convertkit are fully customisable using a little CSS coding. It’s outside the remit of this post, but I have put together a CSS Coding Cheat Sheet, that you can access below. The Cheat Sheet will guide you through the most common alterations you can make to your forms.
What Goes on Behind the Form?
Now that you’ve decided what your form is going to look like, it’s time to decide what your form will do.
What will your subscribers see once they hit subscribe? How will they receive their opt-in freebie? Will they be subscribed to an email sequence?
You control all of this from the “Settings” tab.
The “Main Settings” Tab is where you can name your form. This is pretty important to get right. It might seem insignificant but, at some point, you may want to have more than one form for a single opt-in incentive. For example, I have three different forms to sign up to my newsletter – one that fits in the sidebar, one that pops up in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen and one that fits into blog posts. I, therefore, needed to give them different names so that I can easily identify which one is which when it comes to embedding them on my site. A small point that can save you lots of time in the long-run, especially if you have lots of forms.
The “Main Settings” Tab is also where you can choose what your subscribers see after they have subscribed.
As you can see from the screenshot above, it is automatically set so that your subscribers see the Convertkit success message – “Success! Now check your email to confirm your subscription”. Using this option is fine. Or you may want to use this option but change the wording slightly. Personally, I like to use the “Redirect to Another Page” option.
To do this, I created a new page on my WordPress site, as a “Thank You” page and then copied the URL for that page into the box on Convertkit. So now my Thank You message to subscribers looks like this (with the big “Thank You” being a funky little GIF):
Not only is this a little more personal and friendly than the automatic Convertkit message but it also links my subscribers right back into my blog so they stay there and read more!
Finally, on this screen, you can automatically add your subscribers into an email sequence. I’ll be doing another post on email sequences and how to make the best use of them.
This is the next tab on the “Settings” page. Here you can customise the email that gets sent to your subscribers to confirm their subscription.
Again, the Convertkit template does the job well but it’s nice to customise it and make it a little more personal.
First off, I change the “Subject” of the email to read “[Name of Opt-in]: Confirm Subscription to Access”. This way, the recipient knows straight away what the email is about. If your subscribers are anything like me, they probably sign up to hundreds of newsletters and freebies, so remind them straight away what it is that you’re giving them.
Next, I amend the main message slightly. I add in a “Hey there!” at the start to make it a bit more friendly. I also change the “Confirm Your Subscription” box to something along the lines of “Access the Checklist” or “Grab the List” – whatever it is that they are accessing. It sounds much more enticing than confirming a subscription. I always sign off with my name too.
The “Incentive Email” tab is also where you choose how your subscribers will receive their opt-in freebie. You have two choices – to redirect them to a URL or you can add the document to be downloaded automatically when the subscriber confirms. Personally, I tend to go for the “Incentive Download” option because when I subscribe for free workbooks and checklists etc. I like to download them and file them away on my laptop for future reference.
Styling Your Form
The third tab in the “Settings” menu is “Style”. This is where you can choose from “Inline”, “Modal” 0r “Slide In” options.
This is also where you can fully customise your form using CSS Coding.
Embedding Your Form
The final tab that you will use in setting up your form is the “Embed” tab which provides the HTML code for your form.
If you use WordPress you can download the Convertkit plugin and simply copy the Convertkit shortcode for form, rather than the full HTML code.
You Have Your Form, So Now What?
Now that you have your beautiful form all ready to embed in your site, you need to think carefully about where to place it so that people will a) notice it, and b) sign up.
1. Before the Fold
Okay, so don’t judge me. I’ve placed this at the top of my list but I don’t actually have this on my own site!
The idea here is that, if it’s above the fold, it’s the first thing that your readers see without having to scroll down the page and before they get distracted by anything else.
A great example of this can be seen on Melyssa Griffin’s site:
2. The Top of Your Sidebar
The top of your sidebar is the most common location for a sign-up form. So, a lot of people will start by looking there for it.
In addition, you can create a variety of “Ads” and additional sign-up forms to place at various intervals in your sidebar. For example, you can find my newsletter sign-up box at the top of my sidebar but I also have an “Ad” from my From Idea to Launch course further down which is an opt-in incentive.
3. In a Post/At the End of a Post
If you have an opt-in freebie that’s directly linked to your post content, place the sign-up form at various points throughout the post, as well as at the end. As your readers work their way through your post, they’ll see your sign-up form offering something extra and, if they’re interested in the topic, grab it there and then! Kind of like this one:
If your sign-up form is generic, like for your weekly newsletter, place it at the end of the post. If your readers have enjoyed reading that post, and you’re offering more content for subscribers, they might just sign up. Ending a helpful post with a special offer or sign-up incentive is a great way to capture new subscribers.
4. The Footer of Your Site
This follows on from my above point about having a sign-up form at the end of a post or page but, by adding it to your footer, you don’t have to think about embedding the form each and every time you write a new post.
People are becoming blind to sidebars, so may well scroll right past that sgn-up box. But people still scroll down to your footer to find useful information such as your social media links, contact details or maybe just even what theme you use!
5. On Your “About” Page
Your About page is one of the most popular pages on your site so why not place a form there?
Need I say more on this? It’s common sense to have your sign-up forms on your most popular pages and posts.
6. Hello Bar or Feature Box
Ok, so I know Hello Bar is the name of the plugin used to create those little bars across the top of your site but I don’t know what else to call them! I’ve heard a few people refer to them as feature boxes or feature bars too. But I also know that can refer to a box elsewhere on your site.
Either way, adding a form to the top of your pages and posts in a hard-to-miss box will draw readers in and make them subscribers.
7. The Dreaded Pop-Up Box
How many times are you trying to read something on a site or blog when one of those stupid-full-screen boxes pops up in front of you, asking you to sign up? It’s annoying, right? BUT, there is a way to make this better.
You can set your pop-up box so that it only pops up once your reader has been on your site for a certain amount of time. Give them the chance to look around your site, get a feel for your content and, ultimately, allow them to form an opinion of your content before you ask them to subscribe. I know I wouldn’t subscribe to a site before I’ve been able to see or read anything.
8. Your Splash Page
Splash pages are a big deal with bloggers at the moment. I’ve been seeing them around a lot lately.
Lots of people use splash pages to make their sign-up forms the first thing that readers see on their site. The idea is that the main menu is moved to the bottom of the page and everything else your reader sees is your opt-in incentive.
A great example of this is Femtrepreneur by Mariah Coz. Here you can see that the first page on her site gives you two options – sign up or read the blog.
9. A Slide Up Box
Not to be confused with a pop-up box. A slide up box is one of those boxes that slides in, usually in the bottom of the screen, when your reader has made it a certain way down your post or page. For example, I have set mine to 70%. So, when my readers have scrolled 70% of the way down a post, my sign-up box appears. It doesn’t take over the page so it’s not annoying. But, if someone is 70% of the way through a post, they’re clearly interested in what I have to say!
Now you’re ready to make some beautiful looking forms that your readers will not only notice but subscribe to as well!
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