Email Capture Forms: Best Practices for Feeding Your Marketing Funnel

Written by: Chris Donald

Published on: 25-05-2018

Chris is Managing Partner at InboxArmy and has more than 25 years of experience in email marketing

According to the Wolfgang Digital 2017 KPI Benchmark Study, only 1.56% of all web traffic converts on average. So, what about the other 98.44% of traffic?

Traditional retargeted ads will get you an average click-through of about 0.7%. With that, let’s be honest here: If you’re not leveraging email capture forms to identify and engage that anonymous web traffic, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.

Well-executed email capture forms are the cornerstone of any website and one of the biggest opportunities to feed your lead nurturing funnel. Passing up this opportunity to engage in a conversation with your web visitors is like leaving your business phone off the hook. They’ve expressed interest in your brand, so let’s pick up the phone and have a conversation with them.

Now, you might think all capture forms are created equally but there are a few best practices we should cover to set you up for success:

  1. Capture only what you need

As marketers, we are known for hoarding data. Yet, in the case of your capture forms, less is actually more. Every single field you add to your form will increase your bounce rate. Your signup form should only have the absolutely critical fields you need to send an email. Make it as easy as possible for visitors to subscribe and build your relationship from there. As their trust in your brand grows, you will be able to ask for more personal information and build your data profile of them over time.

  1. What’s in it for them?

Today’s consumers are both informed and selfish. They know that their email address is currency and will only give it to you in exchange for something valuable to them. Your value proposition needs to convince them that what you’re offering is worth far more than coughing up access to their inbox. This could be an exclusive discount, or a free report filled with information they’re interested in. Showing the value of your relationship right up front not only increases the volume of form submissions you’ll receive but sets the right expectations with your subscribers from the start.

  1. Respect their privacy

Privacy concerns are at the top of every consumer’s mind and any step you can take to alleviate those concerns will increase your engagement. Linking directly to your privacy policy from your capture form, security certificates, and trust seals show potential subscribers that you take their security seriously. Any steps you can take to build trust will increase your engagement and help you build trust.

  1. Don’t hide the form

The email capture form is useless if web visitors can’t find it. Stashing it away in the footer is a sure-fire way to guarantee low engagement. For the highest impact the form should be above the fold and capture your visitor’s attention right away. You’ll want to test placement to find what works for you but keep in mind, it needs to be visible and simple.

  1. “Subscribe” is overused

Your capture form CTA is an opportunity to be fun and engaging. Action-oriented text that speaks in the first person is a great way to drive engagement. For example, “Send my newsletter now” or “Get my 10% off” puts the ownership in the subscriber’s hands without sounding generic.

  1. Example emails – they actually work

Using a placeholder email address in your signup form will increase your visitor’s likelihood to click in the box and submit their email address. You can use anything from to to pull the user’s eyes in.

To wrap it up:

We can all agree; first impressions are important. The brands that have mastered the ability to turn their customer base into devoted advocates would never let a customer walk through the door of their bricks-and-mortar store without offering them a personal welcome because they know how important that first impression is. So why would a customer visiting your digital store be any different?

Following best practices with your signup forms will help you leave a great impression that both lays the foundation for a lasting relationship and ultimately generates more subscribers.

About Author

Chris sent his first email campaign in 1995. He’s worked directly with Fortune 500 companies, retail giants, nonprofits, SMBs and government agencies in all facets of their email marketing and marketing automation programs. He’s also a BIG baseball fan, loves a good steak, and is mildly obsessed with zombie movies. For more information follow him on linkedin

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