The Top 7 Opt-In Form Design Principles for 2018

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We’ve all experienced good and bad opt-in form design. The good ones stand out, ask the right questions, and compel us to hand over our information. The bad ones… well, the bad forms are confusing and annoying, ask too many questions, and usually make you want to leave the site altogether, never to return, much less subscribe.

Getting site users to opt in and subscribe to your content is the first step to gaining memberships and conversions. Excellent opt-in form design allows you to reach out with content, develop relationships, and foster growth and loyalty. This encourages subscribers to continue moving through their buyer’s journey to conversion. But before you can get there, you must first capture them with your compelling opt-in form.

Here are the 7 Best Practices for Opt-In Form Design:

1 ) Visually Appealing Design

If you want visitors to pay attention to your form, the design should be eye-catching and visually appealing. Using complementary and contrasting colors can do wonders for grabbing users’ attention and will make your form stand out from the rest of your content. Notice how holistic life coach Amanda Cook  displays her opt-in form below. The form itself is just two fields for name and email, but the white fields and the purple CTA contrast against the the background — they’re bold and positioned upfront in order to draw your eye.

You don’t necessarily have to be an expert graphic designer to create visually appealing forms. If you use WordPress, plenty of free and premium plugins (like OptinmonsterElegant Themes Bloom, and Optin Forms) as well as form automation services can help you design an eye-catching form like a pro. In fact, many of the form examples we’ll be showing you in this article were featured on WordPress-hosted websites.

2) Improve Readability  

Forms that compel action are equipped with ultra-clear messaging. For a user to fill out a form, it needs to be easy to read and understand. Best practices suggest that the labels for each form field (name, email address, etc.) shouldn’t be placed next to the field – this can make the form look cluttered and difficult to read.

It’s better to put labels above the fields or even inside them, which is a technique known as ghost text.  Ghost text is the grey text within a field that can help users identify how to fill out each field. Notice how Low Tox Life (a WordPress site) uses ghost text in the forms below, making it easy to read and leaving it looking clean, clear, and uncluttered.  In addition, she uses email series automation to respond to those who do subscribe, providing a quick, engaging connection.

3) Shorter Forms

Online attention spans are notoriously short – in fact, for most website visitors, it’s around eight seconds. Therefore, the best forms are short forms. The last thing you want to do is waste your visitors’ time with unnecessary questions, and the less effort they have to exert, the better. One company’s A/B testing, as discussed by VWO, found that their registration rates improved by 11% when they removed three unnecessary form fields.

To incorporate this advice into your form design, always make sure that each piece of information you are asking for is necessary. Eliminate any fields that aren’t critical to your subscription goals. Notice how financial coaching site Hope and Cents boils their form down to two essential fields below.

4) Incentivize

The modern-day site user often wants a reward for his or her time and attention, and filling out an opt-in form is no exception. You should clearly communicate the benefits of subscribing and indicate the value that they’ll receive.

Have a look at Health Coach Andrea Beaman’s Wordpress opt-in form below. Not only does she promise health recipes and information; she also promises special invitations to exclusive events and three gifts! That’s a lot more enticing than the run-of-the-mill email newsletter that so many businesses seem to be offering today.

5) Enticing (And Clear) CTA button  

Your call-to-action is the proverbial cherry on top of your opt-in form. Web users like shiny things – our eyes are naturally attracted to them. Because of this, your CTA buttons should be obvious and stand out from the rest of your form elements. Make them a different color and experiment with compelling copy instead of the simple “subscribe,” or “confirm.” 

Notice above how life coach Courtney McDermott makes her CTA stand out from the rest of the items in the form. It almost looks like it’s shouting at you (in a good way). In addition, the engaging button copy – “Watch Now” – makes you want to click and see. 

6) Indicate Privacy

Users these days are wary of sharing their personal information. They are already bombarded with an incredible amount of content and spam they did not ask for, and they’re not looking for another company to share their info with. Visitors may even decide not to fill out a form if they think it’s unsafe or untrustworthy.

The way to assuage their concerns? Add a privacy statement. A simple indication of privacy increases will help users feel like your site is safe, and it will also increase their affinity and trust for your brand. Visitors who trust you are much more likely to subscribe and share their email with you. Health coach Ciara Foy does this well in her WordPress form above. With a simple line (under her fantastically bright and compelling CTA), Ciara instills a message of confidence and trust.

7) Opt-In Form Automation

If you really want to step up your opt-in game, automation is a great way you can effectively nurture leads. You can utilize automation in several different ways – Email Autoresponder, Form Creation, and importing autoresponder contact information. You can use Email Autoresponder to send a welcome series of emails to users right after they subscribe. These emails can include a discount thank- you offer, an easily downloadable lead magnet, or even just a call-to-action to join the community on social media or read a popular blog post. WordPress automation can be utilized for several different functions, but especially comes in handy for opt-in forms.

Opt-in form design is an important element in establishing relationships, building a list of loyal subscribers, and of course – converting. By following some opt-in form design best practices, you can set up a well-designed form yourself or direct a designer to do it for you.

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