Have you ever run into a small form that looks something this (minus the smiley faces that hide my innocent victim?)
Form Example

It just makes you want to race to sign up, doesn’t it? Why do forms ask us to enter our email twice? The thinking is that it helps to catch data entry errors, but most folks simply select/copy/paste the first entry into the second field, so what’s the point? And, the double email form leaves a subtle message that says, “We think you’re dumb and will make a mistake, so just to be sure…

A brief privacy statement near a form is a good usability habit. But, in this case, it’s after their visitor fills in the fields. It comes off like an, “Oh yes, by the way. We’re cool and you can trust us” afterthought. A stronger, more positive fix is to place a privacy statement BEFORE asking for any information. It’s a courtesy, and you earn points for linking to your actual full policy and terms.

Answer All The Questions and Then Some

Forms like the example above are simple and brief, but expected to convince visitors to sign up for newsletters, email subscriptions, coupon and discount reminders, and direct email correspondence. There’s no incentive to do any of those things, however. Here are ways to increase your response rates:

1. Tell visitors how often your newsletter or email subscription correspondence will arrive? Weekly, daily, monthly? Can they choose?

2. If you send coupons and discounts, are you generous or stingy? Would your customer be more likely to sign up for 10% or 25% off?

3. Do they have to do something first to get any reward or do you send out offers on a regular basis no matter what type of buying history they have? And, for regular customers, do you make it known that they get more attractive rewards for their loyalty?

4. Can they subscribe or unsubscribe with ease? This is important to know beforehand. (I have so many clothing store email reminders that make it next to impossible to unsubscribe from.)

5. Consider asking for a birth date and sending a special gift or coupon on a customer’s birthday.

6. What’s the content like? Newsletters are a hard sell nowadays. Blogs are more active, juicy and you know what you’re getting before you commit to the subscription. With so much spam, consider showing examples, archives and even testimonials to create excitement and interest in what you plan on sending out.

7. Can they read your email or newsletter from their cell phone or hand-held device? If so, let them know that and describe how. (Add a little tick box and take them to a page to learn more if they wish.)

8. Where you put your opt-in/out email subscription offers counts, especially if you put it as part of your shopping cart. Offering it BEFORE they’re asked to register to continue shopping is at least a way to stay in touch, even if they abandoned your shopping cart. In this way, you can still send them offers.

9. Consider offering gift certificates in addition to your coupons and discount codes. Sometimes your customer wants to indulge in someone else. Take advantage of that.

10. Offer instant savings just for signing up. Nothing beats immediate gratification.

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cre8pc

Kim Krause Berg’s long background in web design, SEO and usability includes software application functional and user interface testing, accessibility, information architecture and persuasive design. She shared her passion for Usability and SEO through her site and private consulting at Cre8pc for 17 years. Kim founded Cre8asiteforums in 1998. In the fall of 2012 she sold her forums to Internet Marketing Ninjas and retired from private consulting to join their Executive Management team where she continues her work in usability testing, customer experience and conversions design.

My Online Course: Web Site Usability 101

Member:

American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T)

Information Architecture Institute

Usability Professionals Association (UPA)

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