Tips for an effective opt-in form

Your email marketing is worth little without a good database with interested contacts. And the door to that database is an opt-in form. 

Present clear, irresistible CTA

When the user sets eyes on your opt-in form, your call to action must be immediately obvious. It needs to be a simple action and you need to draw the eyes. All you need is an email field and a large Submit button with contrasting colors, but within to your typical color scheme.

Advertise with the benefit

The second most obvious element to your opt-in form, after your CTA, must be the bait. Why would your visitor subscribe? What is in it for them?Are you offering access to exclusive content? Are you offering discounts? Participation in a reward program? Why would they subscribe. Is your bait enticing enough to be worth the trouble? Or, are you giving too much? Consider putting a time constraint on it. Tell your visitor why today, at this second it is the best time to subscribe.

Show credibility

Use the power of the fine print for good. Gain some credibility points by telling your visitor they can trust you. Tell them how many subscribers you have already, how many years you are in business, and how many have already benefited from your rewards. Anything that will tell them you will use their contacts responsibly.

Keep it simple

When it comes to the opt-in form, you want to be a minimalist. An e-mail field and a button to submit it can be enough. Only ask for additional data if you're actually going to use that data for segmentation or personalization. The more information you ask, the higher the threshold your contact has to cross. 

You have a double opt-in process anyway. After you receive the email address from the contact, you will send them a unique confirmation link they have to click on, to confirm the ownership over that email address. This is where they get to the confirmation form. Here, you can ask for more information.

If you include additional fields to the first step, you risk presenting the process as complicated. If you ask for more information here, with a preference option, it will be seen as a gesture towards your new subscriber where you allow them to fine-tune their consent by telling you exactly when they want to hear from you. Actually tell them that's the purpose of you asking for more input.

Say thank you by sending them a welcome message

With your confirmation, send a thank you note. Deliver the reward you promised immediately. Ideally, throw in a free gift as well. Is there any information they need to add more context to the information you'll be sending them in the future? Most-read articles, contact information, ... 

Opt-in and the GDPR

What does the GDPR say? 

  • The GDPR law  that the email opt-in must be a clear and affirmative action (it's clear what they're subscribing to and there are no pre-checked boxes).
  • The email opt-in must be separate from other terms and conditions and should not be a condition
  • It is forbidden to automatically tick the email opt-in checkbox
  • You need separate email opt-ins if you process the data in different ways. For example, if the data is forwarded to a third party after registering for a newsletter. 
  • In your email marketing database, you must clearly maintain the email opt-in to be able to demonstrate the consent given if necessary
  • The GDPR law gives European citizens the right to withdraw the email opt-in. You should clearly let your contacts know how to unsubscribe. 
  • Information related to the email opt-in and the use of data must be concrete, transparent and understandable using clear and simple language.

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