Thursday, May 17, 2012

How to Simplify Your Opt-In & Sign-Up Forms

When did opt-in forms become so complicated? I don't consider myself a lazy person, but I'm noticing a trend in lengthy opt-in forms (especially when it comes to free content downloads such as white papers, ebooks, etc.) I understand that marketers want to capture people's demographic information, but why is it necessary to ask for the name of your first born child? I'm being facetious, but that's what it feels like lately.

As a copywriter, this is a big pet peeve and companies are missing the boat by creating complicated sign-up forms. I don't have the time to fill out a lengthy survey disguised as an opt-in form, and neither do busy professionals.

As a content marketer, make it easy for people to opt-in with your forms...and don't forget your call to action. Don't just slap up a "hey cool kids, check out my new white paper" message on your website. Give your target audience an authentic reason to opt-in to your emails, website, blog, social media channels, etc.

Your call to action should portray a sense of urgency. If you have a strong call to action coupled with a lengthy email form, you will end up with no action...and zero subscribers!

Here are a few easy tips to remember when creating opt-in forms:

  • Keep your opt-in forms simple -- at the very minimum, request a first name and email.
  • Always remember to include a disclaimer that the information people disclose to you will not be shared or sold to third parties. This gives people peace of mind that their information remains private and secure.
  • Save the lengthy surveys for your sales funnel. People may disagree with me, but I don't want to disclose random information about myself until the company/person gains my trust. 

And don't forget a simple opt-in form is only one piece of the puzzle. Review your content. What kind of content do you offer your subscribers? Are you up to speed on the latest industry trends? Are your target markets genuinely interested in your topics? Is your content educational and informative? If prospects aren't impressed with your content, they will look elsewhere and probably won't sign up for your lists.


  1. I agree, Therese. If I want to read content, but have to fill out a lengthy form, I won't opt in! Whether or not that company/person is using my demographic info., I care not. Goes back to another discussion we've had recently about simplicity. The simpler the better!

  2. Yes, this goes back to simplicity post from last week. The complicated opt-in form is my pet peeve of the week. It seems to be showing up more and more, especially when I want to sign up to download a free report or white paper. They want everything under the sun, and I don't have the time to fill out THAT much information. I think an email is more than enough. If they want to send me a follow-up email, that's great but I don't want to share my life's history in one opt-in form! Annoying!


Therese Pope, Copywriter/Content Developer & Digital Buzz-icist

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