If you already have an email newsletter, that’s great. But you still need to have people sign up to read it. And for that, you need to have a sign-up form. These forms are now widely used in digital marketing for things like adding newsletter subscribers, creating contact lists, and event management.
So how can you easily create a sign-up form for free? And above all, how can you create a well-designed form to generate the maximum number of sign-ups? We’ll tell you everything you need to know in the post below.
How does a sign-up form work?
A sign-up form is a short online form published on a web page. It is placed there with a specific goal in mind: to get visitors to sign up to things like an email newsletter, a webinar, or an event.
Visitors can fill out this form and sign up for content or an event in exchange for providing some personal information.
Why you need a sign-up form on your website
There are a number of benefits to having a sign-up form on your website.
1. Generate leads
Having anonymous visitors to your website is a good start. But if they remain that way, you’ll never be able to contact them and start a conversation.
Using a sign-up form to collect the contact details of visitors enables you to turn those visitors into leads.
What’s more, if you use the form to have people sign up to your email newsletter, you also increase your number of newsletter subscribers.
This lets you stay in touch with them and build a community of people who engage with your content and discuss it with their network. They will also help you increase your brand awareness.
2. Collect information about contacts
Sign-up forms are a simple and effective way to collect information about leads.
This information will help you manage your marketing campaigns and might include things like first name, last name, company, and role.
The added bonus is that you can also use this information to personalize your emails and create real relationships with contacts.
This information also gives you a better understanding of the audience that comes to your website. For example, what position they hold, what level of authority they have, or what sector they work in.
3. Connect with leads
Whether you use them for your B2B marketing newsletter or your next webinar, sign-up forms are a great way to generate engagement from leads. This lets you start to build a relationship with them.
The act of filling out an online form is significant. It means that a visitor to your website trusts you with their personal information. You need to make sure that you don’t abuse that trust.
4. Control event registrations
Let’s say that you want to organize an event for top-level business executives. If you want to control who registers for this event, you can create a sign-up form to do this.
Including a required “position” field will enable you to only accept registrations from those who have entered something like “director” or “CEO”.
That way, you’ll ensure that the audience for your event is the one you want and that you make the best possible use of the resources available.
How to create a free online sign-up form
1. Choose the right form builder tool
It’s important to choose a tool that will meet your needs.
A tool that can be easily integrated with the CMS used to manage your website, for example, will be very useful and will save valuable time.
To help you choose, we’ve put together a list of the best form builder tools, including tools like JotForm or Google Forms.
In the rest of this post, we’ll look at how you can create a sign-up form using our free Plezi One tool. This lead generation solution also makes it easy to create and publish online forms, track the leads generated, create email contact lists, and analyse the resulting traffic and conversions.
2. Decide what fields your sign-up form will have
Before starting, you should be aware that the more information your form asks for, the greater the risk that visitors will be put off and leave your website without completing it.
The number of form fields must reflect the value to visitors of filling in the form.
If the form is used to collect sign-ups to a newsletter, for example, that means you shouldn’t ask for too much information. The aim is to make it easy for visitors to sign up.
So, you only need a minimum amount of information:
- First and last name
- Email address
You could possibly add other fields for things like company, department, or position. But remember, the more information you ask for, the fewer the number of visitors who will actually fill out the form.
Using Plezi One, we’ll create a form, call it “Sign-up”, and select the desired fields.
3. Ensure your form complies with the GDPR
Since 2018, the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) has required you to collect the consent of website visitors when they provide you with personal information.
When collected using a sign-up form, you will at the very least use this information to contact these visitors again. This means that you need to add a short text to notify visitors of your intention to do so and a checkbox for them to give you their consent.
Here’s an example of the sort of message we use at Plezi:
By submitting this form, you agree that THE COMPANY will store and use your personal data in order to be able to contact you. The website publisher undertakes not to share your contact information with a third party or use it for advertising.
And for the checkbox:
I agree that THE COMPANY may contact me
In Plezi One, this can be set up in the Consents tab, where you will add the message to ask for a visitor’s consent.
4. Design your sign-up form
After deciding what fields the form will contain, you need to focus on what the form will look like.
The form needs to be well-designed so that it produces the best possible results and so that it matches the visual identity of your website (and your brand identity).
Ideally, all fields should be clearly marked with labels that can easily be read. Your send button should also stand out from the surrounding background, typically by using a lighter or contrasting colour. Required fields are also usually marked with an asterisk.
In Plezi One, you can change the design of your form in the Styles tab. The tool includes several pre-existing form templates (including my favourite, Blue Ocean) but you can also create your own from scratch.
Plezi One lets you easily control all the different form parameters. For example, the colour of the font used and background, the size of fields, the font size, as well as the button design.
Also pay attention to the text used on the send button. Rather than using a simple “Click here”, include a strong action verb like “Sign me up” or “Join the community”
5. Write an automated confirmation email
You can set up an automated confirmation email to reassure visitors that the form has been sent to the right person. This automated email will be sent as soon as you receive a sign-up form submission.
When someone signs up to your newsletter, you can also use this email to provide information about the type of content they will receive and how often they will receive this.
Here’s an example of the sort of message we use at Plezi:
Hi FIRST NAME,
Thanks for subscribing to our newsletter!
Every second Tuesday at 8:50 am, we’ll send you an email with our latest blog posts, sneak previews of our upcoming webinars, practical guides, and much more.
In the meantime, feel free to check out our blog or download our online resources.
Have a great day,
The Plezi team
In our free Plezi One tool, you can easily set up this kind of automated message in “Follow-up emails”.
6. Add the sign-up form to your website
Now all you need to do is add the new form to your website.
To maximise the number of sign-ups, you need to ensure that the form is located in the right place. One choice would be to add it to a dedicated web page for your newsletter that can be accessed from your website’s menu. Another option would be to add the form to the footer of your website.
There are two main ways to add a form to your website. You can embed the form manually into a web page, by inserting the appropriate HTML script.
Or, if your tool provides a WordPress plugin, you can embed the form directly in WordPress. For example, using the Plezi One plugin, you can simply drag and drop your forms into your web pages.
So, are you ready to create your first sign-up form? Why not try using Plezi One to create great-looking forms and to manage your next marketing campaign?