How to Design a Successful Email Opt-in Form

Collecting emails is a critical component of any successful ecommerce business. Customers aren’t always ready to purchase right away, and may leave without ever returning. Getting your customer’s email address is the critical first step in building your relationship with the customer, and allows you to create future promotions to draw them back to your site.

How important is it to collect emails for my Shopify store?

Shopify’s own blog claims that Email Marketing is the Key to Ecommerce Success.

According to the Blue Kangaroo research survey:

  • 80% of people say they receive marketing messages in the same account as their personal emails.
  • 70% of people will use discounts they receive in promotional emails to purchase products.
  • 60% of people subscribe to email lists from businesses to receive special offers and deals.

This means promotional emails has a huge conversion rate, and is a great way to create loyal and frequent customers.

How do I collect my customer emails?

In order to start collecting email, you’ll need to set up an opt-in form.

Now that I’ve set up my opt-in form, how do I encourage my customers to enter their emails?

There’s three components to setting up a successful opt-in form that encourages customers to enter their emails:

  1. Design
  2. Offer
  3. Timing

Let’s go through each of these steps.

Part 1: Design

The look and feel of your opt-in form will have a huge impact on the customer’s reaction. One great way to influence what the customer feels is through color.

Check out this guide by on How Colors Affect Purchases by KISSmetrics.

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Another great way to improve your opt-in form is to include a picture. Visuals are a great way of drawing the attention of your customers, and you can design them so they look like an extension of your website.

One great example is The Southern Wedding Shop – they make their opt-in form look like a wedding invitation, which fits the theme of their store:

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You can also try to get your customer’s attention by appealing to their sense of humor. It’s best not to overdo it, but humor can be a great way to give a positive impact on your products and your company.

Here’s a cute example by Dojo:

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You can also use humor to help assure customers that they won’t get spammed when they sign up for your email list. Fear of getting spam is the biggest reason why customers hesitate to give out their emails, so a quick message addressing that can go a long way.

Here’s an example by Royal Apothic:

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Part 2: Offer

Once you capturing the attention of your customers, the next step is to convince them to give you their emails. The best way is to provide some sort of value to your customer once they sign up – and there’s several different strategies for this.

Discounts:

Offering a discount is the quickest and most effective way to get emails onto your list. This provides immediate value to your customers and can even help improve your conversion rate.

The drawbacks are that if your business has low-margins, then sometimes offering a discount is not always viable. Also by immediately offering a discount to your customers, this may condition your customers to always expect a discount in the future.

Discounts are most effective when used to target new customers only – this way you’re building up your customer base without eating into future sales. Here’s an example by Coco & Simone

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Free Shipping:

If you don’t want to offer a straight discount, then free shipping is a great alternative. Shipping costs can be expensive, and often lead to cart abandonment when customers realize they must pay more than they originally expected. In fact, 56% of people say they will leave a site if the shopping cart presents an unexpected cost, while 93% of buyers are likely to buy more products if free shipping is an option.

Example by ShopOlivine

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Content:

If you don’t want to offer discounts or free shipping, you can still provide value to your customers by providing good content. Creating content is important, because this creates a relationship with your customer’s where you are the expert of this industry or niche. Once that’s established, you’ll be in a position where you can continuously market to them.

You can accomplish this by providing guides on how to use your products, relevant information they may find interesting, or the latest news in the industry/niche. The great part about providing content is that doesn’t cost you anything other than time – however figuring out what kind of content that customers care about is not easy.

This is also what we at ShopifyNation are doing right now.

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Part 3: Timing

One more thing to consider when setting up an opt-in form is the timing of when your customer will see it. Timing can have a huge impact on the customer – show it too soon and the customer may find the experience too jarring. But wait too long and it’s possible the customer never sees the opt-in form.

Time Delay:

Many sites work through this by setting a time delay before showing the popup. The exact number of seconds may vary – on Shopify Nation we wait about 5 seconds.

Exit Offer:

Another alternative is to only show the popup when a user is leaving the page – this way you can target just the visitors that are leaving your site anyway. 27% of people who abandoned their shopping carts did it to search for a coupon, so this is a great way to bring them back in.

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Mobile:

Also an important factor that many people overlook is mobile. Mobile now accounts for over 50% of all ecommerce traffic, so it’s worth making sure your opt-in form also shows up properly on mobile devices. Here’s the same Southern Wedding Shop example from before, but viewed on a mobile device:

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Conclusion

For those not already using our Shopify App Email Pirate, we recommend trying it out. We built the app with these strategies in mind, so we could provide as much value to the Shopify community as possible.

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This should be enough to get you started – with these strategies in mind you can start building up your email list and growing a base of loyal customers!

  • http://zahidlatif.com/accessories/jewellery.html Ruby shaikh

    Seriously though, really awesome and helpful post.
    I’ve been considering starting in e-commerce and
    this is exactly the type of info I’m looking for.

  • Eldar Galiev

    Thanks for the amazing post. I’d like make a small addition to your Part #2, Offer. You can offer free survey, books, new season lookbooks and other kind of free downloads in exchange for email addresses. Here is a free Shopify app for this: https://apps.shopify.com/email-before-download

  • Gary Sanchez

    Have you ever tested opt-in forms that look “cute” and that have photos against those that don’t have? You don’t offer any evidence that colors or other design elements make a difference in opt-in rates.