How to Get 147% More Readers

There are a lot of reasons why people may answer “no” when your web form asks them to sign up for your emails. But change the design of your form, and some of them will answer “yes” instead.

It’s true. Here are the stories of two companies who netted huge increases in their subscription rates just by testing a design change.

Take a look at what they tested, then keep reading to find out what you could test to get results that are just as big.

Talking Avatar: + 131%

Small Business Trends, an online entrepreneurial publication, needed to find the right face to represent their newsletter in its sign-up offer.

They alternated a photo of the editor, Anita Campbell, with a talking avatar that resembled her.

SBT Avatar SmSBT Photo SM

Avatar Anita popped up as soon as the page loaded and talked for 20 seconds about why the viewer should subscribe, giving visitors much more information than the photo form provided.

And she converted 131% more subscribers than Photo Anita.

Red Light, Green Light: + 46%

Internet marketer Eric Graham, aka the “Conversion Doctor,” wanted to design the ultimate submit button.

He ran several tests. For his final split, he tested a simple red border around the button against a red border that changed to green when hovered over.

Red Border

Red Border, Green Roll Over

The color-changing border got 46% clicks more than the simple red border.

According to Graham, the button showed that it was clickable by reacting to the mouse. When the red outline turned green, he theorized, viewers interpreted the change as a “stop” signal changing to “go” – so they did.

Your Design Changes: + ?%

Granted, you have a different audience than SBT and the Conversion Doctor, and a different site. You could make the exact same changes and probably not get the same results.

But there are plenty of things you can test that could turn up results that are just as significant. Try:

A signature photo. The age of the Internet has brought with it an added layer of caution. Hesitating before signing up for anything online is standard – and smart.

Displaying your picture on or near your sign-up form suggests that you’re trustworthy. It indicates that you have nothing to hide.

A photo may not always fit the bill, though, in other ways. It could distract from your content. It might clutter the page. And it might not fit the tone of your campaign.

The colors on your form. You’ll probably want colors that harmonize with your site, whether they blend in or stand out, but you may be surprised what effect each color has.

Take a look at your site’s color scheme, then check out this discussion of the effects of color on marketing. Put together a few possibilities, then test them to see which is best.

The size of your form. Obviously, the bigger the form is, the more attention it will attract. But what is all that space filled with?

If it’s fields to fill in, prospects might tire and quit partway through. If it’s empty space, you may be giving off the impression that your emails lack value.

Could your form benefit from being bigger, or would it run into one of these problems?

Images. An image can draw attention to your form, especially if it evokes something viewers are interested in. It can also shift viewers into a state of mind where they’re more likely to sign up.

On the other hand, if the image attracts too much attention, it could distract from the actual invitation to sign up.

Are you using an image on your form? Should you be?

Submit button design. The button to complete sign-up should be prominent in color and size. Otherwise, site visitors could glance over the form without noticing there is an action to be taken.

But go too large or too bright, and you could come across as obnoxious. Some audiences appreciate loud and clear instructions. Others prefer polite invitations.

Which category do your site visitors fall into? Change your button’s design, and find out!

Have You Tested Your Form?

Have you ever run a split test on your web form?

If not, what are you waiting for? What could you test today?

If you have, what did you find out? We’d love to hear your story!