6 Mobile-Friendly Sign Up Forms to Try Now
By Sam Hollis March 30, 2017
It’s been a few months since Google made an update that penalizes mobile websites that use certain pop-up forms (aka, interstitials) – an update that could lead to a decrease in rankings in Google search results.
But for many businesses, the implications of this update went beyond their position in the SERPs. There was heightened concern over the impact on their email list growth, too.
With 60 percent of online traffic coming from smartphones and tablets, mobile users represent a massive audience when it comes to list building.
So what’s the status?
Fortunately, we’ve found the Google update doesn’t mean you have to lose out on any of these valuable visitors.
With careful planning and consideration, you can find the right kind of mobile-friendly form that’s both effective and Google-compliant.
Before we dive into six different types of opt-in forms you can use to continue growing your list, here’s a quick look at what we did to optimize our mobile experience at AWeber HQ.
Our Google-friendly mobile sign up form strategy
When Google announced their penalties on intrusive pop-ups and interstitials, we immediately updated our mobile site for the blog.
The first thing we did was remove any slide-in or pop-up forms. To continue our list building efforts, we replaced them with embedded forms and exit-intent forms.
Since the Google penalty does not apply to desktop users, we left the experience as-is so they’ll still receive the pop-up forms and slide-ins.
This way, the sign up form experience varies based on whether users come from a desktop or mobile device.
The results so far? Not a single dip in our subscriber growth.
6 mobile-friendly opt-in forms
To help you navigate the world of sign up forms outside of the pop-up, here are six approaches you can take to motivate mobile users to subscribe to your list.
1. Embedded forms
As a consumer of content yourself, have you ever read an article and thought, “I really love this blog post, but I wish there was more information on that one topic!”
With a contextual embedded sign up form, you can offer that deeper dive at the right time.
If someone reads your blog post about sign up forms, and you have a course that could help them up their game, you can embed a sign up form in the post and offer it to them right away.
Just remember to keep the form copy short, to-the-point and highlight the benefits of signing up.
I recommend using embedded forms on longer, thorough posts. You can break up the important sections with a quick check-in, and give the reader a second to digest the information you’ve shared and sign up for bonus content.
Just look at this form used by Regina, a blogger and coach for entrepreneurs:
The form doesn’t break up the post in a jarring way, and is aligned with her content and branding.
2. Header forms
But wait! Isn’t this just another embedded form?
Well, yes it is. Technically.
It’s important to note, however, that the placement of a specific sign up form on your site is just as important as the type of form you use. While pop-up forms are the cat’s pajamas of sign up form conversion, embedding a form into the header has some added benefits for your mobile users.
Just check out this form from The Atlantic:
It only asks for your email address, and you can move right past it to the website content without an issue.
These kinds of forms are best suited for your most highly-trafficked pages. Just keep in mind that a header form works best when it’s simple and only asks for name and email address – so if you want to collect more subscriber details, this might not be the best approach.
As visitors sign up to your list, however, you do have the option to get more subscriber details along the way.
3. Footer forms
Forms embedded in your footer are a great way to drive conversions. By offering your prospects something of value at the end of a post or site page, you’ll help continue the conversation.
Think of your own content. Is there a blog post that’s performing better than others? Why not add a form at the end to promote your email list or another piece of relevant content?
These forms act as a reminder that the awesome information you provide doesn’t have to stop at the end of the article. A well-placed footer form can be used to continue educating your prospect on a topic they’ve already sought out.
If you have an email newsletter, for example, promoting it in the footer would be a good strategy to try. When someone finishes reading your post, they’ll be more interested in getting future updates through email!
Here’s an example of a form we have at the bottom of our Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing resource:
At this point in the page, we can assume readers will be interested in downloading additional bonus content.
On other pages in the guide, we promote the bonus resources in a slightly different form called a sticky-bar form:
As users scroll through the content on their mobile device, the form sticks to the bottom. It doesn’t obstruct the reader experience, and it’s a simple reminder that they can get additional content by signing up.
Another benefit of footer forms? You can use them to collect more subscriber information. Since your visitors have read through your content, you can ask for more details, like what kind of content they want to receive.
4. Click-to-open forms
I know it sounds too good to be true, but you can still have this type of pop-up on your mobile site. With this form, users can click a link or button that triggers a pop-up form.
Since visitors choose to open the form, they’ll also be more likely to sign up.
Another great thing about a click-to-open forms? You can add them to a variety of relevant locations in your content.
Check out how tech innovation and culture site, The Next Web, uses a click-to-open form to remind prospects of their upcoming conference:
5. Page-scroll forms
Many mobile sites provide users with the option to scroll past the form to access the content. This kind of form still provides readers with the ability to sign up, but again does not obstruct their ability to read your awesome content.
It’s important for this kind of form to include some visual cues to prompt readers to continue scrolling. This helps them understand they can simply scroll past the form and get on with reading.
6. Exit-intent forms
Exit-intent forms display when a user goes to leave your site. This form gives you the ability to still get the benefits of a pop-up, but in a way that’s compliant with Google and doesn’t interrupt the user experience.
These forms also work well when used in conjunction with an embedded form. If a person doesn’t sign up from a form while reading your content, for example, an exit-intent form works to remind them of what they’d be missing out on.
And the more value you can provide, the better. Offering an incentive like an ebook or an exclusive discount for signing up can motivate on-the-fence visitors to sign up for your list.
What works for you?
Now that we’ve covered mobile sign up form alternatives to the pop-up, I’d love to learn more about what you’ve tried since Google’s interstitial penalty update earlier this year. What works best for you? Let us know in the comments!