Finding the Best Email Sign Up Form for Your Audience

How do you know you have the best web form for your email marketing campaign?

You might think you know what works best, but testing will let you know for sure and give you a better idea of what your subscribers want.

One of our customers in the sports car business decided to set up a web form split test that would give him a better idea of his audience. We’ll talk about what he learned from the split test, and how you can set up a split test to find out what sign up form works best for your audience.

What is a Web Form Split Test?

email sign up form

Split testing allows you to set up a controlled experiment within your account to test which factors of your form work best, and more specifically, what will get subscribers to submit their information. This is usually done by setting up two different versions of a form at 50% probability for each one.

This information can also be used later when planning and testing other aspects of your campaign.

Split Testing for the Most Appealing Form

Jamie Doyle runs an email campaign for Sports Car Digest. Visitors can sign up to get weekly emails on car racing and vintage car news and events.

People coming to Jamie’s site might be interested in different topics. Some may like the information on vintage car history, others may like news on car racing, while others may prefer to know more about auctions and events.

The only way Jamie was going to get a better idea of what his subscribers wanted was by testing. This specific example was set up to test if subscribers responded more to a race car form or vintage car form:

email sign up

The winning form was the exciting race car form, with a 41% higher subscription rate than the vintage car form.

Seems like Jamie’s subscribers may favor the racing content, and now he can carry what he learned over to his messages. He promises to send subscribers both racing information and historical information, but he might want to try putting the racing information at the top of his messages.

How Can I Find Out What My Audience Wants?

sign up form

Remember that even though a test may produce a certain outcome for some, that doesn’t necessarily mean the same will work for your list. It’s important for you to run your own split tests to see what works best for your business.

You can get an idea of what your web form should look like by looking at subscriber behavior to see what your audience wants:

  • Links clicked in your emails- Looking at what your subscribers are interested in will help with determining what will appeal to visitors on your site.For example: are they more interested in your cake recipes or dinner recipes? If it’s cake, then you should try using an image of a cake in your form.
  • Location- Where your subscribers are located geographically will influence their wants and needs. If the majority of your subscribers are near Florida stores, you don’t want to display your cold weather merchandise.

You can also set up custom fields to learn more about your subscribers. Gathering this information at sign up will help you learn more about your audience, and then you can design your forms accordingly. Some of the custom fields you can try are:

  • Gender- Do you have more men or women signing up? Knowing that can help you design a form geared towards the appropriate gender, or maybe show you that you need to be more gender neutral.
  • Age- Knowing your target age group will let you know if you should design a form geared to young adults or older generations.
  • Level of Knowledge- Are you getting people that are new to the industry or people who have some knowledge? Having that information can help you decide on the wording for your form.

Don’t have that much data yet? You can start off split testing other details. Here are two examples of what other customers have tested:

Have You Found Your Best Form?

You won’t know what your audience wants until you start running some split tests!

If you haven’t tried split testing your form yet, look at what your subscribers are telling you and set up a test to find what’s the best form for your audience.


  1. craig knight

    9/11/2011 10:29 pm

    Your system on validating a email address is a malfunctioning box of scrap, and need some type of help!

  2. Rebekah Henson

    9/12/2011 8:30 am

    Hi Craig,

    Sorry to hear about your problems! Everything’s working fine over here, but if you continue to run into issues, feel free to email describing your issue for more specific help.

  3. Stanford

    9/13/2011 10:03 pm

    I would like to attach a Form (or forms) to my website. I saw how to design, choose etc, but missed how to get it, vis WordPress onto the website, and onto the various pages.

    Could you send me instructions for this specifically? ( I am ok with WordPress, but hazy when it comes to links, and this kind of function).


    PS Brillian webenar – you guys should go into the education business!

  4. Rebekah Henson

    9/14/2011 9:43 am

    Hi Stanford,

    If your site is self-hosted through, you can follow the instructions outlined on this page to place a form on your site:

    If you’re using, you’ll have to link to a hosted web form instead. The instructions for doing that are here:

    Hope that helps!

  5. John Bandy

    9/15/2011 2:54 pm

    Hey, Thanks for all the great tips. I always learn something new from them.
    Looking forward to the next E-mail Marketing Tip.

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