How Split Testing Sign Up Forms Gets You More Subscribers

Are you trying to figure out the most effective way to reach your customers? Don’t guess – test!

Split testing (sometimes called A/B Testing) is a great way to understand your customers better.

These tests give you the opportunity to compare two different variations of the same element in your online marketing to see what your audience responds to best. You can then create a more effective web presence, email campaign, or online sales pitch.

We’ll explore split testing over a few upcoming articles.

To start, let’s ask the obvious question…

split testing

Why bother split testing?

Why should you take the time to craft two different campaigns instead of just googling tips for better online marketing tactics?

Simply put, split testing matters because the people you’re reaching out to are UNIQUE.

You’re the only person who can discover what’s most attractive to your specific audience. And you’ll be the one to benefit the most from your findings. So the question, really, is why would you NOT split test?

sign up form split testing

Split test spotlight: Sign up forms.

A great way to get started is by split testing a signup form on your web page.

If you’re brand new to emailing for your business, this is a great jumping off point! You can split test your forms at any point in the list-building endeavors.

Plus, by starting your split testing adventures with sign up forms, you’ll get a handle on testing, figure out what works best for your site, and build your email list faster – all at the same time.

split testing in email

Online forms that break the mold.

Putting an email sign up form on your homepage is a common tactic used frequently to get subscribers.

It’s pretty intuitive: a visitor comes to the page, likes what she sees, types in her info into the signup form, and goes back to what she was originally there for – without getting derailed by extra steps in the sign up.

But a study by Visual Website Optimizer shows that just because a signup form is simple and expected doesn’t mean that it will be the most effective way to get people on your list.

Vendio, an online commerce site, had a basic form on their homepage that looked like this:

homepage split test

They weren’t happy with the response it was getting, so they decided to test this:website split test
Despite the extra click to get to the sign up, their response rate went up 60% with the new design!

It was easier for visitors to understand the service being offered to them without the signup form drawing their attention immediately. They were more likely to go to a new page to sign up once they knew more about Vendio.

As we see here, a less conventional style can perform better than something standard — but without split testing, Vendio never would have discovered that.

split testing

Ignite your list building with a lightbox… without pushing visitors away.

Popup forms are another common way to get sign ups. Do you feel annoying just considering putting a pop up on your site? Split testing will allow you to find the most effective (ie least annoying) way to do it.

Here at AWeber, we have a lightbox signup form on our blog. You may recognize it from the first time you were here.

sign up form

We split-tested the form first to find the best way to implement it. In our test, we left the form exactly the same but tested the amount of time that elapsed before it popped up. We split it into 30, 45, 60 or 75 seconds.

After a couple thousand visitors, 45 seconds was proven to be the best delay. We received 45% more conversions with 45 seconds than 30, 22.5% more than 60, and 52.5% more than 75.

The lightbox only comes up for first-time visitors, minimizing annoyances, and we’ve seen a sustained increase in subscribers since we made it permanent.

email split testing

Want more sign up form secrets?

For more ideas on split testing your sign up forms, download this free split testing guide.

split testing

What Else Should You Split Test?

The fun doesn’t have to end after sign up forms. You can split test EVERYTHING!

  • Want more people to open your emails? Test your subject lines.
  • Want to get more click throughs? Test your link text.
  • Want your customers to find your emails more visually appealing? Test your images, layout, word choice, font… whatever you want. The possibilities are endless!

For now, though, get started with your sign up forms… and keep an eye out for the next articles in this series on split testing. We’ll talk about how to improve your email response rates through split testing subject lines and your email design.

Articles in the Split Testing Series:

  1. How Split Testing Sign Up Forms Get More Subscribers (this article)
  2. How to Get Higher Email Opens By Split Testing Subject Lines
  3. How Split Testing Your CTA Will Boost Your Business

pop up form optimization


  1. Pushconvert

    5/31/2014 3:19 pm

    What do you use to split test forms? Or you just split test whole landing pages?

  2. Joe

    5/31/2014 6:32 pm

    How do you split test form? Only one code can go on my site at a time

  3. Justin Premick

    6/3/2014 12:42 pm

    Pushconvert and Joe,

    We offer a split testing tool that all customers can use. Once you’ve created a split test, we’ll generate a JavaScript to place on your site (during the test, you’ll replace whatever form you had on the page with the split test JavaScript).

    More info here:

  4. pablo

    6/4/2014 5:06 am

    Very nice article;) thanks