The 49ers vs. The Ravens: Who Wins The Email Superbowl?

It’s almost game day. But before the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens suit up for Superbowl victory, we wanted to see who would win in a head-to-head email matchup.

It’s the 49ers’ newsletter sign up process against the Ravens’. We’ll score them on how easy it is to find their sign up form, how simple their form is, what their thank you page looks like, what their welcome email says and how consistent their branding is.

Let the games begin!

First Quarter: Finding The Sign Up Form


Yards Gained: The link for their newsletter is clearly named.

Fumbles: Their email sign up is hidden as a menu option in the site’s header. The 49ers don’t have a web form or any mention of a newsletter visible on their main page.


Yards Gained: The sign up form is on their main homepage at the bottom; much easier to find.

Fumbles: It’s better to place a sign up form higher up on the page where visitors are more likely to see it.

Touchdown: Ravens

Second Quarter: How Easy Is Signing Up?


Yards Gained: This form gets a lot of things right – it clearly explains what you’re signing up for, offers options for different newsletters and looks like they may even send personalized news based on your favorite player.

Fumbles: The form asks for a lot of information – first and last names, birthdate, etc. – that people might not be comfortable sharing. There’s no indication which fields are required and which ones are optional.


Yards Gained: None

Fumbles: The Ravens’ sign up form looked so simple. But clicking “Subscribe Now” loads a new form that requires an account set up to start getting newsletters. Since when did I need a password to get a newsletter?


Third Quarter: Thank You Page


Yards Gained: None. This is a lazy thank you page. A winning thank you page says what just happened (“You signed up for our newsletter!”) and what you can expect next (“Check your email for a confirmation link,” or “Look for your first email next week!”). This page does neither.

Fumbles: This page just lists the information you just entered. And I “updated my preferences?” But I just signed up!


Yards Gained: This is a helpful, informative thank you page. It says that you’re signed up and what to expect next (“You will receive a confirmation email shortly.”). They even include extra contact information.

Fumbles: A missed branding opportunity by not filling in their “Client Name” at the top of the page.

Touchdown: Ravens

Fourth Quarter: Welcome Email


Yards Gained: This is a helpful welcome email, complete with “articles you may have missed” and detailed instructions for how to unsubscribe. But it’s an automatically generated email from So the 49ers don’t gain any yards on this one.

Fumbles: The 49ers could have used their own, branded welcome email. Instead they rely on’s solution, which uses all of WordPress’s branding except for the tiny 49ers helmet icon in the top right corner.


Yards Gained: The Ravens use a default welcome email here, too. And it’s less helpful than the 49ers welcome email sent from WordPress. No yards gained here, either.

Fumbles: We’ll cover their most obvious mistake in the next section. (Hint: it has to do with branding.)

This quarter is scoreless

Overtime: Email Branding


Yards Gained: While the 49ers emails are covered with’s branding, they do at least include their own small logo at the top.

Fumbles: The 49ers use their blog name instead of their team name in the from line, which could confuse people.


Yards Gained: They use their team name in the from line, which is the only team branding the email contains.

Fumbles: They overlooked a key spot for branding their default email – filling in their [Team Name]. Nothing says “You’re a valued fan!” like “Thank you, [Team Name].”

Touchdown: 49ers (just barely)

Side-by-Side Recap

So how do the teams’ signups compare? Let’s look at each category side-by-side:

Category 49ers Ravens Winner
Form Placement Hidden in a menu; not on the main page. On the main page at the bottom. Ravens
Form Simplicity Asks for a lot of info; unclear what’s required and what’s not. Redirects to another form that requires registration and a lot of required information. 49ers
Thank You Page Doesn’t explain what happened or what’s going to happen next. Clearly explains what to expect and includes additional contact info. Ravens
Welcome Emails Confusing “from” name and default emails from, although the information provided is helpful. Clear “from” name, but doesn’t communicate helpful information.
Email Branding A small icon inside a WordPress branded email. Forgot to include their actual team name inside Ticketmaster’s default email. 49ers

It’s A Tie?

Thanks to an interception from WordPress’s default emails, we’ve got a tie and we need you to break it!

Comment below on which team you think should win the Email Signup Superbowl. We’ll announce the winner on Facebook on Monday, February 4th, so make sure you like AWeber’s page so you can see the final results!


  1. Joe

    1/31/2013 10:37 am

    Gotta give it to the ‘Niners. Baltimore’s page is bland and uninspiring. At least the 49ers page engages me enough that I might want to find the email signup link.

  2. Bobby

    1/31/2013 10:46 am


  3. Kevin

    1/31/2013 11:03 am

    Tough one! I was leaning B-more all the way but the
    welcome email and length of the signup process is a bit
    bland/long for sure. I’m still going to have to give the ravens
    the win because of the ease of finding the signup box.

    If you can’t find the mailing list signup easily (niners) it
    doesn’t make much of a difference about the other categories
    because viewers are much less likely to sign up in the first place.

    Raven’s FTW!! πŸ™‚

  4. P M

    1/31/2013 11:10 am

    As much as I’d like to see the Ravens win on Sunday.
    I’m going to say the 49ers won this particular matchup.

    Heres what they got right:

    Simpler form:
    I hate filling out forms as do most. By having less to fill out, its easier for me to sign up. AWeber webforms have a feature that allows you to auto fill the form using details from your facebook account that would really help me here.

    Brand usage:
    They made an attempt at brand recognition, but they could do better.

    What they got wrong:
    Ditch stock ‘thank you pages’ and welcome pages and personalize it with the brand, the newsletter, etc..

  5. Kelly O

    1/31/2013 11:21 am

    Gotta go with the 49ers- I like the simplicity of the form. I may be able to find the Ravens form easily, but I might not follow through with the process of creating an account.

  6. Anth

    1/31/2013 12:33 pm

    It’s hard to gestimate this one. I usually play the two teams in Tecmo Bowl (the 1st one) and see who wins….. But since Baltimore doesn’t have a team, I’ll go with the Niners.

  7. APW

    1/31/2013 2:35 pm

    Ravens win because of the ease of finding the signup form. My research has proven time and time again that not one single person ever spends more than 45 seconds looking for something, then they go away!

  8. Bethany Robinson

    1/31/2013 2:40 pm

    I’m going to have to say the 49ers win this one because their sign up process is simpler; I always hate when I have to sign up for an account to receive something. Props to the Ravens though for their epic video intro on their website!

  9. Mike Johnson

    1/31/2013 2:44 pm

    I love your marketing promotion for the Superbowl. This is a great idea for promoting your business. I am always looking for great ideas like this one. Thanks again for your creative & brilliant promotion!

  10. Ari

    1/31/2013 2:54 pm

    Wow – this is a BRILLIANT article. Pure content, excellent detailed analysis, terrific examples and PROOF how much even these huge organizations need “basic training” in email marketing.

    This was super helpful – thank you!

  11. joel katz

    1/31/2013 3:36 pm


  12. Rishi

    1/31/2013 3:39 pm

    haha this is an awesome post!

    The Ravens win all the way. The 49ers lose 90% of their traffic potential by hiding the form.

  13. Silke

    1/31/2013 4:07 pm

    I will have to go with the 49ers. Personally I would never spend the time to fill out an extensive form and sign up for an account to get sports updates.
    Good luck to both teams!

  14. Annete

    1/31/2013 5:59 pm

    It looks like the winner was already chosen . 1st Qtr – B-mo Ravens -7 pts; 2d Qtr – SF49er’s – 7 pts; 3d Qtr – B-mo Ravens – 7 pts; 4th Qtr – 0 pts scored, this ends the game, and it looks a lot to me like the B-mo Ravens have 14 pts, and the SF 49er’s have 7 pts. Where did the Over Time come from? “THE SCORE WAS TIED IN OVER TIME”, REALLY?
    Goon-wit-cho-bad-self (LOL).

  15. Andrew

    1/31/2013 6:48 pm

    The Ravens definitely win this one.

  16. Maria Ross

    1/31/2013 8:02 pm

    For me, it’s the simple things that bug me the most. If the Ravens can’t even pay enough attention to detail to fill out their templates correctly and replace TEAM NAME with their name, I gotta give it to the 49ers. Did no one test this first?!

    Plus, I’m in San Francisco, so….!

  17. Gerry

    1/31/2013 10:19 pm

    he..he! That’s a grt post! The Ravens are the clear winners just as they will be at The Superbowl……………oh Ya BabbbbbY!

  18. william vanderpool

    1/31/2013 10:41 pm

    The 49ers will win by 3 on the last ending ooow ya.

  19. gidon

    2/1/2013 3:08 am

    I am dumbfounded, that multimillion dollar companies like major league sports teams can be SO CLUELESS about websites and email marketing!

    I hope someone forwards this article to both of them, in fact, to all sports teams, and you guys scramble to put together a ‘let us do it all for you’ package to sell to them for the big $$$.

  20. Seyed shahram taghavi tekiyeh

    2/1/2013 5:49 am

    San Francisco 49ers

  21. Jonathan

    2/1/2013 8:57 am

    I think they tie for a loss with zero touchdowns (if such a thing is possible).

    49ers: I can’t think of a single time I’ve actively searched for a signup form.

    Ravens: I would have hit the “back” button on my browser as soon I saw the create an account page.

    Result: Neither team would have me on their mailing list, and that sounds like they both loose to me.

  22. Rebekah Henson

    2/1/2013 9:14 am

    Wow, what a great discussion, guys!

    Gidon – I was just as surprised as you. The teams seem to rely a lot more on social media than email, but I still felt shocked that their marketing departments would let such huge oversights slip through anywhere.

    Silke – That’s an excellent point about the Ravens’ long sign up form. I almost didn’t want to fill it out myself!

    Rishi – Great point about losing traffic. It took me a good two or three minutes of poking around through the menu options to actually find where their sign up was hidden.

    Annete – ha! Thanks for the actual score breakdown. We’re such nerds over here that we didn’t think about how a real football game gets scored. πŸ˜›

    Keep your post-game analysis coming!

  23. Wendy Leal

    2/1/2013 11:55 am

    I think the Ravens win because if you can’t find the sign-up form then all of the rest is really irrelevant, right?

  24. Steven Fleming

    2/1/2013 7:03 pm

    What strikes me about both of these is their lack of using their team LOGO’s in a prominent way which are very important/valuable “branding” points.

    I give this to the Ravens because they have the easiest FIRST ENCOUNTER with a potential subscriber by having the e-mail sign up on the home page, although I do think it would be better (as noted) higher up on the page. I agree both ask too many questions and the need to “register” is a pain and huge discouragement. Probably for marketing purposes but how many people do they “lose” and never reach by this tactic?

    As to the game, I’d love the Ravens to win but that 2nd year quarterback for the 49’ers is pretty amazing. I just hope it is a good, competitive game. At least the weather will be good inside the Superdome! Now, I have to order my chicken wings for the game before they are sold out! (Possible chicken wing shortages, I hear.)

  25. Evan Scoresby

    2/1/2013 11:32 pm


  26. Randall Magwood

    2/1/2013 11:59 pm

    49ers got it. That sign up form is super easy to complete.

  27. Bud

    2/6/2013 5:38 pm

    I think they should both lose the Super Bowl. Maybe one of them will see this and fix things up a bit. Better luck next year!

  28. Krista Salvatore

    2/6/2013 9:19 pm

    Great information. Thanks for posting.

  29. Michael

    2/11/2013 3:41 pm

    Thanks for the info! Very helpful for my campaign πŸ™‚