Grow Your List With Hosted Web Forms
Our posts about web forms are usually centered around publishing web forms to pages that already have other content (e.g. your homepage).
Today, let’s talk about a new feature that will let you to publish a form published to its own page, without you having to publish anything to your site.
The new Hosted Web Form option might help you grow your list faster. Here’s how…
First… What is a Hosted Web Form?
The hosted option for web forms provides a quick way of putting up a form with little overhead. Create your form, press save, and it’s published to a page accessible from our servers (on aweber.com).
It’s kind of like taking a Polaroid picture – push the button and you have what you need instantly.
Why Would You Use a Hosted Web Form?
I’m sure there are other uses, and we’d love to hear your plans and ideas for using this feature, but let’s jump right into three that come to my mind:
You can use email to build your email list.
The best way to do it is by encouraging your subscribers to forward messages to their friends, with an easy way for their friends to sign up themselves.
With a Hosted Web Form, you can send subscribers directly to a form-only page, where there are no other distractions vying for their attention other than the opportunity to subscribe.
Twitter’s 140 character limitation is both a blessing and curse – it lets you share your thoughts and links with just a few brief sentences.
Meanwhile, email lets you stretch your legs a bit more, and this is a compelling reason to try to turn some of your Twitter followers into email subscribers.
You might even create a form designed to specifically target your Twitter followers. Because publishing a Hosted Web Form is so quick and easy, you can do this in just a few minutes.
Tip: run your form’s URL through a shortener, like bit.ly or idek to give yourself the most room in your tweets for a convincing reason for your followers to click your form’s link, and to track clicks to that link.
3. WordPress.com Blog (And Anywhere Else You Can’t Post Form HTML)
You can’t publish HTML forms to a free hosted wordpress.com site. In the past, we have suggested publishing a form to a blank page on another site, linking to it from a button or link from the blog’s sidebar.
Now, you can simply link to your Hosted Web Form. Just add a text link or banner to your sidebar or inside any of your posts.
The same goes for any other service where you can publish a link but not form HTML.
Design Tips for Your Hosted Web Forms
Here’s a few things to consider when creating your hosted forms, so you can really take advantage of their strengths:
1. The Medium is the Message.
It’s so easy to make a ton of forms tailored for each specific purpose, so take advantage of this fact. For example, if you’re tweeting your form, address your Twitter followers directly and tell them why they’d benefit from getting your newsletter too.
2. No Man is an Island, but Your Hosted Web Form kind of Is.
Usually your form appears in pages with lots of other content. Here, your form stands alone, so a form with nothing but “Name” and “Email” fields probably won’t do the trick.
Part of the advantage here is that you don’t have to worry about how wide your form is and how it will fit in with the rest of your pages design. So, stretch your form a little wider than you’re used to and include some compelling copy.
3. Make Your Form Pretty, and Make It Your Own.
When forms appear within the beautiful layout your designer drafted up for you, it can and sometimes should be designed with pure simplicity in mind.
Since the background for your form here is pure simplicity itself (ie. whitespace), this may be a good opportunity for you to try out any of our 255+ professionally designed web form templates to make sure it has some visual appeal.
You may also want to customize the form with your logo, for all the benefits of brand consistency.
How Will You Use Them?
I’m psyched about the release of Hosted Web Forms for a bunch of reasons, but mainly because it is such a simple feature with broad implications. Our users can and will post forms in places they never have before and with no technical hub bub required.
How will you use this feature? We’d love to hear from you about this in the comments.