Email newsletters are a powerful tool for communicating with your consumers, which is probably why there are so many of them out there. With all of that competition, how do you encourage consumers to sign up for your newsletter, instead of the thousands of others?
The answer is through a strongly designed email newsletter signup form. With a clever concept, a punchy design, and a thoughtful approach, you can create an irresistible signup form to encourage just about anyone to subscribe to your newsletter.
To help you get started, let’s have a look at 10 ways to design newsletter signup forms, as well as providing handy tips and tricks to build subscriber numbers.
Table of contents: 10 highly-effective trends in newsletter signup form design
- What is an email newsletter?
- Why you should have an email newsletter
- Email newsletters as a marketing tool
- What is an email newsletter signup?
- How to create an email newsletter signup?
- How to create a free giveaway prominent in your design
- Minimal design ideas
- How to design your page in a way that gives prominence to your form
- How to boost your newsletter design with images and graphics
- How to design a visually powerful call to action
- Tips and tricks for getting more subscribers
Email newsletters are communication sent via email to an audience interested in your product or business. The aim is to generate interest and provide information about your products or business, through news, updates, or related information. Emails are usually sent on a regular basis, although it’s worth giving individuals the option of how often they’d like to receive them (daily, weekly, or monthly).
Why you should have an email newsletter
Email newsletters are a fantastic way to engage and inform your audience. They are also great for generating sales. It keeps your product or business at front-of-mind and can be used to develop brand loyalty or drive repeat purchases.
Email newsletters as a marketing tool
Marketing is an essential part of any business. But most marketing involves broadcasting to many people at once. While email marketing does reach large numbers, it can be more personal as it lands directly in a person’s inbox. This makes it extremely effective in building a personal relationship with your audience.
What is an email newsletter signup?
One of the initial challenges with email marketing is getting subscribers. You need a database of existing customer emails, as well as potential customers who are likely to be interested in your product or business. It’s important to know you can’t just send out email newsletters without permission from your audience, so the best way to get them on board is with an email newsletter signup.
How do I create an email newsletter signup?
Most websites providers have the option to add an email newsletter or newsletter block to your webpage. The trick is making it as enticing as possible so visitors to your site take action. So let’s get into the 10 highly-effective trends to get your audience signing up for your email newsletter.
01. Make a free giveaway prominent in your design
People encounter a lot of email newsletter signup forms when browsing the internet, so try to ask yourself ‘what is something unique that I have to offer?’.
Can you offer a generous discount on their first purchase if they sign up with you, or perhaps a free ebook download full of interesting information? Whatever it may be, design your newsletter signup form to promote that offer in an enticing way.
This signup design from By Regina offers a very professional looking ebook in return for signing up to the newsletter. This offer is made extremely enticing thanks to the brief glimpse of the ebook in question alongside the signup form, reinforcing the idea that this professional-looking guide is just a click away.
This design from J.Crew Factory really grabs attention, not only thanks to the bold typography and vibrant yellow bulb illustration but by using these design devices to offer a discount on their online store.
Discounts are a fantastic way to encourage people to opt into your email subscription as you’re targeting people who are already showing the intention of purchasing from your site – talk about giving the people what they want!
It’s hard to miss this powerful offer from TOMS thanks to the big, bold title and clean design. This generous offer of philanthropy is eye-catching, memorable, and very in-brand with TOMS as a whole. So, if you’re offering up a powerful message, pair it with a powerful design.
02. Go minimal
Minimalism is a big trend in the current design, and that includes sign up pages. Minimalism isn’t defined as a bare, empty, design but rather a design that has just the right amount of elements in it to keep it functional and beautiful.
So, when designing your signup form, try a minimalistic approach. Limit your amount of fonts, colors, and graphics to one or two, and put the focus on the function of your design like this following example does.
For example, this sign up page by Cocorrina is simple but stylish, using straightforward, unembellished type and shapes. It also has an overall design that just makes signing up for the newsletter a quick and easy endeavor.
Consider drawing back your design a few notches and embracing minimalism. Not only can it make for a beautiful looking signup form but it can help to refocus and prevent your design from looking overwhelming.
Create your own email newsletters in Canva like the Green Photo Employee Newsletter template.
03. Design your page in a way that gives prominence to your form
It’s true in real estate and it’s true in design: three of the most important factors in your design are location, location, location.
When designing your web page, take the time and care to select a prime location for your signup form. Try to find a spot where the eye naturally falls, is very easy to locate, and will work with your design.
For a handy guide to some top placement positions for your newsletter signup form, check out this diagram from Rafal Tomal below.
As you can see, some commonly successful areas to place your form are toward the very top of your page, toward the very bottom, and within your sidebar.
Let’s look at an example that uses two out of three of these placement suggestions in a successful way.
As you can see from this example, Penguin Books Australia positions one simple link to their newsletter signup at the very top of their page, right under the main logo. When clicked, you’re taken to the footer of the page where the full form is positioned.
The positioning of these two signup form sections fits in naturally with the page design, but still manages to attract attention by using the bold, eye-catching Penguin orange color.
04. Boost your design with images and graphics
Now, you can go entirely typographical with your design, but another very viable, very effective option is to introduce a graphic or image in some way to enhance your design and bring a unique visual flair to your signup form design.
There are a lot of ways to introduce graphics or images into your signup form, so let’s have a look at three different approaches to get the wheels in motion.
This design for Buscemi introduces a graphic in a very simple way. By simply using their colorful logo as a focal point, the otherwise sharp, simple signup design is broken up and the eye gets immediately drawn in towards the main body of type. Consider using a simple graphic (or even your logo) to help pull in attention and add a little color into your design.
Are you selling a product? Consider using a photograph of that product in use to give consumers a glimpse at what to expect from your newsletter. In the case of this signup design by M.Gemi, the use of a sophisticated, vibrant image paired with the promise of “a new kind of luxury” reinforces this brand’s tone of class and elegance, and hints at what users can expect when they click ‘sign up’.
Not a fan of sacrificing space for a graphic or photo? Consider using an image in your background just as Boast have done here. In this example, Boast make their signup form stand out even more by using a vintage-inspired textured pattern as the background instead of flat color.
05. Design a visually powerful call to action
Just like the name suggests, a call to action is a piece of text that is meant to incite movement, action and encourage clicks. So, naturally, calls to action are very useful when it comes to encouraging newsletter sign-ups.
So, take some time to design yourself a punchy, powerful, and striking call to action that will garner attention and encourage people to enter their email details right away.
These designs from Marie Forleo’s site are a perfect example of two powerful calls to action – right from the bold phrasing of “Get anything you want” and “Create a life you love”, right down to the striking uses of color and type.
Remember, a bold call to action deserves a bold design, so make sure it stands out by using vibrant colors, a strong degree of contrast, and eye-catching typefaces.
This newsletter design by Elembee uses a call to action four times – one in the header image, above the main body copy, above the signup form itself, and the final being the ‘start now’ button. Each call to action is a simple, punchy statement, positioned carefully, and designed cohesively to encourage clicks.
Keep in mind that there’s no limit to the number of calls to action you use as long as you ensure they’re all logically placed and well designed. Use vibrant, unexpected colors or use bold, contrasting type styles. Whatever method you choose, just make sure that it leaps off of the page and invokes action.
06. Make the most out of visually appealing overlays
If you’re using a popup window to promote your newsletter signup form, something you should also consider is an overlay.
Overlays are simply when the surrounding area of a website behind a popup is darkened or obscured in some way. Overlays help to put the focus on the popup and prevent any loss of legibility due to a busier background.
Plus, thanks to their ability to refocus the eye on the main message of your popup window, by using an overlay you can reportedly increase your email opt-ins by 400% according to Econsultancy. So, with that figure in mind, let’s look at two different approaches to using overlay effects.
This first example from Bonobos uses a dark overlay. This simple darkening of the screen behind the popup window helps to bump up the contrast between the sharp white box, and it puts the focus onto the popup contents.
Note how the overlay is not totally opaque, you can still easily make out the website underneath and see the content that you came to the site to consume.
Another frequently used alternative to the dark overlay is a lighter colored overlay, like this one from AYR. By using an opaque white overlay, the background content is still obscured enough to ensure that the popup is the focal point, but the lighter color scheme of the page is maintained.
Get the look with this template: Brown Breakfast Email Newsletter.
07. Use text and imagery to visually depict what your emails offer
Generally speaking, people like to know what they’re getting themselves into, so try to design your newsletter in a way that will provide visual cues about what they can expect if they enter their email.
This example by Elle & Co. uses a clean, sharp design and simple visuals to help communicate to audiences exactly what they can expect from her newsletter.
The header image immediately introduces the newsletter topic in a simple, direct way. The body copy also breaks it down a little more, bringing attention to the frequency of emails and topics of some newsletters by bolding and highlighting the important pieces of type.
This example also uses reviews from people who have previously signed up. Each review is coupled with a photograph of that person and a link to their website to add another degree of authenticity to the reviews.
When designing your signup forms, try to use visual ways of communicating what your newsletter offers. Use striking header images, highlight portions of type, use visualized reviews to add some authenticity, just make sure it grabs attention visually, and communicates strongly.
08. Blend sharp copy with flawless design
Get experimental with your copy. Don’t feel the need to settle for “Sign up now” as a title and “Submit” as the button type. It’s an opportunity to inject some personality.
Try to tailor your copy’s tone to both your audience and your website’s overall tone. Are you very formal and eloquent, or more witty and colloquial?
These examples from xoSarah’s site use copy that is punchy, colloquial, and excited, and the design of the signup form reflects this perfectly. Since the copy is so bold and energetic, the type and colors complement this by being vibrant, bold, and eye-catching.
This design by Devan Danielle takes a bit of a more sophisticated approach. By using the term ‘letters’ instead of ‘newsletters’ and using a much simpler, drawn back approach to the design, this signup page creates an elegant, minimal, and professional tone, while still being inviting and enticing.
Make sure that your copy style and design style complement each other. Going for a more sophisticated tone of voice? Consider using lighter, more muted colors, and cleaner typefaces. Using a cheerful, witty tone? Consider reaching for the bright colors and bold type!
09. Design for user options (but not too many)
A good tactic to give your audience some control with their email opt-ins is to allow them to choose what content from you they receive, and what they don’t.
So, consider integrating a little choice into your design in some visual way. For some inspiration, let’s look at a couple of designs that do that well.
By incorporating a simple tick box option into your design, like American Eagle does in this example, you can give your users a degree of flexibility and control over their subscription.
Notice how this design as a whole is very simple and to the point, you don’t want to take up too much of your consumers’ time by making them make a huge succession of choices. Keep it simple, keep it quick.
10. Make your form leap off the page
Websites often have a lot of competing elements on them, so in order to draw attention to your signup form, you need to design it so that it really grabs attention and focuses the eye toward your form.
This design from Kate Spade immediately grabs attention by using a popup window, but it manages to hold that attention by subverting the rhythm of the page. The rest of the Kate Spade website is fairly linear, with strong horizontal and vertical lines, but by using a circular frame and bright yellow color this website design is broken up, and the focus goes to the popup.
This design for Bonobos uses bold type and a striking color palette to ensure that this design leaps off of the page. By using large type, a unique title, and an enticing offer, this design couples a lot of the previously discussed in a way that visually captures attention and directs the eye toward the signup form.
Tips and tricks for getting more email subscribers
Now you’ve created a beautiful email newsletter signup, here are some tips and tricks on getting subscribers and building your email database.
Invite people to sign up for your newsletter via all your social platforms. You can also leverage a concept known as social proof. This is based on the fact more people are likely to take action when they know others have too. So don’t be afraid to share the numbers of subscribers you already have, to draw others in.
Create content, articles or blog
Short, shareable videos with a strong ‘subscribe’ call to action are a great way to reach new people. Or if you’re writing blogs or industry articles, don’t be afraid to ask at the end.
Make use of comments
If people are commenting on your posts, it’s an awesome time to keep the conversation going. Try a simple response in the comments along the lines of, “Want to know more? Subscribe here’, paired with a link to your signup form.
Go offline to get online
In your store or at an event is a great way to get subscribers. Have a phone or tablet ready with your signup page pre-loaded so they can type in their details on the spot.
Over to you: Design your own newsletter signup form today
Your next step is to have a look through your own inbox. What newsletters are you signed up to? Do you remember what it was that enticed you to sign up in the first place? Find what works, what doesn’t, what you have to offer, and find a unique way to visualize that concept.
With some thought, time, and care you can turn your signup form from boring to brilliant, to gain email subscribers and build beautiful relationships along the way. Good luck!