E-commerce Insights:Improve Your E-mail Sign-up Process
How can you get more e-mail sign-ups from your site visitors? E-mail sign-up is simple: a few clicks followed by a handful of keystrokes. But the same process of close comparative scrutiny also can improve complex processes, such as cart and check-out.
This article focuses on the e-mail sign-up process at 45 multichannel retailers. For this study, I pulled 45 sites at random, taken from some of the larger merchants in the country. I signed up for e-mail at each using a fresh Gmail account. (For the full methodology and detailed scores and notes for each site, visit www.rimmkaufman.com/e-mail-sign-up-study.) I conducted these tests in June 2006, so some of the sites will have since evolved.
Start the sign-up from the homepage, preferably above the fold. Prospects should be told the benefits of signing up, and be reassured that their e-mails will be kept private. They should be able to reach the e-mail form in, at most, one click, with no confusion, bugs or irrelevant choices. Provide them with clear confirmation of success, thanking them for signing up and offering some immediate benefit. Don’t force them to provide extraneous data. Allow them to specify what content interests them, provide the option of RSS subscription and send a fast e-mail confirmation.
Below are my 11 ingredients for the perfect e-mail sign-up process. You might quibble with any of these points, which is fine. I suggest as a set they have predictive validity: When you score sites on this 11-point scale, you’ll find higher scoring sites have noticeably smoother sign-up processes than lower-scoring sites. The best sites are worthy of study and emulation.
1. Start on the homepage, above the fold. Thirty-seven sites (82 percent) place the sign-up box or link on the homepage above the fold. The rest tend to place it on the bottom. On the sites for Lego, Headsets.com, Carrot Ink, Black Box, Amazon.com and Best Buy, I couldn’t find anything related to e-mail sign-up on the homepage, even after a reasonable search. So I gave up.