When we discuss calls-to-action (CTAs) in marketing, we often look at them as a key driver of lead generation. After all, they are mostly used to send incoming traffic to your landing pages and lead-capture forms. While CTAs are great for generating lead conversions, they can also help contribute to a different goal: growing your email list.
A lot of companies also find it beneficial to use calls-to-action to expand their email database and list of contacts (which they will later nurture and follow up with). And in some cases, this can be even more effective than using a CTA to promote a lead-gen offer.
In fact, some businesses are doing this exceptionally well! So in this blog post, which is an excerpt from our new ebook 101 Examples of Effective Calls-to-Action, let's review some awesome examples of how companies are effectively using calls-to-action for email list growth.
1) The Combine
The best calls-to-actions don’t look like flashing ads, but instead are paths toward valuable information discovery. The Combine offers a great example of that. The text above the email opt-in box conveys the action readers need to take, and it's clear and direct. The layout of the page is clean and simple, helping the reader focus on the most important action here -- entering his or her email address and signing up for email updates.
2) Crowd Track Gent
Another great approach when collecting emails and contacts to grow your database is to use subtle text that shows readers what information they need to enter. In this case, Crowd Track Gent is not collecting email addresses, but it surely provides a good lesson on how to design your call-to-action effectively. In the screenshot below, you'll see that the subtle text within the blank boxes instructs visitors to enter their “First Name” and “Surname.” The play button to the right of the "Surname" box sends users a signal that the element is interactive and makes the result of the action more tangible.
When you collect email addresses, make sure you're setting clear expectations. What are your recipients going to get? How often? Gilt, for instance, features a call-to-action that includes a hyperlink to the company's Terms of Membership. The sentence is right beneath the main call-to-action button.
You can take a different approach of setting expectations and mentioning that your email updates will be about product discounts, new offers, events, etc. The takeaway here is, let your new contacts know what they will start receiving from you so they stay subscribed.
Even if your site visitors are interested in downloading your resources, some people will still experience form anxiety. Therefore, you need to reassure them that their personal information and privacy will be safe with you.
Reduce people’s anxiety by guaranteeing that you will keep their privacy and send them only content and information they care about. Check out how creatively Gojee achieves this: "We swear on our finest bottle of scotch that we won't spam you."
Experiment with adding background images to your email opt-in calls-to-action to increase readers’ desire to sign up for your offers and convey positive emotions of efficiency, enjoyment, success, etc. GraphEffect provides a good example of a CTA using a background image and also incorporating a semi-transparent black box on top of the picture in order to increase the readability of the text.
You can increase the visitor’s incentive to sign up for your communication if you mention that access/membership is free. Don’t be afraid to brag about your strengths—confident and hyperbolic language helps boost conversions. Jettsetter, for instance, tells people that by signing up for their email updates, they will "get access to the world’s greatest vacations."
Another great call-to-action tactic is to address the speediness of the sign-up process. Your CTA message should convey that setting up an account offers a lot of benefits and is no hassle at all. Check out how LaunchRock accomplishes this by telling visitors they can launch a page "in minutes." This no-hassle process increases the user’s motivation and facilitates the conversion.
Consider experimenting with the layout of your form fields. Are they laid out vertically or horizontally? Does that impact your conversion rates?
By presenting all required fields in one spot, you are transparent with visitors, reinforcing the simplicity of the action you’re asking them to take. Here is how Shopify set up its account registration:
As a general call-to-action best practice, you should try to remove distractions from your main CTA and help people focus on what’s truly important – conversion! Skillshare has done a great job of this by using a simple white background and creating a clean, spacious experience.
You might also consider using the Facebook login option to gain more insights about your users. In this way, you allow visitors to sign into your website by using their Facebook credentials. While this one-click process might save people time, it might also make visitors anxious about their privacy. That is why TaskRabbit makes it an option to sign up with Facebook login – not a necessity.
11) Smashing Magazine
Social proof—or also known as social influence—is a great way to sway people in a specific direction. Smashing Magazine provides a good example of using social proof to collect email addresses and expand its contact database. The publication is showing its number of existing subscribers, thus encouraging you to become a part of this big community.
Do you use calls-to-action to expand your email list? Share your tips and best practices in the comments below.
Originally published Jul 16, 2012 12:30:00 PM, updated February 28 2018