The Email Signup Showdown

Allison Howen
by Allison Howen 22 Jan, 2012

Visitor traffic may be the most important data regarding a website's success. After all, a business can't sell products or offer services when no one is there to view them.

One of the best vehicles for driving traffic is email, but the size and quality of your email list have a lot to do with its effectiveness. Clearly, a list with only 100 subscribers won't result in a surge of quality traffic.

One of the most important factors in obtaining more subscribers is the signup form because the form itself can turn customers away. Creating an effective and enticing email signup form is best done by keeping it simple. This includes not asking too many questions, providing content choice options, promoting incentives and linking to your privacy policy so that customers can be assured that they won't be spammed.

Below are some examples of effective email signup forms from a variety of industries:


This fitness company prominently features its signup form on the upper-right corner of its landing page. Once an email address is entered, site visitors are taken to the email signup form that only requires basic information for signup. The form is easy to read, direct, and, most importantly, easy to find.

The Melting Pot

This restaurant invites consumers to become part of Club Fondue (and join The Melting Pot's email list) at the bottom of the landing page. The signup form is simple and additionally asks only for customers' anniversary and birth dates -- useful questions that enable the restaurant to send out coupons as these dates approach.


The first line of text on this landing page provides customers with a link to receive email updates. When clicked on, a new window appears with the signup form, which is a smart strategy because it keeps customers on the main site. The email signup form tells customers what they can expect once they sign up, and only requires one basic question to be filled out (the email address). Additionally, the company links to its privacy policy, which eases the consumer's fear that signing up will result in an inbox filled with spam.


This site makes it very easy for consumers to receive emails. The signup link is located, in bright white text against a black background, on the very top of the landing page. Once the link is scrolled over with the mouse, a very simple form appears that only requires customers to enter their email address and hit submit. This simple form also uses a promotion to entice consumers to sign up, with text that says "Sign up for our newsletter and save $15!" -- a great incentive to push consumers over the edge for signups, as well as a nice conversion tool.

The Onion

The Onion invites site visitors to subscribe to its newsletters under a social tab on the top of the website's landing page. Once the link is clicked on, it takes visitors to the email signup form, which is simple and direct. The signup form allows visitors to choose the newsletters they wish to receive, and only requires an email address. Forms can't get much simpler than that.