sign up

By Lexie Lu

People get bombarded with emails daily, so, making them want to receive yours could be challenging. However, that goal is easier when you convey that the newsletter has relevant content recipients need and want. Here are nine ways to actively increase your sign-up conversion numbers.

1. Give People Discounts for Signing Up

Even when splurging on things, shoppers love saving money if possible. Consider offering people a percentage-off discount for becoming newsletter subscribers.


Adidas does that by offering a 15-percent discount to people who sign up for its newsletter. Plus, the fine print at the bottom of the page mentions that people can take advantage of the offer for two weeks after receiving the offer. When people know they only have a limited window of time for acting on the promotion, they feel spurred to act.

Notice, too, how the top frame of the Adidas site has a Newsletter Signup link sandwiched between the Track Your Order and Login links. Those other two areas of the site are likely ones shoppers use often, so putting the newsletter prompt in that section provides excellent visibility.

2. Use Interesting Calls to Action

Perhaps it seems like the simplest thing to do when making a newsletter signup form is to label the submit button with something like “Sign Up” or “Subscribe.” Although that tactic isn’t wrong, it could make you miss opportunities to get people interested. If individuals aren’t sufficiently enticed to follow through, they might leave the page without confirming the sign-up process.

Think about using phrases like “Stay in the Loop,” “Let’s Become Besties” or, “Yes, I Want to Receive the Latest News!” Those are interesting, and depending on the kind you choose, could emphasize that subscribing to a newsletter gives a person a stronger connection to a brand they love. Or, the call to action could say how the newsletter gives people a central place to keep tabs on what’s important.

Some of the best calls to action also use words like “join,” Inviting people to join in makes the brand seem accessible.

3. Offer Brand-Related Premium Items in Exchange for Email Signups

Perhaps, as part of your website marketing efforts, you regularly create supplementary content — such as e-books and videos — that people ordinarily need to buy to access. In that case, give them the option of either paying the stated fee or signing up to your newsletter and getting the materials for no charge.

For an e-book sold in your online store, the product description might say, “Regular price: $5.99 (or FREE) when you sign up for our newsletter.” Providing a link in that sentence that takes people directly to the newsletter page makes things efficient for interested individuals, too.

Also, you may build your e-commerce platform so that if people leave without buying something, they see a popup that reminds them how signing up for an email is an alternative to contributing cash for your content.

4. Offer a Free Shipping Incentive

Having to pay for shipping may make people have second thoughts about buying items. So, if you operate an e-commerce site and want to help shoppers get free shipping, stimulate sales and newsletter subscriptions alike by giving complimentary shipping to new newsletter subscribers.

Shoe-Inn, a company that sells designer footwear and upscale accessories does this by offering a double freebie for newsletter subscribers. People who sign up by putting their email addresses in the box found in the site’s footer can get free shipping, plus an instant 10 percent off coupon. You’ve already learned why percentage-off advantages could keep people interested.

Why not combine such an offer with free shipping to sweeten the deal? It’s worth noting that Shoe-Inn does advertise a free shipping promotion in its website’s top frame, but that one only applies to people who spend more than $100. Not everyone will have budgets that enable spending $100 when they’re at the site — even if they want to. The newsletter sign-up perk means they can buy less but still get shipping for free.

5. Periodically Assess Your Newsletter to Ensure High-Quality Content

The overall excellence shown by your newsletter could be a factor that makes people eager to stay subscribed after they sign up. And, that’s as important as the improving the initial conversion rate for email sign-ups.

Make your newsletter have outstanding design and content by keeping the material as brief and relevant as possible. Plus, give readers ways to connect with you, and include prompts such as “What do you think about our new opening hours? Let us know!” Don’t forget that you also need to provide unsubscribe links within each newsletter, so people can opt out if they choose.

Many users may access your newsletter on their phones. Evaluate the font, color scheme and functionality to confirm that people who see the content on mobile devices get experiences that mimic those enjoyed by people using computers.

At first, it may not be obvious that the quality of your newsletter relates to email signups. But, think about how if yours has glaring issues, people may complain to their friends about it. Then, the newsletter may get a bad reputation that causes people to feel hesitant about subscribing.

6. Highlight Specific Subscriber-Only Benefits

It’s useful to give a brief breakdown of the things subscribers get by signing up. Then, you set expectations of worthiness.


At Colorado’s Pikes Peak Center, a concert and events venue, subscribers receive exclusive updates about upcoming performances before the public announcements happen. They also have chances to enter contests. By sending out newsletters you want people to read, you’re asking for their time.

And, individuals may be more likely to give that precious time to you if they know what exactly they’ll get as subscribers. Sometimes, it is indeed sufficient to mention that subscribers are the first to get brand-related content without going into details. However, in the case of a concert venue that may host hot-ticket events that are in danger of selling out, learning about happenings before most others do is a definite advantage.

Even if your newsletter and business don’t relate to the event promotion business, you still have plenty of ways to get people excited about subscribing. For example, you could give them sneak peeks of new merchandise or fill them in about new developments within your business before the rest of the world knows about them.

7. Add Newsletter Sign up Links to Instagram Stories

Hopefully, you’re already using social media to spread the word about your brand and let people know they could get more of the same kind of content by becoming newsletter subscribers. But, there’s something else you could do, and it relates to Instagram stories.

Provided you have at least 10,000 followers or a verified Instagram account, it’s possible to add swipe-up links that feature an up-pointing arrow and the words “See More” beneath it. When people drag their fingers upward, they get taken to external links. The link should ideally relate to whatever is in the Instagram story, which is why it’s a good idea to call out your newsletter in some stories.

The swipe-up links are simple to configure, and doing so boosts your Instagram interactions while making sure people know your newsletter exists.

8. Build Straightforward Sign-Up Forms

Since people have busy lives, they’ll likely shy away from newsletter sign-up forms that ask for seemingly non-related details or are very lengthy. For example, if a person signs up for a newsletter related to a clothing site and gets asked “Do you have any pets?” on the form, as well, they’ll probably raise their eyebrows suspiciously.

Only ask for the information you genuinely need, and don’t make it too confusing to submit the content. Putting a red asterisk by the required fields and clarifying what the symbol means is one example of something simple you can do to cut back on the number of error messages people see or the failed submission attempts they go through.

9. Stay Aware of GDPR Compliance

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to user privacy for European Union citizens. However, if you’re based elsewhere and directly market to people who live in that region, the GDPR is something you must follow.

There are must-know details about GDPR compliance and email consent that’ll help you keep your techniques free from scrutiny. For example, you cannot have pre-ticked checkboxes on an email sign-up forms that make a person agree to third-party offers unless they notice the filled-in box and clear it before submitting the newsletter form.

You also must separate any information that asks for email consent from other legal content, such as terms and conditions. That’s because the GDPR states that people must freely give their email consent. And, if the information they need to know is buried within other content, people may not be aware of it.

Those are some starting points, but you also have other factors to consider about GDPR compliance and signing people up for newsletters. Knowing them in advance could save you from getting yourself in hot water later.

Keep the Customer at the Center of Your Approach

These tips should get you off to a strong start for increasing newsletter sign-up conversions. As you try them, always remember to adjust them to match your customers’ needs and expectations.

Lexie Lu is a freelance graphic designer and UX strategist. She keeps up with the latest design news and always has some coffee in close proximity. She writes on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.

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