WARNING: The Dreaded Sign-up Form


Ok, so I’m just going to say it; I dislike signup forms on websites. Yes, the dreaded sign up form. I have many discussions with our clients about this subject, and it seems to get a lot of attention. I’m not sure who started the trend, but I think some A/B testing should be in order.

Now don’t get me wrong, because you're all ready saying, but I see them every where. Surely, people wouldn’t be adding them to their site, if they weren’t’ getting some results from it, right? And there’s the rub. See, the real question should be; what are they worth?

See, I found your site during a Google search (good for you if you are on the first page, you've been doing your SEO homework), and wanted to see why I need your product. I’m at your site for maybe fifteen seconds (or less) and I get the ever so wonderful email signup. You've even sweetened the deal by giving me five dollars off my next purchase. What to do? For starters, I’m not ready to make the decision on whether I want to be on your mailing list, as I’ve only been on your site for less than fifteen seconds. And that sweet offer you dangled in front of me, doesn’t mean anything, because guess what, I haven’t had time to decide if I even what to purchase from you. Honestly, right now, I’m a little ticked-off that you have all ready forced my hand. If I add my email, I will also get the not-so-glorious task of waiting for the barrage of emails, all the while, hoping you have an easy way to unsubscribe from them. Not a good way to start a conversation, never mind a relationship.

I like to think of it like this. When you walk up to a person that you meet for the first time. You don’t say, “hi, my name is Robert, can I have your phone number, or email address. Not only would people look at your funny, they would probably walk away, thinking this guy is nuts, if he thinks I’m just going to give him my phone number. Are you kidding me, we just met? I don’t know him.

Well, the same holds true on your e-commerce site. The customer that just finds your page doesn’t know you. Why on earth would you ask them for their information? Now just to be fair, it’s not an all or nothing equation. If you think you must get their email address, do it with graciousness and tact, a good example (Want 20% off?!) of this is to stay out of the way. Provide them a way to explore your site, discover your why, and get to know you. But please don’t place it right in the middle of the page, right in front of their face, and force their hand.

As with most things in life, it really boils down to the simplistic of ideas. Treat your customers like you would like to be treated. Treat them to a conversation of ideas or goods. Then, when they have gotten to know you (or purchased something from you), then you have permission to ask them for their phone number (or email). And I’ll bet you, that will be worth something.

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