ReachMail Piece by Piece: Form Wizard

Welcome to the latest edition of ReachMail Piece by Piece, a weekly series that explains some of the basic ReachMail tools to help you get the most out of your email marketing campaigns. You can check out the previous Piece by Piece topics here.

This week we’re talking sign-up forms and new users. One of the most effective ways to get new users to sign up for your mailings is through a form on your website. The FormWizard tool makes it easy to create sign up forms that add new users directly to your ReachMail lists.

So before we go on to the nuts and bolts of the FormWizard let’s talk a little from theory first. I know, I know…theory? form theory? boring! You’re right, forms are boring and frustrating. But it’s a good idea to understand more about them before you start making them.

Forms are great and can generate a lot of new sign-ups for your list but they need to be thoughtfully designed and planned to get the most out of them. It’s easy to just toss a form on a webpage and see what turns up but with a little planning and creativity you can greatly increase the response rate of your form.

The most important point I can make about form theory is to keep the form simple. The fewer fields you ask people to fill out the more responses you will get. Make a list of all the data that you would like from potential customers (e.g. Name, Email, Phone Number, Address, etc). Now count it up. How many items do you have? 8? 10? 4? Now try to cut it in half and keep going until you get the top 2 or 3 items that you really NEED to keep in touch with new users.

Also, the smaller you make a form the easier it is to place it on your website in multiple places. Remember that a form doesn’t need only be on the contact page. If you made a form that just has some introductory text, inputs for Name and Email and a Submit button, it’s probably small enough to stick on just about any page.

Keep the form informative, add some introductory text to the form. Don’t just say “Subscribe!” or “Join our mailing list!” Say “Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest industry news!” or “Join our mailing list to get our hottest product offers!”

Another good idea is a special offer. Say “Join our mailing list and get 10% off your next order!” or “Join now for a special gift!” The FormWizard lets you set auto-responders which will automatically email the new sign-ups with a mailing of your choice, put your coupon in the mailing and voila, more customer interaction.

OK, I could go on and on about theory but that’s enough for now. Here’s how to put it all together.

Keep in mind that the FormWizard needs a list to write to, so if you don’t have a list that you’d like to use make sure to create on first that contains all the elements that you would like to capture with the form. For example, if you want Name, Email and Phone Number your list will need to have at least those columns. Also note that if you are making a double opt-in form (see the double opt-in explanation below).

Once you’ve got the list in place head on over to the Libraries and Tools tab, look for the FormWizard section and click the Create New Form link.

In step one you will pick the list that you want to add to and choose the opt-in type. Single opt-in adds users directly to the form, double opt-in asks users to confirm their opt-in by clicking a link that is delivered via email, and third-party opt-ins need to be approved by the account admin (you).

In step two you will choose which list elements will be captured by the form.

In step three you will set up where users are directed after sign-up and customize the confirmation email for double opt-in forms.

In the final step you’ll get the code for the form which can then be styled for use on your website.

Head on over to ReachMailTV to see the video demo.

As always, if you have any questions please feel free to contact me at dnielsen@reachmail.com

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