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The 3 Most Important Things to Do When Someone Joins Your Email List

Hooray! Someone wants to join your email list. Having someone sign up for your email list is a fantastic first step in engaging your customers and building a relationship with them. And that's a very important step because it's your chance to set expectations for why this person should want to be on your list — and stay there. Accordingly, you want to make a good first impression.


With that in mind, here are three best practices to remember when you're deciding what to put on your registration form:


1. Ask only what you need to know. No one wants to fill out a long form, so keep yours short. According to Worldata's Q4 2010 research, each additional required field will cause 11% of consumers to drop off during the sign-up process. When you're deciding what questions to include, ask yourself if that question is worth losing 11% of your visitors. There will always be another opportunity to learn more about your customers, but you have to get them to sign up first. Take time to decide what you really need to know versus what you want to know. For example, if you want to understand where your customers live, ask for their zip code. A zip code is quicker to type, and still breaks your contacts into geographic regions. Unless you're planning to send snail mail, a zip code tells you all you need to know.


Once you decide what you're going to ask, fill out your form yourself. It gives you a better understanding of what your customers' experience will be, and if it takes longer than 45 seconds, you know to go back to the cutting board. Forms that take longer than 45 seconds to complete have an average falloff of 48%, according to that Worldata study. Think about it: These are people who took the initiative to sign up to hear more from you. You don’t want your thirst for knowledge to cause almost 50% them to abandon the form. So remember, if you aren’t going to use the information, don’t ask for it.


2. Have people re-type their email address. It's very important to keep your sign-up form short and easy to complete, but you should require people to retype their email address, just to make sure they initially gave it to you correctly. If someone takes the time to complete your registration form and never hears from your business or organization, that’s a negative customer experience.


3. Set the proper expectations. If you have a customer that's super excited to sign up for your monthly newsletter about kayaking, that’s fantastic. Unless this person is actually signing up for a weekly newsletter about canoeing. Make sure you let your signups know what to expect, so they know what to look forward to and aren’t disappointed later. Setting proper expectations in the beginning will result in less opt outs and more engagement in the long run.


When it comes to your sign-up form, don’t ask what you wouldn’t want to answer as a customer. Remember, the sign-up form is the beginning of all your communications with your customers. Let it be a great first start to that business relationship, not a bad final impression.


What questions are you asking on your email signup form? Share your thoughts with us here.