How to Supercharge Your Email List Growth with Contact Forms

Email marketing remains one of the most powerful channels for bloggers and businesses to nurture relationships and drive revenue. Consider these statistics:

  • Email generates $42 for every $1 spent, a whopping 4,200% ROI (DMA, 2019)
  • 59% of marketers say email is their biggest source of ROI (Emma, 2018)
  • 81% of small businesses rely on email as their primary customer acquisition channel (Emarsys, 2018)

To maximize the benefits of email marketing, you first need to build a substantial email list of engaged subscribers. While there are many tactics you can use to grow your list, one of the most effective is optimizing your contact forms for email sign-ups.

In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll walk you through exactly how to use contact forms to skyrocket your email list growth, including:

  • Key benefits of using contact forms for email sign-ups
  • 11 contact form best practices to maximize conversions
  • How to integrate your form with popular email marketing services
  • 5 examples of high-converting contact form designs
  • Measuring results and optimizing your forms over time
  • Answers to common questions about email opt-ins

Let‘s dive in!

The Power of Contact Forms for Email List Building

Your contact form serves as a direct communication channel between you and your audience. Visitors use it to send you inquiries, feedback, partnership requests, and more.

But more than just facilitating communication, contact forms are also prime real estate for growing your email list. Here‘s why:

Low Friction

When someone fills out your contact form, they‘re already willing to share their name, email, and other details with you. By simply adding an opt-in checkbox, you make it effortless for them to subscribe to your email list in the same motion.

High Intent

People who contact you directly through your website tend to be more engaged with your brand than the average visitor. They likely want to hear from you and be kept in the loop, so they‘re prime candidates for your email list.

Easy Setup

Most contact form builders make it simple to add an email opt-in field and sync new subscribers with your email marketing service. It requires minimal time and technical expertise on your part.

"Your contact form is one of the most valuable gateways to your business that can also function as a powerful email list building tool when optimized correctly." – Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute

11 Contact Form Design Best Practices to Boost Email Sign-Ups

So how exactly do you transform your generic contact form into an email conversion machine? Follow these 11 proven design principles:

1. Minimize Form Fields

If your form is too long, you risk scaring off potential subscribers. Stick to the essentials like name, email, and message rather than bombardging them with unnecessary fields.

2. Maximize Opt-In Visibility

Your email opt-in should be prominent and impossible to overlook. Place the checkbox directly below the main form fields and use clear, compelling microcopy to draw attention to it.

3. Set Clear Expectations

Tell visitors exactly what content and value they can expect to receive by subscribing – a weekly newsletter, subscriber-only discounts, your latest blog posts, etc. The more specific and enticing, the better.

4. Optimize for Mobile

60% of email opens occur on mobile devices (IBM, 2018). Make sure your contact form is fully responsive and displays attractively on smaller mobile screens to avoid losing out on those on-the-go sign-ups.

5. Use Color Psychology

Choose a color for your opt-in checkbox and CTA button that contrasts with the rest of your form and is proven to increase conversions in your niche. For example, red creates a sense of urgency while blue conveys trust and security.

6. Create Compelling Button Copy

Generic phrases like "Sign Up" or "Subscribe" won‘t cut it. Use benefit-focused, actionable language on your submit button to give visitors that extra nudge. Examples: "Send me the goods!", "I‘m in!", "Level up my inbox!"

7. Offer a Lead Magnet

Sweeten the deal for subscribers by offering an exclusive piece of content like an eBook, whitepaper, discount code, or template in exchange for their email. It‘s a surefire way to boost opt-ins.

8. Add Social Proof

Leverage the power of social proof by showcasing your current subscriber count or featuring a glowing quote from a happy email recipient. When visitors see others benefiting from your emails, they‘ll be more likely to join the club.

9. Keep it On-Brand

Your contact form should look and feel cohesive with the rest of your website branding. Use consistent colors, fonts, and tone to create a professional and trustworthy impression.

10. Enable Double Opt-In

To keep your list quality high and avoid potential spam complaints, enable double opt-in for your contact form. This requires new subscribers to confirm their email before being added to your list.

11. Test and Iterate

Conversion optimization is an ongoing process. Continuously A/B different elements of your form like headlines, copy, colors, and layout to see what yields the highest opt-in rates. Let the data drive your decisions.

"The key to high-converting contact forms is to make the opt-in process as frictionless and compelling as possible. Every unnecessary field or vague CTA is a potential conversion killer." – Joanna Wiebe, Founder, Copyhackers

How to Integrate Your Contact Form with Your Email Marketing Service

Getting email sign-ups is only half the equation. To start sending emails to those eager new subscribers, you need to integrate your contact form with your email service provider (ESP) of choice.

While the exact steps vary based on your specific form builder and ESP, the general process looks like this:

  1. Create a new form in your ESP to collect email sign-ups
  2. Grab the ESP‘s API key or embed code
  3. Paste that key/code into your contact form‘s integration settings
  4. Map your form fields to the corresponding fields in your ESP
  5. Set up a welcome email or onboarding sequence for new subscribers
  6. Test the integration from front to back

For example, here‘s how to integrate Contact Form 7, a popular WordPress form builder, with Mailchimp in a few steps:

[Screenshot of CF7 Mailchimp integration settings]
  1. Install and activate the Contact Form 7 Mailchimp Extension plugin
  2. Navigate to your Mailchimp account and grab your API key
  3. Create a new CF7 form and navigate to the Mailchimp tab
  4. Authorize your Mailchimp account by pasting in your API key
  5. Select your Mailchimp audience and map your form fields
  6. Add the shortcode for your CF7 form to your Contact page
  7. Test the form and check that new subscribers appear in Mailchimp

Once your form and ESP are happily integrated, you can sit back and watch your email list grow on autopilot as new contacts are automatically synced. Just remember to engage those eager new subscribers with a welcome email or series introducing yourself and highlighting your best content right off the bat.

5 Examples of Effective Email Opt-In Contact Forms

Need some real-world inspiration to guide your own contact form design? Look no further than these five shining examples:

1. Content Marketing Institute

CMI contact form

Why it works:

  • Enticing, curiosity-driven headline copy
  • Visual focus on vibrant pink opt-in box
  • Multiple value propositions for subscribing
  • Zero friction – just one form field
  • "Not another boring newsletter" sets them apart

2. Smart Passive Income

SPI contact form

Why it works:

  • Bold color pop on the checkbox
  • One-click opt-in for logged in users
  • Friendly, approachable tone
  • Multiple opt-in touchpoints in one form
  • Clearly establishes "what‘s in it for me"

3. Shopify

Shopify contact form

Why it works:

  • Impossible to miss bright green checkbox
  • Speaks directly to visitor‘s goals
  • Specific incentive (free business tools)
  • Social proof via subscriber count
  • On-brand design and tone

4. Moz

Moz contact form

Why it works:

  • Crystal clear frequency and content expectations
  • Fun, friendly microcopy
  • Low-pressure opt-in messaging
  • Opt-in blends seamlessly with overall form design
  • Mobile responsive form layout

5. Backlinko

Backlinko contact form

Why it works:

  • High-contrast CTA button color
  • Hugely valuable, specific lead magnet incentive
  • Curiosity-sparking headline
  • Urgency-inducing limited time offer
  • Short form minimizes friction

Measuring the Impact of Your Contact Forms

Like any marketing strategy, tracking the right metrics is key for gauging the success of your contact form optimization efforts. Here are the main KPIs to monitor:

  • Impressions – How many total visitors landed on your contact page
  • Views – How many visitors saw your contact form on the page
  • Submissions – How many visitors submitted your contact form
  • Conversions – How many visitors clicked your email opt-in checkbox
  • Opt-In Rate – % of contact form viewers who subscribed (Conversions / Views)
  • List Growth Rate – How quickly your email list is growing month-over-month

Tools like Google Analytics and built-in form reporting make it easy to track these metrics and visualize how tweaks to your forms impact results. For example, a simple color change on your opt-in checkbox could take your opt-in rate from 2% to 4%, doubling the number of subscribers you generate from the same traffic.

Equipped with these numbers, you can justify your contact form initiatives to skeptical bosses, clients, or stakeholders and make data-driven decisions to optimize your results.

Contact Form Email Opt-In FAQs

Still have burning questions about using contact forms for email list growth? We‘ve got you covered with these common queries:

What is the average opt-in rate for contact form email sign ups?

There is no universal benchmark as opt-in rates vary widely by industry, audience, and offer. That said, anything above 1-2% is generally considered strong. The best way to assess your contact form opt-in rate is to measure it over time and see how it improves with each incremental optimization.

How can I make my contact form GDPR compliant?

To stay on the right side of GDPR, you need to give visitors a clear choice to opt-in to your emails and explain exactly how you will use their data. Include an unchecked opt-in checkbox with explicit consent language and link to your privacy policy. Avoid pre-checked boxes or automatic opt-ins.

Should I add an opt-in checkbox to every form on my site?

Not necessarily. Your contact form is a natural fit since the visitor obviously wants to engage with you. But plastering email opt-ins on unrelated forms like event registrations or quote requests can feel spammy and hurt the user experience. Use your judgment to balance your list building goals with visitor expectations.

How often should I test new contact form variations?

A good A/B testing cadence is 1-2 new variants per month, assuming your form gets at least a few hundred views in that timeframe. Let each test run until you have a statistically significant winner before implementing the changes and planning your next test. Prioritize testing the elements that are most likely to move the needle on conversions.

Wrap Up

Your contact form is a potential gold mine for email list growth when optimized strategically. By making your opt-in prominent, relevant, and friction-free, you can transform one-off interactions into long-term subscriber relationships.

The key is to continuously experiment with new copy, design, and offers to find the right combination that resonates with your unique audience. What works for one blog or business may not work for another.

"Growing an email list all starts with the sign up process. If you can make your contact form as welcoming and low-pressure as having a conversation with someone at a coffee shop, you‘ll see your opt-in rates skyrocket." – Val Geisler, Email Marketing Consultant

With an optimized contact form as the top of your funnel, you can feel confident that you‘re laying the foundation for a thriving email strategy. So what are you waiting for? Go audit your contact forms and start turning more of those inquiries into loyal subscribers!

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