20 Email Signup Form Examples and Best Practices for 2024

Email signup forms are one of the most important lead generation tools for any business or website. They allow you to easily capture contact information from visitors to build your email subscriber list.

But not all signup forms are equally effective. Their design, copy, placement and offered incentives can dramatically impact conversion rates.

In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll analyze 20 real-world email signup form examples from major websites and brands. You‘ll discover what makes them work well, along with tips to create high-converting forms.

Let‘s dive in!

Types of Email Signup Forms

There are several common types of email signup forms, each with their own pros and cons.

1. Popups

Popup forms slide into view or "pop up" when visitors land on a page or begin to leave.

Pros: Grab attention, good for exit-intent popups to capture abandoning visitors

Cons: Can be annoying if overused, easy to dismiss

2. Slide-ins

Slide-in forms enter subtly from the edge of pages.

Pros: Less disruptive than popups, appear "naturally"

Cons: Easy to ignore if too subtle

3. Header/Footer forms

Fixed header and footer forms stay visible as visitors scroll.

Pros: Present on all pages, don‘t disrupt visitors

Cons: Can blend into header/footer if design is boring

4. Sidebar forms

Forms placed in sidebars or widgets stay visible.

Pros: Always viewable on sidebars, don‘t disrupt

Cons: Often hidden on mobile

5. Inline text forms

Subtle inline text links invite clicks to open signup forms.

Pros: Extremely simple implementation, work anywhere text is present

Cons: Very subtle, visitors may not notice them

There are also many variations and combinations of these basic types. Now let‘s look at real examples and what makes them effective.

1. Netflix

Netflix displays this slide-in form on nearly every page.

[Image showing Netflix email signup slide-in form]

The compact stacked layout fits nicely into small spaces without disrupting page content. Netflix wisely offers one value proposition headline: "Unlimited movies, TV shows, and more" to interest visitors.

The bold red subscribe button catches the eye against white backdrop. And requesting only email keeps form fields minimal for higher conversions.

This natural slide-in form generates high opt-in rates for Netflix without annoyance popups.

Takeaway: Slide-in forms are perfect for capturing visitors with targeted value propositions when they naturally reach form locations in page scroll patterns.

2. Dropbox

Dropbox places this modal popup form directly in visitor scroll paths to capture attention.

[Image showing Dropbox pricing modal popup signup form]

It makes a compelling limited-time offer of free cloud storage space in exchange for an email address. This reciprocity quickly convinces visitors to subscribe.

The modal popup also showcases Dropbox integration partners like Zoom, Slack and Zapier. This social proof builds additional trust.

Overall an excellent use of a targeted popup with strong incentive at a strategic scroll location.

Takeaway: Popups can convert very well when placed strategically in scroll paths and offering high-value incentives matching visitor intent.

3. Amazon

Amazon employs simple inline text links leading to various signup forms across their site.

[Image showing Amazon inline text email signup link]

The linked forms allow customizing the types of content subscribers wish to receive, satisfying diverse interests. Inline text links are extremely easy to deploy site-wide.

Takeaway: Simple inline text links to forms work perfectly for large sites with varied visitor intents. They also enable granular subscriber preference selection.

4. Unbounce

Unbounce overlays this attention-grabbing modal popup on entry.

[Image showing Unbounce exit-intent modal popup form]

It makes an irresistible limited-time offer of free website review and actionable recommendations from their conversion experts.

This intensely valuable incentive convinces even visitors with no prior awareness of Unbounce to exchange contact info without hesitation.

Takeaway: Targeted high-value limited-time popup offers can instantly induce reciprocity and opt-ins even from complete strangers to a brand.

5. Facebook

Facebook displays this footer signup form on most pages.

[Image showing Facebook footer email signup form]

It‘s prominently visible while scrolling thanks to the stationary footer bar. And the micro-copy headline "Get Facebook" is simple yet descriptive.

Takeaway: Fixed footer forms work perfectly for gigantic networks like Facebook where all types of visitors have potential interest in the core offering.

6. Lyft

Lyft combines a slide-in form with modal popup signup.

[Image showing Lyft slide-in form with modal popup]

The persistent slide-in tempts visitors to "Get Lyft Price Estimates". If they engage, a modal signup form pops up to capture their email.

This pairs an always-viewable teaser with a hidden signup form trigger. It‘s great for sites that may not warrant immediate popups but still want high conversions.

Takeaway: Layered and sequenced form combinations engage visitors progressively while capturing maximum information.

7. Shopify

Shopify builds their homepage around this big bold embedded signup form.

[Image showing Shopify homepage embedded form]

It grabs immediate visitor attention rather than distracting with other homepage content first.

The strong value proposition headline clearly defines the benefit of signing up while testimonials provide social proof. This works exceptionally well given Shopify‘s niche audience of ecommerce entrepreneurs.

Takeaway: Homepage takeovers can instantly capture niche audiences by leading with targeted value propositions backed by social proof.

8. Sephora

Sephora designed their popup signup form to look like a video player modal.

[Image showing Sephora fake video player popup form]

Visitors think they are getting access to makeup tutorial content after signup. In reality it only collects emails. But the deception works very effectively!

Takeaway: Signup forms that mimic expected site content get incredible opt-in rates but be ethical with this technique.

9. Buffer

Buffer places their email popup form prominently on entry using contrasting colors.

[Image showing Buffer exit-intent popup form]

It catches immediate attention but gives the option to hide it for a less disruptive experience, a smart compromise.

The popup also offers their free social media image creator as incentive along with social proof logos.

Overall it collects emails unobtrusively from interested visitors.

Takeaway: Prominent yet optional popups that provide value upfront convert visitors without excessive annoyance.

10. Quora

Quora displays inline text signup links after keyword-targeted questions.

[Image showing Quora inline text signup links]

The contextual relevance entices visitors who found the answer helpful to subscribe for similar future content.

Takeaway: Inline text links work extremely well to capture engaged visitors when placed contextually after valued content.

11. Walmart

Walmart detects visitors leaving their site to trigger this exit-intent popup.

[Image showing Walmart exit-intent coupon popup]

It offers a coupon discount code as incentive for their email. This convinces abandoning visitors to convert at the last second.

Takeaway: Exit popups with monetary incentives revive and capture previously lost subscribers.

12. Evernote

Evernote provides this classy floating sticky note signup form.

[Image showing Evernote floating sticky note signup form]

The visually striking speech bubble magnetizes attention with contrasting colors. It follows as visitors scroll to always remain visible.

The overall presentation is very eye-catching yet non-intrusive due to the small footprint.

Takeaway: Floating panels utilize screen real estate economically while persistently engaging visitors as they scroll.

13. MailerLite

MailerLite trusts the testimonial social proof in their sidebar form.

[Image showing MailerLite sidebar form with testimonials]

Positive client reviews establish credibility that their email builder is worth trying.

This works exceptionally due to highly relevant targeting on websites their clients would likely visit.

Takeaway: Sidebar/widget forms can sway conversions through strong social proof when placed contextually to engage potential customers.

14. Starbucks

Starbucks provides a multi-step modal popup form when visitors create accounts.

[Image showing multi-step Starbucks account creation popup]

It progressively requests profile details across several screens without initial upfront friction. Visitors commit more data after seeing previous steps require little work.

Takeaway: Multi-part popup forms with sequential commitments harvest more subscriber information through momentum effects.

15. Costco

Costco gates access to pricing and discounts behind email submission on this modal popup form.

[Image showing Costco pricing modal popup form requiring signup]

Withholding critical information forces visitors to exchange their email if they hope to uncover Costco‘s secret bulk pricing.

Takeaway: "Paywall"-style modal popups that selectively block visitors from accessing sought-after content will induce very high opt-in rates to unlock it.

16. Home Depot

Home Depot captures geolocation and email simultaneously with browser permission requests on their interactive pricing map.

[Image showing Home Depot interactive pricing map]

Asking to access location instantly signals additional value exchange that may convince visitors it‘s worthwhile sharing their email too. Very creative technique!

Takeaway: Geolocation/data gatekeeper interactive elements justify email capture through extra value provided after access is granted.

17. Zapier

Zapier‘s homepage prioritizes email signup above other elements.

[Image showing Zapier homepage signup form takeover]

Their automation app niche signals the inbox integration value proposition will resonate strongly with landing visitors.

An overlay form right on entry leaves no question about desired conversion goals. The benefit-focused copy seals the deal.

Takeaway: Homepage takeovers frontload critical conversion goals when visiting traffic carries very relevant intents that base copy directly addresses.

18. HubSpot

HubSpot combines a persistent slide-in promotion with unlinkable footer signup on their blog.

[Image showing HubSpot‘s blog slide-in plus footer signup lock]

The slide-in offers a compelling lead magnet CTA while social proof logos establish authority. Visitors wanting to click-through the opt-in button then realize the footer signup is mandatory first. This one-two punch works very effectively to capture emails.

Takeaway: Multi-step combinations ending in "subscription walls" convert visitors exceptionally well by hooking them in with value before revealing signup requirements.

19. Amazon Kindle

Amazon Kindle inserts contextual inline text signup links into blog content naturally.

[Image showing Amazon Kindle inline text blog signup links]

The links promise subscribers will receive similar content on book and author news matching article topics they‘re currently engaged with. This relevant targeting entices opt-ins.

Takeaway: Contextually relevant inline text links capitalize perfectly on engaged visitors immersed in related article content.

20. Google

Google services frequently gate access behind account creation barriers with email required.

[Image showing Google account creation roadblock]

Preventing access or use of sought services, features or content pressures visitors to create accounts with emails to unlock them.

Takeaway: Strong-arm subscription gates requiring signups to access core site functionality almost guarantee 100% conversion from motivated visitors. But take care not to damage user experience.

Recap and Key Takeaways

We‘ve covered a ton of real-world email signup form examples and analyzed why they work well. Let‘s quickly recap key learnings:

  • Popups and slide-ins displayed strategically with strong value propositions convert visitors without being too disruptive. They can capture abandoning visitors exceptionally well.

  • Inline text links to forms easily capture engaged visitors when contextually placed near relevant content matching their interests.

  • Multi-step form combinations progressively harvest increasing subscriber data once initial opt-ins lower barriers.

  • Gatekeeper elements boost conversions by selectively blocking access to sought information or site functionality until visitors signup. But balance this against potential UX harm if overdone.

  • Homepage takeovers that instantly offer niche value propositions matched to landing visitor intents will see sky-high conversion lift.

Now let‘s move on to concrete tips for building your own high-converting email signup forms using these lessons.

Designing Your Own High-Converting Signup Forms

When creating your own email signup forms, apply these best practices for optimal conversions:

1. Offer a compelling incentive or exclusive offer

Giving away something valuable in exchange for an email address is the best way to motivate signups.

Visitors need good reason to share personal information with yet another business. Prove the value of your email list upfront through irresistible giveaways.

2. Use benefit-focused headline copy

Clearly communicate the #1 benefit visitors get by joining your list. Avoid vague confusing messages that don‘t speak directly to their interests.

3. Show social proof elements

Testimonials, client logos and reviews establish credibility that signing up is worthwhile.

4. Reduce form fields

Only collect essential information. Additional fields hurt conversions. Typically you just need a name and email address.

5. Allow interested selections

Let visitors specify content topics or categories matching their interests rather than just getting a general newsletter blast. Segmentation helps ensure relevancy and engagement.

6. Make opt-in mandatory (where appropriate)

Consider requiring signup to access specific content or products if visitors are likely highly motivated.

7. Persist across devices

Mobile responsiveness is critical. Don‘t lose subscriptions if forms display incorrectly on mobile devices. Test on all major device sizes.

8. Provide an explicit privacy policy

Clearly explain how you handle email addresses and subscriber data. Include an easy opt-out. Transparency builds visitor trust.

9. Use exit-intent popups

Exit popups target abandoning visitors as a last chance to convert them before they leave forever.

10. Continuously split test

Regularly A/B test form design variants, copy, incentives and placement to lift conversions. Optimization never ends.

Apply these tips to develop high-quality email signup forms for your website or business.

Now let‘s explore powerful marketing automation tools to manage forms, contacts and send triggered emails.

Email Marketing Automation Tools

To unlock the full potential of subscriber emails you collect, use a quality email marketing platform like:

  • Mailchimp – The most popular email automation tool
  • ConvertKit – For creators and digital entrepreneurs
  • Drip – For ecommerce and online businesses
  • GetResponse – All-in-one marketing and sales platform
  • Campaign Monitor – Focus on designer-made campaign templates
  • Bracket – Pay-as-you-go email toolkit for startups

These tools help you:

  • Create signup forms tied directly to your email subscriber lists
  • Customize multi-step workflows to send sequences of triggered automated emails
  • Segment subscribers by interests, behaviors and other filters to personalize content
  • Integrate with websites, landing pages, CRMs, ecommerce stores and other marketing systems
  • Analyze email campaign metrics like open, clickthrough and unsubscribe rates to optimize

For WordPress users, I recommend convertible lead generation plugins like Thrive Leads, OptinMonster and Popup Maker which come packed with professional templates, split testing and automation features out of the box.

Invest in a proper email marketing platform early on to maximize the value of each new signup you work so hard to earn.

Wrap Up

I hope these 20 real-world email signup form examples and tips give you plenty of ideas and inspiration to improve your own lead generation forms.

Remember, continuously test new variations to discover which incentives, copy, designs and placements perform best with your audience. Optimization is the key to skyrocketing conversion rates.

Now put these lessons into practice! Start growing your subscriber list faster than ever before.

What other signup form best practices or examples would you add? Leave a comment below!

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