Effective email marketing is similar to being a detective on a case. You have a mission: bring in subscribers, a game plan: get people to sign up, and clues: tips that lead to you solving the case, i.e., accomplishing your goal, if followed correctly.

It is quite obvious that to expand your email list, you need more people to sign up. Clearly, the key to a successful mission lies in the sign up form; here are some clues to create an intelligent form:

Clue #1: Choose a prominent location

Just like the location of property determines its value in real estate, the location of your sign up form is critical to the success of your mission. Your form should be prominently located and frequently seen. Conventionally, a good location for your form is the top right of the webpage. Discover your form’s prime location by trying different placements. Also, place multiple forms within your website – don’t be shy!

Clue #2: Ensure you create a simple form

Most people have a 10-second attention span when it comes to filling forms. So the rule here is: ensure your form is short and simple. If possible, ask only for the customer’s email address. Remember, filling your form should be quick and effortless – not an exercise in essay writing.

Clue #3: Maintain privacy

Imagine this: Mr. X is thrilled with your prominently displayed, super-short form. He is just about to enter his email address…and he hesitates. Why? Because at that moment he thinks (very validly): “what if my email address is misused by spammers?” You can bet on it that Mr. X will just be one such worried prospective customer. Luckily for you, this issue can be solved easily by placing a privacy statement, which clearly mentions you will maintain confidentiality, near the form’s address field. You’d be surprised how well this works.

Clue #4: Provide a reason to subscribe

Remember, your emails are not the only ones that occupy space in your subscribers’ inbox. For your emails to ‘reside’ in their inbox, you must give subscribers a valid reason to sign-up. Your job is to make your subscribers see why they cannot possibly do without your emails. Combine the benefits of your emails with visual imagery such as bullet points, bold text, graphics and more. Creatively and clearly explain the benefits of your emails to build subscribers’ expectations and foster committed and trusting relationships.