For more subscribers, use less form fields

In summary:

  • In this Tuesday teardown, we look at ANZ, Xero and ACCRU – all three companies work in the area of accounting and financial advice.
  • Takeaway 1: The less information you ask for on a subscription form, more subscribers you’re likely to win.
  • Takeaway 2: Don’t ask for any more information than you absolutely need. For a blog subscription, you don’t need anything more than an email address.

Websites referenced in this teardown:

Transcript of the teardown:

Hi, I’m Steve Pell. I’m here to do another one of our B2B marketing teardowns where we look at business websites to help you learn about better B2B digital and content marketing.

Today, I’m going to talk about email subscriptions. I’m focusing on ways you can improve the number of email subscribers that you’ve got for your blog or content.

There are three examples we’ll look at – ANZ Bluenotes (The ANZ blog), Xero’s accounting blog and ACCRU’s news site. The key takeaway today is about reducing the number of form fields (or in other words, reducing the amount of information you’re asking for).

The more information you ask for, the lower the chances that someone will subscribe to your content. By reducing that amount of information, you’re going to get a much better result and increase the number of subscribers that you’ve got.

For some third party evidence here, Hubspot have published data looking at the conversion rates against the number of text areas in your form. This shows that the more pieces of information you ask for, the lower your conversion rates. Your conversion rates are halving as you go from one to four pieces of information requested.

And here’s some more research from KoMarketing Associates on form fields. They’re looking at the types of content that buyers will complete a form to obtain. Buyers are happy to complete forms to get trial offers or to try your product. But buyers don’t see it as valuable to complete forms to get case studies, newsletters or whitepapers. And this is really practical – People generally hate giving you phone numbers, address information, roles and titles. But they are generally happy to give you first names and email addresses.

The practical takeaway is that B2B websites that get lots of subscribers are just asking for email addresses.

Let’s look at some examples:

On ANZ Bluenotes, I’m going to click subscribe. I see ‘Keep up with all the headlines, subscribe to our weekly newsletter’. I just put my email address in and subscribe. It’s just asking for an email address, not a first name. This is best practice.

On the Xero blog, I work through the content and at the bottom I get ‘Our best stories delivered weekly’. Again, they’re just asking for an email address. No additional information. They know that adding additional fields will reduce the number of subscribers. Again, this is really well done.

Let’s have a look at the ACCRU website, which is not done quite so well. If I click on ‘subscribe to our newsletter’, they’re asking you for a lot of information. There’s not going to be many people who are comfortable filling out all of this detail. I’ve got to choose which sort of newsletter I want, then give my given name, family name, my email address and address information, then click subscribe.

We know from the Hubspot research, ACCRU have basically halved the number of subscribers they’ll earn because they’ve asked for so much information… then they’ve probably at least reduced that by half again because they’ve asked for address information, which over 50% of people aren’t comfortable to give you for something that’s relatively low value (like a newsletter).

The practical takeaway to remember from today is that less form fields equals more subscribers.

Unless you absolutely need more information, just ask for the email address. Put the prospect in the pipeline, build a relationship, build your credibility, and add to that over time. There’s no need for you to get more than just email address up front if all they’re doing is subscribing to your content.

If you found this valuable and you’d like to get more insights like this specific to your website, we do a service in-house called the TLP Content Audit.

We’ll work with you over 14 days to give you a really comprehensive view of the low hanging opportunities for your website to perform better, to get more leads, to get more subscribers like in this case.

There’s plenty more information about the Content Audit if you click on the link just down below.