The Basics of Newsletter Sign-Up Forms (And Why You Need One)

Newsletters are a great way to maintain client engagement, attract leads, and drive conversions.

Image: Owl’s Mail And Newsletters

Marketing gurus have long preached that newsletters are a great way to maintain client engagement, attract leads, and drive conversions to whatever product or service your company provides. At its core, the success of a newsletter is all about design; of course your newsletter email must adhere to your brand guidelines and provide interesting content. This applies all the way back to the first moment a contact decides to sign-up. Your newsletter sign-up form has two primary functions:

  1. Communicate why they should add your newsletter to the likely huge number of emails they receive each day.
  2. Capture all the of the information you need to both deliver your newsletter and tailor your marketing to them as a potential customer.

Of course, these two things must be done with the subtlety of a marketing pro and this is where the newsletter form design comes in. So what do you need to include? Even if you decide to get fancy with your form, here are the bare necessities:

  • Catchy call-to-action (CTA) text
  • Instructions
  • Name
  • Email
  • Qualifying information
  • CTA button

Depending what email marketing tool you use to manage your newsletter, you can create a form and embed it directly on your website. Otherwise there are plenty of plugins, code, and form builders within your website development platform to create the perfect sign-up form for your newsletter. Here are just some of your options:


A dominating force on the automated email scene, MailChimp is a great tool for all things email marketing, including creating a perfect sign-up form. Your first step with MailChimp is to create a designated contact list for your newsletter. Then, you can go ahead to design your form fields and generate the embed code to add to your website. Don’t panic when clicking around MailChimp about your form design. There are 4 options in MailChimp for your basic style: Classic, Super Slim, Horizontal, and Naked. Then, in your website builder, you can modify the embed code to customize for your unique brand identity. Make your life easy anduse MailChimpto get the basic layout for your form. After that, it’s as simple as copy, paste, and maybe a little bit of code!

Related course: Add MailChimp Signup to your WordPress site


Powered by MailChimp, TinyLetter is another great email automation option for those seeking the barest of minimums. Without reporting or business features, TinyLetter focuses on the core of email communication: sending messages between people. Their signup forms therefore align with their mission to connect people and share information. Both MailChimp and TinyLetter adhere to a double opt-in system to reduce their users from spam-emailing others. Therefore your signup form both acts as a way for you to collect necessary information and satisfy one form of permission to send email to a particular person.

Campaign Monitor

Getting back to business, Campaign Monitor is an email automation tool that focuses on analytics, customer engagement, and results. This becomes easy with numerous app integrations to create signup forms no matter what web development program you are using. Focusing on attention to detail, Campaign Monitor also makes it easy to sync contacts and then segment from the point of their first interaction with your signup form. Looking at the form builder itself, Campaign Monitor overhauled its system several years ago to make it easier for users to preview and extract the code of their forms. Plus, with Campaign Monitor, your user experience doesn’t stop when they hit subscribe. You can also create and configure subscription confirmation pages or confirmation emails within the system. Finally, Campaign Monitor’s app, Enlist, makes it easy to build forms and capture subscriber information on the go using an iPad.

Quick and Easy Signup Plugins

Without adding an email service provider to the numerous other tools and logins you use with your business, there are plenty of form builders that can be added directly within the web development platform of your website. With plugins like Simple Sign Up, the design work of creating a quality newsletter signup form is taken care of to start. Then you can choose to customize and integrate with contact database manager like the email systems above or your own. Most of these newsletter signup form plugins are designed with WordPress in mind.

Otherwise, there are plenty of themes and templates, like Lista, that make it easy to create both forms and landing pages to highlight the benefits of registering for your newsletter. All that’s left this is to download the code and update the plugin or theme within your content management system to begin strategically placing your form around your website.

Dose of Inspiration

National Geographic Expeditions

Classy, just like the magazine itself, National Geographic Expeditions attracts subscribers with a simple “Sign Up for Email” link in the header of their homepage. Then this simple and direct newsletter signup page places the form directly center with simple text and an email that takes you right into the adventure.

Allure Magazine

Going for a signup form your visitors won’t miss? Create a sleek pop-up like Allure Magazine. To balance the annoyance of a pop-up, Allure keeps it simple and direct by only asking for an email address and being up front that their newsletter is sent daily. Plus, their striking choice of image aligns well with their claim to be “the very best in beauty.”

Amnesty International

Placed in their homepage footer, Amnesty International still stands out strongly with a newsletter signup form that incites action. With language like “Sign Up to Take Action” and “Join our Movement,” subscribing becomes way more than passively receiving information. Instead, filling out the form becomes more of a symbol of commitment to Amnesty, their cause, and how you will become a part of it.

Designing and integrating newsletter signup forms is a key component of your marketing strategy for growth and exposure. Get creative and start capturing subscribers to share all the exciting events and information coming up for your business!

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Mariel Tavakoli

About the Author Mariel Tavakoli

Mariel is a writer, content marketer, ESL teacher, and writing coach. She loves all things cultural exchange and is always planning her next trip. She tweets @mstavakoli and writes on her website.