When you created your sign up form, you probably spent the majority of your time writing the copy and fine-tuning the design.

But how much time did you spend thinking about the copy on your call-to-action (CTA) button?

If you defaulted to the usual “submit” or “sign up” copy, chances are it didn’t take much time at all. But that means you might be missing out on a big opportunity to convince even more people to sign up to your email list.

To help make the most of your sign up form and increase conversions, here are eight best practices you can test:

1. Write Compelling Copy

“Submit” or “sign up” are so 2012. To really stand out and engage your site visitors, try using more compelling copy.

Over at AppSumo, they’re big fans of using pop-up sign up forms to collect new subscribers. In the example form below, notice how creative the CTA is:

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The use of “gimme” instead of “sign up” is different, yet works wells with their brand’s unique voice and tone.

Here’s another example of a distinct and inviting CTA button from vocal coach, Felicia Ricci:

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2. Keep it Brief

If it takes long for prospective subscribers to read the copy on your CTA, it won’t bore your readers to tears… but it might bore them to the point where they’re no longer interested in signing up to your email list. Yes, your copy should be compelling, but it shouldn’t be as descriptive as a Charles Dickens novel.

So what’s the CTA copy comfort zone? Typically it’s two to five words. If you have a creative one-word CTA, such as AppSumo’s form above, testing different lengths will be key to understanding what works best for your audience.

Here’s another example from Enchanting Marketing, which not only includes an engaging CTA, but one that’s contextual with the rest of the form:

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3. Use Action-Oriented Words

Most sign up form CTAs use some sort of actionable word or phrase. Even “submit” gives readers a next step to take. But as you think of ways to get more creative with your forms, make sure it focuses on the action you want your readers to take.

Avoid phrasing your copy in a way that presents the incentive, such as “Here’s your whitepaper.” Instead, go for verbs like:

  • Download
  • Get
  • Submit
  • Send
  • Start
  • Try
  • Reserve
  • Take

4. Clearly Explain What They’ll Receive

While your sign up form copy should already explain what people will receive in exchange for their personal information, consider repeating it in your call to action. Whether new subscribers are getting a free ebook, access to an email course, or a weekly newsletter, test out highlighting the benefit in your form button.

In one of our own forms for an intro-level guide to email marketing, we made sure to communicate the value of submitting their email address:

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Here are a few other CTA ideas to test out for your own form:

  • Get my ebook
  • Register for the course
  • Save my seat

5. Try First-Person vs. Second-Person

It’s natural for marketers to write to their audience in the second person, where the reader is addressed as “your” or “your.” This point of view is often used because it speaks to the individual as opposed to a mass audience. As a result, it feels more personal to the recipient. It also forces you to present the value of the action you want readers to take.

For example, this whole blog post is written in the second person perspective in order to encourage you to test new CTA copy and increase subscriber growth. And we often write our calls to action that way too.

In the form below from Running Shoes Guru, you’ll notice CTA button is written in the second-person perspective:

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Recently, some have started writing calls to action in the first-person perspective – and the results have been a little more than noteworthy. In an A/B split test done by Content Verve, they found that simply switching the point of view to the first person increased click throughs by 90 percent!

Check out how The Prairie Homestead uses the first-person point of view:

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6. Create a Sense of Urgency

We often encourage our readers to create a sense of urgency in their subject lines; and the same can also be said for the copy in your call-to-action button.

Adding words like “now” or “today” at the end of your copy are used to encourage people to take action. In the Running Shoes example from earlier, you’ll notice the urgency in the CTA:

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7. Reference the Value of Your Incentive

If you’re offering an incentive in your form at an exclusive value, you might want to test mentioning it in your call-to-action copy as well.

Offering a free ebook or email course is a way to encourage people to subscribe to your email list. In the example below, you’ll notice that both the value and sense of urgency are presented in the CTA:

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8. Include Bonus Text

Sometimes two to five words isn’t enough to get your message across. Maybe you want to assure readers that you won’t send them any spam. Or perhaps you want to tell them that their free trial is only for a certain time period. Whatever it is, there is a place where you can add this extra piece of information: the bonus text.

In the example below from the blog, Flipped Lifestyle, you’ll find the bonus text in gray beneath the CTA button:

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In the form, visitors are encouraged to subscribe to their email list and get a free email course about selling digital products online. Here, the bonus text is used to ease their subscriber’s fears about receiving spammy emails.

Which CTA Copy Change Will You Make?

With so many ideas to choose from, we encourage you to test different approaches using AWeber or a sign up form app like OptinMonster.

Inspired to start tweaking your CTA? Give it a try and tell us about the results you saw!