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Paola Bergamini
4 October 2022
Reading time: 10 min.

Online subscription form: how to create it and set up a post-subscription flow from scratch

Customize your new contacts’ subscription: the latest news from MailUp is focused on this goal. Let’s review what the key steps to collecting a contact are and find out how to make use of new MailUp features to optimize the post-subscription phase.

In order for an Email Marketing activity to be effective, it must start with a quality database, built by collecting valid contacts, profiles, and people who are genuinely interested in your company.

To do this, the database building tool you need is definitely an online subscription form that is placed on your website or blog.

In this article we’ll explain:

  • how to create a form to collect newsletter subscribers
  • which steps to follow after subscription (subscription confirmation and welcome email)
  • how to customize the user subscription experience with new MailUp features
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What is an Email Marketing subscription form and what is it for?

An email subscription form is used to collect new email addresses to populate your mailing lists of new recipients to send your newsletters to. Adding a subscription form to your website, blog, or landing page is crucial for:

  • turning your website visitors into new subscribers to your newsletter
  • simplifying and making subscription faster, especially if you create a clear form without too many fields to fill in
  • giving you useful information about your subscribers, which goes into creating a complete contact profile

However, a simple task like requesting an email address actually hides a number of factors that should be considered:

  • protecting privacy and requesting commercial consent
  • profiling, or collecting other data that adds more information than just the email address
  • organizing (better if automatic) the email address in specific mailing lists (having a single email list for all types of mailing, from newsletters to promotional emails to customers, can create confusion and difficulty if you want to send campaigns to targeted groups)
  • verifying the validity and quality of the email address collected

So let’s see how to take all these factors into account when creating a subscription form and what best practices you should follow to make it effective.

How to create a newsletter subscription form in 5 steps

Here’s a checklist of the steps to follow to create the perfect subscription form:

  1. Use a tool to create online forms that are professional and allow you to organize subscribed addresses automatically. If you rely on a professional Email Marketing platform such as MailUp, you’ll have a single tool to create your forms and send emails and SMS to those who subscribe through them.
  2. Customize the form fields and the information you want to collect. Title, Call to Action, required fields, checkboxes, colors, and shapes… everything you need to make your form in line with your company and your brand identity
  3. Choose the double opt-insubscription method, which, unlike the single opt-in, adds an intermediate step before the contact’s actual subscription and allows you to verify the validity of the collected address by sending a simple subscription confirmation email
  4. Insert the form in a prominent location on your online channels to attract the audience and support them through the subscription process
  5. Once subscribed, welcome your new contacts with an email and use that time to make a good impression on them

How to put these best practices into practice? Let’s go over them now!

1. Use a professional tool and create your form with MailUp

If you decide to use a professional Email Marketing platform such as MailUp, which provides easy to create drag & drop subscription forms (via simple selection and drag-and-drop operations), you won’t have to worry about anything except customizing your form with your brand’s features.

Find out how our ready-made drag & drop forms work: try a free trial of MailUp. Experience the many form customization options and create the perfect one for your company. Free, no-obligation purchase after your trial.

To create a new form, simply access the MailUp platform and follow the Database Building (in the left sidebar) > Subscriptions procedure, then select the type of form you want to create.

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The platform provides several ways to create a subscription form:

  • with the drag & drop editor
  • with custom landing pages
  • with pop-up forms
  • with the HTML editor

Creating a subscription form with the drag & drop editor is one of the fastest and most intuitive methods, suitable for everyone, but especially for anyone who’s starting from scratch. This is because no knowledge of HTML code or technical expertise is required.

MailUp has integrated the BEE editor into the platform, which is internationally renowned as one of the most well-known and efficient editors. It’s extremely intuitive and suggests the different content options and fields to add to the form.

With MailUp you have the advantage of having BEE, an international and highly professional drag & drop editor!  All the more reason to try it for free, don’t you think?

How to create an online subscription form with MailUp

  1. Click on Subscription Form and create your form
  1. Select Drag & Drop Editor
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  1. Give your subscription form a name and create it according to your needs: enter a title and description, any additional fields besides the email address (phone number, drop-down menu or checkbox, the flag to view the Privacy Policy…).

Simply select the content you want to add and drag it where you want to place it:

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  1. Choose the email list from the right sidebar, where the email addresses that will be subscribed through this form will be automatically entered. In addition to the list, you can also choose to subscribe to one or more specific groups, simply by entering Join groups and selecting the groups which your audience can choose to subscribe to.
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The Join Groups and Subscribe to list features are used to let your contact choose what type of communications to receive.

Another option is the Profiling Groups feature, which allows you to automatically enter email addresses into a specific group created by you for your segmentation and customization goals. This is all done without this entry being visible to the user.

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How do you use these features correctly?

Let’s take an example: the Subscribe to Lists and Subscribe to Groups features are used to ask visitors what type of emails they are interested in, while the Profiling Groups are used by you to create automatic targets behind the scenes, which are useful for sending targeted campaigns.

In the first case, it may be useful to have the user choose whether to subscribe to the “Offers” list and not to the “Newsletter” list, or to have them choose to subscribe to both.

In the case of Hidden Groups, you may want to use a subscription form to target visitors coming from your blog and use the “blog” hidden group to email other articles from your blog.

2. Customize your subscription form

Now that you’ve created it, customize your form according to your goals and needs.

From the copy to the Call to Action button, you can play with all the parts you want to make your form suitable for where it’ll be added and your database building needs:

  • change the texts, from the title to the paragraphs to the descriptions of the form fields. Remember that you must make filling in the form as easy and seamless as possible, as well as helping the user by using copy
  • position and move the fields you want to add according to the order you prefer
  • add the Call to Action button, place it in a prominent location to make it clearly visible and easy to click and use persuasive, convincing text

Expert advice: when designing a subscription form, focus on simplicity and clarity. No visitor will subscribe to your newsletter if you cram the form with fields you need to fill out or very long sections of text. And remember: the cleaner and more important the form, the higher and more visible you can place your CTA, which is what must attract the visitor’s eye. 

Before you finish, remember to:

  • check the order of the information you’re requesting (make sure it makes sense)
  • determine if there are any fields that you want to make mandatory
  • check the form preview (by clicking on the Preview and Save button at the bottom right)

Other features available with MailUp

In addition to these standard features, MailUp provides other advanced customization options:

  • protecting the form with invisible captcha, to protect against abuse and spam. Making the captcha invisible makes the subscription experience secure but simple and seamless at the same time. This way, the user won’t have to do anything except fill in the fields and click on the CTA button
  • option to generate an HTML copy of the form
  • option to insert a flag to give consent to the Privacy Policy

3. Associate the form with a confirmation email and a post-subscription page

If you want to build a quality database and protect yourself from the risk of collecting invalid email addresses or addresses of users who aren’t interested in your company, we strongly recommend that you set up an automatically mailed subscription confirmation email.

This adds a further verification step after subscription, which allows the people who subscribe through the form to receive an email to confirm their willingness to receive newsletters from your brand.

This two-factor authentication method, also called double opt-in, is easy to set up with MailUp. Just check this box:

As you can see, with MailUp you can set up emails that will be mailed to your new subscribers with just one click. By clicking on Edit you can also edit this email whenever you want with the drag & drop editor that’s integrated into the MailUp platform.

4. Create a post-subscription page

After the subscription confirmation email, create a post-subscription page with the same drag & drop operations you used to create your form.

This page will appear to your new subscribers immediately after filling out the form and clicking on the subscription button.

To create and customize your post-subscription page, follow the same procedure you took to create your form: Database > Subscriptions > Subscription Forms > Post-Subscription Page.

You can customize your page by using MailUp’s customization options:

  • choose your brand’s style and logo
  • edit the texts displayed on the page to communicate the result of the subscription in your tone of voice
  • decide whether to show the list of newsletters you have published in the footer, so new subscribers can catch up on previous content and updates from your company

5. Complete the subscription process with a welcome email

An effective subscription flow can’t be considered complete without sending a welcome email to the new subscribed contact.

The point when a contact subscribes is when they are most responsive and prone to react and convert because of the messages received.

76% of users expect to receive a welcome email immediately after subscribing to a newsletter. And recipients who receive one show a 33% higher engagement than those who don’t receive this type of email. 

The MailUp platform provides a default welcome message, which you can edit and customize via the drag & drop editor.

Follow the procedure: Subscriptions > Welcome Email.

Then start customizing the message and making it as true to your brand’s style as possible. Once you’ve finished your customizations, a window will ask you to confirm that you want to enable the notification message. Click “Yes” to enable the welcome email.

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Now you can also create a welcome series (i.e. a flow of multiple welcome emails to assist the new subscriber and help them familiarize themselves with your brand).

To summarize:

  • create your subscription form with professional and easy-to-use tools such as drag & drop forms
  • always add a field to request consent from your subscribers
  • insert other fields to complete besides the email address and use the collected data to send targeted campaigns
  • don’t overdo it with the information you need. The subscription experience must be simple and seamless
  • place the form in prominent locations on your online channels
  • build a post-subscription flow that includes a subscription confirmation email, a post-subscription page, and a welcome email

Complete your users’ subscription experience with new MailUp features

We have seen that the point when someone subscribes is one of the most important, significant moments in the entire customer journey:

  • it’s the business card you use to present yourself to the contact
  • overall, it’s the point when the contact expects to receive emails from you and is ready to convert

For this reason, it becomes crucial to curate a subscription and post-subscription experience that is not only seamless but personalized, too, and as customer-centered as possible.

How do you do that? This is where the new MailUp advanced customization features come in, which are available in the Plus, Premium, and Enterprise editions of the platform and can be applied to the subscription forms created with the drag & drop editor (the most used and recommended mode).

Let’s take a look at the 4 new MailUp advanced customization features and see how they work.

Do you want to upgrade to a more advanced and professional edition? Talk to our experts: we’ll find the solution for you together!

1. Customizing the subscription confirmation email

Now with MailUp Plus, Premium, and Enterprise editions you can customize the subscription confirmation email and create a customized and ad hoc subscription confirmation email for each subscription form you’ve created with the drag & drop editor.

What does that mean in practice? 

It means that you can have a different confirmation message for each subscription form created.

A practical example:

If you need to create different subscription forms in different languages (for example, because you have a multilingual website), you can also customize the subscription confirmation message, sending a different one depending on the language and the type of audience you want to contact. 

How do I use this feature? 

Simply go to the drag & drop subscription form creation page (Database Building > Subscriptions > Subscription Form > Edit) and check the flag on the Send Subscription Confirmation Email option. At this point, select the custom subscription confirmation email for your form from the list (you’ll have to create this beforehand to make it appear along with the selectable ones in the list):

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By clicking on Preview or Edit, you’ll open the page with the drag & drop editor to view the email and edit it, if necessary.

If you don’t need to associate any custom email with your form, the platform will directly send the subscription confirmation email that you have set by default.

Want to try this advanced feature? Upgrade to MailUp Plus edition: just fill out the form and we’ll contact you immediately to find out your needs. 

3. Disable the subscription confirmation email

Just as you can customize the subscription confirmation email, now you can also decide to opt out of sending it for a specific subscription form.

“But why disable it?” you ask yourself. We’ve been telling you that it’s a crucial step to verify that the address is valid and that the contact is genuinely interested. However, there may be specific cases that are exceptions, where an immediate subscription is needed, without sending the confirmation email. 

What are these cases?

An example may be if your company also communicates with an international audience, where the GDPR isn’t in force. There, confirming subscription isn’t mandatory and, with the necessary precautions (a flag in the registration form to request a consent from the user), you can omit this step.

Or in cases of offline contact collection, where confirmation and consent have already been issued by signing paper materials (for example, in the physical store or at an event booth). In these situations, you don’t need to ask for confirmation of subscription from the contact again, who’s already given his/her offline consent. Sending an email confirming subscription would be overly bureaucratic and annoying.

These are just two examples that help you understand how this need can arise for a specific form. To disable a confirmation email, you’ll need to uncheck Send Subscription Confirmation Email:

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But because confirming subscription is an important, critical step for database security, if you decide to disable the confirmation email for a certain form, the platform will make the use of the invisible captcha mandatory and won’t allow you to disable the relevant button, as you can see from the image.

This is because our mantra is always to protect you from phishing risks and safeguard the security of your database. Without a confirmation email, the captcha will be your shield against any risk of collecting invalid or malicious addresses. 

Also for security reasons, disabling the confirmation email will no longer make it possible to obtain the HTML code to include your form on your website. However, it’ll always be possible to use the public URL associated with the form.

3. Customizing Post-Subscription Response Messages

Another step in the subscription experience that you can customize are the response messages on the post-subscription page. 

In other words, you can create different texts for each subscription form created. These texts will appear to the contact immediately after completing that specific subscription form.

On the form creation page, check the flag under Customize post-subscription response messages:

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Then click Customize Texts. A tab will open to set different texts depending on the result of the subscription (recipient already subscribed, error, successful subscription, etc.):

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This new feature is also only available for the MailUp Plus, Premium, and Enterprise editions. If you have the Standard edition, upgrade now to have these and many other advanced features!

4. Customizing the Welcome Email

Last but not least, a new MailUp feature is the ability to customize the welcome email associated with each specific subscription form.

Each form has its own respective context (whether it’s a page of the website or blog) and a specific purpose, which may then require a welcome message targeted to the type of cir circumstance the subscription took place in.

Just like with the confirmation email, in this case you just need to check Customize Welcome Email and decide:

– to send or not send the welcome message

– to associate a specific welcome email for that form, to be sent automatically to all contacts who subscribe by filling out that form:

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If you then want to associate a specific welcome email with a form, you will first need to create the email using the drag & drop editor and then select it from the list of emails to choose from as shown in the image.

You can always check the message preview and edit it by clicking on Preview and Edit.

To summarize:

  • the point after subscription is when the contact is more responsive and interested in your company
  • the post-subscription phase is also the first contact with the contact. Make the most of it to introduce yourself
  • ideally, a flow that assists the user from subscription to welcome must have customized and ad hoc content for different subscription forms
  • with MailUp you can create specific, different subscription confirmation emails, post-subscription pages, and welcome emails for each subscription form you create with the drag & drop editor

If you haven’t yet activated MailUp Plus editionthe edition our clients choose the most, do it now! You’ll have access to all these new features and even more advanced features:

  • the ability to create up to 10 lists (instead of just one)
  • 100 email templates
  • email and telephone support
  • customizable domain and white label platform (which means your company will be clearly visible to your recipients)

And much, much more! Upgrade to MailUp Plus Edition now!

And if you’re not yet our customer, try MailUp Plus for 15 days now for free. Without any subscription obligations and with immediate activation times.

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Paola Bergamini

I was born in 1993 in Como and I escaped from this little town to study in Milan, where I graduated in 2017 in philosophy. I've always been interested in marketing and communication and I love writing and reading. As Content Editor at MailUp, I try to keep up to date with Email and Digital Marketing news, in order to share trends, theories and tools about this constantly evolving sector.

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