08 November 2022

Web design agency tips for driving database sign ups

0 min read
Web design agency tips for driving database sign ups
Gavin James-WeirWritten ByGavin James-Weir

Gavin is Propeller's Lead Designer. Since joining the team in 2011, Gav has lead the way for innovating web design and UX for Propeller and client work.

A strong, engaged email list is key to both digital marketing in hospitality AND digital marketing in ecommerce. Why?

  • Drives website traffic
  • High conversion rates
  • Continuous opportunity to pitch products
  • Allow personalised engagement
  • Details are owned by the brand, not a social networking company
  • Longer lifespan than a fleeting social post

In this article, Propeller, a web design agency based in London, shares their top tips for driving database sign ups.

Placement and timing are key

Large and intrusive sign up forms have been shown to increase bounce rate. They can be irritating, interrupting the user’s journey through the site. Here’s how to avoid putting your users off:


Make your sign-up forms more subtle. Side-bar campaigns and click-to-expand teasers allow your visitor to continue using your site without interruption. Alternatively, add a floating sign up bar or pop-up which anchors down to your sign up form in your website footer (we did this for Island Poke – take a look here).

Be sure to include your sign up form on every page of your site, not just the homepage. You never know what page your user is going to land on.


If you do decide on a pop-up, research suggests it is best to add a delay of 8-10 seconds to let the user have a look around your site first. Or you could delay showing the pop-up to users until their second or third visit. That way you know the user is engaged with the brand already, and therefore more inclined to sign up.

For more tips, read our article on UX best practice here

Maintain your brand voice

Post-GDPR, there was a bit of a fear factor. Sign up forms were amended to be very formal and legally binding to reduce risk of penalisation under the new laws.

But they don’t need to be.

Sign up forms should reflect and represent your brand tone of voice.

A DMA report shows that 40% of respondents sign up for a newsletter because they like the brand.

So don’t throw them off with overly formal jargon right at the last minute!

Don't make them think

Hick’s Law states that the time it takes to make a decision increases with the number and complexity of choices.

So keep your sign up form simple!

Reduce input fields to the bare minimum. Studies have shown that reducing your input fields from three to two can boost conversions by 207% (Sleeknote, 2021). Some brands have even decided to remove the name field from their sign up forms (of course, there’s a price to pay when it comes to personalisation if you decide to do this).

You should also reduce the steps to subscribe as much as possible. The fewer the clicks, the better.

Finally. simplify the initial appearance of the sign-up box by delaying when the form appears. Show an initial message with an incentive, then a few seconds later, reveal the sign up form.

Entice subscribers with incentives

A DMA report shows that 60% of users sign up for an email newsletter in order to receive offers and sales.

Hospitality brands could consider offering a free treat on sign up (for example, a free drink, a 241 meal, a bar tab, or money off your bill).

Ecommerce brands could consider an exclusive offer or free delivery on sign up.

Make it fun and engaging

Make the incentives mentioned above even more exciting by adding gamification into the mix. This works particularly well for millennial and Gen Z audiences. Here are some different types of gamification:

  • Wheel of fortune: Users spin a digital wheel and claim the prize by entering their email.
  • Quizzes and puzzles: Everyone loves the feeling of accomplishment and knowing the answer!
  • Scratch cards: Prompt users to enter their email to activate a scratch card with prizes to be won.

Remember, if you are going to use gamification, keep it on brand by aligning the language and look and feel so that it doesn’t feel out of place.

Test, test, test!

As with any digital marketing activity, be sure to test! Test your copy, the design, the timings, and the incentives on offer.

Propeller is a digital marketing and web design agency working with clients across ecommerce, hospitality, and travel and lifestyle. If you’re looking to build your email database, get in touch.

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