There’s more to sign-up forms

Another bit of gold from Mark Brownlow this week where he talks us through the little know details of optimising your use of the sign-up form in “Subscription forms: list growth and sign-up language” (February 03, 2010).

For some reason the wording used in the form is never really thought of as that important, as long as you have a form and it say subscribe normally you’d think it’ll be fine. Mark tells us how we can make it even better and really build lists…read on

Finally, having a sign-up form on every page of the site is becoming the must do thing rather than a branding choice.

There have been a few differing opinions over the years about the sign-up form.
1. Just ask for the email address,
2. Ask for email and first name,
3. Link to a giant form to ask for everything,
4. Submitting the tiny form that just asks for your email, takes you to another form which asks you more.

Personally, I am a fan of option 1 with a twist. Take the email address and send a welcome message straight away with a call to action to go and enter more details and always allow people to manage those details from every email. Some times it could be a call to action, maybe even with an incentive.

I’m loving Pure360’s Automations tool that makes it so easy to set-up – but I am biased, make your own decision – feel free to let me know if you agree.

Is Goodmail any Good?

According to Laura for Word to the Wise on Feb 4th 2010 in “Yahoo stops offering preferred delivery to Goodmail certified email” Yahoo will be stopping their priority delivery for Goodmail Certified mail.
Laura states: “The decision was made at some of the higher levels of management and my contact did not participate. I was told that Yahoo was looking to have more control over their incoming mail stream. They did not want to be contractually obligated to deliver email.”

So what good is Goodmail?

Last time I checked you’d have to buy a token for your sending server and it was only available if you had 6 months ‘good sending’ (however that is measured) on dedicated IPs.

However, their web-site is all about Domain Reputation, which is something that is becoming more popular as a measure of reputation but ISPs are still putting IP reputation first. While delivery speeds are throttled by Hotmail and Yahoo based on their own reputation systems, no-one’s going to bother with paying for domain tools.

At one point it looked like you had to choose between Return Path and Goodmail with Return Path being Great for Microsoft and Goodmail being great for AOL. Maybe the obvious fact that Hotmail receives more email than any other inbox provider give Return Path the edge and Goodmail’s video in AOL was a pointless exercise.

If you’re a good sender you don’t really have to worry about deliverability unless you send giant volumes. In these cases Hotmail and Yahoo do seem to throttle every IP, to some extent, no matter how small or non-existent the complaint and bounce rate, which is disappointing. At that point the only way in is to get the IP certified with Return Path.
So, is it cheaper to dilute the high volumes of good emails with more sending IPs to stay within the ISP’s volume thresholds or pay Return Path to unlock the thresholds on one or a couple of IPs (If you pass their tests).
OR is there another way?