3 Ways to Set Expectations at Sign Up


“I didn’t sign up for this!” An impulsive and angered hand clicks the “Mark as Spam” button.

Spam complaints can tell you a lot about your email marketing campaigns. One thing they can indicate is that it’s unclear to your subscribers what they are signing up for and how when they’ll receive your messages.

So how can you minimize spam complaints from the get-go?

Keep reading to find out how a few of your fellow email marketers do it by setting expectations!

Setting Expectations

When evaluating the cause of a spam complaint, the first step is to take a look at your web form.

It’s absolutely crucial to set expectations throughout the life of your email campaign, starting with your web form.

Your web form must explain exactly what your subscribers will receive, the benefits of subscribing, and when subscribers can expect to receive your messages.

Let’s take a look at how Print It Party, a party decor site, sets expectations with their web form:

Print It Party Example thumbnailTo make certain that important details are not overlooked, they place information not only in the header of the form, but above the form as well. With your own form, if you can’t explain in full detail what subscribers will receive in just the header, include a description near the web form on the page.

This web form includes the benefits of what the subscriber will receive – “free printables and contests, extra-hip party tips and secrets and new products alerts.” They make their newsletter sound special and exciting while describing exactly what is to come.

Including a Subscriber Counter

Using a subscriber counter has shown to be a successful tool in gaining subscribers. A potential subscriber viewing the counter will see that others are benefiting from your newsletter. This establishes your information as a reputable source.

Battlefield Equipment, an equipment rental site, sets expectations using this method.

Battlefield Example thumbnailBattlefield Equipment’s subscriber counter builds trust and sets expectations about the quality of their “Battlefield Equipment eNewsletter.” Potential subscribers can see Battlefield already has a significant following and they will be more inclined to trust that the messages and content they will receive are valuable.

Just as Techbite describes when subscribers will receive messages, Battlefield notes that subscribers will get “seasonal” specials. If you do not send each week or month on a specific day, you can still use detailed words to describe “when” messages will go out.

Using Images

Including an image on your email sign up form can increase recognition and help you to maintain consistency throughout your campaign.

Take for example the web form on the homepage of the brain games and fitness company, Braintraining. Braintraining’s form includes imagery and lets subscribers know they respect their privacy.

Braintraining Example thumbnailTheir attention-grabbing lightbox form includes an image of the Brain Training Power Pack. Including this picture allows subscribes to visualize what they are going to receive.

The form also contains a link to Braintraining’s privacy policy. Include a link to the privacy policy in your own web form to assure subscribers that you are sending a safe and private newsletter.

Details Make the Difference

These forms do not simply say “Sign Up for My Newsletter.” They include valuable and descriptive information to begin an honest relationship with subscribers.

You can see a little detail goes a long way in setting expectations. To prevent potential complaints, make it your priority to set expectations right off the bat.

How do you set expectations at sign up?

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