Strategies on How To Motivate Users to Sign Up Through Design

Convincing a customer to sign up for a product or service takes testing, knowledge and decision making. Not only are you tasked with building a beautiful landing page (you are using a landing page, right?) but you must think about the written copy, the images you use, the buttons, branding and methods for capturing customer information.

Even then, the vast majority of the people who come to your site will skip over it and move onto something else.

We’re here to help you minimize the number of abandoners.

Testing plays a huge role in getting sign ups, since not every product, service or email list is the same. For example, a blog might only need a short sign up form to get a conversion, while a hosting company has to walk folks through the entire pricing, product selection, and shopping cart process.

However, we can at least focus on some of the primary strategies on how to motivate users to sign up through design.

You’ll soon realize that design assists in gaining trust, guiding customer movement and trying to completely remove the desire to go away from a webpage.

So keep reading to learn more about the best ways to motivate your users.

Start Immediately Engaging the Users

Dev Patel at Quicksprout does a wonderful job of grabbing user attention right from the start. He knows just how short some users are going to stick around, so he’s willing to take up the entire screen in order to try and convert people to his email list.

Popups used to be somewhat of a taboo thing, but that’s changed with the evolution of popup design. Now it’s not a bad idea to utilize tools like welcome mats, slide-ins, promotional bars and popups, all in the name of getting more sign ups for your company.

Lots of studies back up the fact that pop ups are more useful than they are annoying, but simple logic shows that anyone who wasn’t going to find your site appealing is already annoyed or on their way out. But you don’t want to miss out on those emails and sign ups from people with genuine interest. And they’re not going to get annoyed.

Use Copywriting That Solves Problems (Don’t Describe Your Product or Company)

Far too often we see landing pages and homepages and ads that list features and talk about the company. Guess what? The customer (especially a new one) doesn’t care about your company. Not only that, but consumers respond based on their emotions, making it far more likely for them to pull the trigger if you solve a problem for them.

Features are nice later in the process, but don’t initially explain that your website design software allows for both drag and drop and CSS functionality.The Squarespace landing page demonstrates a better version, with bold copy stating “Look Like An Expert Right From The Start.”

Now, what do you think most non-developers are worried about when making their own website? They’re terrified at the idea of their company’s website looking unprofessional and silly. Squarespace gets that, so the problem-solving copy supports the call to action.

Be Upfront About Costs and Make it Easy to Understand

Stating prices right below the call to action on a landing page isn’t the greatest idea. However, motivating a user to sign up through design gets hindered when you fail to reveal all of the information.

People care about pricing, so it’s one of the main motivators when signing up for any product or service. If you’re giving away something for free, let people know!

If you’ve got several pricing plans, make sure these are introduced somewhat early in the process as to not tick off customers when they end up in the shopping cart thinking that they don’t have to pay for anything.

Transparency is key, so try to stay away from what the cable companies have done for years and tell your customers what they should expect to spend right off the bat.

Leverage Reviews, Testimonials, and Social Media

If you’ve visited Amazon at any point over the past few decades, you may have noticed the power of ratings and reviews. The validity of these reviews has come into question, but they still serve as valuable selling tools.

In short, people like signing up and buying things based on recommendations from other people. You might see a movie because one friend suggested it, and it’s much more convenient to read a book you can borrow from a friend.

The cool part is that consumers trust both friends and strangers, making testimonials, reviews, and any other sort of social credibility essential. Testimonials are particularly popular when you’re selling a B2B product or service, seeing as how you generally only have to convince one person in a company to make the deal. Testimonials from similar people in the industry should do the trick.

Make Forms as Easy as Possible

The sign up form is a topic of great debate. Sometimes you see small companies trying to capture all the information they can, hindering the amount of sign ups they inevitably receive. At the same time, you may see some eCommerce stores collecting minimal information, increasing the chances of fraud.

Here’s the golden rule: If you’re not dealing with money, you can cut down the sign up form to name, email and password. (If you’re only building an email list, skip the password).

Dropbox shows how this is done as a company that actually sells products as well. In short, many companies can go this route as long as they offer some sort of free trial or free pricing plan.

The best method to take is to cut down the amount of time customers have to spend on your sign up form. If possible, only ask for an email address. Make sure users don’t have to click through an insane number of pages to get to the end. In theory you should have a form, then once it’s filled out it should send users directly to a welcome page.

Use Graphics and Text That Are Relevant and Supportive of the Call to Actions

This rule has much to do with framing your imagery and text to focus on the call to action. The goal is to bring eyes directly to the call to action, whether it be a button or sign up form. With Netflix we can see that they have imagery from various movies and TV shows. You might figure that not much thought has gone into this, but take a look at how the imagery is situated. Netflix could have done a grid format with all of those movie and TV show thumbnails covering the background. But that would take away focus from the call to action and probably make the white text harder to see.

Instead the company made a 3D effect, where the movie and TV thumbnails are almost looking at the call to action, presenting what the customer’s eyes should be turning towards.

Furthermore, we have a black gradient leading into the call to action, and some simple, yet bold, white headers to introduce the basic benefits of signing up for Netflix.

Since the call to action serves as the primary way for people to click through and signup for a service, product or mailing list, it’s essential to guarantee that customers move their attention to the button or sign up form. If you don’t achieve that, you’re not going to see the numbers you crave.

Consider Quick Tours, Videos, and Tutorials

Here’s another Dropbox example, considering the company is so good at making sign up forms and landing pages. Dropbox is famous for releasing its product with a white landing page and a video explaining what it was all about. After that, they gained thousands of email subscribers before the product was even released. Today, the company has a similar approach, as it still includes several tutorials on the primary sign up page.

For instance, there’s a product from Dropbox called Dropbox Paper. As a new customer I’ve never heard about this, so a tutorial or video is most likely going to increase my chances of signing up. If not I’ve at least learned what the product does and maybe I’ll come back later.

This plays into a another reason consumers are motivated to sign up for something: Knowledge. Customers have a thirst for knowledge, but if they’re not presented with enough information they see a product or service as useless. For example, I personally have yet to see the point of a virtual reality headset. The commercials look like a bunch of people sitting in their homes with silly goggles on.

I don’t see any information showing the benefits, so what’s the point? I’m sure my mind would be changed if I had a demo of one of the headsets.

Don’t Forget About What Motivates Your Customers

As we’ve discussed, customers are motivated by all sorts of things like emotion, knowledge, pricing, readability, simplicity, and more.

If you can touch on just a handful of these, you’ll be well on your way to success. If you have any other questions about how to motivate users to sign up through design, let us know in the comments.




  1. / Reply

    very useful

    thank you

    • Perq,
    • November 17, 2009
    / Reply

    Thanks for recognizing Perq for its design!

    • Wiz,
    • November 17, 2009
    / Reply

    nice article. Thanks. I wanted to point out at the top under the “Engage your users immediately” heading, you have the copy saying instead of

  2. / Reply

    Point #1, engage users immediately.

    I usually follow this rule when designing websites where the main goal is to sign-up users. Great article and a lot more can be said about it, but great job mentioning the main things.

    • Minz,
    • November 17, 2009
    / Reply

    THank you. Nice website. I’ll keep on checking. Gud luck

  3. / Reply

    Impeccable timing! Thank you so much for the info!

    • Linda,
    • November 18, 2009
    / Reply

    It’s very true that if you give a reason for a certain action, regardless of the reason, it gives a person more impetus to actually follow the request. Instead of just “sign up here” for your email list, you will get much more of a response if you add something like “because you will like the material.”

    Great info!

  4. / Reply

    Thanks for the mention of Orggit! We’re always looking for ways to reduce the barrier of entry for our product.

    You can see how easy it is to register for a free Orggit account by going to and clicking on the View Plans and Pricing button. From there, you can click on the Orggit Basic and sign up for a free account.

  5. / Reply

    I think the look of a website greatly affect a person want to visit and become a member you..thanks..

  6. / Reply

    We recently completed a project web 2.0 enabling a restaurant – and the results have been quire remarkable in site traffic, subscribers and footfall in to the restaurant. The whole focus of the site is meaningful interaction, quite a novel approach for an Indian Restaurant

    • Tobias Tappel,
    • December 22, 2009
    / Reply

    One of the (in my eyes) most important strategies is missing: lazy registration, meaning to let users work with the service / explore the website without registration, and embed the sign-up at some crucial point in the workflow. If you let any user create i.e. a spreadsheet, image gallery, text document or whatever your application allows, and ask for registration not before the user wants to save their work, they only have the choice between losing all of their work, or registering with the service. Which is quite a motivation to register.

  7. / Reply

    Wow, that is some really great information. I run a membership site and I can use a lot of this info to increase the amount of people who sign up. Thank you so much!

    Waring Deep Fryer

    Euro Pro Deep Fryer

  8. / Reply

    great post, some ideas in it are good.

  9. / Reply

    Great article. I truly think engaging the user with a submission form every step of the way and from the beginning is the best way to get them to sign up. Especially with free sites, people may often begin signing up without even knowing exactly what it does allowing the webmaster to still acquire those users.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Iconfinder Coupon Code and Review

Iconfinder offers over 1.5 million beautiful icons for creative professionals to use in websites, apps, and printed publications. Whatever your project, you’re sure to find an icon or icon…

WP Engine Coupon

Considered by many to be the best managed hosting for WordPress out there, WP Engine offers superior technology and customer support in order to keep your WordPress sites secure…

InMotion Hosting Coupon Code

InMotion Hosting has been a top rated CNET hosting company for over 14 years so you know you’ll be getting good service and won’t be risking your hosting company…

SiteGround Coupon: 60% OFF

SiteGround offers a number of hosting solutions and services for including shared hosting, cloud hosting, dedicated servers, reseller hosting, enterprise hosting, and WordPress and Joomla specific hosting.