10 Days & 10 Ways to Increase Form Conversion Rates

No matter how you swing it, forms are the most boring part of any page. Nobody wants to get their vision interrupted with a huge and annoying form taking up 75% of a page.

Web forms are a major tool for your lead generation. They serve as funnels for gathering the nitty-gritty details you’ll need for understanding your customers better. If your forms go unfilled, unnoticed or abandoned, maybe it’s because people find them uninteresting, unnecessarily long or meddlesome.

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Image: http://www.uiparade.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/clean-simple-web-form-free-psd-download.jpg

Folks at Crazy Egg have come up with three stealthy ways to power up contact forms. In a nutshell, they are:

  1. Lessen number fields
  2. Increase public trust
  3. Enhance call to action (CTA)

In addition to these three, we’ve looked into other factors where you can improve your web forms. We’ve detailed at least ten tactics you can employ for positive form conversions.

DAY 1 – Reduce Fields to Power-Up Contact Forms

Nearly two-thirds of contact forms have five to ten fields. That’s way too many! But what that means is it’s easy to beat out your competition simply by optimizing your forms.

Singlehop found out that shorter forms with three fields get conversions of up to 30%, while longer ones with six to ten fields get 15% or below.

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This signals you one thing: shorter forms are ideal and more effective! Most users find long forms time-consuming and boring so they end up abandoning them if not ignoring them altogether.

When you only have three fields for a form, what should you include then? Thankfully, Singlehop has provided you with a hint:

  1. Email
  2. Name
  3. Phone number (business)

First Impressions Last

Make your introduction brief but impressive. Let customers fall in love with you at first impression.

At the onset, just get the essential data to kick-start your relationship with your customers. Your succeeding correspondence with them should take care of the GTKY-more phase.

Too Long or Too Boring

But then again, not everybody hates long forms. True. Crazy Egg said “you cannot have a page that’s too long—only one that’s too boring”. Not all long forms are ineffective, only those “unnecessarily long” ones. However, the problem with long forms is that they tend to be complicated, underhanded, and boring.

More Fields, More Mistakes

A study showed 71% of consumers abandon online forms because they’re complicated, 58% find some fields unnecessary, and 50% find the form too detailed.

The safest way is to cut the number of fields to the bare essentials.

Check forms for redundant or optional fields and do away with them. We honestly think that optional fields shouldn’t be part of the form in the first place.  But if you insist, highlight mandatory fields and downplay optional ones. Reduce user confusion by highlighting required fields using bold text, asterisk signs, striking colors, or notification bubbles.

DAY 2 – Use Cool Web Form Designs to Attract Customers

Nobody likes filling out forms, long forms even more so. Your forms have to be cool enough to be liked, filled out and completed.

Cool color palette

Conversion rate is affected by colors, too. The combination and choice of colors you apply in your forms can either make or break your conversion rate. It has to be cool enough to influence your customer’s actions toward the direction you want.

This infographic showed how people subconsciously judge a product within 90 seconds of initial viewing, and take note — 90% of that assessment is done based on color alone. For instance, this purple-colored form appeals to most women, but not to most men.

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Image: https://www.coffeecup.com/images/miscellaneous/icons/deep-purple—web-form-builder-theme_en.png

If you don’t have the eye for optimizing color usage, have a look at Formstack’s five best practices for using color.

Cool Header

A cool header copy provides customers a glimpse of what they’re going to get (benefits) and what’s going to happen next after sign up. Focus on the product benefits for your header.

In the case of BettingExpert, “Get FREE Betting Tips” worked better for them and increased signups by 31%.

A header has to be captivating enough for your customer to start filling out the form. A matching sub-header helps erase all uncertainties at the back of your customer’s mind.

Cool CTA

The call-to-action (CTA) serves as the climax of your online form – it’s the point where customers finally engage into a relationship with you. Your CTA has to be cool enough to be clicked, which marks the completion of a form.

There are tons of articles on optimizing CTA, but then no single tactic really works for all. Here are the basics of CTA design:

  1. Striking button color and shape – The CTA is a button, so make it look like one, and impressively so. It’s SOP to use contrasting colors to make the CTA button standout. A green, round button with white text may work better than a blue, rectangular one. Test to see which works!
  1. Action-packed text – In most cases, a verb in the first person tense works better for conversions. Give it a convincing text like “Start My 15-Day Free Trial Now” or “Yes, I Want to Claim My Discount” and with a sense of urgency, but don’t be too wordy. One-word CTA texts like “Click Here” and “Go” may also work, but try to experiment with other verbs like “Discover” and “Join”.

Here, tumblr makes it easy for users to sign up and begin using the service with an action-packed CTA text:

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Image: https://www.branded3.com//wp-content/uploads/2009/09/tumblr.png

 

  1. Directional cues – Arrows, shapes and other text help guide customers towards your web form. You can also use an image of a person looking at, pointing to, or holding your form page for a more humanized and more compelling form.
  1. Placement & size) – The CTA button must directly follow the flow of your page. Place it in a conspicuous location, normally at the end. But you can always place the CTA anywhere on the page – top or middle – depending on what works. Make it big enough to be highly visible, but not to the point of being off-putting.
  1. King of the form/page – A page may have various CTAs or other important text like your logo. But make the CTA king. Identify the most important action you’d like customers to make and then highlight that. Your most valuable CTA mustn’t compete with the rest of the page’s items to avoid chaos and confusion.

This post helps you learn more about high-converting CTAs.

DAY 3 – Optimize the Landing Page Where Your Form Is

Most users don’t arrive at your web form on the first click. They might find your ad somewhere among search engine results before being reverted to your landing page form. So your landing page (where your form is) should generate a good first impression about you, and convince customers to subscribe.

Three S’s of a Good Landing Page

Let your landing page help your form stand out, not overshadow it. Here are three S’s of a good landing page.

  1. Specific

An ad-specific landing page normally outperforms a generic page because it targets your specific customers by providing benefits that meet their specific needs. A specific landing page helps aim your advertising efforts on fertile ground.

  1. Simple

A landing page shouldn’t be a long sales letter or a space for pushing hard sales pitches. Again, the simpler the landing page design and the fewer the text, the better.  It must be like a “welcome mat” that creates anticipation.

  1. Streamlined

A good landing page complements your overall online marketing strategy including SEO, PPC advertising, CRO, and Social Media Marketing. Use it in conjunction with your online form to increase signups and ultimately conversions.

 

Here’s one optimized landing page that features a person, satisfied customers including big brands, and contrasting colors, among others:

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Image: https://petovera.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/fluid-surveys-high-converting-landing-page.png

Neil Patel and Sherice Jacob have painstakingly created a seven-part series on landing page optimization. It’s an awfully long read, but if you need help in fine-tuning your landing pages this one’s a bible.

DAY 4 – Add Social Proof to Increase Public Trust

Some people are cautious about sharing their personal information online. But when they find a hundred or a thousand others already subscribed or registered to your site – that compels them to do the same.

Billions are Crazy about Social Media

To date, there are about 1.96 billion social media users, which could grow to 2.44 billion by 2018. That’s a big number right there – and many of these users are willing to freely endorse or share something they find interesting.

What you can do is tap this must-connect-online bandwagon behavior and make it work for your business. Encourage users to create positive connections with for your brand!

Samples of Social Proofs

Social proof isn’t all about social media likes and shares, however, but also includes:

  1. Testimonials and reviews
  2. Endorsements by high profile individuals/organizations
  3. Social sharing or fan following
  4. Trust seals of recognitions, validations and memberships
  5. SEO ranking

When Crazy Egg optimized their checkout page (before and after), one of the changes they employed was placing a trust box of logos including Disney, Expedia and Dell beside their web form. This further motivates customers to sign up.

What Customers Say vs. What Companies Say

Crate and take advantage of a strong following of your brand because people put more weight on what customers say (social proof) and less on what a your business say (plain marketing). Social proof marketing is a highly effective strategy for understanding, connecting with, and retaining real customers.

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Seeded Social Proof

Social proof is a spinoff of the conventional word-of-mouth (WOM). And both are greatyou’re your business because they are highly cost-effective.

On top of naturally occurring social proofs or WOM testimonials, you can induce or “seed” WOM by hiring agents to start infiltrate various communities or networks. But make seeded WOM look natural by avoiding hard selling tactics and over-the-top endorsements.

But really, if so many actual customers already have your back, you don’t need to seed WOM!

DAY 5 – Feature Actual People to Be More Convincing

While a large number of followers and a stellar trust box can highlight your credibility, humanizing your brand shouldn’t stop there. Go further by adding videos and photos of actual people (staff or customer) and make them forerunners or stewards of your brand. This is another convincing reason for customers to be partners with you.

One Human = Huge Difference

It’s amazing how a single photo of a person with a happy, satisfied face (as seen below) can help improve your conversion rate. There are various ways to humanize your brand – simply feature people in:

  1. Your homepage
  2. Social media posts
  3. Your online forms
  4. Your blog posts
  5. Your product/service endorsements
  6. Your about us/staff page

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Treat others the way you’d like to be treated – and that is, as a human being. Despite all the technicalities of digital marketing, at the end of the day, you’re still targeting human buyers, not some robot crawler or search engine.

Warning

Be careful however with using random images or videos of people. Make sure that everything you put on the table adds to your credibility.

Here is an example of a poorly designed landing form page, where the supposedly satisfied buyers of motorcycles appear dubious. With the looks of it, these guys don’t really seem motorcycle enthusiasts, let alone owners.

DAY 6 – Create Great-Looking Mobile Forms

Forms on big screens look a lot different, maybe messier, on cramped mobile screens. If you want to capture a mobile audience, create a mobile-friendly web form.

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Image: https://www.coffeecup.com/files/images/rf-desktop_tablet.png

 

Mobile Shopping vs Online Shopping

The number of people using smartphones has multiplied over the years. In the US, desktop and laptop users dominated mobile users only until 2012. By the following year, mobile media time equaled that of desktop/laptop at 2.3 hours/day each, but has since then took over at 2.8 hours/day, while desktop/laptop media time was pegged at 2.4 hours/day.

Users are increasingly using their mobile devices to shop around the Internet. In the UK, mobile online retail outpaced PC growth rates. Digital commerce sites like Amazon, Home Retail Group, Apple, Tesco and Dixons all achieved increasing growth rate in mobile retail.

Why Optimize Mobile Forms?

People are using mobile devices as well as tablets, games consoles, and even smart watches for browsing the Internet and scanning for products and services. If your web form isn’t optimized for mobile use, then you’re pretty much behind the game.

E-commerce site Touch of Class discovered smartphone visits doubled in 12 months, from 19,000 to 40,000 accounting for 4% of traffic sales – that was almost four years ago!

Optimizing forms for mobile users help you reach customers on the go. According to a comScore report, PCs dominate working hours from 10am to 5pm, but mobile gadgets keep users occupied while commuting from late night to early morning, while tablets quench early evening thirst for entertainment.

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Mobile Browse-to-Buy UX

Despite the growing popularity of mobile devices for surfing and shopping, there seems to be a problem with mobile browse-to-buy experience.

Conversion rate for PCs (8.52%) remain higher than that of smartphones (4.70%) and other small-screen mobile devices. The only ones overtaking PCs in terms of conversions are tablets (5.58%) and iPads (8.99%).

In last year’s Thanksgiving, IBM reported that people used mobile devices for browsing e-commerce sites, but reverted to PCs for making purchases.

Mobile Forms Best Practices

Mobile users are likely to abandon forms pretty fast, hence the low conversions. Why? Formstack has listed five possible reasons for this:

  1. Non-responsiveness – It pays to add conditional logic when designing a mobile form.

Solution: Reduce page load times. Drop the images, special effects, external media and other fancy stuff that lower the performance of most mobile units. Other factors affective mobile form responsiveness include poor website hosting, uncompressed web pages, and excessive resource file.

To understand how load time affects your bottom line, see infographic below and/or click here.

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Image: https://blog.kissmetrics.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/loading-time-sml.jpg

  1. Too Many Questions – If PC users’ attention is short, that of mobile users is even more so.

Solution: Lessen fields or questions. Also, get rid of all optional fields. Simpler and shorter forms appeal better to users.

  1. Lengthy Answers – Again, too annoying for impatient users.

Solution: Reduce typing. Mobile gadgets have small screens and small keyboards, which makes filling out forms taxing. Whenever possible, provide auto-fill defaults for commonly used fields.

  1. Poor Layout – Poor layout equals messy interface, chaotic buttons and stray fields.

Solution: Make the layout fluid. Different mobile devices have different dimensions. Stick to a more flexible layout that adjusts according to the pixel width of commonly used mobile devices. The most effective layout is a single column with labels placed above each field.

Also, design forms to touch. Your mobile forms must be custom designed for touch to make it more interactive for touchscreens.

  1. Unclear Proposition – So what if people fill out your form? So what if they don’t?

Solution: Make your value proposition clear. Users must understand why they need to fill out your form in the first place. Otherwise, they’ll skip the process, and another conversion goes out the window. When SIMS 3 highlighted their value proposition, they achieved 128% more registrations.

CONTROL PAGE: http://www.widerfunnel.com/images/case_studies/the_sims_3_control.jpg

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WINNING PAGE: http://www.widerfunnel.com/images/case_studies/the_sims_3_variation.jpg

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Of course, a mobile form’s performance is affected by external factors outside your control such as Internet speed and unit specifications. But connect gaps at your end, and you’re good to go.

DAY 7 – To CAPTCHA or Not to CAPTCHA

This is one discussion that doesn’t take the limelight, but persists nonetheless. CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turning test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) is a jumbled string of characters or an image, which users have to decipher and input correctly to complete a form.

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Image: https://www.drupal.org/files/images/image_captcha_example.png

 

We hate spams, but we love conversions!

CAPTCHA is used to prevent spams in your database, but it can also prevent conversions as some users find it a nuisance or some sort of punishment. In addition, CAPTCHA slows down forms.

If you’re wondering whether to put CAPTCHA or not, at best do A/B testing. It’s the only way to tell whether your form is effective.

Still, a few experts would advise against using CAPTCHA. Search Engine OP cited a study where CAPTCHA resulted in 159% more failed conversions than when it wasn’t used.

If you’re all about increasing conversions, don’t use CAPTCHA. If you’re all about reducing spams, use it. But then again, conversions weigh more than spams, and you can always employ other spam filters that are less damaging to your bottom line.

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Image: http://static.lukew.com/fec_desire.png

 

Google’s reCAPTCHA

Google released its new reCAPTCHA – a no CAPTCHA experience, which the search engine said would tell distinguish humans from robots with only a single click. Google said reCAPTCHA provides advanced spam protection and effortless user interaction. You might want to give this one a try.

 

DAY 8 – Incentivize New Customers with Special Deals

Incentivizing customers is an effective way to attract repeat purchases and long-term memberships. After all, serving existing customers costs far less than attracting and retaining new ones.

A reliable, loyal customer base can keep your business afloat for many good years to come. When you don’t have one yet, or want to increase your existing customer base, offer special deals to keep new customers hooked.

  1. One-Time Offers

Crazy Egg wanted to beef up their revenues so they offered a limited one-time offer where existing paying customers can enjoy 40% off on a yearly plan and free cancellation within 30 days with full refund. The catch – customers must upgrade their subscription. But the web form was crafted so well that a quarter of the company’s customers accepted the offer.

  1. Reward Referrals

Harry’s, a grooming product company, used referral marketing for its pre-launching. They offered free product for every invited friend and used a catchy web form. The invite-a-friend campaign acquired more than 100,000 sign ups.

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  1. Surprise Discount

Most shopping sites present discount offers directly so customers can enjoy them at checkout. One example is Nana Macs, which used a pop-up form allowing customers to input their email and/or share the site at various social accounts in exchange for a 5% discount.

Special incentives, as illustrated above, helps raise front-load revenues through upgraded subscriptions, increase signups via rewarded referrals, and enhance your branding via social proof. But use incentives strategically. Giving incentives too often or too regularly doesn’t create loyal customers, but could backfire on your overall sales.

DAY 9 – Optimize Your Checkout Form

Many companies often find too many shopping carts abandoned at checkout. UK web research firm, Baymard Institute, found that the average rate for online shopping cart abandonment is 68.53%!

If you’re into retail and would like to pump up your checkout conversions, here are pointers for you.

  1. Offer competitive, honest pricing – Be honest with your pricing and be competitive, too! Customers don’t want anything to do with hidden costs and surprise charges. If you say you’re beating rival’s rates and welcome refunds for price difference, do so. Place a cost breakdown as well as delivery costs at the checkout page for clarity.
  1. Make shopping seamlessly easy – Yes, you’d like them to sign up, but if registering prevents them from buying effortlessly, do away with the tedious log in with password (and CAPTCHA). To track customers, try to have them log in with their social media accounts or email address, instead.
  1. Test multiple-page forms vs single, long form – Checkout forms can be quite long, especially if you need customers’ shipping and billing information. You can create a multiple-page form and place a progress indicator, or create single, long form with everything in one go. Test which one converts more!

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Image: http://acquireconvert.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/single-step-checkout-no-logo.jpg

 

  1. Offer various payment methods – Allow customers to choose the mode of payment that’s most convenient or available to use. In this article, Shopify said FreshGigs saw a 15% increase in checkout sales after enabling the mode to pay via American Express.
  1. Provide privacy guarantees – Build trust. Let customers know their card details are safe and protected. A badge or a seal makes a huge difference in increasing online sales. According to Synovate, 94% of customers would complete a purchase when they find a Norton seal.

Learn more about optimizing your checkout forms here and here.

DAY 10 – Other Form Tactics You Can Employ

Be Transparent

Transparency is nothing new to the business sector. Big brands like BMW, Patagonia and Buffer have adopted transparency and made it big in their respective industries.

Transparency is more than just making scheduled filings with the SEC (that is, if you’re a traded company). It’s a conscious effort to be honest and open to the public, as in the case of Neil Patel and Pat Flynn.

You can be transparent within your team and with your customers.

Transparency with customers signals your intention for them to be honest and open with you as well. Most people hesitate filling out forms for fear of revealing their personal details and becoming victims of marketing abuse (spamming, hard selling, etc.).

By telling customers why you need their personal information and how you’re going to use them (with privacy, of course), you employ transparency.

In this example, Crazy Egg added a FAQ Section beneath their form to explain why they need customers to supply their credit card number. This move resulted in 116% more sign ups.

Add Supplemental Copy

Customers may sometimes need a deeper explanation about your offer. In this case, you’ll need to add a copy to supplement your form and help clear doubts.

A good copy specifically adjusts to the varying behaviors of customers you wish to target.

  1. Benefits plus solutions – Customers might initially need solutions, but once they start the research process and compare alternatives, they’re already ripe for benefit-selling. Combine solution-selling tactics with benefit-selling and you just might tickle the fancy of independent-minded customers.

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Image: http://thelandingpagecourse.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/landing-page-examples-lead-gen-forms-3.jpg

 

  1. Scanners vs Readers – Most users are scanners – they skim through pages, avoid long copies and stick around only for a couple of seconds. But are you only targeting a scanning audience?

If you’re aiming to catch the attention of scanners, make short, engaging copies that grab attention real quick.

If you’re targeting readers, provide CTA that points to longer, interesting copies that get your audience hooked each time they scroll down or read some more. Your customers might need to take a virtual tour or read more about your product before registering.

Offer Great Support

In conjunction with your web form, offer great customer support.

If you said you’d need customers to validate their email address first, send a good validation email fast.

If you mentioned in the form that a customer rep will keep in touch with them soon, supply a chat tool. Intuit realized 211% increase in conversions when they added a proactive chat across their website, including product comparison page and lead generation page.

A personalized and quick email response as well as a comprehensive FAQ Section helps, too.

Form Recovery Tool  (better known as form abandonment or email re- marketing software)

Last but not least our own tool Inflowlive.

When’s the last time you checked how many people are dropping out half way through your forms? Do you even monitor how far down they go? Well its a dirty little secret that as digital marketers we hate to think about.

“Of course people love my form” but as stated in this article – No they dont! So why dont you automatically email or sms visitors that started but never finished your form.

Heres how it works

Inflowlive automatically saves form entries – even if users don’t press submit. That way, you can recover responses regardless of whether their browser is closed, left inactive, or loses internet connection.

With just an e-mail address, you can automatically send them a targeted e-mail (or series of e-mails). Use it to remind folks to complete your form or ask how you can help.

Best of all, users will never start a form over again. Since Inflowlive recovers previously entered data, users can restart forms from where they left off!

Cool ha?