Are Your Forms Driving Away Leads And Sales?
Sign-up form fields are the key to converting visits to your landing pages into leads. But all too often, form fields are underutilized—or, even worse, used in a way that drives away potential leads and sales.
Poorly planned, ill-designed form fields can waste all the work and money you’ve put into blogging, social media, and advertising to get people to your landing page.
In your effort to identify and qualify leads and to gather information for lead management, you can’t forget that it’s vital to make your landing page a pleasant experience for visitors. If your form fields detract from the page’s usefulness and enjoyableness, then they’re doing you more harm than good.
The following 5 tips can help you achieve your goals for form fields without turning off the very people you want to connect with.
1. Determine Your Goals.
Before addressing how your form fields will interact with visitors, your first step should be to clarify what you want to accomplish with form fields. Are you looking for a mass list of leads, or are you after a relatively small amount of well-qualified leads? If it’s the former, you don’t need a lot of form fields. But if it’s the latter, you’ll need more than just simply basic contact information.
As a recent post on Interact Media’s Content Marketing blog pointed out, “The longer and more complicated your sign-up form is, the less likely you are to capture your visitor’s identity for later use.” So it’s a balancing act—the more fields you include, the lower the number of leads you’ll probably get; the less you include, the harder it is to determine the quality of the leads.
Understanding what you’re trying to achieve with form fields will enable you to determine the ideal number of fields. It will also enable you to identify which questions you must ask and which are superfluous.
2. Test Your Fields
Once you have an idea of how many form fields are appropriate and which questions you want to ask in the fields, you should conduct A/B tests for the questions to see how they affect conversion rates. If a particular question substantially reduces conversion rates, you’ll have to measure that against the importance of the question to determine whether it should be kept. The hard data provided by A/B testing allows this decision to be an informed one.
3. Consider using optional questions.
An excellent way to get around the problem of too many questions vs. too little information is to provide a two-tier sign-up process. Allow visitors to fill out a minimal amount of information to get the download or access they’re after, and then once they’re past that hurdle, offer them another incentive to provide more information.
The benefit of this strategy is two-fold: You allow visitors to easily what they came to the site for (which makes them happy and leaves a positive impression) while collecting basic information to generate a mass list, and you also identify potentially high-quality leads because anyone who takes the time to fill out the additional forms is clearly interested in what you’re selling.
4. Make the design of the landing page and the forms as simple as possible.
Flashy, busy landing pages should be avoided. The goal is not to overwhelm visitors visually—it’s to begin making a connection with them.
An insightful article about field form design in Smasher Magazine likens form fields to a conversation with potential leads. “In any conversation, people get distracted by background noise. So remove clutter such as banners and unnecessary navigation that might distract users from filling out the form,” the article advises.
Likewise, the form fields themselves should be as simple as possible without leaving the visitor confused as to what you’re asking or why you’re asking it.
5. Provide quality content.
Ultimately, the success of your form fields will depend on what’s on the other side of them. If users go through the process of signing up and then are disappointed, then it’s highly unlikely they’re going to want to do business with you.
A blog on CMSWire succinctly sums it up: “It really is very annoying to fill out a large form just to see that the content is not great or it’s on a different topic than advertised.” Planning and designing your form fields to get the right balance between quantity and quality of leads will also be wasted effort if the content you provide doesn’t ultimately satisfy visitors.