5 Ways to Improve Online Form Conversions

By Jacqueline Sinex, Wednesday, May 13, 2015
online form conversion

Website design today is more than just a pretty face because businesses want to utilize the website as a true marketing tool that generates leads. A common tool used in online marketing is a form that encourages visitors to fill out some information. These forms can take a variety of shapes and sizes; some may ask for a basic registration to access content while others may require a multi-step assessment and offer a downloadable file at the end. They may also have different configurations, from a basic email notification to a complex lead sorting database. Despite the variety, marketers share a common goal: get more leads.

Here are five ways to enhance your website forms that can improve conversion.

1. Change the offer to something more exciting and specific.

We have all seen plenty of “Contact Us” forms on nearly every website we stumble upon. An upgrade from that is a Free White Paper or E-book, giving a simple dangled carrot on the other side of that submit button. But what about something that is less mundane? If the common white paper benefit is just not enticing enough to a visitor, they won’t be very compelled to fill out the form and give up any information.

Fortunately, there are simple ways you can make your offer seem more exciting. It’s all in the messaging. Consider the actual benefit the user will get from your content and think of specific details. Numbers are a nice attention grabber. The simple “Free White Paper!” message can turn into “Free 50-Page Report to Solve Your Financial Headaches Now.” If you have a niche, this is even more effective. “Financial headache” is nice, but still quite vague. What if the real golden nugget is a specific real estate investment technique? Then the message transforms into a butterfly: “Fix Your Real Estate Investment Now with This Instant 50-page Report.” Notice the word instant? Time is a helpful element in motivating visitors. If a visitor feels like something takes very little time or that their benefit is immediate, they will be compelled to move forward. Even if something is not immediate, the description of time may put them at ease, knowing exactly what to expect. For example, “Get the answer to your marketing problems in 7 days.” This is a specific timeline that allows the consultant on the other end to deliver.

2. Disguise your form as a poll.

A poll does two things: it gives the impression of asking for something educational, and it makes the user feel like they are in control of the experience. If the first question you ask on a form is nothing more than a quick multiple-choice item, they are able to answer something in a few seconds and become immediately engaged. The specific question should be very relevant to what the business does and enticing enough to make someone want to answer, but always very easy. A long-winded question is unlikely to get much response.

After the visitor submits their answer, the next web page will give them some kind of benefit and entice them to continue filling out more details.

For example:

  • Here are the poll results (interesting education, benefit)
  • Here is a discount or coupon or a free download (benefit)
  • Fill out this form to get your incentive (lead generation)

Polls are not always easy to get going. It might be a good idea to have a few planted responses initially, to get some good results started. If the visitors see there is an activity in the poll, perhaps they will want to participate. This is also something you can share on social media to encourage traffic to the website. The next step of the form is probably actually a second form. The flow is a connective experience, however. That 2nd form should be well thought out, so it doesn’t ask too many things of the person. For example, 3 to 5 questions to get their basic contact information and a targeted interest.

3. Track the performance of various forms and take actions on the ones that are underperforming.

Using Google Analytics, Clicky, and other tools, you can track the visits and conversions of your various forms. If you are maintaining a strong website and making regular updates to different landing pages, you probably have a few different forms on the website. For example, a contact us form with 3 basic fields, a form with a few more fields and a specific offer (a), and a second form with a different offer (b).

If form a is on a high traffic page that receives a significant number of visits, but the statistics show it gets no conversions (meaning no one ever fills it out), that form is probably expendable. You can either make a decision to change it or just replace it with a different high-performing form. Let’s say I noticed that form b is getting 10 qualified leads every week, and I really am happy about that. Why not duplicate this “gold” form on that other page where the under-performer was? Don’t forget to continue monitoring these statistics after the changes to be sure this decision made any impact. It is still possible that you will need to make other changes to the content on that web page to gain better results.

4. Use your best-performing form in more places.

This is related to point 3. If you have tracked the performance of forms on your website and notice there is a specific format that converts to registrants very well, you probably want to duplicate that situation. It may not even be that you use the exact same form code – just a very similar format and message. Since you are paying attention to your website analytics, you can recognize which web pages are most visited and receive the best traffic (people spend significant time on them). These stats are all in Google Analytics. Those great web pages represent an opportunity to include a lead generation form. The form placement should be considered, so it is not too obtrusive to the content of those high-traffic pages.

5. Ask your peers and customers what kind of benefit they want… and deliver it.

Not sure what kind of cool benefit to offer at the end of your lead generation form? Try actually asking people. Create a shortlist of ideas for a nice incentive, making them specific and interesting. Form a simple question asking which of this handful of things is most important to the audience, and send it out to a group of your trusted contacts, business peers, and current customers. Potential tools are an online survey, an email message, or a social media campaign to poll followers. Once you have a solid amount of data, you can easily decide what best motivates people to contact you.

For example, if people expressed that they are most worried about the online security of their personal information, an IT company might offer a free white paper called How to Make Your Personal Information Hack-Proof. Because of the survey, you now know there is a need for this information and people are hungry for it. You just have to focus on making it seem exciting and easily obtainable.

Tweaking your online forms is an ongoing process. In fact, some forms may perform well for a while and then die off, or some may experience seasonal spikes of activity. Continue to try out new techniques and new messaging with your permanent web pages and promotional landing pages.

Posted in: Austin Web Design, How To, Internet Marketing, Marketing, Quick Tips, Web Site Maintenance, WWW Learning Center

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