For websites that gather inquiries and leads, a critical element on your lead capture page is the form itself. Your first iteration likely won’t give you the results you’re hoping for, however. And that’s okay; achieving an elite conversion rate is hard work and requires significant testing, tweaking, and refinement. This article will explore some powerful tweaks you can use to boost your form conversion rates with small but effective, proven changes.
Natural language style forms for engagement
Forms are usually written with each field encompassing its own line. Such a user experience feels unnatural, not unlike filling out an IRS form.
The team at Vast.com found that using natural language forms increased their site by 25%. Natural language reads just like the words on the rest of your page. A natural language form, then can collect a first name and appointment using a format like the following:
“Hi, my name is (first and last name field) and I’m interested in talking more about using your customer management system in my business. Good days for me to talk are (Dropdown select: days and times).”
These forms are easier to engage with because they’re easier to read and feel more intuitive, creating less friction in in the process.
Less fields, more response
Filling forms is unpaid work. It requires typing, clicking, and zero immediate gratification. That’s why something as small as adding several more fields to the end of a form can drastically reduce your conversion rate.
Searchenginepeople.com found that reducing the number of form fields significantly increases conversions on the forms they tested.
One powerful technique they explored was an Open ID based login. Open ID is a way of letting people log into the sensitive area of your site without having to create a username, password, and do the tedious step of email verification. Instead, they can click a button to confirm their account at Facebook or Google, and they are instantly in. That’s 3 to 4 form fields you can now exclude, and one less password for your visitors to remember.
Adding fields to raise quality instead of conversions
Reducing form fields comes with a caveat: Do you really want to convert people so disinterested that they wouldn’t otherwise fill an extra field?
Oftentimes, the answer is no. This is especially true when you’re targeting clients or customers for a high-value offer. Not only do you lose the information, but you also let people “convert” who may be a waste of time to speak with or spend extra time on.
So be conscious with your filtering process too. Consider just what conversions you’d be happy to get from your audience. Doing so thoughtfully and strategically will allow you to apply the right amount of friction, and get just the right amount of information.
Where your form is on the page, as well as how it’s displayed, makes a big difference in how well it will convert.
Unlike the number of fields consideration, you want your form to be easy to find. There is no benefit to hiding it from an interested prospect.
Some of the highest converting lead capture pages place their forms on the top right of the page for this reason. They want the form to appear on the first screen, commonly called “above the fold placement”. This concept comes from the newspaper industry. In the newspaper business, the highest ranking stories are placed on the top fold of the page, allowing them to be seen by passerbys on the street.
The same effect holds online as well – studies show that above the fold content receives 4 to 5 times as many views as all items further down the page. Because your form is your primary interaction device, it’s worth disrupting the natural flow of your message in order to have the form on the top right of the page.
Contrast and wedge design
One of the easiest ways to draw the user’s eye towards your form is to use a contrasting color scheme with your form. If your page background is light, make the form background color dark. Use vibrant colors on the form if the rest of your page’s colors are muted.
Another good technique is the use of wedge design concepts. Arrows pointing directly at the form guide the eyes but are very garish and not recommended. A better, more sophisticated design uses subtle arrow in the design of the site itself. Other cues, such as an image of a person looking towards the form, are highly effective. These subtle cues have the same effect as the garish arrows without hurting your professional image: they redirect the viewer towards the spot on the page where they can take action.
Title and button elements
Copywriters have known for decades that a title of anything gets about 3 to 4 times the readership as the opening paragraph. Titles are seen as a “preview” that gives viewers the essence without committing time. That’s why big, bold headlines are used at the top of news and sales pages – to maximize this effect.
Use a short but clever headline at the top of your form to add this effect to it. It’s worth making the title bigger and bolder than other text in this area.
The other place to add emphasis is on the button. This is the final part of the conversion path and the gateway to capturing the lead or inquiry. Use a highlight color on the button and increase the text size, so that older or visually impaired viewers can easily find and click on it.
Just one change at a time, or multiple?
Now that you have an array of options for improving your form conversions, you’re going to want to test some changes. Should you test one thing at a time, or many?
Take a look at your traffic for the answer. Depending on how much traffic you get, will determine how many tests you can run. A google search of A/B test calculators will give you an estimate of how much traffic you need for a test of a given conversion rate.
Don’t despair if your traffic is on the lower end of the range though. Testing blocks of changes against one another can often yield as much insight as many smaller tests, and much faster.
About the Author
Sean Dezoysa creates useful and high interest content in the areas of B2B Finance and Technology. To learn more about Sean’s B2B content marketing services, visit http://b2bcontent.cf